Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

So last week, I told you all about my FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines. And really, I had the most marvellous time but truth be told, the Philippines isn’t really on the agenda on most Europeans.

India? Yes!

Thailand? Oh yes!

Bali? Absolutely!

But the Philippines? Er what!

You know! The Phiiiilipppppines!

Emm. Nope!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

OK then. How about Manila?

Oh, Manila!

‘So you’ve heard all about it then?

Yep! I heard it was full of crime, and you would be shot in the streets, mugged, kidnapped, or all the above!

?&$%!!!???%&$§!!!

I’m guessing it’s time that I write about my own impressions of Manila. After all, I was there.

And I lived to tell the tale!

Being under the loving protection of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines & TBEX, means I'm relatively safe from external danger!
Being under the loving protection of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines & TBEX, means I’m relatively safe from external danger!

But let’s be realistic, one of the reasons that the Philippines turned out to be such a roaring success was because we weren’t on our own, and had the loving protection of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, who did a fantastic job of providing transport, an information table at designated approved hotels, a welcome team at the airport, and a whole bevy of young Filippino students who helped us get from one place to the other, quickly and safely. In fact, at one point, one group even had a police escort as it was quite late in the day…!

THE DIPLOMATIC FACTS

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the embassy advice is NOT to travel to certain parts of the Philippines because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

There is also the issue of typhoons. There may be flooding, landslides, storms, and even death and destruction which could result in local evacuation! Indeed, typhoons in the Philippines are no joke as just last year, the country had 27 tropical storms, 18 typhoons, and nine super typhoons, resulting into people being forced to flee their homes, torrential rains, submerged villages, devastating floods, and death.

In fact, we had a few typhoons while we were there.

Boy in debris after typhoon Saola in the Philippines. ©Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images
Boy in debris after typhoon Saola in the Philippines.
©Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

However, since we were in Manila, we were not outrightly affected, but all the FAMtrips in the affected area, were cancelled.

The simple fact is that the Philippines does have a high incidence of street crime, scams, robbery, terrorism, and kidnapping. Including gun crime.

The bare reality is that Manila isn’t the safest of places, and foreign nationals are increasingly becoming targets. Most of these crimes are committed by local youths who are involved in incidents of violent robbery, gun crime, assaults, random acts of violence, kidnapping of foreigners, streets fights, looting and violent crimes triggered by excessive alcohol consumption.

If you're a US or foreign traveller stay alert. Violent robbery, gun crime, assaults, random acts of violence, kidnapping of foreigners, streets fights, and looting, is not unknown.
If you’re a US or foreign traveller stay alert. Violent robbery, gun crime, assaults, random acts of violence, kidnapping of foreigners, streets fights, and looting, is not unknown.

Sadly, on November 3rd, the US Government had to issue a travel warning to alert U.S. citizens that terrorist groups are planning to conduct kidnappings, in areas frequented by foreigners on the southern portion of Cebu Island, specifically the areas around Dalaguete and Santander (to include Sumilon Island). As I write this, the warning is still valid!

Check for incidents before you leave.
Check for incidents before you leave.

Is it any wonder that my friends and family were nervous at the thought that I was travelling solo to the Philippines? Their only consolation being that I wouldn’t be totally alone, and that I’m a smart experienced traveller!

Having said that, most tourists and travellers will have a wonderful time, just as I did, but the warnings are not without merit, as the Philippines does have a reputation.

MANILA

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Manila, otherwise known as the City of Manila, is the capital and the second most populous city of the Philippines.

Founded in 1571, by a Spanish conquistador – Miguel López de Legazpi – Manila is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines and was the seat of power for most of the country’s colonial rulers. It is situated on the eastern shore of Manila Bay and is home to many landmarks, some of which date back to the 16th century!

With a population of 1.8 million in 2015, Manila is the second largest city in the Philippines, after Quezon City. It is also the most densely populated city in the world, with 41,515 people per square kilometer!

HOW TO BE SAFE IN MANILA

Be vigilant. Don’t show all your valuables or wander into dodgy corners!
Be vigilant. Don’t show all your valuables or wander into dodgy corners!
  1. Be vigilant
  2. Keep away from large crowds, protests and rallies
  3. Don’t wander too far “off the beaten path”
  4. Watch where you’re going at night, or stay sober
  5. Take licensed taxis such as Grab
  6. If you take public transport, make sure it’s not too crowded as traffic jams are common, and the heat can be stifling!
  7. Keep your valuables out of sight
  8. Be respectful and polite to the locals
  9. Try as much as possible not to take photographs without permission. The homes of local people isn’t a zoo!
  10. Go on a walking tour

I love walking tours.

Not only is it a way to get your bearing, it’s also a means to meet some of the locals, and find out local secrets.

As I told you last week, TBEX doesn’t only organise post-TBEX tours but pre-TBEX tours too! I knew that I would be on a very long flight, so opted for a morning tour that wouldn’t take more than four (4) hours or so!

A WALKING TOUR OF MANILA  – INTRODUCING OLD MANILA WALKS

TBEX calls it "The Old China Food Tour" but Old Manila Walks markets it as "The Big Binondo Food Wok"  walking tour!
TBEX calls it “The Old China Food Tour” but Old Manila Walks markets it as “The Big Binondo Food Wok” walking tour!

The company – Old Manila Walks – is a local organisation whose motto is “experience the best of historic Manila – one step at a time!”

They have five (5) tours that people can join:

Honestly, I wish I could have taken all of them but I was only able to go on one. TBEX called it The Old China Food Tour but Old Manila Walks calls it The Big Binondo Food Wok nibbling our way through Chinatown tour!

Locals in the capital city of Manila.
Locals in the capital city of Manila.

I had arrived late the night before and was looking for a place to eat at my conference hotel – The Golden Phoenix. The hotel restaurant had closed and so the staff had directed me to a local haunt across the road.

I was extremely pleased as the restaurants was packed with local punters, with the only foreign faces being that of two random British guys and myself.

We soon got chatting!

Even though it was my first night, I felt perfectly safe ‘cos:

I was a little concerned as I ordered chicken & got pork. I ordered green beans & got okras & pumpkin! Hmm!
I was a little concerned as I ordered chicken & got pork. I ordered green beans & got okras & pumpkin! Hmm!
  1. The two British guys were quite beefy, and were more than able to hold their own
  2. My hotel – The Golden Phoenix – was right in front of the restaurant. As were the security guards
  3. We were in a classy area with 4 or 5 star hotels scattered all over the vicinity!

Anyhoo, our meeting point for the food tour the next morning was in the lobby of a hotel before we moved down to the Binndo Church!

Book your hotel here!

One of our Chinatown walking tour guides & the lady who was standing right next to me - Patricia Schultz - author of the #1 New York Times bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die!
One of our tour guides & the lady who was standing right next to me – Patricia Schultz – author of the #1 New York Times bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die!

If you’re a foodie, then the best place to go to in Chinatown is Binondo, and to munch your way through a wide selection of dining establishments, ranging from Cantonese themed restaurants to local regional fare!

Let’s go!

Ivan Man Dy - the man and brains behind Old Manila Walks.
Ivan Man Dy – the man and brains behind Old Manila Walks.

Ivan Man Dy is the brains and owner of Old Manila Walks, and also the man who led our tour packed with journalists and foodie bloggers!

In 2005, he established Old Manila Walks and has since then literally walked a thousand miles! In between walks, he has found time to finish a master’s degree in Cultural Heritage Studies, do professional work in the field of heritage tourism, appear in countless local and international TV documentary shows, as well as local modelling!

Ivan wanted to show us the Chinese heritage of Manila, and so we started with a backyard sit-down stool place called New Po-Heng Lumpia House.

Lumpiang Sariwa or Fresh Spring Roll is a type of spring roll of Chinese origin commonly found in the Philippines!
Lumpiang Sariwa or Fresh Spring Roll is a type of spring roll of Chinese origin commonly found in the Philippines!

We had some lumpia.

Lumpiang Sariwa or Fresh Spring Roll is a type of spring roll of Chinese origin commonly found in the Philippines.

It is a savoury snack made of thin crepe pastry skin called “lumpia wrapper” enveloping a mixture of savoury fillings, consisting of chopped vegetables (carrots, cabbages, green beans, bamboo shoots and leeks) or sometimes minced meat (chicken, shrimp, pork or beef). It is often served as an appetizer or snack, and might be served deep-fried or fresh.

Lumpia is usually garnished with sweet sauce, coconut flakes and crushed peanuts. A nut-free roll was made specifically for me so don’t worry if you have allergies, they will cater for you if you let them know!

TBEX bloggers at the famous Chinese restaurant called Quik Snack / Quick Snack - Amah's kitchen!
TBEX bloggers at the famous Chinese restaurant called Quik Snack / Quick Snack – Amah’s kitchen!

After this snack, we went through the market place to a historically famous Chinese restaurant called Quik Snack / Quick Snack, otherwise known as Amah’s kitchen! It was much nicer and larger, catering to friends and family.

Empanada de kaliskis - a traditional flaky, pastry filled chicken pie - sweet to taste, filled with tasty ingredients, and a hefty crunch!
Empanada de kaliskis – a traditional flaky, pastry filled chicken pie – sweet to taste, filled with tasty ingredients, and a hefty crunch!

At Amah’s Kitchen we had a pie called Empanada de kaliskis. It’s a traditional flaky, pastry filled chicken pie. It really was quite delicious as I like pastry pie that is sweet to taste, filled with tasty ingredients, and has a hefty crunch!

A type of tofu dish with cheese, oyster sauce and sprinkly bits!
A type of tofu dish with cheese, oyster sauce and sprinkly bits!

After that, we had a type of tofu dish with cheese, oyster sauce and sprinkly bits!

A staple in Chinese cuisine, tofu, or fermented soy bean curd, is rich in protein. In the Philippines, it is known as tokwa. Firm varieties are good for stir-fries, while the softer varieties like silken tofu is good for soups and puddings. By itself, tofu is almost tasteless. Its versatility lies in its capacity for absorbing the flavor of any ingredient mixed with it.

I’m not usually a fan of tofu, but this meal made everything better again!

After this, we ducked into a restaurant in which we had to go upstairs. The stairway was so low and narrow that even a petite girl like myself, also had to take care when going up or down the stairs!

Dumplings in Manila!
Dumplings in Manila!

As we entered, we saw some young girls kneading dough. I was excited.

It could only mean one thing.

Dumplings!

A simple spiced vinegar dip, that wasn't quite so simple!
A simple spiced vinegar dip, that wasn’t quite so simple!

Dumplings in Manila are usually eaten with a simple spiced vinegar dip that I didn’t find quite so simple, as the spiciness made me splutter! Nevertheless, I tried a little and covered the rest of the dumplings in soy sauce!

A thick layer of Filippino pork schnitzel!
A thick layer of Filippino pork schnitzel!

We were then served a thick layer of Filippino pork schnitzel!

A sort of custard-like dessert made from condensed milk and duck egg yolk buried in the mud for one (1) month - a common Filipino dessert called Yema!
A sort of custard-like dessert made from condensed milk and duck egg yolk buried in the mud for one (1) month – a common Filipino dessert called Yema!

The next dish we had was some sort of custard-like dessert made from condensed milk and duck egg yolk buried in the mud for one (1) month! This is a common Filipino dessert called Yema!

I didn’t personally like Yema as it was served cold, and felt like having an English school dinner dessert that had been left out too long! But if you’re not British, you’ll like it!

An ingredient that looked liked armchair stuffing and tasted like hot-chilli peppers!
An ingredient that looked liked armchair stuffing and tasted like hot-chilli peppers!

Not to worry though as it was soon time to sample some sort of street food once again.

Ivan took us to a herb and spice shop where we had to smell the ingredients and guess what they were. The highlight was when I tried something that looked like armchair stuffing, and tasted like hot chilli peppers!

Ewgh!

Lastly, the group tried some purple yam balls!

Purple yam - Very avant garde!
Purple yam – Very avant-garde!

Purple yam is used in a variety of desserts and is also known as ube. I wasn’t able to try it as it had killer stuff like pistachio, coconut and almonds!

Having said that, I do like the velveteen purple tones. Very avant-garde!

Shocking news! I'm actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is....Taiwan!
Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!

I really enjoyed this walking tour and got to see the Chinese food heritage of Manila.

At the end of my stay in Asia, I flew back to Manila for 24 hours and this time, I chose the more humble 3-star Vieve Hotel rather than the nicer 5 star Belmont Hotel, which we all later moved to! I liked the Belmont so much that I paid to stay over the weekend. A good thing too, as I was really ill…!

The staff at the Vieve Hotel were nice enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you were travelling solo. I wanted to see the more “authentic” Manila, and I certainly did!

Book your hotel here!

Male and Female prostitution in the Philippines. ©philippineslifestyle.com
Male and Female prostitution in the Philippines.
©philippineslifestyle.com

As my taxi drove me through the dark narrow streets of Ermita, I had to confess that I was a little anxious and was already getting my phone out to book another hotel! The area is dodgy and appalling. Shop after shop was either a massage parlour, a go-go bar or a karaoke “show,” with ladies of the night plying their trade, and homeless people lying on many a pavement.

As you know, I have no issue with legal prostitution, but I would never wander into the red-light area alone, and here I was right slap and centre, in the middle of it!

Suffice to say, I didn’t go out that night. I stayed in my room, double-locked the door, and put a chair behind it!

The next day was sunny so I plucked up the courage to walk around the area on my own.

It was fine.

The locals were friendly and allowed me to take photographs of their carts and vehicles. I even did my nails at a neighbourhood salon where staff were 50% transgender.

They were hilarious so I left them a hefty tip!

Well that’s it for now.

Book your hotel here!

IS MANILA A CRIME-RIDDEN PLACE OR IS IT SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT?

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

This article is not sponsored and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Old Manila Walks, and as a member of TBEX, all opinions and the spicy sauces that I dabbled in, are my very own!

I’ve started a new job!

November is going to be amazing!

Watch this space!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

D you think Manila is a crime-ridden place, or do you think it’s something completely different? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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51 thoughts on “Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

  1. I think it is important that people stay aware in Manila but I never felt unsafe. Of course I wasn’t out really late, (heavily) drunk or in really isolated places alone.

    I hope none of the violence comes to Cebu. It was such a beautiful place and so easy to travel around. And there are waterfalls everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kabeiser! That’s exactly why I wrote my posts as I’m sure people are freaking out! The most important ting is to be aware, take care of yourself, then make a choice. I#m a firm believer of choices. 🙂
      Re- Cebu. I went there as part of my FAM trip and I loved it. I’ll be writing about it in a few weeks. Fingers crossed that all will be well! 🙂

      Like

  2. This was a great post, really nicely detailed and I especially loved all the food pictures! I’ve been living in the Philippines since the beginning of July and there have been all sorts of mini-scares and threats that my family and friends elsewhere send me worried messages about. But living here is pretty mellow, everyone is very friendly, and sure there is a risk of crime, but there is a risk of crime almost everywhere! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! ‘Glad you liked the pictures. Me too lol! Yep! I read all about them before I came. They didn’t scare me personally, but it’s always important to keep well informed as sadly, there are still a few places that I wouldn’t visit at the moment. For example, I was invited to visit the Ukraine a few years ago. Ha! It was in the middle of the East Ukraine v Russia crisis, so I politely declined!
      As for crime. It’s everywhere, but it’s funny how people are really careful in their own countries and act completely silly, in another!

      Like

      1. Or vice versa! Sometimes we think our own country is so safe, but other countries are actually much safer. My family lives in Israel which has a terrible reputation for conflict in the news and media, but it is often nothing like that when I visit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely! Not naming names, but some Western nations have the worst amount of crimes all round, and of course, sometimes the fear stems from not being on the ground in the first place. I still advocate for awareness, but not being fearful. Nowhere is particlularly safe in the grand scheme of things these days, so if you want to travel to a destination that has more than it’s fair share of strive, do so with common sense!
        Here’s what I wrote a few months ago: https://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/is-it-safe-to-travel-to-europe-right-now-cos-im-scared-to-travel-abroad/

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say that I wasn’t keen on Manila. My first hotel was located near the US Embassy and that area, despite several 5-star hotels being around, was not one I would recommend. At one point, I even experienced kids make a human chain across the street causing my taxi to have to stop. When it did, other kids and people rushed from all sides banging on the windows to beg. It was a heart stopping couple of minutes with nothing to do but wait and hope it wouldn’t turn in to something worse.

    I transferred to the new Shangri-La The Fort in Bonaficio neighborhood and that was much better, though I still wouldn’t walk around at night by myself and was very aware of what was going on around me while out during the daytime.

    It is a very poor city of 12.8 million people and desperation causes people to do bad things. Manila was the first ever place where I’be been and truly felt unsafe in multiple areas. But I do think with planning, as well as an extremely heightened sense of awareness, it is okay to visit.

    I really enjoyed my time visiting the islands, though. Coron was incredibly beautiful and we had a spectacular two weeks diving and doing water sports there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I quite understand. I had heard awful things about Manila and people saying “get out of there as quickly as you can!” type of thing. I wouldn’t totally agree that it doesn’t merit at least a few days, as there’s a lot of culture and history that is extremely attractive, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded spending a few more days in Manila. Sadly, I was just too sick…!
      p.s. The countryside of the Philippines is amazing. As are the beaches. I mean, wow! 🙂

      Like

  4. Thanks for spelling out the hard facts. Manilla is a hellhole. There’s nothing to found here, except trouble. It’s an ugly, heavily polluted, dangerous city. I was here on a business trip 2 years ago. We were doing a photoshoot for a famous shampoo brand. The studio had guards holding riots guns. The hotel had a special, underground entry for the van. I was strongly advised not to walk into the streets. The celeb was living in a compound with barbed wire everywhere.
    So many nice places in the world, why promote a place like this?
    keep safe – TT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! Yes, Mainla is not the safest place in the world, but neither is it the worst? And believe me, if it was still as awful as two years ago, you can bet that I wouldn’t be there! However, there have been changes. The Philippines has a hardliner president, and the clean-up came about brutally but swiftly.

      Why promote Manila? Because ordinary people live there. Nice decent people. And it’s worth the trouble. 😉

      Like

  5. Coming from Malaysia, which is a relatively well-to-do country, the poverty I saw while in Manila was a stark contrast, to say the least. I wasn’t prepared for the sheer amount of pollution either! But there are also nice spots within the city and some charming places. I really enjoyed how well maintained their National Museum and Art Galleries are, definitely way more appreciation for art and history than back in my own country.

    As for crime, before my trip, all my Filipino friends were telling me to be vigilant while in the city. My fiance is Manilan, and he was also constantly telling me to watch my belongings and not to dress ‘fancy’ – so I wore flipflops and jeans throughout most of my stay! I think it helped that I looked local so I wasn’t disturbed, but I think the sight of foreigners is rare so they might stick out more and draw unwanted attention.

    I kinda like the place though and there are lots more for me to explore yet. I’ll be going back next month actually. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Luna! I totally agree. I really like the arts and culture in Manila and which I had more time to see them, but in my last few days I was ill and just wanted to go home lol!
      Yeah, re crime. It is important to “blend in” if you can but obviously for me and other Europeans, it’s a bit difficult lol! However, I found that being friendly and polite made people take care of me, show me the right places to go, and generally keep a look out on my behalf!

      p.s. Malaysia was one of the countries that I was thinking of as my “secret location” but I finally opted to go to Taiwan instead as I only had 5 days lol. But don’t worry, I’ll come and visit next time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Philippines is one of my favourite Asian countries, but I have to say, it’s also one of the countries where I have had safety concerns. Yes, Manila did feel unsafe for me at times and I noticed a lot of prostitution too. We also volunteered in Leyte after the typhoon in 2013, so I saw the damage caused by that first hand. Despite all that, I maintain that the people I met in the Philippines were lovely, the scenery was totally wild and often unspoilt and it has a special place in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Amy! Manila can make people slightly nervous, and there’s no denying it however, I totally agree with you, the Philippines is quite lovely and I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks lol! 🙂

      Like

  7. In my experience as a tourist, when visiting a new place there are always two things that should tell you to be careful and watch your step, viz.(i) people, especially youths and young men, just loitering about and looking as though they are watching passers by and scoping them out, and (ii) being accosted by able bodied youths and young men who are begging (or even claiming to be selling drugs). When I made my only visit to Amsterdam admittedly some years ago (so it may be safer now) these were my first impressions of the city, but foolishly I did not pay attention to these “bad vibes” as I should have. And so later that day I allowed myself to be mugged twice (by people in that second category) in what seemed unrelated incidents, but within about ten minutes of each other.

    I am British and live in Nottingham, but my wife is from the Philippines and every year to two years we visit the Philippines and spend a few weeks there in our house in Quezon City, Metro Manila. And so I have spent a lot of time out and about in Manila, walking the streets and riding the Jeepneys there, often in the poor areas too where some of my wife’s relatives live. However I always feel perfectly safe and relaxed in Manila, and have never been in any awkward situations at all. In contrast to the points (i) and (ii) above, I think there are two reasons for this, viz (i) you do not see anybody loitering about and everybody seems to be going about their business and taking no notice of you (apart from the occasional call of “hey joe” !) and (ii) the beggars approaching you are few in number and only seem to be children, frail elderly people and visibly disabled people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so Michael! Instinct is something that I take as utterly important. If it doesn’t feel right, in many cases, it isn’t! Surprisngly, there’s a high number of people who ignore their instinct in the name of “out-of-my-comfort-zone” I’ve travelled to almost 70 countries world wide, and many of them I travelled solo as a young 20-something. And yes, I’ve been mugged by children, or scammed or screamed at by vendors, but at no time did I forget to listen to my instinct. I always used to stuff money in my trousers, had a hidden credit card, always asked complete strangers for help if I felt that I needed it, and would take a taxi at night, or hang out with others. Except for travel in Europe, at no point would I ever take a cheap inter-city bus in a developing country. Either I take the local train or fly.

      I really liked Manila, but on my last night, in that budget hotel, all my instincts were screaming, so I did what I had to do. I checked in. Had some room-service noodles. Bolted my door, double-checked the windows, and stayed in until the next day!

      Like

  8. Never been to Manila, but l do know about it. My partner at work would describe it in the most colorful of terms as he was born and raised there. It totally sounds like Naija so l would know what to expect. That being said, with how l feel currently, l will skip third world countries, except my own of course 🙂 . Gearing up for a visit now and l know it’s going to be a tough one. A 7 year old kid was just lynched for stealing some a bowl of gari..so much hunger and desperation that people are losing their humanity 😦 .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much KemKem!
      Sadly, it’s the price that we have to pay for a bit of “authenticity” forgetting that for a large percentage of the world, living a more “simplier” life and “keeping it real” isn’t a lifestyle choice. It’s poverty.

      ‘Remember when I last went to Thailand with the family, and I wrote that I flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Some people expressed surprised that I didn’t want to “experience” the train. Ha! I’ve experienced the trains in India, and I absolutely hated it lol! And anyway, why waste 15 hrs on some shoddy train when I could get there in 40 minutes. And the price? €25.00. Price of the train? Wait for it.
      €25.00 too!!
      p.s. ‘Hope you have a good safe journey.

      Like

  9. I’m from the Philippines now living in the U.S., and I myself is saddened how our corrupt government made a lot of tourist to worry about their safety while there. I lived in Manila for three years until I immigrated here and when we went back there with my family I was concerned too especially in Manila but there are cities or provinces that you will still feel safe, just like ours—Daet, Camarines Norte which is a ten-hour bus ride south of Manila. I’m glad you got a chance to meet some locals and seen some beautiful tourist spots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Pinay Mom! Sadly, the Philippines hasn’t had the best reputation in regards to crime and safety, but I’m pleased to see that something is being done. Hence, the personal visit. And let me just say that you have got one beautiful awesome country!
      Amazing! 😀

      Like

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