appreciating Metro Manila and the Philippines, with Renzie Baluyut.
It’s been more than a month since I flew in from Los Angeles, and if anything, my being away for an extended period of time has made me appreciate a lot things in the Philippines even more.
Sure I wrote about this last year, so I thought this time I’d be a lot more specific. Without any further ado, here’s a list of ten things I’ve really missed about the Philippines.
1. Home Delivery. Being a work-at-home advocate, home delivery services are truly invaluable.
Sure you have Thai food and pizza places delivering at home in Los Angeles. But if you ask me, nothing beats Manila in terms of the variety of food you can readily summon with just an easy phone call.
Whether it’s a bucket of KFC hot n’ krispy, a quarter pounder at 2:30am, or an entire tray of pasta, dimsum or beef stew, you can pretty much have anything you want delivered to your doorstep as long as you know who to call.
2. The Weather. Maybe my tropical ass just isn’t suited to LA weather just yet. What I like about Philippine weather is that, all year round, the temperature only varies by a relatively few degrees Centigrade.
It gets uncomfortably cold in the US, even in L.A., and even more so in the northern states. In the summer (right about now), you can literally feel the sun beat down on you.
Here, all you need are relatively light clothes. Plus a raincoat and an umbrella for the rainy season, and then a light jacket when it starts getting chilly over the holiday season.
3. Cheap services. One thing I really appreciated about the Philippines (which I only realized when I was in Los Angeles), was that you get so much for your hard-earned cash (more so, if you’re earning in dollars).
Getting a haircut, or having your laundry done, going for a massage- just about any service you can imagine can be had for cheap. One of the advantages of being in a third-world country, you might say.
4. Cabs. While I admire the Los Angeles public transport system, I’ve simply grown accustomed to just standing out by the sidewalk, and hailing a taxi cab to take you pretty much anywhere you wish to go.
Caveat: a significant number of taxi drivers can be annoying, but remember that two can play at that game. They’re likely to play fair if they don’t see you as easy pickings.
That being said, I find the average day-to-day cab-riding experience in Manila rather worry-free. Even better if you know how to navigate your way around the city, and are familiar with general traffic conditions.