10 Things I’ve Missed About The Philippines

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.

One thing I really missed was KFCs hot n krispy chicken, delivered right at home.
One thing I really missed was KFC's hot n' krispy chicken, delivered right at home. You don't have hot n' krispy in L.A. No idea why that is so.

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 WeatherMaybe 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.

Me and mom, visiting relatives in Butuan City.
Me and mom, visiting relatives in Butuan City.

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.

Me and my ornery feet, about to get a scrubdown in a spa in Las Pinas city.
Me and my ornery feet, about to get a scrubdown in a spa in Las Pinas city.

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.

You can find all kinds of great stuff at the Salcedo weekend market.  Thats my Tita Lina, looking for some stuff to bring home to the UK.
You can find all kinds of great stuff at the Salcedo weekend market. That’s my Tita Lina, looking for some stuff to bring home to the UK.

5. Shopping. I gotta admit, our malls here are truly great. Personally, I miss going to Shangri-la, Rockwell Powerplant and Greenbelt. Those malls were so close to where I used to live, it was practically just like home.

Heading off to Greenhills, Tiendesitas or even Divisoria brings shopping to an entirely higher level, an all-new experience altogether. Just a little out of the way (depending on where you stay, of course), but if you have time (as well as cash) to spare, these three spots are definitely worth the trip.

Besides all those, there are all kinds of food bazaars over the weekend- like the Salcedo weekend market on Saturdays, or all kinds of tiangges when the Christmas season is upon us.

Fish- tilapia to be exact- roasting nicely on some hot coals.
Fish- tilapia to be exact- roasting nicely on some hot coals.

6. Fish and Seafood. Being the tropical island paradise we are, we got access to a great deal of fish and seafood. Sure LA food is (by comparison) cheap and plentiful too, I think there’s a great deal of fun heading for the public market or a dampa and have your seafood of choice cooked however which way you want.

All kinds of seafood: crab, fish and some skewered squid in the background.
All kinds of seafood: crab, fish and some skewered squid in the background.

7. Pirated DVDs. While you can easily get any CD, DVD, book, computer game, T-shirt or whatever else you fancy in the US (and have ’em conveniently shipped straight to your home), you just don’t have that in the Philippines.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage buying pirated software or digital media at all. I always say, buy originals all the time, as a show of support for your favorites, so they can keep coming up wth all kinds of great stuff in the future.

Now if I wanted to get into a brand new TV series, or if I’m curious about a specific horror movie or romance comedy, I’d like to know if the purchase of the real deal is going to be worth my time and money. And, for me, the locally available DVDs should serve that purpose.

You’ll be amazed at the kind of stuff you’ll find with the local DVD vendors- new releases, TV series, anime series, even hard-to-find old titles, documentaries and classics.

Again, if you like what you watched, be a true fan and score yourself the real deal when you can.

The ampitheater at Kawayan Cove was simply awesome.
The ampitheater at Kawayan Cove was simply awesome.

8. The destinations. In the course of my travels, I’ve realized that there are still so many places in the Philippines I haven’t even had the chance of checking out. And it’s definitely part of the plan to seek good vacation spots outside Metro Manila (particularly so that I have plans to getting more involved in the travel business).

There are a number of  things going on even within Metro Manila as well, and you can read that in this online article from The Sunday Inquirer Magazine.

Also, thanks to Facebook, Multiply and a whole variety of other social media, I can get real customer feedback (good or bad) about specific resorts, beaches, hotels or whatever destination in just about any province in the Philippines.

Always nice to go provincial once in a while.  A shot of our nipa hut, just outside the main house in our farm in Zambales.
Always nice to go provincial once in a while. A shot of our nipa hut, just outside the main house in our farm in Zambales.

9. I love the nightlife. Maybe it’s just our neighborhood in the area of Eagle Rock and Glassell Park, or maybe I’m just getting too old for the party scene, but when you feel like going out to party in Metro Manila, there’s easily a party anywhere you go.

I’m thinking that it’s also quite possible that maybe it’s because I’m not as well-connected there in LA as I am here in Manila.

In any case, if you want to get in on what’s going on in Metro Manila at any given time, all you have to do is go online, or scout around the areas of Makati, The Fort, Eastwood City and Ortigas.

Me with my good friends Tish and Coreen, hanging out at an 80s-themed watering hole with beers and good laughs.
Me with my good friends Tish and Coreen, hanging out at an 80's-themed watering hole with beers and good laughs.

10. My friends. I miss my friends back here, most of all. While modern technology allows us to keep in touch via all kinds of social media (Facebook, Flickr, etc.), VOIP (Yahoo, Skype, etc.) and other chat & microblogging services (Google Talk, Plurk, etc.), actual human contact and interaction is still much more favorable.

Precisely the reason why I’ve been meeting up with different groups of friends (and still continue to do so) ever since I got here.

Hanging out with my good buddies: Mich, Abi and Gelo at TGIFridays in Bonifacio High Street.  June 2009.
Hanging out with my good buddies: Mich, Abi and Gelo at TGIFriday's in Bonifacio High Street. June 2009.

At any rate, I’m glad to be back in the Phiippines.  Sure, I know I’m going to take off from time to time, but I know I got all these waiting for me whenever I come back home.

For you Filipinos outside the country right now: what do you miss most about home?

Cheers, everyone.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Missed About The Philippines

  1. renzie, i love your part in the series that i got from the flood, very informative and just the info i need, your description of the particular areas were on the spot, i am so glad that’s the way i want my news, sayang ang layo mo,west ka , east naman ako, tapos palagi pa akong work , no time for vacation, i hope some day i will meet you in person, i think mabait ka, i hope hindi ka plastik, , i will try to read your blogs again, again thanks and more power to you

    1. Oh hello Petunia. Thank you. You’re too kind 🙂

      I’ve been back in the Philippines since June 2009, and needless to say, I was here in Manila the entire time while Typhoon Ondoy /Ketsana. You can read all about that here: https://renziebaluyut.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/renzies-typhoon-ondoy-experience/

      Which reminds me: maybe I should update all my ‘About Me’ pages and entries. Thanks for that.

      In any case, I really appreciate your support, and I hope you keep coming back, and maybe even share what you find here with your friends.

      Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s