Surviving in Manila

Welcome to Manila, Pearl of the Orient and its Different Faces


Life as it is in Manila, may just be too short for anyone of us to fall behind living it. A lot of people that travel around great cities, always end up being surprised when they come to know the unexpected.

Manila is a city of slogans, where everyone gives and takes, people live to the fullest, just to talk about it tomorrow.


What to expect in Manila



Manila, Taxi Driver


On arriving Manila, you should expect that, from the airport you might be cheated, by a desperate taxi driver, especially when you don’t know your destination, or you know but, just new around here.

The taxis usually have a meter that makes your bill easy as it counts, that’s if the taxi driver decide to put it on, where some might just try to charge you without using the meter in the first place.

You should expect that, as a foreigner you may be charged a lot more than a citizen, well, of course you may not notice it because you don’t know, what you don’t know won’t hurt right?

I thought so.

While in the taxi you should understand if you’re not the talking type, you may get tired as the taxi man will continuously keep asking you a lot of questions, usually is all the same like;

Where are you from?

What brings you to Philippines?

Do you speak our language (Tagalog)?

how long will you be staying here?

And a lot more like really a lot.

If you’re a man they will ask you if you love girls, they usually respect ladies a lot so may not apply to a lady.

And why they drop you off, you should expect they won’t have change for you, that’s how it works out here but, don’t get it wrong.

This people are just trying to make a living out here because, many of them live far from the city and, if you’re lucky enough you will meet a lot of good taxi drivers that will really help you out.



Manila, Grab










This is where it gets better, and you start feeling relaxed, grab is a private company that acts like a kind of substitute for taxi but a bit expensive.

The best part is that they don’t have to charge you, want to know why? Keep reading…

If you wish to be comfortable a lot more than just going through a lot of hassle every day, just go to your app store on your phone and download grab before you get to manila.

It makes life easier a lot for you, all you need to do is open your grab app put down the address location where your headed while in Manila and find yourself a grab.

Sometimes when the traffic is much, is a bit difficult to find Grab in Manila.

there is also Grab Taxi which usually charge between 50 PHP to 100 PHP.

 Since no one here in Manila likes traffic both Taxi and Grab drivers , will rather park their cars and sleep or eat, when the traffic is much and totally ignore the money they should be making.

They turn to consider expenses like gas and time.

Grab operated better when they had a competition with Uber which led the competition obviously.

But now is a bit dishonest with prices and bad individual characters from its drivers, not all drivers but few make it a bit awkward, two more transport networks are being accredited in the Philippines to give Grab a better competition but don’t know how it has been so far.

One more advice, is always good to share your location with someone you know while in a Grab, especially late hours.


Manila, the City


Here in Manila city, is better to walk around your destinations when the distances are not too far.

Since the traffic is pretty much worse during work days, might as well drive you crazy so, you need to understand, is better walking than taking Tricycle, Taxi, or Grab.

While working, you may come to discover a lot of things like, people causing a lot of traffic due to bad driving.

Some just because someone slightly brushed them, they will park their cars in the middle of the road and start making demands from the wrong doer causing a lot of traffic, even when is absolutely nothing.

You will come across a lot of beggars 90% of these people will be children between 5 to 13 at a point it becomes very annoying since all of them want something from you but, you need to understand they all need to eat because they have nothing and not even a home.

You can keep walking if you don’t have just tell them wala (nothing), why shaking your hand in the process.

But, as it is you should know that, while in Manila you are likely to meet a lot of friendly persons around the city especially, at night clubs, bars and market places.

You should understand that, most of these friends your making are not the type you wish to keep, since most of them just want fun or what you have to offer them, but if you’re lucky, you may just find the right ones that don’t really care what you have and what you don’t, they just want a friend in you, those are the ones to ride or die with.

You get to discover much more than you ever imagine with such friends, they teach you a lot of stuff mostly the Filipino culture thing, how they do it and a lot of crazy things that will blow your mind.

As a foreigner, you will have lots of admirers both men and women, but that doesn’t mean you will just talk to anyone you feel like.

Approaching a Filipino, you need to be gentle and a little diverse, know that some will definitely snob you not because they are snobs but, because they can’t speak English, many of them have this limitations, some can speak but lack a great deal of courage as Filipinos are naturally shy people.


Manila, the Food


This is where the real fun actually starts, Filipinos are people that love to eat and have a famous quote that goes, “food is life” and a larger population of the Filipinos have no diet or eating time schedule, they eat anytime they feel like and don’t mind the consequences nevertheless, the food is extravagantly amazing in their nature of product.

There are few of this foods that are very delicious well, like I said earlier, according to their nature of product, considering the curiosity one may love to have a taste, the following are some of the famous foods:

Chicken Adobo; usually a mixture of soya sauce and vinegar also, other ingredients.

Sinigang; usually sour soup containing of meat and lots of vegetables.

Lechon Baboy; its roasted pig usually a fiesta dish of the Filipinos.

Tapsilog; consist of beef, fried rice, and fried eggs it’s a Filipino breakfast meal.

Balut; now this is the part that feels weird for every foreigner at first experience, its duck embryo boiled with the shell and is eaten with a bit of vinegar added to it.

Kare Kare; flavored with peanut butter, garlic and onions it’s an oxtail stew.

Halo Halo; it’s a desert and halo halo means mixed together as they would translate it.

Kanilaw; raw fish salad in acidic juice called kalamsi (lime), gets cooked like that and eaten fresh also, chili pepper, ginger, garlic are added to it.


Manila, the Traffic


This is the point where you totally regret your journey to Manila, one could be held up to 2 hrs traveling a distance of just 30mins, Filipinos spend 16 to 17 days every year in traffic.

I’m very sure none is still use to or comfortable with the horror of Manila traffic, the causes of this traffic are sometimes really bad.

Due to unavailability of a traffic officer or bad traffic officer, drivers trying to reverse in wrong directions or in the middle of the road, drivers parking in the middle of the road due to accidental brush, motorcycles traveling on the wrong lane and causing serious accidents or accidental brushes, which leads to the both parties involved in a long conversation on the roads and cars parking beside the roads where they should not be doing so.

There are series of traffic events all over manila the only time one can enjoy moving around freely is at night around 1am to 5am, when most of the city is asleep.

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