I’ve had something on my mind all week and the more I think about it, the more FRUSTRATED I become.

HYPOCRISY. I’ve literally been going insane over this subject because I’ve just witnessed it to an extreme. Just thinking about it makes me livid and I resent the fact I’m clustered in with it. Don’t you dare put me in that category because I’m completely different. It’s called social responsibility and some are lacking.

I will not divulge any further because it is something I must work on for myself, but God damn it, I’m frustrated!

I’m currently in the Ninoy Aquino International airport in Manila and 1) I’m incredibly pleased that there is FREE WIFI and 2) sad that my time in The Philippines has come to an end. I’ve had some interesting experiences and seen incredible things. I’m sad to leave my cultural homeland (mostly because it means I have to go back to work & classes are going to start) but it’ll always have a special place in my heart. (Everyone go “Awwwww.”)

As soon as I reach LAX and make it back home, I’ll be posting blogs (With pictures this time) about what I’ve done here. Hopefully it will inspire you reading this to GO visit The Philippines or at least give you a travel bug.

Here’s a little taste of what I’ve seen. Beautiful, huh? And one more thing, if you ever make it out to a province area, I guarantee that you’ll breath in the freshest air of your life! (I kinda’ don’t want to go back to smog filled LA. Damn my love for LA.)

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Image Source: Lauren Porter

Lauren Porter, a 22 year-old student, has knitted herself a Ferrari in 10 months time and 12 miles of yarn.

I love it. The Ferrari looks like it belongs in a Michel Gondry film.

Below is a video of the construction of her knitted piece of art and CLICK HERE to see more of her work.

08′ election. Presidential Pokemon Battle! (Don’t get too excited Cyp.)

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Source: AOL (It’s pretty spot on…but “worst” is kinda harsh…it’s the “worst” if your not a savvy traveler or gullible.)

While I’ve been here in Manila, my main mode of transportation has been taxis. My cousins think the buses and jeepneys are not safe for me. I’m not interested in riding a bus, but I’d love to ride a jeepney. (I received a firm NO on the matter because they said my parents would yell at them.)

Driving in Manila is a whole other matter. Imagine the drivers from San Diego cutting people off without signaling and LA’s traffic times 10 and through in some impatience and you have Manila! It’s seriously crazy here! Even though there are laws set in place, it’s not like anyone follows them. (What’s the point of having designated lanes and seat belts if no one cares.)

I find myself getting car sick everytime because 1) they drive really fast and 2) the weave in and out of lanes! My cousin keeps asking why I fall asleep when I’m in a cab, but I tell her I’m not sleeping, I’ve trying not to get sick from the motion.

Also, for those traveling in Manila, here are some general rules when riding in a taxi.

1) Make sure it has all the proper registration stickers and that they are visible. If not, DON’T get in.

2) You must pay the extra 10 pesos at the end. They are not trying to price gouge you. The price of gas is expensive and to compensate the drivers, the government passes a law requiring the payment of 10 pesos on top of the price.

3) Make sure they turn on the meter. The price is always based on the meter. If they don’t turn it on, get out of the cab because they are taking advantage of you.

4) There are some cab drivers who will try to take advantage of you when they know you are a foreigner. Today, my cousin and I were speaking in English in the cab and when we weren’t looking, he added an extra 40 pesos to the meter. (The cost to get from my cousin’s condo to Intramuros should only be 130 pesos. The driver from Intramuros made it 160 pesos. After some words were exchanged it changed back to 130.) So always be aware of the price and the driver’s hands!

Hopes this helps!

It’s almost been a week since I’ve been to the Philippines and I’ve been having a great time. (The weather I’m not really fond of mostly because it’s ALWAYS humid.) I’ve been to lot of places ( all of which will be getting separate blogs) but, for now, I’ll be telling you about some differences that I have been noticing.

THE MALLS

You haven’t been to a mall until you’ve experienced one in the Philippines. For a third world country, they have a massive amount of massive malls. (I’m Filipino so I can say that!) I thought South Coast Plaza and the Glendale Galleria were big (I go to school in San Diego and Fashion & Mission Valley have nothing on those.) While here, I’ve been to SM Mega Mall, Glorietta, Landmark, Greenbelt 1 – 4 and the third largest mall in the world Mall of Asia. (It gives new meaning to “mall rat.”) You need to dedicate some serious time if you want to get through every floor in this mall.

I however, have not been brought here by choice. My cousins are under the impression that these are the only places suitable to my tastes. I don’t have super high tastes. (I’m in college. That should explain a lot) I mostly go to these places because I have a sick addiction to Starbucks. (They have a pomegranate peach & mango passion fruit frappucino here that I’m sadly very addicted to.) But, they are architectural marvels and very pretty. (Especially Greenbelt)

THE MOVIES

I’m running out of museums and historical places to go to, so as a “break,” my cousins decided to take me to the movies. I saw the Mummy 3. (A run of the mill movie, really just a summer Blockbuster.) The movie experience is also very different. First, the ticket prices are way cheaper (for me that is) and changes according to where you want to sit. To have better seats you pay more. To see this movie the tickets range from 120 – 150 pesos. (about $2.50 – $3.50) I felt bad however because, when I asked my other cousin, he said that’s pretty expensive for a movie*. (Go down to the bottom to read what I have to say about money.)

Also, they just continuously run the movie. After the credits, they play the previews again and start the movie. How do I know you may ask, I came in at the end of the showing before mine and that’s how it was done. (I confirmed it with my cousins later.) Also, they have anti-piracy warnings at the beginning. Literally it said: “People will try to record this movie using different electronic devices. Should someone sitting next to you start to record this movie, please contact the nearest movie employee.”

HOSPITALITY & LIVING

I thought America was a service oriented country, well I’ve never met more polite people. Everyone greets you with a smile and they try to help you all the time! Also, if you are able to hire a maid, you do. I’m used to cooking for myself, doing my own laundry, getting my own food and cleaning up my messes. I’m staying at my cousin’s house and she has someone who does all those things for me. I feel bad however because I’m not used to it. I’m currently suffering from jetlag, so I wake up pretty early. (Around 4 or 5 am) I guess my cousin is a light sleeper because every time I wake up, she wakes up Marivi (pronounced Mary V ) to cook my breakfast. I keep telling her that I’m not hungry at 4am and that she should let Maryvi sleep, but for the past 5 days, I’ve been eating breakfast at 4am and just sleeping because I’m full.

That’s the other issue. (When I first tell you, it’s not going to sound like much of an issue.) I’ve never been fed so well in my life. (See, I told you!) I’ve actually eaten the 3 meals a day. (Something I don’t usually do because of school, work and FCN) Plus, they give me a lot of food, which I can’t eat myself. For example, on the first day they cooked two sunny side up eggs (and for some reason, one egg contained two yolks. And no, it’s not two eggs that combined together.) 4 pieces of the biggest bacon I’ve ever seen, toast, breakfast sausage, hot chocolate, ham, coffee and water. I thought it was for all of us to eat, but it was just for me. I found out because my cousin was sad that I didn’t finish my breakfast. She thought I didn’t like it, but I told her that it was because I thought the food was for everyone. (I ended up eating it all because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Needless to say, I was very sick later when lunch came.)

THE CR

The CR or comfort room is basically the restroom. However, in public CRs, there is no toilet seat, toilet seat cover (Probably because there is no seat) and there is no toilet paper. So, a word of advice, go to the travel section in Target and get Charmin toilet paper to go and Charmin toilet seat covers to go. (Never though those existed did you?) It’ll cost you $2.00.

CHARGING STATIONS

There are these really cool things in some restaurants and around some of the malls called charging stations. Basically, you can plug in your cell phone if it’s low on battery and have it charge. There are also some for ipods, PSPs, Game Boys and Game Boy DSs.

Well that’s all for now. Til the next internet cafe (or Burger King…Burger King has wireless here!) I’ll be M.I.A., but taking notes.

*About money: I really have no concept of “expensive” here. (Which is bad!) I understand what’s expensive in America because I work, but the exchange rate here allows me to have more spending power. For example, food. I took my cousins out to dinner and the bill to feed us all was 1,560 pesos. ($35 to feed 6 people.) In my mind, that’s not bad at all! (A family of 4 can easliy spend over $100 at a sit down restaurant in America.) I was informed that it was rather expensive. A normal monthly salery for an average worker (in Manila) is 8,000 pesos. (Around $191 a month. I make more in 2 weeks of work.)

I LOVE type tees and today’s woot tee is no exception…Man, woot has had some pretty amazing typography focused tees. Once they had a clever Edgar Allen Poe shirt a while back, which I bought in a heartbeat (it involved the raven of course).

Below is the woot shirt of the day. BUY IT because I’m pretty sure this one is selling out. Oh, and shipping is free, so 10 dollars for a shirt is crazy decent.

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CLICK HERE to buy.
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The Raven shirt I bought. It sold out and yes-I was love at first sight.

Image source: Woot!
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