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.
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)
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 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.
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.)