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My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - Journey in an Unknown Culture

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 28 March 2011 | Views [380] | Scholarship Entry


Touchdown, as central as it gets. My pulse was rushing, revolved by hustling, bustling, and a howling, twisting grid street system. Coloured air filled my nostrils making it yank slightly. Still, air you can see is reliable air – welcome to Manila.

It took me straight back to Latin-America. Television's on full volume, traffic times twenty, belch fuming jeepneys and barbeques, a limitless and unhumble wall of sound, an exhibitionistic and extended use of colors together with tons of history. The sound latinoculture, though this time, with a profound Asian twist and a funky linguistic mix. Philippines capital, Manila, melts together with 15 other cities plus the municipality of Pateros, into the megalopolis officially known as Metropolitan Manila. It may initially appear intangible and deterrent, but embrace it with smile, humour and bravery, and explore one of Asia’s most exciting cosmopolitan alternatives now - before everyone else comes knocking. Your chaotic first impression may turn into deep fascination, if you award this anthill of opportunities the time it could offer.

With jeepneys dating back from the war as the most common form of transportation, one can get the impression that time has been on hold for a while. But the city also has a modern side to show. Shopping, luxury and entertainment are easy to find. Try Greenbelt or Glorietta for a wide selection of fashion. Do not miss out on Mall of Asia, that not only offers good shopping but also indoor ice skating, or the fun of toying around with radio controlled model air crafting. Classic tourist and karaoke bars are found in Malate, but if that’s not your cup of tea head for Makati for a more classy touch to your Friday eve or dive in with the student society in Quezon City.

Now wandering the streets of Pasay City and the medieval city of Intramuros with the sun reaching down caressing your cheeks; people are friendly and you are strolling around with eased shoulders and inquisitive eyes. Locals selling anything you could think of and all you could not. -Would I be interested in a talking dice perhaps...? Everywhere met with accepting smiles, nods and a "hello Sir" or ”hi Mam”, which makes it almost liberating entering Manilas shantytowns, where the norm leads to a less formal "hey" and a big grin.

Judging by impression; should you find yourself brawling with the police, we recommend obedience at the level of a tamed puppy. An aesthetic glance at the city’s finest arouse associations to a dramatized Miami 80's where tight uniforms, powerful mustaches, oversized shades, and a posture you simply don’t mess with, sets the standard. However, should you find yourself fortunate enough to form friendships while here, you will never forget them. Coming at close range of Philippine hospitality makes you experience a unique unselfishness and respect for you as a foreigner that even puts other Southeast Asian countries well known for their hospitality in the shadows.

Tags: #2011Writing, Travel Writing Scholarship 2011

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