My solo Trip to Philippines!

Since I was back from Korea for autumn, it has been a whole 6 months of no traveling! That something quite seriously hard for someone like me being severely infected by the travel bug!! Haha Yes… I did sneak into Malaysia during this 6 months… but thats not really considered traveling! It is almost the same country!! just 5 mins away from my home…. Lol as I live just 5 mins away from the border of Singapore. Yes most foreigners wouldnt even realise that Singapore can be so so far too.

So putting my budget, time constrain and my crave for Nature’s adventure, it didnt take me long to decide on…. PHILIPPINES!!!

“WHAT?! SO Dangerous!!” Are most of the first words I have heard from people after informing them about my planned trip to Philippines. “It is very dangerous there! They attack Chinese and Koreans mostly. They rob, steal, and shot people to death!”.

Mum tried to buy me out of going too after consulting and confirming with her Filipino co-workers that Philippines is a Dangerous place.
I was traveling alone, a Chinese, a female, heading to the heart of Philippines, Manila.

For me, it is as dangerous traveling to somewhere full of tourist as to a places without tourist. If you keep low, blend in well, a non touristy place might be better! Plus I am so tanned and dont look that Chinese. Also, one more point of why traveling to Manila is a must, because the experience of traveling to a new country would never be complete without having experienced how the heart of the country feels like!

Departed on the 4th June after rounds of prayers to ensure my mum , I am glad I ve made the trip! Though boy I was anxious sick myself too! All the stories and the entire immigration with only 5 foreigners off the plane…. Doesn’t felt like a wise choice isnt it? but as from the Hungry Partier, “The Philippines is the most underrated country in South East Asia.That I fully agree.

Philippines-Regions-MapWith 7,107 islands in Philippines, they own some of the world’s best beaches around and diving sites! There are plenty and plenty of volcanoes around too aside their crystal clear waters.
Though yes safety is a little bit of a concern there, but as long as you know how to be smart it is quite ok. (Definition of smart: BLEND IN. Play down. Use your common sense and not flaunt your riches around you or look bimbotic.) The reason why safety is an issue here in Manila is because the only Public transport are Jeepneys and Taxis.

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Jeepney! Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They are known for their crowded seating and kitsch decorations!

Buses mostly cover long distance trips more as the traffic in Manila is almost impossible to move. A 15 min drive after 10pm will take one hour in the day average, and that worsen if it rain. Adding to the fact that 20 million people live in the slums of Philippines… Without a proper transportation, there are indeed chances of ending up at the wrong place, increasing your chances of being targeted. The safest way to travel would definitely be in a private vehicle, rent your own private car or book a private car with a driver (4000- 5000 peso a day).

IMG_7901The 1st Day I had the joy of catching sunrise and look just below my friend’s condominium are rows and rows of slum houses already.
Though it was a rather safe neighborhood there, this are how close the slums are in the lives of Philippines.

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As my friend Luisa is also a model, I met her in the international pageant, she was Miss Philippines, winner of the Bride of the World 2009, I tagged along for casting on the first day.

IMG_7928Being at the casting, I decided to ask her on what are the Filippinos view on Beauty, what is beautiful to them? She said for them it often isn’t about how you look but how white your skin is. The fairer you are the more beautiful you will be thought to be. That’s rather interesting to me. Though yes in other parts of Asia we do prized fairer skin too, but how our face look are still more important then how tan our skin is!

I have learned that because for 300 years in the Philippines’ history, the Spanish occupied their land, and thus many of the Spanish’s way of thoughts stayed on, from the Filipinos’ view in religions and culture, to their perspective in beauty!

What’s specially interesting for me was the way they bury their Dead! (I will touch on this more on my later post, SUBIC.)

The churches too are all beautiful in Philippines, also heavily influenced by the Spanish. I had a chance to visit the San Agustin Church, the oldest church in Philippines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Re-built 5 times it still hold a beauty enough to take your breath away. IMG_8052

Churches are a must to visit in Manila.

Another than their Churches and Museum, another place that I truly enjoy is Downtown Chinatown. It is somewhere that allow me to see the inside of Manila, thought it is not that safe. However it is where the CHEAPEST stuff are! BEST for SHOPPING!!!! (Not advisable if you aren’t there with a local!)

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It is funny how out here if you are Chinese, you are safer and how the Gangs in charge are mostly Chinese; Filipino Chinese.
I felt like I was in the Gangster show of some American Movies. The home base of the Gangs. Slums also flood the place. But people were everywhere too. In the middle of it all, a huge market.
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  I gave the street food a Try too! Hearing from everybody even random strangers on Instagram on how tasty the Street Food are!

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That’s the small interests and Fish balls! I was so surprised that the Fish balls are FLAT!!!

With that, I bring you the summary of Manila, with the Fort Santigo and a Gallery of my traveling pics!

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More adventures out of Manila on the next post!

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