(***Important things you want to know when travelling in the Philippines)
DAY 17-18 MANILA
Manila is just about an hour and a half travel by public transportation from my province, however it might take longer due to traffic. Whenever I go there, my parents would tell me for almost a hundred times to take care as pickpockets and riding-in-tandem were predominant in the city. I didn’t wear any jewelry, except for my wedding ring. As much as possible, wear something simple or not catchy when in Manila, especially if you are just a public commuter. Also, avoid using celphone in public. Keep your handbag secured and always near your body.
I picked up my younger sister from her dormitory in Manila and then we went to UP TechnoHub to meet my elder sister’s parents-in-law. We ate at Kanin Club and the in-laws treated us with my favourite Filipino Foods; Dinuguan, Pancit and Kare-kare. We went to take photos of my sister’s condominium for sale in Fairview . It was a nice quiet place in Manila.
Then we took a taxi to our hotel which is an hour away. I booked in early for the hotel. It has positive reviews so I thought it was a good deal for the price.
I spent almost 600 php (15CAD) for the taxi and he was even asking for more tip when I gave him 25PHP. Instead of being grateful, he sounded mad and discontented of the tip.
We called our hotel ZEN. I didn’t know it’s divided into 2, the ZEN Selah loft and the Selah pods. Selah pods looks elegant while Selah loft looks common. The staff of Selah loft greeted us gracefully and treated us like VIP. I badly wanted to upgrade to the pods but with the kindness of the staff of loft, my sister and I decided to stay in the loft. It was small and not fancy, but clean and just enough for the two of us. There was a 24-hour restaurant called sky pod and swimming pool at the top floor. At the sky pod, you can see the two faces of Manila. One face that can spend lavishly on food and drinks, and one face that can just live to survive a day with food and drink , just trying to make both ends meet.
There are 3 issues that I have seen that should be addressed to somehow alleviate poverty:
LOW BASIC SALARY - The basic salary is too low. In Manila , it’s only on average of 500PHP (about 13CAD), In the province it’s about 350-400PHP(about 10CAD) per day. In some agencies, it is 295 PHP(about 8CAD) per day. SSS, Pagibig, insurance & tax will still be deducted. The salary seems to remain the same even after more than 5 years have passed, while the value of PHP money decreases through time. I have observed that the minimum fare is 10PHP and the average basic meal is 50PHP. Meal and fare for a day will already be 180PHP. The remaining of the salary will still be used for house mortgage/rent, clothing, other essential house consumables and the kids’ needs if with a family.
OVER POPULATION - traffic, pollution, unemployment and lack of education arise from over population. Almost every space on the street already has a house. It’s hard to walk on the street because too many vehicles occupied the narrow road. Too much vehicles cause more traffic. I have seen most families with more than 3 children, however, they are only earning basic salary. There are public schools for free but it’s not only free education that these children need. More than that, they need clean clothes, basic school supplies.
As per worldpopulationreview.com, “The population of the Philippines has been steadily growing for many years. It is the 13th most populated country in the world, between Mexico and Ethiopia, and grew at a rate of 1.72% between 2010 and 2015. The 2019 population is 108.11 million, according to the latest UN estimates.”
Canada’s total population is only about 39 million, considering the size of the country.
POOR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM - Getting sick in the Philippines is very expensive especially if you don’t have any private insurance. Most of the time, instead of enjoying old age, you ended up paying debts associated with hospital bills and medications. In some provinces in Canada, health care is free for all residents (not for tourists).
There are only two places near the hotel that my sister and I visited, Mall of Asia and the Upside Down Museum.
Do you know that Mall of Asia is the 14th largest mall in the world? (Source: Wikipedia)
And Upside Down Museum is obviously a museum where everything is inverted 🤣