Here is a list of random first thoughts:
- I’m surprised that there is as much English as there is. Almost all the signage is in English. I was expecting much less and more Tagalog. The Philippines is a big place with a large enough population that they should have a critical mass of speakers so they wouldn’t need much English. Perhaps there are more minor languages in the Philippines than I realize or perhaps it is just being in an urban area. I’ll learn more over the next two weeks.
- The air is very dirty. I’m also here at the tail end of a typhoon. Maybe the clouds and rain are trapping the smog.
- There are some absolutely fantastic jinty buses here. They are almost totally covered in chrome and tricked out. I will have to get some photos of some.
- Manila is cheap. I saw a billboard on the way from the airport for a Big Mac value meal for P99 (about US$2.17). There is also a slew of small street vendors near my hostel.
- I saw a sign at the airport that said “Stop Child Sex Tourism”.
- I am now 11 hours away from home.
Something I realized on the flight into Manila. The Philippines is the 12th largest country in the world. I cannot think of a single Filipino movie I’ve seen. I can’t think of a single athlete or musician from the Philippines. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never eaten in a Filipino restaurant. Almost everything I know about the country is political.
Tomorrow I’ll be off to do the downtown Manila tourist thing. There are several other things in the region I might consider seeing, including Mt. Pinatubo and Subic Bay.