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Philippines First Thoughts

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.

  • 3 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. kevin says:

    In major commercial areas (downtown, shopping areas and malls), yes. It’s also moving into the suburban areas and in all new housing developments, of which there are many, because lots of Americans retire there – it’s warm and they officially use the US dollar as their currency.

  2. Gary says:

    I think the US is clearly the genesis of it. We have military bases in many other countries however.

    I haven’t been to Panama, but are all the signs and media in English?

  3. kevin says:

    I would attribute the massive use of English to the long-lasting American military presence and government influence, same as in Panama.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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