Manila, Philippines

Day 1 – 2, Mandaluyong City, Manila

Well we’re finally up and out of Sydney. Thanks to all our friends and family for helping see Meg and I off. Several going away get-togethers and the little matter of packing up our home (and lives) in between made the last week ridiculously hectic, but we had a lot of help along the way.

So now we’re in Mandaluyong, an area in Manila, staying at a unit belonging to a friend of my mother. It was stinking hot and humid when we stepped out of the airport at around 6:30pm local time, so it took a little time to adjust and thankfully today has been quite pleasant.

When we arrived last night, we were taken out for a feed by my uncle and my Mum’s friend. Upon being offered a meal at the local McDonalds, we suggested perhaps some Filipino food instead. Good choice… We found a humble but popular eatery called RJs, famous for their Bulalo, a local favourite – a light soup with cabbage and a big piece of beef thrown in, a shoulder I think. We ordered a large bowl to share and found it very tasty, along with deep-fried chicken, garlic fried squid and octopus (similar to salt and pepper squid, but smellier), rice and San Mig light, a popular local beer (low in calories, high in alcohol). While we ate and had broken conversations with our guides, I enjoyed watching the Filipino version of Deal or No Deal on TV. I was also marvelling at the coin operated “Videoke” machine behind us that no-one was using (that’s a story sure to be continued…)

We were both pretty tired from the flight and the 3 hour time difference, not to mention the hectic past few days so we didn’t do much else last night. Back to the apartment to try the local TV. We’re lucky enough to have cable so I flicked around between HBO and the Aussie channel (can’t remember what it’s called, but Totally Wild was on) but the real entertainment was to be found on the local stations.

We saw an infomercial about the benefits of a treatment that you drink to increase your height. Each dose increases your height by 2-3 centimetres. The testimonials were very convincing. One young gentleman described his fear of approaching a certain woman due to he being the same height as her, but since going on the treatment, he had grown taller than her and this gave him the confidence to talk to her, seeing “women have an added sense of security” with taller men. Even better than that was the infomercial I watched last night for a breast enlargening lotion for women. To demonstrate this we are presented with 3D animations of breasts growing larger, but of course we cannot look at rude bits on Filipino TV so they are dutifully pixellated. But wait, there’s more – not only does this miracle lotion increase breast size, but it also lightens nipple and areola colour, from brown to a (supposedly) pleasant pink colour. Again we are presented with some pixellated breast animations to demonstrate the before and after.

Finally, we marvelled at the KTV network which appears to be a 24 hour non-stop karaoke network. Yep, bad video clips with the lyrics scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Brilliant!

Well, that’s all for now, I hope to explore a little more of the outside world, we barely explored outside our own block today – between this great little Internet cafe and Chow King (the local McDonald’s style Chinese fast food joint: “would you like to have some dimsum with your noodles sir? How about a large Coke?”) I haven’t done much else… and am loving it.

More news as it comes to hand…

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  1. It was harder than I thought saying farewell to you guys at the airport and my heart felt quite heavy the day you left, especially since I had to work the rest of the day. We’re missing you guys very much.
    However, it’s great to hear that you’re in good hands over there in Manila and I can’t wait to see more pics of your exciting travels! I really had a great laugh reading your first post especially about the infomercials! What a crack up! I could picture them completely, with the dodgy pixelated examples coming up on screen. lol :) Do they have classic Pinnoy TV?

  2. Nice to see you’ve taken your first step on what I’m sure will be a remarkable voyage.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Btw, you’ve already missed SOOOO much stuff on the intramanet, that I don’t think you’ll ever catch up. Sorry.

  3. I hope you have a thriller in Manila, or maybe just sing Thriller in Manila

  4. @elly – yeah I was sorry to leave too, but I’m sure you’re used to it now, and we’re certainly having a good time. We’ll send some postcards – The postcards here are crappy so we’ve made our own out of photos taken on Meg’s DSLR. And yes, there’s obviously a buttload of Pinoy TV here. We were just watching what I’d call a Pancit Western, a movie called Long Ranger and Tonton…

    @Manton – dammit I can’t be behind on the ‘net!! Noooooooooo

    @Marek – yeah great idea, I’ll have to do Thriller when I get back to Manila… hard song though. Hey I like the MG web page… nice logo :)