I love the Philippines.
It’s been wonderful being out here for the last number of weeks. As I sit on a bus going out of Manila I thought I’d share some of the surprising things I experienced in the last week. These are by no means the highlights – just a stream of odd events since last Saturday…
Frightened random children
So here is something I didn’t know. Apparently it isn’t common to wear a bikini in the Philippines. Most women will wear their bathing suit and then cover themselves with shorts and a t-shirt when swimming in public places. I was not aware of this when I whipped off my dress and jumped into the country club pool in my teeny-weeney-red-bikini. Many heads turned, children looked thoroughly afraid, and cell phone cameras appeared. For a moment it crossed my mind that I must have had some Janet Jacksonesque slip, but I checked… the girls were in place. Fortunately there were no heart attacks as a result. So I’m exaggerating a bit (but only a bit). Lesson: It’s not normal to wear a bathing suit that is more revealing than your underwear in the Philippines.
Got into a cockfight
Well not really. I was shocked when upon walking along the back of a large passenger ferry from Cebu to Manila, I came across a small farm’s worth of chickens with their feet tied to the door. More shocking was that I seemed to have entered their claimed ‘zone’ and I had a fine time escaping unharmed. This boat was it’s own little example of urban farming – maybe Gregor Robertson would like it.
And speaking of chickens…
You can’t escape them. One night when walking home I saw what looked like a man carrying an armful of pineapples. It was dark at this point and right when I was passing by him, the assortment of inanimate fruit came flying at me in a cacophony of clucking and feathers. Turns out he was carrying a few chickens – again you just can’t escape them.
Had Some ‘Chicken Joy’
So a few weeks ago an entire nation was in an uproar. Local fast food chain ‘Jollibee’ ran out of chicken in some of its stores. You can’t imagine the outrage. People were calling for the mayors of some cities to step down, and for laws on transit routes to change all because there was a shortage of fried chicken at Jollibee. No other chain seemed to have a similar problem – KFC was pumping out transfats without fail, but at Jollibee the fiasco became known as #ChickenSad. Given this apparent passion, it was time for me to try it out.
Got beat by the drink
In the Philippines the drinks are stronger. At home there is a regulated amount of liquor that can go in a pitcher. This is not the case in the Philippines, as twice now I’ve been beaten by sharing a pitcher of some local cocktail that seems to be mostly fruit juice but in reality is mostly liquor. Watch out.
Those are all of my random thoughts for the moment.