Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Philippine Notes: Maamsir

We had a full day in Manila today, explored Intramuros, local market San Andres, Remedios Circle, a supermarket, quite possibly the biggest mall I have ever been in, endless streets, noise and sensory overload. 

1. I had read about the neon lights of Roxas blvd, 8 lanes tracing Manila Bay but had assumed these were references to restos with air con, casinos, girly clubs and more.  Turns out there are literal street lights with thick poles, topped with stars, circles and other shapes seemingly constructed completely out of neon (both pole and ornament). Not to mention the trees strung with neon lights on the street corners like Christmas gone Vegas. 

2. We have yet to discover how to say "no" effectively to the tour operators, pearl, sunglass, hat and jewelry vendors, taxi cabs, and tricycle operators that spot you and persist to no end. 

3. Commerce is everywhere in this city. That, pollution, noise, car horns, people, jeepneys and chaos are constants. 

4. It's an odd experience to carry on a conversation with a Manila resident, our guide within Intramuros, and listen to him describe how the GI Joe soldiers carpet bombed his city during WWII and see buildings still in ruins 60 years after the fact that are still being rebuilt.

5. Everyone greets us as maamsir when we walk into stores, hotel or restaurants. It's sing song as well, carried out in a cadence that is musical, friendly and endlessly enjoyable to listen to.

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