It was warm, the sun had barely crept over the horizon. My eagerness caused the clock to move at a snails pace. I was ready to get out and see our new city.
Our first day in Manila 2009 naturally had to include a mall
The first lesson I needed to learn: Manila doesn’t get going until eleven am, ten at the earliest. Second lesson: traffic plays by its own rules. Even if your appointment isn’t until eleven or the grocery store opens at ten. Manila traffic is a loyal lover that never quits. You can always, ALWAYS, count on her being there.
Our beloved city
As time moved on I eventually learned how to settle into this Manila life. Lesson by lesson they came, I learned how to make it home. For those of you who are new on this journey, allow me to impart some wisdom that was either forced upon me or lovingly taught by friends.
Day 1 Manila Essentials
1.Toilet Paper. You never know when there is going to be toilet paper. It’s a gamble you can take at your own risk OR you can just carry a small pack of tissue around with you.
That moment when your bathroom has toilet paper
2. Hand Sanitizer. Like any metropolitan, Manila is full of people and full of germs. Also, if you get into a hot and steamy neighborhood, smells can be ripe. Throw some sanitizer under your nostrils and problem solved.
Perhaps you find yourself on the back of a horse and buggy (kalesa) exploring Intramuros which carries you around but also horse droppings. It all adds to the charm.
3. Wet Wipes. Wether it is for wiping your face, hands, door handle or babies bottom, bring them. You never know what you may need to wet wipe.
4. Cash, Small Bills and Coins. Not every establishment takes credit card yet, you need to always have cash. Having exact change is something clerks in Manila will literally thank you for. “Thank you for exact change Mam Sir.” I actually get a bit kilig over exact change. Also, if you’re taking a taxi or public transpo you have to have small bills.
5. SIM Card and Load. Manila is such an accessible place in terms of mobile phones. You can buy a cheap one or use your own by getting a local SIM Card (just around 50php) and load (phone credit) at any convenience store.
6. Phone Apps. Conversion apps are useful for money. Uber or Grab app for transportation are life lines in Manila.
7. Power Bank or Charging Cord. If you are using your app for Uber, texting or data your batteries life will be sucked away. You also never know how long you might be in traffic and need to juice your phone up.
May these tips bring you ease and comfort as you explore and learn to love this majestic gritty city.