Life in Manila – Day 1
When I moved to Asia Manila was where I wanted to be. Most of the reading I did before moving here was about life in Manila and I was excited to finally check it out.
I was only going to be staying for a week because I already had a cheaper place booked in Angeles – Life in Manila seemed a bit more pricey going by Numbeo and what I’d read – but I still wanted to make the most out of that week.
My flight from Thailand to Clark Airport about 90 minutes outside of Manila had me arriving at a really awkward time of 2am. I really did not know what I should do because I didn’t want to get a hotel for only 6 hours before taking the bus to Manila, and didn’t want to wander the streets with all of my current life possessions strapped to my back. I had planned to just stay at the airport but found out that the buses ran all night so I headed to Manila.
The problem with this plan is the Victory Liner bus station in Pasay was not the safest or most comfortable place to watch the sun come up. It is in a very poor area of the city and has a sketchy feel to it. While it was dark I just sat in a chair next to where a security guard was standing and literally did nothing because I was scared to pull my laptop out.
Once the sun came up I decided it was safe to take a walk since I was bored out of my mind and headed out to the street.
About 3 mins into this walk I realized I was retarded and needed to turn around. The street was packed, I had my backpack on filled to the brim, and I would look like chum to any sharks that were out. I probably would have survived it without problem, but I was literally walking to nowhere and with lots of downside and no upside I went and sat by the security guard again.
Eventually I realized there was a hotel connected to the bus station that had wifi and tipped the guard to let me use it while I waited. I chatted with a girl on FilipinoCupid who said she wanted to meet me at a mall so when it opened at 10am I headed there but she flaked (first of many.)
Finally I was able to get ahold of my hotel and they said I could check in at 12. I was running on no sleep and exhausted and went to bed after I got some food.
Adjusting to Life in Manila – Later that Night
I fell asleep around 3pm and woke up around midnight. When my taxi had dropped me off in the afternoon I asked him which way was Burgos Street and he told me ‘that way.’ I had read a lot about Burgos Street and wanted to check it out so I walk out my hotel at midnight and start walking ‘that way.’
What I didn’t realize at that time was that Makati was bigger than I thought, and that I was on the far outskirts of it. The area I was in was nothing like the nice business district I had pictured.
It certainly wasn’t the ghetto of Manila by any means, but it also wasn’t what I was expecting. I was on some dark streets and quickly headed to the less dark but still kinda dark main road and started walking in the direction the taxi told me.
There were plenty of people outside, some bars with girls sitting out front, and things felt pretty safe. After being in Asia for almost 8 months at this point I always felt pretty safe as long as there were people around. I really don’t think anyone is ever gonna run up and stick a gun in your face on a crowded street. I walk for about 5 minutes and the streets are thinning out some with less and less people, but there are still enough around.
As I am walking this white car pulls up next to me and asks if I want a ride. It’s not a taxi, just some random white car, and I say no thanks. It pulls ahead about 30 feet and stops, and when I walk past again the driver asks me to get in. Now I am quite freaked out and head towards a restaurant that has people out front and wait for the car to drive off but once again it just drives 30 feet in front of me and waits.
I cross the street and try to walk past on the other side but he is eyeing me and waves me over. I turn around walking back to where I came from and get in the next taxi that passes by. I still don’t know what he was trying to do, but I am glad I didn’t find out.
Headfirst into Manila Life on Burgos Street
So now I am finally here on Burgos Street. This is the main “entertainment district” that the night life in Manila has to offer. I have read that it can be quite an enjoyable place and really want to see what it is all about. The first thing you notice when walking around is that there are so many ‘massage’ girls in uniform offering you massages.
There might be 200 of them during peak hours. There are very few foreigners or customers around, and so many girls. I had heard good things about one bar in particular so I find it and go there first.
When I first enter the bar this short but very curvy girl greets me and asks me to sit with her. There are 2 pinoys at the bar and no other customers and all the girls look really bored. After I sit 3 other girls join the short curvy one and they are all extremely friendly. I have been in some bars in Angeles, Pattaya, and Cambodia and none of them compared to the friendliness of these girls.
They were all over me as we chatted and it was a fun experience.
Sadly this didn’t happen on my flight over
They asked me to buy them ‘ladies drinks’ but I declined. They then asked if I would give them a tip for sitting with me and I said yes because I really did not want them to leave.
I leave that bar after about 20 minutes and head back out to the street. I poke my head into a few bars but none of them are as fun as the first, and to be honest I am let down by the quality of the girls. This is supposed to be some of the best that night life Manila has to offer but I only see a couple 8s and no 9s.
I meet a very cute massage girl on the street and get her number for later. As I am talking to her and her friend right after exchanging numbers she instantly texts me saying ‘I like you’ which I thought was cute. We set up a meet for another time but keep bumping in to each other throughout the night as she can’t find a customer and I am just checking out the scene.
When we bump back into each other later and talk again some Filipino guy pushes himself into the conversation. I try to ignore him but he keeps offering me all sorts of products that I don’t want, drugs, girls, anything really. He then starts asking me for money because I’m talking to the girl. She isn’t involved with him in any way so I don’t know why he won’t leave us alone. Actually I do, it was late and there was no one else to bother so he stuck to me.
I have been back to Burgos a few times since then, overall I think it is a very overrated and overpriced place. It can be fun but it is very expensive compared to other places and the quality really is not any better. As I am about to leave I bump into the girl one more time, and now it’s time to decide whether I want a massage or not……. more details on that aspect of life in Manila to come.