28/11/11 Manila, City of Chaos and Insanity

Pinatubo, the volcano 3 hours out of Manila, is currently closed, so we have to fill our buffer day here else-wise. I check the internet for the best things to do in the capital of the Philippines and decide, I’d like to see the markets! I’m hoping to find a bit of real Philippino culture  and art.

We are getting into a taxi and once we tell the driver where we would like to go, he suddenly stops again, opens our doors and gestures us to leave. Logan and I are confused. The second time we ask the taxi driver first. He is okay with driving us to the markets but insists on dropping us off a few hundred meters before. Should I be worried?
Manila traffic is – as always – chaotic. Jeepneys, tricycles, cars, buses and motorbikes clog up the streets. Beeping horns and engines everywhere. Somehow we arrive safely at the Divisoria district and walk right into an even bigger chaos of cheap textiles, clothes, plastic toys, wigs, thongs, fruit, umbrellas and Philippino people. I don’t see any tourists, only locals and lady boys. There are so many stands basically selling cheap rubbish, I completely loose the overview. In addition to the visually overwhelming mess and the heat, we have to deal with a strong stench of feces. We quickly have enough and try to find the way out of the mayhem. We get past the river and canals that are full with rubbish and smell like untreated toilet waste flows into them. Manila is a dirty place in many ways, it is very sickening. The locals still stare at us, no one aware of how we may feel about this place and its people.

Exhausted we sit down in the church in the centre of Divisoria and listen to the prayers. It probably is the only clean looking and rich place in all of Manila. People in the Philippines are very religious and even though it is Monday, there are quite a few people in here with us and they all drop money into the collection baskets.

After going through traffic again in Manila rush hour (which seems to be 24/7) we are back in Malate trying to organise our flight from London to Berlin since our flight carrier has (without reason) cancelled the one we booked. After 4 used telephone cards and an hour in a phone cell, we seem to have successfully booked our new flight.

Tomorrow we are finally leaving this place of insanity, I’m looking forward to a change.

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