I’m sat in front of Mall of Asia (MOA) on my last day in the Philippines. I have quite a bit of time left until my flight but am too tired to do much else than sit. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about the Philippines that I like. Last time I came, I just stayed in Manila and I wasn’t too fond of the place. This time I went to Boracay and walked all day around Manila, viewing its markets and seeing a huge church. Everyone is peaceful and there aren’t many people who try to take advantage of you as a tourist (or perhaps I’m blending in well). It’s dark now and as much as I love adventure, I’m not convinced that Manila is a safe place for me to wander in the dark alone, so here I sit at MOA just tired and waiting.

I saw all sorts of people here; a lot in Manila clearly living in poverty. It seems that all of the sewage runs down the roads and into the river. I had to tread carefully and hold my breath crossing bridges. Days like today, I realise how lucky I was to have lived in London (though I had some excruciatingly difficult circumstances), and now to live in such a clean and safe country that is Japan. I love coming to places like this to experience this type of lifestyle, be immersed even just for a bit by walking instead of using transport, and to be reminded of where I am, and where I want to go in life.

Speaking of transport, I love Filipino transportation systems! From haggling on the motorised tricycles in Boracay to the cramped Jeepneys in Manila, the difference feels amazing (mostly the thrill I suppose of not really conforming to any safety standards). The transport people living locally use are the cheapest, and the most entertaining ways of getting around. Forget the taxis and the overcrowded trains where pickpockets lurk. You’d have a better time doing so.


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