The day after Boris’ near death experience in Singapore we decided to get the hell out of town and explore some other options in Southeast Asia. A quick perusal a week before of cheap destinations found us a cheap ticket to Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines. After dealing with the typical severe retardation of Tiger Airlines (the Singaporean discount airline) we found ourselves on a Jetstar (an Australian discount airline) flight to Manila with Boris’ head wrapped up in something that resembled some sort of religious headgear. We ended up spending over two weeks in Manila, which was way too long. We kind of got sucked in.
Manila is pretty much a shithole. Nowhere else in my travels up to this point has the difference between the rich and the poor been more noticeable than there. There are way too many people in town and many, many of them are desperately poor. Meanwhile, a small percentage of people live in huge multi-million dollar mansions in gated communities and control a huge percentage of the country’s resources.
The Philippines was a longtime Spanish colony, and it shows this heritage in many ways. One way is that everyone has Spanish last names, and unlike much of Asia, the girls have regular first names. It makes life easier when you’re out drinking one dollar San Miguel Lights (the delicious national light beer) and the chicks you meet have regular Western sounding names instead of unpronounceable names with tones that you can’t even tell the difference between. The English in the Philippines is excellent – better than any other country in Asia, so that also makes things much easier for the single dude traveler.
The Philippines have been highly colonized by American culture. This is not a good thing. McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, materialism, unbelievably crappy television, 7-11, KFC, TGI Friday’s you name it are everywhere. We found the Filipinos to be nice but the retardation level to be extremely high. I am very disappointed to say that in the three weeks Boris and I spent in Manila and Boracay, not one of our Filipina girlfriends said one interesting thing to either of us, ever. Never. Even the rich ones were completely dull and shallow conversationalists who seemed absolutely incapable of abstract thought and seemed to have absolutely no interests or passions about anything beyond their day to day existences. The list of things they did seem interested in were karaoke, basketball, money, gambling, Angry Birds, and shitty American or American copy entertainment. I am sorry to report that in our experience the Filipinas, while very sweet, warm, nice, and affectionate, have nothing going on upstairs. It reminded me a little of American girls and how many of them have no interests outside of how they look, and what Snooky did on last week’s episode of the Jersey Shore.
The general retardation level in the Philippines is high, just as in Singapore and Malaysia. The advantage in the Philippines seems to be a better work ethic and much more respect for others, so while a Filipino may have trouble following simple instructions they will for the most part try their best to satisfy your request. I was called “Sir” more times in those three weeks than in the rest of my life put together. Our standard schtick when addressed as “sir” by a cute Filipina girl was to say, “Don’t call me sir. My father is sir. Call me dude.” That got giggles every time. I half expected to be called “sir” by a chick during sex out there – while it never happened to me I’m sure it happens there frequently.
It seemed that we met two kinds of local people in Manila. The first was the rich people that had absolutely no regard for the value of money. They would spend ungodly amounts of money on useless shit, extra houses, gambling, expensive Gucci crap, etc. That was good for us because we were treated to a bunch of stuff by these people, but it was hard for us to stomach that when we saw the other 98% of people in town who were desperately poor. Before we moved into our luxury apartment with live in maid there we stayed in a hotel that wasn’t exactly cheap – ~$25 a night, in Makati, which is the suburb all the rich people live. One night after excessive drinking we got back and decided we’d probably want some water to mitigate our hangovers, so we went out in the neighborhood looking for a 7-11. Within one block of our hotel we found a super depressing scene, with hundreds of people, many many of them little kids sleeping on cardboard boxes on the street. The street kids in Manila are everywhere, poor as shit, and aggressive. If you’re walking down the street and and they catch a shine to you, you will be surrounded by ten of them, begging, and touching you. Be very careful here, because some will try to pick your pockets. I don’t blame them, these kids are hungry. I blame the super rich people who are stealing from everyone else just so they can have extra houses and Armani suits. A perfect example is the monopolistic power company that is owned by one family and price gouges the shit out of everyone for electricity. Filipinos have to pay at least 10 times the normal rate for electricity so that those criminals can have their beach houses and private islands and armies of servants. As a result, hotels are way more expensive than the rest of the region and people can’t afford apartments because often the electric bill exceeds the rent. Fuck you guys, I hope you electrocute yourselves or contract ball cancer.
The regular rich people only get part of the blame for this, though. The other main culprit is the goddamned Catholic Church. The Spanish left the Church behind when they split and the Philippines is now one of the largest Catholic nations in the world. Those motherfuckers at the Vatican have been telling these desperately poor people for years that using birth control is a sin, so Filipino people often have way more kids than they can afford to feed. While we were there there was some measure up for a vote that would provide some public funding for birth control and contraceptive education and the Church had mobilized and was actively campaigning against it with billboards, tv ads, posters etc, saying “Obey God’s will, vote no.” Thanks, you assholes, for setting human civilization back decades by preying on poor people and making them have more kids than they can feed just so you can have lots of cheap labor. I hope there is a special place hell reserved these worthless scumbags.
Poverty and cultural repression caused by the Church and the American style every-man-for-himselfism has also led to another big problem for the single dude traveler in Manila – prostitution. It is rampant, especially in the the places where the expats hang out in. Makati is the place where all the rich people live these days and the fancy malls are just crawling with hookers and ladyboys. The Filipina hookers are extra bad because many of them are stealth hookers. Unlike Eastern Europe, for example, the hookers do not stay in their designated hooker places, but instead hang out everywhere rich (often white) guys are, and in droves. Many “nice” bars in “nice” neighborhoods are just crawling with them, and they don’t tell you unless you ask that they are working. Before Boris and I took the red pill about the hooker scene in Manila, we wasted large chunks of time hanging out with what we thought were nice regular girls, only to find out that they were working girls and only wanted money from us. What a fucking waste of time.
The hookers attract large numbers of old white foreign sex tourists. We have a nice collection of photos from Manila of these guys we like to call “Grandpa Boners”.
Grandpa Boner – A old, bald, often fat, wrinkly white dude who you see walking around holding hands with an 18 year old (or younger) Filipina girl, or hanging out at the hooker bars at night shopping for a new “girlfriend”. Younger versions are called Uncle Boners. These guys disgust us and they are infesting Southeast Asia. For them the line between prostitution and romance is blurry, but these guys definitely pay for it, either up front for sex, or by way of rent payments and allowances for their little underage hooker girlfriends. Disgusting.
There’s another major drawback to the Philippines, and that is the food. It’s awful. All levels of cuisine are very substandard, from the absolutely putrid and inedible street food to the extremely mediocre “fine dining”. It just seems like they don’t care about cuisine in that country. Plenty of people would say, “Oh, this food is so good, and we would try and it would be barely edible. It’s amazing that in a country so full of fast food places you can’t even get a decent pizza. They have a super popular chain restaurant called Shakey’s that everyone is always eating at whose food is one step up from school lunch quality and it’s not even cheap. If you like food, do not go to the Philippines.
Also, if you like drugs, take a pass. They are hard to find and low quality. I Googled the drug laws and one of the first things I found was a story about a dude (albeit a stupid dude) who got 13 years for a very small amount of weed. We were on the beach in Boracay and out friends the dreadlocked reggae musicians couldn’t even get us weed. What the fuck? On the fucking beach, Rastaman can’t scrounge up a spliff? What a fucked up country.
So as you can infer from this article, Manila is not Single Dude recommended. There are some things that one can accomplish there, as I will detail in the next article, but overall you’re better off somewhere else.