A while back I wrote a long article about the cons of Manila, in the Philippines, and called it Manila Part One, so I suppose I’m obligated to come up with a Part Two in case you find yourself in Manila and have to make the best of it. I don’t like Manila, so this may be a short article.
I don’t think that Manila is an ideal location for many of the things that I like, really. The food is terrible, it’s very hard to find drugs, the chicks are cute but super boring, it’s not as cheap as it should be, and it’s too hot. The only thing that I’m into that Manila is excellent for is the music. Filipinos are oustanding musicians and every bar will have a good rock cover band in it, often with a hot chick singer who is actually very good. So that’s a pro. The people are generally very nice, and certain things are super cheap.
It’s hard to complain about getting an hour-long massage from a cute Filipino girl for 7 bucks. If you call they’ll even send one over to your hotel or apartment. But, this bargain exists all over Southeast Asia, so it’s nothing special about Manila.
Some places to go: The rich suburb is called Makati, and it’s where all rich Filipinos living on the backs of everyone else have their high-rise apartments. The center of all of it is the Greenbelt Mall, which has all the requisite Gucci and Hermes stores selling shit that is absolutely worthless for thousands of dollars to the privileged few so they can show each other how rich they are. I think that shit is disgusting, especially in such a poor country. But there are a number of bars there. First of all, Cafe Havana is the Beach Club of Manila, and is filled with hookers. Unsuspectingly, Boris and I went there our first night in the Manila and were amazed at all the hot chicks there smiling at us.
Me: “Wow, Boris, these girls look so friendly!”
Boris: “I know, all the stories about the Philippines are true! What a great place to be a single dude!”
Then we proceeded to talk to some cute girls who seemed to really like us right away. We danced, had some drinks, went to another bar, cuddled at our table and had a real nice time with these really sweet Filipina girls.
Boris (two hours in): “Charlie, is there any chance that these girls are professionals?”
Me: “No way, I’m 100% sure they’re not. They’re just really sweet local girls. Why are you always so cynical?”
They were hookers. 100%. There went hours wasted down the hooker trap. That’s Cafe Havana in particular, and the Philippines generally.
Another crazy thing is that the mall has security, it’s the most chi-chi area in town, and yet, just at the perimeter of the Havana outside seating area, there lurks in every dark shadowy place ladyboys, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting tourist or Uncle Boner that is just a little too drunk to tell the difference. What kind of ritzy club district lets the ladyboys prowl unchecked? How can that be good for business?
Anyway, down a couple of doors from Havana is an upstairs Japanese place that is my favorite place in Greenbelt, with a young, non-hooker, non-ladyboy crowd. It gets quite busy and crowded there but the floor plan is right and there’s some cute girls there and usually a good live band.
Also check out Museum Bar which is the expat scene (mainly on Thursdays, I think) where paying $3 for a drink instead of $1 will give you the opportunity to rub elbows with the creme de la creme of Manila society. It’s a bunch of weird people for sure. Manila is sort of a Clockwork Orange town in our opinion. I know that doesn’t make sense, until you go to Manila. Then you’ll get it.
We went to some clubs as well, out at the Resort World complex by the airport. This is where we met (and were picked up by) some of the strangest girlfriends Boris and I have ever had. They were older (like 30) and seemed to have shitloads of money to waste on fancy cars, $10,000 gambling nights, Gucci purses, and $2000 hair extensions. We never could figure out from where they got their unlimited supply of money as they didn’t seem to work, and Boris and I could never even figure out his girlfriend’s real name! Nevertheless, they were hot and nice to us and would often buy us dinner or drinks. They started getting a little scary though when they started just showing up uninvited to our place, wanting to see us every day, turning up at the bar when we were out without them, etc. They would text us separately or from unfamiliar numbers as part of a coordinated plan to figure out where to find us. On top of that, not knowing exactly who these chicks were made the situation a little scary, and since they were getting waaaaay to attached and we had heard stories of well-connected jilted local girls making escape difficult for their foreign boyfriends, we secretly went to the airport one night and fled to Vietnam. Boris swears he saw my girlfriend’s SUV parked outside our place as we went out the back door and jumped in the cab. As the back wheels of the plane lifted off from Manila, we sent a text apologizing and saying we had to leave for a business emergency and we’d see them next time we were in town.
I don’t plan on ever going back to Manila, by the way.
Ok, sorry dudes, this was not a very informative article on Manila. Just don’t bother is the best advice I have. A couple other suggestions – there’s the Hobbit House downtown if you want to eat a steak cooked and served by a midget. There’s also midget boxing, which I will post the video of at some point. It’s worth mentioning the night that we were at the hotel bar where Paris Hilton was staying (she was opening a boutique in town with some stupid overpriced rich girl bullshit), but she never showed up to the bar, which was a pity, because that would have been my only legit shot to bag her ever. I’m blanking on other worthwhile things to do there. Oh yeah, we did KTV with the girlfriends before they got too crazy, which was super fun. Those Filipinos can really sing! Boris, not so much.