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Manila State of MindMar 16-26, 2012

Manila State of Mind

Manila is Manila
Like death and taxes, Manila remains a certainty for me. All it takes is a cheap air fare from my fav carrier, Cebu Pacific. I somehow don't hold the city with as much contempt as I used to - Manila is Manila. It remains uncompromising, unyielding with its tough carapace, dictating urban life on its own terms. You either take it or leave it. But hey, it would be a sad Philippines without Manila. Knowing my stay will only last 10 days helped keep things in perspective.

Dad Issues
Instead of being reliant on the generosity of friends for a roof over my head (which I used to do), I've now defaulted to staying at my Dad's place. I guess we've somehow reestablished our friendship, but this time being mindful of how different our views have become - tolerance comes to mind. That being said, I'm glad we've moved on. My staying with him gives more opportunity to rediscover ourselves in a different light.

It was also imperative for me to go to Manila for some errands - passport, license, etc. What amazed me about the passport renewal was its 1st-world efficiency. The Dept. of Foreign Affairs is now housed under its new building near Mall of Asia. First step is to make an online appointment. You show up on the date and everything goes like clockwork. I was done in 90 minutes. Of course, the old-school "herd'em like cattle" trait is still there - like being squeezed into a row of individual seats. Imagine half a butt-cheek hanging on that space between two seats.

International Drivers License
As for the international driver's license, it seemed like a scam for money. Not through LTO, but through the Automobile Association Philippines. You pay them P1800 and they issue you an international drivers license - no exam, no practical driving test, no reading any material. In short, what qualifies you to have a Philippine driver's license is enough to qualify you for an international license. So why not automatically qualify the Phil driver's license as an international license? so that we still have to pay P1800? Scam.

Vehm and Valerie
Vehm, a former summer-art classmate, tagged me along some of her gigs, this time with a friend, Valerie - after band-practice, blues night at Skarlet Jazz and Joey Ayala gig at Conspiracy Garden Cafe. It's all good to check out the events even though they didn't lend much to talking.

Rachel and Marj
Rach was the show stylist at QuickFire to which I guested in 2009. With her visit to Dumaguete with friend Marj, I got to hung out with them, which continued til I visited Manila. It was cool - doing the Manila Post Office Tour, Chinatown food tour, attending the sex talk at the Mind Museum with Dr. Margarita Holmes. I asked the good doctor, "Is the G Spot a myth?" Her answer did not really provide clarity. The G Spot remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Rach also hooked me up at Swiss Chalet with her life coach, May Sj Soriano. What exactly does a life coach do? She connects the dots for you. As in, "you are here, the other dot is where you want to be. Let's talk about how you get there."

Conversation with Anna can be summed up as effortless. I find a natural flow in things we talk about. We talked for hours without repeating ourselves. She has a surprising candor, grounded confidence, and what I may even call a zen demeanor. Not everyday I can savor such a treat.

Pia continues to inspire with her forward-thinking optimism and can-do vigor - purpose-driven and objective-focused. We didn't get to talk much but it was enough. She reminds me of the lets-get-things-done corporate culture at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce when I had a brief stint as Special Projects Manager.

I wish I had a chance to bond with my Vipassana group but I'm glad I had an afternoon coffee with Claire...a batchmate from my 2009 10-day sit. The recurring theme was backpacking. This seems like a growing craze. I've talked to a lot of people wanting to leave their jobs to go backpacking - all of them women! As a backpacker on a shoestring, I share tips and tricks of the road.

Gerard Mabasa
Raddy is probably the coolest dentist around. I make sure I get to chat with him over coffee whenever I'm in Manila. Of course it helps that he can also look after my dental a friendly price! I kinda see him as a Swiss Army knife in dentist clothing. He's a photographer, an avid basketball fan, a gadget freak, Louis Vuitton traveller (my euphemism for traveling in comfort) and overall, well rounded guy. We can talk for hours, but like always, duty calls upon him to do a greater good.

Ending Thoughts
And that just about wraps up this Manila episode. I'll be back in July (you guessed it right, another cheap air fare booking). Hmmm...can't wait what new things unravel.

--- TheLoneRider

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Metro Manila Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Facebook Users

Louie MarquezLouie Philippines
(Apr 19, 2012) I think you can use your LTO license abroad for a few months(?), where there's reciprocity agreement like in the U.S. Just heard it somewhere. Better check it.

May Sj SorianoMay Sj Soriano
(Apr 9, 2012) Thanks my friend for the good perspective of Manila... and making people think and make the choice of their own perspective as well.
Gerard MabasaGerard Mabasa
(Apr 9, 2012) ...just read your write up about Manila...thanks for the very kind words and professional plugging! hahaha Happy Easter wherever today finds you!
Galia RoitmanGalia Roitman
(Apr 8, 2012) Hi Gigit! I was just checking out your website and checking out photos from our pizza nights and night riding! Those were good days! Hope ur well. I know you're not too far from me...I'm in Melbourne Australia. We should meet half way ;-) I've always wanted to go to the Philippines! Maybe once number 2/4 is born in July!
"what was margie holmes answer to your question?" -- Rock Drilon
(Apr 8, 2012) Ha-ha! The G-Spot...she said half the women discovered it, which leaves half who didn't. Which leaves me thinking there may not be any biological basis for it. The search for the enigmatic G-Spot makes the search for El Dorado look like an Easter Egg hunt. And congrats for weaning yourself out of Manila. :)

Rock DrilonRock Drilon
(Apr 8, 2012) thanks for sharing gigit. me too have left manila. mga 5 months na but have to make short visits 3-4 times a month. where i live at the moment i can bike around without smelling shit- sometimes i'm just wondering what manila air can do to the lungs with the way bikers smell even after short urban rides. btw. curious ako- what was margie holmes answer to your question? hehe...

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