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Makati City, The Philippines

Makati City is one of the 16 cities comprising Metro Manila and is the financial district of the Philippines. City contains with many skyscrapers, and developers are adding new high-rise apartments and condominiums everywhere. Many banks, corporations, and international business call Makati home as well as the wealthy, pop stars, and actors. The city is clean with plenty of skyscrapers, restaurants, and malls. Poor mothers and children wander along the streets begging the affluent for coins and food. 

Makati has a drawback. It lacks the local, mom and pop restaurants that serve homemade Philippine cuisine. Unfortunately, corporate restaurants and cafes dominate the dining market.

The Philippines

  • Area of the country spans 115,831 square miles, making the Philippines the 73rd largest country in the world.
  • The currency is the Philippine peso.
  • The capital is Manila, while Metro Manila is comprised of 12 cities inhabited by 11.5 million residents.
  • In 2010, the population was estimated at 92 million.
  • Makati City is one city of Metro Manila, and it is the financial district of Manila.
  • Quezon City is the most populous city of Metro Manila with 2.8 million people.
  • Approximately 3.9 million tourists arrived in the Philippines in 2011. This number should be much higher, because the Philippines is blessed with beautiful beaches, lakes, jungles, and nature.

Manila, The Philippines

Manila, Philippines was one of my best vacations yet. I met a variety of interesting people and had a good time, despite the incessant rains from typhoons that hovered off the coastline. 

The Philippines has a variety of pluses. 

1. The Filipino people are friendly, and most speak English well, despite the Philippines being a poor country.

2. If you are afflicted by Asian fever, then Filipinas are incredibly beautiful women. Once I was outside the city, Manila, I noticed several curious stares. It is the common law: urban women tend to be more materialistic than the non-urban women.

3. Manila has a historic site, Intramuros, which is the home of the Spanish colonial government. Intramuros means "within the walls" that enclosed the colonial city. At one corner, the Spaniards built Fort Santiago to protect the colony from foreign invaders. The Spaniards began building this city in the 15th century.

One of the astounding things I learned was most of the traditional Filipino cuisine was supplanted by fast food, especially the common fast-food chains from the United States. Subsequently, the Philippines developed their own fast-food chains, which are Jollibee and Chow King. Jollibee serves fast food burgers, while Chow King is fast-food Chinese. 

I wonder whether the United States will evolve into something that resembles Manila, Philippines, because after World War II, the Philippines was the second richest country in Asia after Japan. Then it quickly disintegrated into a poor country.

1. Filipinos are terrified of crime in their city. Literally, every mall, bank, and building have armed security guards and police checking patrons and customers, as they walk through the door. Security guards pat customers and check bags and purses, searching for guns and weapons. Some businesses have metal detectors at the front door. I was even surprised to walk through a door, when a policeman worked as a doorman at a local Starbucks. 

2. The Filipinos consider their government officials and politicians quite corrupt. In fact, the government seems so corrupt, nothing gets done, as the city and its infrastructure continually deteriorates and degrades. Then businesses are shackled by government and police corruption, and the many complex rules and regulations.

3. Manila is a large city of over 11 millions souls, who are mired in abject poverty. Shanty towns and slums cover major portions of the city. However, I did not feel threatened, as I stumbled through the wrong neighborhood, but I did notice a few curious stares.

4. The Catholic church stymied the government programs that encouraged birth control. Most Filipinos are Catholic, and they conceive and raise a large number of children whose futures have abysmal economic opportunities, or little chance for an education.

Palawan Island, The Philippines

Palawan Island is a rustic community. Traffic is not severe, and the city has two traffic lights. The island has no taxis, so the locals and tourists rely on motorcycles with a sidecar. Many neighbors grew their own gardens and raised chickens. Unfortunately, the roosters crow five o'clock in the morning.

I visited Palawan to see the Underground River, one of the wonders of the world. The river did not impress me too much because we rode on a boat that went into the cave for several kilometers and then turned around. If tourists plan to visit the underground river, they must go to the government office to apply for a permit because the government restricts the number of tourists who can visit the site.

Island hopping was amazing. Small islands surround Palawan Island and the clear waters are bustling with coral and fish. I snapped some awesome underwater pictures.