Travel Warning Manila
This is a travel warning to anyone going into Manila International Airport: Beware of thieves and extortionist when you arrive in the Philippines.
Although Manila has many things to do and see there is a lot of corruption there. In my opinion, Manila is a poor representation of Filipinos because many people that I met in Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Cagiun were cool.
I have noticed that most overcrowded cities are full of mean, unhappy, people in a rush to go nowhere. Many people in Manila are not actually from Manila but came from other towns. So if you ask directions you will notice that only few people are familiar of streets & avenues around the city.
Metro Manila has developed a lot over the years. Make sure you have a map or better yet a gps to help you get around the city.
An experience I had in Manila Airport:
A taxi driver service tried to rip me off the minute I got into Manila. I came in on Ninoy Aquino International Airport and needed to go to Cebu. An older gentlemen told me that I need to go to Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4. Since I am familiar with the lies, deceit, corruption and hustling that goes on in Manila, I did not immediately trust this well dressed gentleman. Since I had NO idea where to go, I followed him and thanked him as he offered to put my luggage toward a waiting taxi. He spoke a quick phrase of Tagalog.. too fast for me to catch the few words I knew.
He ushered me in the cab on its way to Manila Domestic from Ninoy Aquino and then had the crazy audacity to ask for a tip. I don’t know what the custom is in the Philippines, but in the US its rude. Tips are earned by good service, gratuity is expect for waitresses.
“100 pesos.. no, thats to small in my country. 500 pesos.. yeah.. thats about right”.
Since I could not be bothered to take 2 minutes to know the conversion of dollar to peso BEFORE I got to Manila, I was hustled for a 10 dollar tip. The mother fuckin’ taxi drive laughed and the clean cut Filipino man shut my door to send me on my way.
At that moment I realized I am a dumb American about to be led to god knows where. The taxi driver smiled with a little small talk, “where you from?” “where you going?” “on business?” At this point I was pissed off. My answers were short, cold as I began to work up the nerve to punch this guy in the face or fight my way out of any awaiting ambush. I kept thinking of his laugh at my HUGE tip.
By the grace of god, the taxi driver took me to the right place. “That will be 500 pesos,” he said with a straight face. 500 pesos for a 5 minute ride.
“Are you trying to hustle me?” I asked him.
“No, sir. Thats the price.”
“I will give you 150. You know,” I said. “I am here to spend money and enjoy your country. I am a guest. If you treat tourists like this.. no one will come here.”
He gave a nervous smile. I paid him and I got out.
“Welcome to the Philippines,” I thought.
Travel Warning Manila
Chief Saballa my old boss, a Filipino-American, gave me a warning about roaming around Manila alone. “Foreigners in Manila.. even me, have to be careful. You should not go alone. And definitely don’t walk around alone and drunk.”
Another bit of advice about Manila, I have gotten from several people is to watch out for the street kids.
“I saw a kid cut out a guys back pocket and take a wallet,” — and old co-worker
“Allows put your money in your sock just incase they take your wallet” — old boss
“Put your wallet in the front.. NEVER in the back pocket” — girlfriend
“poor kids? No.. they will rob you.. you have to watch out” — friend
“You give those kids money. YOu know what they do with it.. They give it to a handler” — girlfriend
Tip: ‘’Always walk fast, ignore the kids and any strangers.
s and any strangers.