Manila – Welcome to the jungle that is tamed by Pacquiao.

So I arrive at Ninoy Aquino airport and quickly disperse into a taxi with sweat running off my back and the fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather blasting out of my taxi’s crackling speakers. Where are the masses of people and jeepneys I have been told about? Where is the chaos? I ask the driver what has happened to the madness of Manila I have heard all about. He responds in limited English, ‘ The Pacquiao’, ‘The Pacquiao’, ‘The fight’. As I glance out my dirt covered window I realise that one man has unintentionally evacuated the Manila traffic for a smooth run to my hostel. I stayed at awesome hostel in Makati, which boasts a great roof top view and aircon, but nothing else. Makati is the basically the rich area of the city, with new modern age skyscrapers and clean, calm streets that you could be mistaken to being in Singapore. Apprantly the mayor of this area has ties with the President I am informed. Where are the jeepney’s, an recent icon of the Philippines from the Americans after World War 2.

But bugger that I want to see a sunset on my first night after a hot, tired 3 hour wait for my room. So I befriend a guy staying at my hostel from Davao named Joey. He is in Manila to get a visa for Norway and has to wait 3 days. So we jump into a cab and head to Roxan Boulevard on the bay of Manila. Good thing having a local countrymen to avoid the potential taxi rip off. Other methods are always asking other locals in nearby taxis how much it should be. It works most the time, but hey sometimes you just have to roll with it.

So just in time to the see the setting sun amongst the crowd of homeless people living on the sea wall of the boulevard. No one really hassles you at all, unlike other countries I have visited in the past. I like it, even if the whiff of sewerage melts my eyes and nose constantly. Oh yeah I forgot it’s hot, damn hot. I recommend a slow walk along the boulevard and then disperse back into the city for a beer. By this time I needed aircon as well. So into the world of Makati we head. But I didn’t realise it. After 20 minutes I came across a local Manila guy wearing a Tasmanian Football Geursey. What are the chances? So after a photo shoot with him and more sweat pouring off my now drained body I had to escape the chaos.

So off to the nearest watering hole we retire to. But it wasn’t any old bar. It was a karaoke bar with $1 beers. And it had aircon, boom. I was ready now to relax with Joey and get to know him. But why was this bar full of girls in skinny clad dresses. Why was there only 1 big, hairy Japanese fella in here. Oh it is a brothel as well. Joey quickly confirms this and I had already ordered a beer and thought bugger it, here I will stay. It was basically the reception of a brothel with lounges and terrible karaoke playing. The girls tried and tried again to get me to sing, yes sing. But they didn’t have any queens of the stoneage, so I politely declined and continued to drink my beer. So after an hour or so, and 5 cold Red horse beers we left and said goodbye to a new found friends. Back to the hostel for a sleep, and ready to tackle Intra Muros (the old part of the city) , and learn about the battle of Manila. What a strange day. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE PAUL.

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