I can’t believe my time is up here in the Philippines. 1 month isn't even close to enough time to begin to scratch the surface. Here’s a list of 9 things I learned during my month in the Pearl of the Orient.
1. The Philippines may be home to the nicest people in the world. “Hello Sir.” “Thank you Sir.” “Here’s my number, if you need anything, call me.” These are all things I heard on a daily basis. And they friendliness doesn’t stop there. In Cebu City, I made tons of friends at my hostel including those working at the hostel. We are now friends on Facebook, and they have messaged me both on Facebook and via text since I left wondering if I needed anything. Also in Cebu, my GrabCar driver on the way to the airport invited me to stay with him and his wife next time I visit. In Boracay, massage therapists line the beach asking, “massage Sir.” I would often walk by and say “No, thank you,” only to be responded with “You’re welcome, Sir.” I mean who says that? I’m telling you they are so nice and friendly.
2. I HATE ROOSTERS. Yes, I’m calling them out. Everyone in the Philippines has them. They are part of the culture. But they are the worst animal in the world for one reason. I thought my iPhone alarm was the most annoying sound, but when you listen to everyone’s roosters start crowing at 3:30 in the morning, with no snooze or off button, I’d much rather have my iPhone alarm go off.
3. The busses and vans run on island time. Just because something says 9am, doesn’t mean 9am. When they are ready, the ride is ready. Annoying at times, but I wasn’t in any real rush going anywhere, so it worked out for me.
4. People walk as slow as snails. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they do walk extremely slow. I tried to slow my walk down to take my time, but they were walking slower than I could handle.
5. Drivers use their car horns more in 1 hour, than I have my entire life. It’s not out of road rage either. It’s more of a courtesy to alert other drivers they are passing each other.
6. Filippino’s don’t know how to read maps. I thought I was being smart and courteous by taking a screenshot of the map marking where my hotel was to show drivers, but every time, they would just stare at it and have no idea where it was. I spoke with a couple of locals in the Philippines who said they don’t learn geography or map reading in school.
7. Fruit tastes better here. To be honest, I’ve never been a real fan of fruits. But there is something about traveling and foods that does something to me. The taste of everything from mangos to bananas to limes is just so much better here.
8. “Vegetarian” on the menu doesn’t mean vegetarian. My biggest worry about the Philippines would be how it would be for a vegetarian like myself. Going to non-vegetarian restaurants was a bit of a struggle. Example: I went to one restaurant in Cebu City that had a small “vegetarian” section but 3 out of the 4 items had meat in them. Imagine reading, Vegetarian rice with pork. I learned from many locals that vegetarian to them simply means more vegetables than meat.
9. The Philippines has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. #enoughsaid