The Thrilla in Manila

I landed in Manila two nights ago and was waved through customs without so much as eye contact. My brother was waiting outside. I hadn’t seen him or his adorable Filipina wife Maylin in seven or eight years. A taxi with a grindy transmission took us to Eric’s expatriate enclave in Mandaluyong City.

On Friday we went to the adjacent mall so I could shop for jewelry to take home. We had an early dinner at Chili’s, where Eric enjoys rock star status. Fortunately for me, he hates seafood too.

Genuine South Sea pearls, set in diamond mounts.

Exactly ten petite Filipinas swarmed around us at the pearl counter at Kultura, smiling and giggling. I’m sure I could fit a couple of them in my suitcase. But none of them knew what the phrase “loose pearl” means. Maylin later explained that even though English is taught in the schools, much of the slang and nuance gets lost in translation.

That evening I set up my camera on a ledge outside my guest room window on the 54th floor, and shot an hour’s worth of the sunset in time lapse. I have no idea how it turned out. I also recorded the street sounds as well, for background.

Manila is a pretty gritty place. A bit like a modern version of Havana. The people are warm and nice, but no one could direct me to the world famous Manila Folder factory tour.

Off to Boracay in an hour for five days of pinã coladas and chillaxing. Eric let me know that there are two rounds of security theater at the Manila airport, even for domestic flights.

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