More from Manila

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Despite the fact that Manila is a somewhat dangerous and poverty stricken city, the people here are great. Everyone calls us (friend and I) sir, and are very polite. People on the street say hi, hello, how are you, and 'Welcome to the Philippines!' with a big grin on their face. When I catch people looking at me and we make eye contact, they smile or nod, which is so strange compared to the cold and somewhat soulless response from Beijingers. 

It's hot and humid, which is a big change from the -5 smog ridden Beijing that I've become accustomed to this winter. The food is delicious, girls are pretty, and I didn't wake up with a hangover that the 'fake' beer in China so often leads me to. Didn't realize the Manila metro was separated separated by sex until I tried to board the female car and was politely told to find the men's.

Most people on the street speak Tagalog with each other, but 90% of the advertising and menus are in English. Everyone seems so nonchalant about speaking 2 languages fluently. So here's to you taxi driver, waiter, and metro ticket vendor: you're miles ahead of most American's language skills. There is a lot of traffic but it moves, not backed up like Beijing. There are A TON of motorbikes, not Harley's, but quick little dirt bike looking motorcycles that aren't super common in Beijing. So I hand it to China for embracing the e-bike and not adding yet another factor to air pollution. On an unrelated note, a day pass at gyms here in PH are only $5. Way to be PH, way to be.

Downtown Manila reminds me a lot of Peru and Porto Alegre, Brazil. The outskirts, with all the vegetation and somewhat mishap brick buildings, makes me think of my time in El Salvador.

My flight leaves for Singapore on the 27th leaving Cebu, so I've got 2 weeks to bounce around this vibrant country and make my way south to catch the flight. Maybe it was because I was in downtown Manila, but there are a lot of hookers and fat white haired men; just what you would imagine in Southeast Asia.

Oh and KKK is a Philipino motto for respect, peace, and something else.

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Degen Hill

About: Degen Hill is a travel junkie, gym enthusiast, and avid writer who currently resides in Beijing. He is a 28-year-old graduate of Eastern Washington University where he studied Spanish & Communications and quickly learned that life's too short to not travel. Degen is aggressively realistic, open-minded, sarcastic, curious, and results-driven.

Currently: Degen graduated from Tsinghua University with a Master's of Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy in Beijing. He is now a reporter and editor for the political magazine China Today (今日中国). His Chinese language ability is a work in progress and enjoys the challenge. He is currently living in Andingmen (Right above the Forbidden City).