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Published: October 9th 2011
My one week stay in Manila with Miss Kim as she is known to the locals has encompassed a little bit of luxury, a lot of delicious food, a smattering of culture (both Filipino and expat!) and of course, shopping.
It's hot but not unbearable, its got Spanish influences and national heroes that died for the love of their country. It's got $1 cocktails, $10 massages and exquisite restaurants, but rats the size of cats in the supermarket. And of course its got Imelda!
Carlos Celdran is something of a celebrity here and runs tours of the city- Livin La Vida Imelda took in the Cultural Centre of the Phillipinnes and the Convention Centre, both built (along with most of the landmarks in Manila) under the reign of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos. He gives entertaining and thought provoking insight into the life and times of this couple who still despite corruption, scandal and downright madness are regarded fondly yet with mixed emotion by the Filipino people. They were extremely superstitious- buildings were to be completed in 77 days, the chandelier in the convention centre contains no more and no less than 700 light globes and on gaining power the exchange rate
In the middle of a shopping plaza-regular services are held here throughout the day in this highly catholic nation. The pretty trees are fake
for pesos to the US dollar was of course 7:1. He also runs a commentary of the Spanish colonisation- World War 2 from Manila's 'spiritual' centre Intramuros. The commas are added as Carlos observes that Manila struggles to find its spiritual and indeed national identity as even with influences from the Spanish and the Americans and the Catholic church none have succeeded in taking hold and so he compares a Filipino to a national dessert halo halo- its a mixed up mash up of sugar, ice, jelly, beans and milk. And in the midst of these nationalities struggling to take hold Manila was devastated by the Japanese and exploited by the Americans in World War 2, when 100,000 Filipinos were slaughtered either by Japanese swords (they didnt want to waste bullets) or by American bombs (just a little collateral damage).
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