Philippines - Manila - Awfully Disappointing


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Asia » Philippines » Metromanila » Pasig » Ortigas Center
September 4th 2011
Published: September 4th 2011
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Uodate January 2013: As I expected, my recent post (Jan 2013) extolling the virtues of Mindanao has been COMPLETELY ignored by Pinoys and others alike. Over 99,000 hits on this negative comment on Manila, but less than one hundred on a post that is very positive about another part of the Philippines. Says something about human nature, doesn't it.

I am NO LONGER ACCEPTING COMMENTS OR MESSAGES ABOUT THIS POST. IT's DEAD!!!!

I considered deleting it completely, but what the.... Anyway DO NOT BOTHER WRITING ABOUT THIS ONE ...because I won;t read your comment and will delete it immediately.

If you want to read about the positive side of the Philippines, go read that post. Happy to hear from you.

Update 12th October 2011:

This post seems to have gone viral. I've had nearly 500 comments.... most still unreviewed because I read EACH ONE before accepting them. Please bear with me.

I delete ONLY the incoherent, wholly illiterate and actually defamatory or gratuitously insulting - they are often funny, but say more about the writer than than my post - no Anonymous, I'm not a "racist faggot" and I do use my real name, LoL. However one or two are included so you can see what I mean. These insults represent about 1%!o(MISSING)f the comments, the majority of which, even when they disagree with me, are rational. Thanks for that.

I even got one comment from George Clooney (really?) - he apparently didn't get the bow to his excellent TV advert for Nescafe.... mmmh...... was it really from you George? If so, please verify and I'll publish it. I suspect someone of your eminence wouldn't bother to comment on a casual blog like this, and would also have understood the respect shown by the post. Whoever that was using his name in vain, lighten up!

I'm happy if people criticise coherently; I might (and have) learned some things. Bring it on. This blog is NOT politically correct and will never be; it is an honest reflection of my opinions...... whatever they are worth. Post your comments in similar vein and I'll publish them.

The text of the post below is unchanged, but I want to say this about my experience of the Philippines overall: I've worked there off and on since 1991. I've visited almost every part of the country, including NPA territory and Islamic parts of Mindanao. I've eaten rice with people so poor this is all they have to offer and hiked through places like Aurora. So I probably know the place fairly well, I suspect. As someone says, it is a hugely diverse country, beautiful in places, but with astounding poverty compared with many of its neighbours. I've enjoyed almost all my time there - but I DID NOT ENJOY THIS VISIT nor the Discovery Suites, and this blog reviews specific visits and my experience of them.

People have written about the good things in Manila - folks, Makati and Greenbelt are about as representative of Manila and the Philippines as Silom Road is of Bangkok and Thailand. I've visited every part of Manila, so please don't kid me.

Specifics: NAIA Terminal 3 is NOT open except to very few international flights and some domestic. It's been in this position for YEARS and is an absolute example of the failure of the government to deal with critical problems.

Discovery Suites: I kept going back because it was always good value - duh! It no longer is good value, and I won't go back. By the way, I've stayed at the EDSA Plaza and I've stayed at the Peninsular.... in fact I've stayed all over the city. DS was good and convenient. Pity.

Racist? Ha ha! LoL I'm actually married to an Asian and have lived in Asia for well over 20 years - love it. But Asians are the most racist folk in the world - ask a Thai their opinion on Indians (khon kak - don't ask for a literal translation) and they call me "farang", which isn't so polite..... or the Chinese what they think of all the rest of the world......I'm a Big Nose (dai bize)......or in Japan a "gaijin"......like, whatever. I am indeed culturally aware and critical...... yes, opinionated. By the way, lots of folk detest Brits... so what? Get real and get over it.

Sorry if Filipinos are insulted, that wasn't my intention - but this is what I felt at the time of my visit and my OPINION, not "the truth"........ Read on:

I honestly do really HATE to write negative posts. If you check through this blog you’ll see that even the posts on Afghanistan have a few positive things to say…….

But my GOODNESS the Philippines!!! Or more precisely Manila, because you cannot and should not generalize about such a large country spread over thousands of islands. Manila - what a dump!

The city has got to be the disgrace of South-east Asia, all the more so because twenty years ago when I used to come through here en route to Papua New Guinea it was THE place in the region to come to for shopping and R&R. How the mighty are fallen!

Let’s start with the international airport. Ninoy Aquino International is exactly the same as it was all that time ago; the same awful green lino when you arrive, the same over-crowded Departure Hall, nowhere to sit if your check-in desk isn’t open. Once through security you find the same down-market shops, toilets that don’t work or are “under repair” and very few F&B places.

I pay the extra $15 to go up to the Sampaguita Lounge just to get out of the crush of people. No, despite the fact that I’m an inveterate traveler I DO NOT LIKE crowds of people! The travelling public en masse is a necessary obstacle that has to be endured and overcome.

The coffee in this over-priced lounge is awful…. Over-boiled and they don’t have a modern machines (which these days can be purchased even for home use) to produce fresh coffee from beans. NO ONE uses this old filter method anymore, at least no one that likes good coffee. Where is George Clooney!!???

As for the hotel downtown: I have stayed at the
Discovery Suites
in Ortigas Center for the last 15+ years ever since it opened. It used to be very good and remains convenient for my business meetings. But the owners have invested nothing in upkeep and I stay in a room that has the same furniture, same carpet as it has always had; it smells musty. The TV is years old. The water heating system provides limited hot water for my bath. My room is not cleaned until I have to go and ask. The internet (OK, free wifi in the room) is dreadfully slow and the room service food lukewarm.

Frankly at $119/night the Discovery Suites is no longer the good deal that it once was and I shall change to another hotel if I have the misfortune of coming back here.

Manila itself is a shambles. The traffic is AWFUL (I seem to be using a lot of capital letters in this post) and nothing has been added to shops or other amenities (whereas e.g. Bangkok has transformed itself into an almost livable city).

Look: people will say the Filipino people are nice, and indeed they are polite – we Brits might say “smarmy” – obsequious or ingratiating are maybe less pleasant words. But they do try. That does take the edge off the sheer misery of a crumbling, filthy, depressing city and an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left.

Sorry folks. I know there are many people who love the Philippines, but its economic development has been a disaster; the irony is that Manila is the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank (the reason I come here) and it has the WORST growth history of any of the ASEAN countries – Cambodia which was torn apart by civil war up until 1997 has a first-class airport (fresh ham and cheese sandwiches on foccacia, freshly brewed cappuccino , clean lounges) and some great restaurant food and hotels (see my next post). But the Manila, where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region.

There seems to be a theme here: the Philippines has many natural advantages and in fact a talented people who provide services everywhere in the world. But there has been no re-investment in the country, neither by the public sector (hence the terrible airport facilities), nor by private industry. People might build a hotel, but they run it into the ground rather than trying to build a long-term institution. Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy, not one where people want to build sustainably long term. As I say, the smart one’s all want to leave.

My suggestion if you want to see the Philippines: get through Manila as quickly as you can, it has nothing to recommend it. Go out to the islands, Cebu, Mindanao, up to the cool of Bagio and see the people in the countryside and some of the spectacular scenery. That’s probably worth the trip. Otherwise pick almost anywhere else in Asia and you’ll get a better deal.

Final note: for those that wonder, I’m NOT backpacker and I’ve travelled so much that the novelty or “exciting local colour” of dirt, disease and bad food no longer fills me with wonderment; I stay in decent hotels and expect good service, anything less is patronizing the people in these emerging countries. For most of Asia I get it in spades – better value overall than travelling in North America or Europe - but not the Philippines.

For the Philippines the question is surely will it ever emerge from the mire into which it has sunk? Very frankly based on my very long experience of the place I really doubt it, in fact it is a “disappearing” country if there is such a thing.

Discovery Suites
25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center
Pasig City 1600
Philippines

P.S. No pictures because there's nothing worth photographing in Manila, it's drab and dirty.

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6th September 2011

Hi! I admire you for your honesty and applaud you for speaking your mind. As a Filipino living abroad for so many years now, all you have said are true. I couldn\'t have agreed more. It is so depressing to know that the country has already been left behind by its neighbouring countries and yet the government don\'t do anything about it. Most Filipinos seem to have trouble in accepting the fact how awful Manila is and they are blinded by false patriotism. All they see are glittering shopping malls, skyscrapers in some areas, some fancy hotels, but they forgot to scratch beneath the surface. Poverty is rife, population growth is alarmingly high, a lot of areas are grimy where you wouldn\'t dare go in them let alone get out alive. When will Filipinos learn how take criticism without reacting violently? That\'s a hard question, but then again, that\'s how democracy should be all about, which the Philippines is.
21st September 2011

get real
oh c\'mon you stayed at a 119$ dollar hotel and here u are expecting the service of a peninsula or a shangrila? welcome to the real world. u get what u pay for.
10th October 2011

Really?
I've stayed at the Discovery Suites off and on since it opened, what, 15 years ago. I don't expect 5 star service in a lower level hotel (tho' usually those expensive hotels are less good value than the budget ones). But I DO expect the basics and always got them at the DS on previous visits. I also get them in just about every other basic hotel I stay in (see my forthcoming post on the Ibis Singapore). But thanks for the comment; it was the only literate one received from a Filipino that I was able to print. The rest were incoherent and offensive - which kind of makes my overall point.
11th October 2011

Interesting.
Do you have any other reviews of any other place in the Philippines? Would be great to hear your very informed and candid thoughts about the rest of the country. Cheers, mate.
11th October 2011

Interesting.
Do you have any other reviews of any other place in the Philippines? Would be great to hear your very informed and candid thoughts about the rest of the country. Cheers, mate.
11th October 2011

It's Baguio actually!
When the author spells Baguio incorrectly, I realise this article has little authority or substance. Very easy to knock a city, and populace that many love and enjoy, and an easy way to try and get attention.
11th October 2011

sad truth
I agree with your article wholeheartedly. Manila is such in a sorry and sad state that I think most of the residents try to find the silver lining every time. The Philippines have been left behind for years now and I don't see any action or even thought from the government of its advancement. i really wish more well off and financially stable Filipinos would come back and reinvest in the country and not just go back for vacation.
11th October 2011

manila - awfull disappointing
why don't you try another hotel then? can't afford? actually this is just a waste of my time, sending comments on your blog. just a suggestion before making blah blah over your blog, tour around the metro not just EDSA and NAIA. Check some hotels not just Discovery Suites. God bless!
11th October 2011

Too bad...
I understand how you feel, for sometimes, even a Filipino like me prefers to just stay at home (Quezon City) rather than go to dusty Manila. The thing is, this is where we Filipinos live, and no matter how much we try to improve the place, it's not as easy as it looks. I'm personally apologizing in behalf of all the cussing Filipinos who commented, I guess we've been "ridiculed" too much that any criticism (constructive or not) is taken an insult and manners are thrown out the window. I hope you see Manila in the eyes of someone else, maybe it will give you a different perspective on our "awfully disappointing" home. I, for instance, travel all the way to Luneta for my morning jogs, just because it's more fun to jog there :) There are nice things about our country, about Manila, I just hope you see them as other people would: a place of opportunity and interestingly odd wonders. :)
11th October 2011

Sad but true
As a doctor and a traveller, yes.. I have to agree that manila and the terminal 1 NAIA airport have not improved in years, considering it takes a pricey terminal fee which most of the world-class airport in other countries do not charge. No one can blame a filipino for wanting to have a ticket out of this country.
11th October 2011

so true
im a filipino but what you've said is so true specially for the city of Manila, i'm from makati city and its definitely nicer here in makati than manila. its also the people to blame not just the government if everyone is disciplined enough to care for the surroundings and invest to better the place then this might not happend
11th October 2011

"...an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left. " --I must say, you hit the jackpot good sir. Almost all the smart people in this country would like to live outside the Philippines for a number of things. I believe, most importantly, it's because of the way this country is being managed. What you wrote is true. The other "small" countries have emerged and the Philippines is going nowhere. Maybe some of my fellow Filipinos will hate me because of this post. Well, whatever. They are blinded and could not see the bigger picture. Kudos to you sir for this honest post!
11th October 2011

You really shouldn't take it out on Manila just because you couldn't get laid even by flashing some cash during your stay here. And seriously, how many old hotels are able to keep up in over 2 decades? Try staying at the Raffles in Singapore where you get screwed out of $600/night for something that's only slightly better than a Sogo Hotel.
11th October 2011

just wanted to comment (whether you publish this one or not)
First of all, I will not argue with your criticisms of Manila. Yes, it is chaotic, not at par with Singapore or Hong Kong for instance. But your insinuation that there's nothing to recommend, nothing worth photographing in Manila? sorry dude but you've gone too far there. Too bad for you because Manila has many things to offer only if you are willing to go beyond the environment you're used to seeing. In fact, you can find some beauty in any place of the world you go to, even in places considered to be shit. Only if one takes a little effort to discover those things. A good traveler is expected to do just that, going beyond what you see, read, and hear about a certain place, not settling for the usual or the comforts one is used to. I don't know if you are such a traveler but judging from what you wrote, you sir are not. In the end, if you feel like cursing Manila out of what you experienced, you are free to do so. But making hasty and ill-conceived generalizations just because of your disgust/bias is something I am disappointed with.
11th October 2011

sad to say..
it is really sad what has happened to the Philippines. i was born and raised and still living here. what AJ said is true. they forgot to scratch beneath the surface. the military for example WAS (correct me if i'm wrong here) the best during the marcos regime, as was the economy. after that it was all downhill. a lot of politicking and bickering ensued. the best way to get rich in this country is to go into politics. the basic necessities required for living is way below the norm. public service is the same but some places in the provinces try not to. all they do is concentrate on tourist spots and other things, some spots don't even get any attention from the government anymore and they gather cobwebs and garbage at some corner of the island. Proud to be a Filipino but sad to what it has become. some day i hope we could get out of this quagmire that the state has gotten itself into...
11th October 2011

manila
You sir talk about Manila (which on some points I do agree like NAIA, traffic, cleanliness) but the thing is you're dismissing the whole country entirely. Are you blinded by prejudice or something like that?
11th October 2011

I support you
It is true what they say, truth hurts. And what is more hurting is most people who disagree with you does not even care our country is as sh*t as this. They just rant and rant and rant.
11th October 2011

As much as i want to disagree (or am i just in denial?), but all you just said are true. Don\\\'t get me wrong, i\\\'m proud to be a Filipino. But the Philippine government just suck. Poor urban planning, horrible traffic, flooding, worst airport... the list goes on and on. And it seems that the government is not doing anything about it. I\\\'m starting to think where the heck are the doing with our taxes. They should do some improvements to encourage people like you to WANT TO COME BACK to our country.
11th October 2011

SPOT-ON!
I would back you up BIGTIME on the issue about our Airport (Filipino here FYI). Since my first plane ride out of the country (or even way back when I used to pick up my Relatives coming back from abroad for a vacation), NAIA and MANILA has been unbeatably WAY TOO FILTHY and it keeps on getting to a level almost comparable to CHERNOBYL aka UNLIVABLE (not because of the radiation but because of being, if not one, the ONLY FILTHY CAPITAL CITY in ASIA (Been to HK, SG, MALAYSIA, CHINA and INDIA, THAILAND and KOREA). I live and work in Tokyo since 2004, and seriously, nothing compares (I would even say parts of New York is FILTHY compared to the land of the rising sun but MANILA *sigh*)... I mean, I\'m not complaining because I\'m in Tokyo, I was born, raised and lived in Manila until I graduated college - Proud City Boy - but like you, I wouldn\'t be so proud of the place, and like you, I wouldn\'t recommend it to my foreign friends here (definitely EL Nido, the rest of palawan, cebu and Boarcay but Manila....). Like many FILIPINO CITIZENS, there\'s no one else to blame but the POLITICIANS/GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS and their NEVER-ENDING \"CORRUPTIVE EXERCISES\"... I\'ll end my comment with that, because seriously, got no one else to blame... we don\'t have good leaders, all we have are hyenas, vultures and wolves, period.
11th October 2011

Hurts but true. It depresses me every time i go back from a trip. Mga kabayan, gising!!!
11th October 2011

From Blog:Manila awfully disappointing
Hi, I find your blog quite interesting. Your depiction of Manila (in particular) although lacking in the proper used of adjectives had more or less gave me a bird\'s eye view of the same city we visited in 2009. Me, my Mom, cousin and a classmate stayed in Makati for 3 nights and 4 days on our way to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Japan. I was a teen-ager during those days and was quite fascinated by the uniqueness of Manila. It is true the city traffic was dismal. But we foreigners, must not expect a foreign Third World country to be exactly the same as Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Street or Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, much more can\'t compare with Champs-Elysee Blvd. If that will be everyone\'s expectations, then, why visit Manila? Why not just stay home. It appears that you may have some business with the Asean Development Bank in Manila. With your connection with money, maybe, you could initiate that ADB should look closer into developing all the inequities you find disgusting in the Host country. Better yet, you could have asked an audience with the current sitting president of the Philippines so you could point out, how come his country had not risen from dire economic situation with comparison to other Asian neighbors like you said Phom Phen. As a young student, I have travelled almost every corner of the globe. One thing, I appreciated most and have left an indelible impression in my mind are the people who smiled at me, polite smiling kids wearing sleepers, and a young man who carried our luggage to the airport and refused to accept our tip. Those are the ones who impressed me during our four day stay in the Philippines. Try to appreciate the hospitality of Filipinos and everything else will be pleasantly memorable. I am a natural born American studying in Europe. Merci!
11th October 2011

Sad, but true
What I don\'t understand is why most Filipinos go up in arms when they read something like this, when it is all true. This blog entry is merely a statement of observation and facts. I\'m a proud Filipina and I say that this should serve as an eye opener, especially for those who react negatively when they should use the criticism to demand for change from the government and themselves. It\'s funny, too, when they\'re all hating on a foreigner saying bad things about the city when there are so many blog entries and tweets by Filipinos and Filipinas - some who ARE in Manila - saying the same things about NAIA and the horrible traffic. To the author: Thank you for not generalising. The Philippines is a great country to visit despite its flaws. Even Metro Manila has some hard-to-find gems if you have the time and patience. I love the country to bits, and I hope we can recover from this slump in the near future.
11th October 2011

manila
I agree with you, because this country is full of corrupted goverment officials like (gloria arroyo and family. fyi Discovery Suites ain\'t a decent hotel, alot of people doesn\'t even consider it a hotel. next time try spending more at the Peninsula or Makati Shang. cheers!
11th October 2011

I admire you\'re honesty and agree mostly on your comments about Manila. Although, I don\'t believe there is nothing worth seeing in Manila. You probably didn\'t get the chance to go around because of the traffic which is understandable. Being a Filipino, it is indeed very frustrating how bad and over crowded manila has become. I\'ve lived here all my life and have experienced first hand how worse its getting. But please be clear on your comments. The last part of your entry talks about the Philippines in general. I suggest you go around the other parts of the Philippines, you might be surprised to find how beautiful our country is outside of Manila.
11th October 2011

Everything you have posted is true and I commend you for the honesty and courage for you to be able to post this online. However, don\'t you think this fact is already known by everyone, especially Filipinos? The heartbreaking part in this story is that, it is our government that does nothing to bring back Manila to its glory days. Civilians are actually taking part in boosting Manila back to its former glory its just that, even for a democratic country, our voices are not heard. I respect your opinion and honor your views, however, this review only adds injury to insult. Don\'t you think that we, as Filipinos are also sad that our once, thriving nation is now nothing but an image of its past? Of course, we are aware of the situation that is happening here and I guess that most of the tourists/businessmen who came here has also experienced this as well, but writing a post on how awful a place is, though very honest, is saddening indeed. @AJ, hello kababayan. Isn\'t it best that you share your wonderful mind to your own country rather than have strong views on your motherland and then serve another one? And yes I am a Filipino, there are days that I don\'t like being one but instead of saying of how awful it is to be one, I do my best to help in anyway I can. By the way, I love your blog. :)
11th October 2011

You\'re just a filthy as your complaints. What have you done to help the world? You white people are so privileged I can\'t wait for the tides to turn on you. The problem in the 3rd world is always a direct result of Western exploitation of other nation\'s resources and labor force. You don\'t believe me, go read a book or two on industrialization and free trade. You\'re so smug. Get off your high horse and start packing. Go bring your smallpox back with you in wherever place you call home.
11th October 2011

hehe,, what u'v just said is definitively correct and i agree with u. keep it up..what u jst said about manila is the reality that the philippine govt needs to improve and start its long over due reforms. the airport for example is the showroom and first glance experience of what the country is expected to be. wow, in adequate, and often useless comfort rooms, some greedy immigration and airport officers who exploit people by extorting few bucks for their own goods, what a shame. awfully disappointing, i hope there will be a change for all the set backs and i just hope the goverment start implementing quality standard in all aspects.. thank mr. geoffrey from harvey g. lipa city batangas.
11th October 2011

\"P.S. No pictures because there\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\'s drab and dirty. \" that is something i highly disagree... have you actually immerse yourself in the platforms of the whole Manila???\" I\'m a professional photographer sir.... but i guess you missed a lot especially the fact that there is beauty from the \"drab and dirt.\" beautiful photographs does not necessarily mean is all about beautiful places.. but i do understand if you don\'t have an \"eye\" for that... respected
11th October 2011

I am one of those smart ones you mentioned who left the country. I am a Filipino. I love the Philippines. I love the Filipino people, but have no tolerance for the traffic, corruption, and pollution. It\'s sad that a long-time visitor like you to the country is able to come to the conclusion that the Philippines has remained steady or even deteriorated in the last few decades, while other neighboring Asian countries have managed to rise from poverty and improve the livelihood of their people. What\'s even a sadder truth is that the quality of the Philippines is due to corrupt, money-laundering politicians! Presidents, Vice-presidents, Congressmen, Mayors, Governors... you name it, they\'ve done it! I love the Philippines and will come back someday, but until then, I will live abroad where there is a government that will support me and I can earn a living for my family and save for my retirement. Good luck on your future travels.
11th October 2011

thank you for writing this. it\'s an article that i would describe as \"sampal sa mukha\" (slap in the face). i have been a resident of manila all my life and while i love it to bits and pieces despite its starkly obvious warts, something very drastic has to be done to improve it. what you said about manila being a dump (though it hurts to read it), well, it\'s true. just from the air before landing at the naia, one can see that blight is just all around dotted with some glittering buildings. flew to different provinces here in the phil and in other countries, and it is a pleasure to look out the window and see nature. i as a citizen here feel helpless at the direness of the situation. thanks again for this article and i hope that people would see this as yet another wake-up call for us to get our act together.
11th October 2011

illiterate?
who's illiterate between us two, can u speak filipino? do u understand when I tell u that u are bobo? I believe u still have to search for that in an english/filipino dictionary! such a racist huh?! May I ask u something, what is dirty for you? to what u see and smell? or to what u literally smell for me? U dnt take a good bath, u can stay stinking all week and even a month beacuse most of u are afraid to hit the showers! so who;s illiterate now? BIATCH! huh!
11th October 2011

Honest, but not brutal. For someone who lives here my entire life, it is so disappointing, even disheartening to see Manila (and even Baguio, which you mentioned) turned out this way... was talking with a friend yesterday as we were driving along EDSA and I asked, "Is there still hope? Seems we are living backwards".
11th October 2011

Duh!
thanks for the Insults!
11th October 2011

Spot On
You are going to get a LOT of hate mail for this, but not because you are wrong. In fact, I think you are spot on about Manila. But Filipinos value feelings more than the truth, which is why we will hate you for hurting our feelings, without even stopping to think if you are right. Hell, if a country issues a travel warning to the Philippines, the government will publicly cry their outrage and demand an apology, without even thinking what the reason is or to try to fix the problem. The airport, though inexcusable, is just waiting to bo converted to a domestic terminal once the new one (Terminal 3) is opened hence the hesitance to invest in improvements. A terrible legal problem has kept it in partial operation, which you can rightfully blame on the government. Then again, even domestic terminals should not be that terrible. In Terminal 1, you will notice that the MAIN arrival sections is only for VIPs and everyone else has to take extra steps to a smaller uglier arrival section. That I think speaks TONS about this country. When friends ask me where to go when they visit the Philippines, I just say try to get away from Manila as soon as possible.
11th October 2011

Not everyone with brains has left the country.
Well I agree with a lot of what you\'ve said about Manila being in the sorry state that it is... But I kind of took offense with what you said about \'All the smart filipinos having already left the country\'. Myself being a graduate of the country\'s premier university (no need for me to name it -- just that we are known as the \'iskolars ng bayan\' or scholars of the country) have chosen to stay behind and cherish and not only that but improve the country of our birth and our heritage. Yeah a lot of pinoys may have chosen the lure of lucrative lives and jobs overseas but there are some if not many of us here who remain. There are still many of us professionals -- doctors, engineers, teachers and what have you who are still here and still fight the good fight. So please do not look at us like that and neither should you look up to those who left -- cause quite frankly a lot of them are far more concerned about themselves than the nature of their nation, their people or some of them simply had no choice!
11th October 2011

Blop. The truth hurts.
I have just read this post and realized how sad the situation of the Philippines has become. (I blame the change in government. Voting doesn\'t really help in changing the country for the better good. It\'s main purpose is just to fill the next president\'s pocket w/ money.) Philippines has sunken down deep enough that probably even w/ the help of the US, it wouldn\'t rise to what it was way before government officials started being corrupt. (I have seen a picture of Manila from my grandparent\'s old teenage pictures and they look very clean and civilized. Imagine people wearing proper clothes.) Anyway, thank you for your opinion, some people are just too close minded to accept the hard, painful truth.
11th October 2011

I am a doctor living in Manila, a few kilometers away from ADB and Discovery Suites. As a person in the private sector, I agree with all your observations. I blame a series of corrupt, ineffective governments, I blame a self serving private sector, and perhaps a numb, helpless citizenry. I hate reading such reviews but I have to agree, most of it is true. I have travelled, perhaps not as extensively as you have, and every time I come home (yes I still call it home), I am hit with depression and recurrent disappointment at Manila\'s plight. Perhaps some will rage at you because really, there are still some good spots in the city, you just haven\'t seen it. It is not false patriotism, it\'s just that it\'s our country; and while a lot of the smart ones have left, there are still some of us smart ones who choose to stay. The Sampaguita Lounge really has suckish coffee and mediocre food. Every time I have to hit NAIA, I actually bring my own grind and a stainless Bodum french press so I just ask for boiling water. Like you and George Clooney, I am very particular with my coffee. As for The Discovery Suites, I will forward this review to them. May I suggest, the next time you have to stay in Manila, do try the Oakwood Premier just across from ADB? Drop me a line and we\'ll have the Oakwood people take care of you.
11th October 2011

I am glad to hear that you are voicing out your complaints. Unfortunately, the problem of our country is it\'s culture. A culture of corruption, a culture of complacency, a culture of selfishness and a culture mired in the false belief that we remain relevant in the region. A bulk of the population is living below the poverty line, and yet, the kilowatt per hour charge is the highest in Asia (according to a recent report). The largest distributor of electrical power in the country continues to raise prices, while at the same time, fielding a professional basketball team (do we really need the added expense?) And the government is not questioning this? Unfortunately, until more of the population is educated, we will continue to rely on the vicious cycle of exporting our talents.
11th October 2011

I agree with you, honestly. If anything, the people involved in renovations and upkeep should read your post so they know how it really is. They don\'t listen to Filipinos, so they might (MIGHT!) listen to a foreigner. That\'s sort of depressing, honestly. Manila is really a drab place and I think the only reason we see the beauty in this place is because we live here and have taken a long, hard look at it. But this is the capital of this country. I\'ve always thought we should have taken more care towards how we present it to the world. And no, I don\'t mean sweeping up the urban poor and dusting them under carpets. Nothing of that sort. I just wish the people in charge actually do something that makes people\'s lives better, makes the city habitable for everyone. This has been an issue for a long time but people in charge don\'t do anything about it. Sad. I hope your post brings that fact home to them.
11th October 2011

i have to agree that Manila looks so old, dusty and dirty. That\'s why Filipinos \"Go out of Town\"
11th October 2011

Please don't come back.
11th October 2011

Please don't come back.
11th October 2011

Ouch, but I can't call you a liar.
11th October 2011

Manila is disappointing but not awful. You travel extensively, but have never gone to all places on earth. Thank you.
11th October 2011

I completely understand your point in saying most comments are offensive and insulting that's why you won't publish them. Filipinos are close-minded and immature. They haven't fully accepted that what they see around them is the truth. The sooner they accept and admit that it is a shitty place that needs a lot of fixing, the sooner they might do something about it. They are in denial, still. I assume the comments they tried posting fall along the lines of being racist and such. Ha, speaks about their intelligence. By the way, to anyone reading this, I am Filipino, have lived in this country for 24 years. Don't call me unpatriotic or a traitor, it's better for someone of your own to point out your flaws that somebody else who just happens to come here on vacation. That's worse.
11th October 2011

---
you are absolutely right. i am filipino and i dread stepping off into Manila soil. I'd rather stay in the other cities- Davao, Cebu, Dumaguete. Manila is a sty.
11th October 2011

Your comments about the international airport are well-deserved. In fact, when it comes to that airport we deserve all the insults and vitriol tourists or travelers can throw at us. I also understand where you\'re coming from when you say we run things to the ground instead of building long term institutions. You shouldve added that we sorely lack a sense of history and heritage. And that\'s what\'s terrible when you look at Manila. In the years to come when Manila finally progresses (yes, it will happen), we might see new infrastructure, buildings and shopping malls and your preferred cup of capuccino (although actually theres espresamente illy and seattles best in naia 3) however, what you might not see is its history and heritage when more developed countries are scrambling to preserve theirs. I wish to point out that as tourism develops (yes, it will happen) hotels and hospitality businesses will improve correspondingly. You have to admit that when it comes to restaurants, Manila has already moved in the right direction. Lastly, your comment \"The rest were incoherent and offensive - which kind of makes my overall point. \" is really uncalled for because really, it doesnt make your overall point. Yes, Im Filipino too!
11th October 2011

THIS
You should have written constructive criticisms over Manila. I am from Cebu, I know some of your points are true and it pains me for its reality. But you can't just put down a whole country basing on your experience in one city alone. You should have written suggestions or anything useful that could help the city. Just like any other city in the world, Manila gives back what you give and it is a reflection of what you are. You have valid points mister, but it's like judging London only by seeing one place like Croydon.
11th October 2011

I get your point about the poverty and dirt and lack of fresh sandwiches and high-end coffee makers (it\'s nothing we haven\'t heard before, but seriously, you\'re complaining about coffee machines?), but that comment of yours saying that you haven\'t encountered any comments worth publishing because \"they have been insulting illiterate scrawls\" is just too much. It\'s not like your whole blog entry about the Philippines is polite, so really, don\'t expect polite, patronizing comments in return. Oh, and I\'ve observed that your English isn\'t exactly A+ either, so really, just please stop being so arrogant.
11th October 2011

As a young Filipino living in Manila
I completely agree with everything you wrote. And I know I'm not alone. There are so many other guys like me who are just fuming mad but are unable to leave due to lack of resources. Eventually people will get wind of this article, and holier-than-thou Filipinos will take arms against what you wrote. But you know what? They're the blind ones. They don't give a fuck about how bad Metro Manila has become for us. They're the ones who keep Manila bad because of their inability to take criticism well. Keep writing, good sir.
11th October 2011

Double ouch!! but sadly very true! Until the head of the government, the Department of Tourism and stakeholders in the tourism industry and the economy as a whole realizes these, the country will continue to backslide. If there is anything being done now, I am pretty sure they are all half-baked super expensive plans because of corruption. With the armchair head of state we have right now, I would not be surprised if the reports he gets are all beautifully painted...and so we continue to backslide...Ah! you got me started on my rants again. I am generally a positive person, but it usually does not work when I think of the realities in my country. =(
11th October 2011

I Totally Agree!
Many Filipinos whom I know are also very defensive. When you present them with the awful reality, their initial reaction would be (1) to get irritated, (2)offended, and then (3) attack. They believe that they are infallible. They do not know that the rest of the world is already thinking otherwise. You cannot say anything against them, or you would end up being publicly humiliated or \"crucified\".
11th October 2011

I've red a few negative blogs & stories regarding my beloved country...Oh well! Every person has the right to write on, express what they feel, comment & criticize and have their inputs...I hope this somehow is a wake up call to our Government Officials...We Filipinos are very emotional...and please don\'t blame us for being one...there are words that foreigners don\'t really mean that hard but we for some reason take every words literally....We overreact that\'s how we love our Nation...I have nothing against to say to you or to my fellow country men...Thank you for being honest anyway...It was said and done and I hope Government officials has the chance to read your Blog...GodBless you on your travel and God Bless Philippines....
11th October 2011

Though brutal, most of the observations you made are true. Manila is not pretty. Although there are a some parts of the metro that are okay. Should you have to come back, perhaps you can try staying somewhere in Bonifacio Global City. Though there aren\'t any hotels in the area yet, there are a number of \"condo-tels\" where you can stay. I know this does not address the entirety of the concerns you raised about Manila. But hopefully it will make your stay in our city a little more pleasant. I share your view that the government should spend more on basic state infrastructure -- a decent airport being one of them. I\'m sure you have heard of our Terminal 3. It just encountered some legal problems in the agreement with the foreign contractor. But it\'s now operational. Foreign airlines just choose to dock in Terminal 1 (the old airport you described above) because, apparently, they find the fee for using Terminal 3 rather too expensive. Hopefully these issues are sorted out soon. However, I would have to differ with your view that the smart ones want to leave, in as much as it tends to imply those who want to stay are not smart. Many Filipinos want to leave in pursuit of greener pastures. I make no judgment as to them. It\'s within their prerogative that I respect. With respect, however, to those who choose to stay, I would not exactly brand them as not \"smart,\" even by implication. Many of them choose to stay because they realize that the battle is here -- not elsewhere. In choosing to stay, they commit to making the Philippines, including Manila, a better place to live in, to come home to, and to visit (for foreign friends like yourself).
11th October 2011

sad but true
so sad,but quite true. when i go to the airport here in the philippines i often sadly wonder why the coffee, and even the water, is so expensive, and it\'s not even good coffee too. it seems they want to get the most from you while giving the littlest. \"exploitative, extractive\" economy seems to be good descriptions. but i haven\'t lost hope! underneath the grime, there are flashes of beauty, and i hope one day, this inside-beauty will rise up and renew the country!
11th October 2011

Hey you haven\'t seen the worse yet! Our government needs your comment. I will not apologize for any of your disappointment\'s. But I would like to accept it and dare my fellow countrymen to take it as a challenge for us to change for the better. There\'s no such a perfect thing nor people like us and so you, and so any country. I love the beauty and ugliness of my country..but not the attitude of the people that created a big hole that made it ugly. I will not trade better life from any foreign land. We Filipinos can still able to smile as we strive facing poverty everyday. If we were divided as we fall soaked in mud, I wouldn\'t leave due to that situation but instead keep pulling each others hand so we can unite as we stand. I love foreign/tourist that appreciated and love our country despite of ALL its deficiency. But then, we badly need your comment not for us to push us down but to take it challenge to stand up. PS: You don\'t need to forcibly stuck your ass in Manila. There\'s 7,106 island left if you decide to sneak peek some hidden paradise in universe. Manila serves as your black curtain for you to pull and to see a great show of nature.
11th October 2011

Filipinos, don\'t worry , don\'t even get mad either to this gremlin. He is just a writer of fiction anyway. Half truth, half imagination!
11th October 2011

I am a Filipino myself (lives in California), and find your article, hard to say, true! You didn\'t get the best side of Manila, but you didn\'t get to see the worst of it either. If you didn\'t like the place, I can\'t disagree - it\'s not the best. But you know what I\'m very proud of? The values. I don\'t think you wrote something negative about the values. Please don\'t think about the corrupt officials, I am not referring to them, let\'s not even go to politics (it makes me sad). I am referring to the ones you probably met, the hardworking, polite, kind and hospitable Filipinos. I won\'t call Philippines \"disappearing\" country, I strongly believe in Filipino\'s talent, all needs to be done is to utilize talents and put it to really good use. We both know that it takes time, but hey, last time you were in Philippines was 20 years ago, it\'s very possible that in next 20 years, Philippines is THE place to go. I\'ll cut this short, I would recommend, IF in any case you have the \"misfortune\" to go back to Philippines, bring a friend or befriend a trustworthy local. He/She will show you the natural beauty of Philippines. Like you said, go to places like Cebu, Mindanao --- but there are a lot nicer places to go to like Boracay, Palawan, Batangas and Puerto Galera. I would love to see your views about Philippines flipped. =) Safe trip!
11th October 2011

Probably
Hello! I\'m a Filipino and I\'ve been living here in the Philippines for almost 22 years since birth. I\'m not literally from the \"City\" of Manila but from Marikina City, get my point? To be honest, I can proudly say that my city is way better than Manila\'s City. Anyway, I rarely go to Manila because it\'s quite far and like you said, awfully disappointing. But not to the point that I could call it trash. The fact that Manila really needs to upgrade due to the lack of cleanliness and everything else that you mentioned, especially the airport part. I remembered the first time I went out of the country, we went to HK, so yeah, that was my first time seeing such a great and way better airport. That was actually the time that I realized how bad my country is. The Philippine government is actually focusing more on how to improve our well-known main attractions and beaches like Boracay and so on. They just don\'t really care that much about the country\'s main city which is actually wrong. About the traffic, I couldn\'t agree more. Even us Filipinos hate our undying hell traffic! Trust me, Manila is just one spot. I could say that heavy hell traffic is already normal in my country, which is just plain bad. Anyway, I really do feel bad about Manila but please, my country itself is not \"disappearing\" if that\'s what you wanna call it. Like you said, if others wanted to visit the Philippines, ditch Manila and just go to the hot spots. Manila itself might not be really improving a lot, but then again, I can say that my country has improved a lot in a lot of ways. Even my 78 y.o. grandmother said so.
11th October 2011

My advice, the next time (hopefully not) you visit my country, just stay in your room worth more than a $100/night, sit in your couch and drink your favorite expensive coffee, relax and enjoy while watching the strret children through the window that they cant even afford to buy food for their hungry stomach....rather than talking too much and expecting to be serve like a king.....how pathetic is that?
11th October 2011

first of all, I agree with what you said. You make an excellent point about the Philippines being at a development standstill. Yes, we do have a lot of potential but we\'re not unmasking that potential. I honestly think that we would have been far better off with Gibo Teodoro -- this is what it all boils down to anyway...a leader who sees the same potential for greatness. However, while I do share some of your sentiments, I have to say that Manila is not necessarily a dump, and that this is anything but false patriotism. I\'ve spent a good part of 2011 exploring Manila myself. I grew up here & even I am amazed at how much I still do not know and have not seen. I encourage you to do the same -- Ortigas and Makati do not do Manila any kind of justice. If at all. The smart ones leave -- yes. Some of them choose to stay behind. I don\'t think it\'s a matter of being smart. I think it\'s a matter of knowing where your heart belongs and even if that makes you stupid in the eyes of everyone else, it\'s immaterial. I also think that this could have been written in a manner that raises consciousness and not eyebrows. A lot of us out here remain open-minded but calling us a \"disappearing country\" is just out of line, in my opinion. Every nation has its ills, and I\'m sorry that ours are just too much for you to stomach, but please keep in mind that there is more to anything than meets the eye. While we\'re on the subject, perhaps you would consider going to Oakwood instead. I don\'t understand how you can stay in the same disappointing hotel over and over again, and actually write how terribly awful it is. The simple answer is don\'t stay there. PS - There is so much of Manila that is worth photographing. You just have to open your eyes to the little Manileno quirks. It\'s actually pretty damn amazing. PPS - On the whole, I have to give it to you -- you are spot on! :)
11th October 2011

It's ur opinion, I respect it. But...
Have you tried visiting other places in Manila like Makati or The Fort, Global City? If you\'ll see those places I mentioned, I guess you might write positive feedback on your blog. We have lots of 5-star hotels here in Manila because we\'re worth for investment. In fact, the newest, Shangri-la The Fort is being constructed. If you landed in Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, yes it\'s really old. But have you seen the Terminal 3, which is the newest one? Probably not, because you wrote all the negative comments you can about our airport. Do you have the figures to say that we have the worst growth in history compared to other ASEAN countries? If yes, every Filipino will salute and agree to you. The bases of your \"beautiful place\" is more of the food you can eat and the hotels you can stay in. But you haven\'t tried a lot of restaurants and hotels in Manila so how could you say that our place is awfully disappointing? just because of one or two negative experiences, you\'re able to generalized your opinion on our place? In terms of traffic, aren\'t you aware that even the rich countries are suffering from that? Hope that before you wrote your blog, you got to explore the whole Manila first because we have lots of awesome places, roads, food, restaurants, attractions, and hotels here. Plus, the Philippines has now an emerging economy growth compared to other ASEAN countries like Vietnam and Cambodia. Compare the currencies, and you\'ll know. Every country has it flaws, and try to think that your country is not an exemption to that! thanks. :)
11th October 2011

Hello
First, I\'d say my admiration of your bravery on posting this. Even though knowing there are hordes of filipinos who are sensitive from bashing their pride down. I\'d face the facts that it\'s true, but don\'t you think your reactions are way bit harsh? Well, even if you state these facts. I believe little or nothing will be changed. And I don\'t believe you haven\'t tried everything in Manila before you summarize it. About the traffic, I\'ve been in Bangkok, and never seen worse traffic than in Manila. There are two faces of Manila, you\'ve seen so much of it\'s ugly side. Now you wouldn\'t care to see the good side of it. There are lots of better and cheaper hotels than the one you stayed at. I just didn\'t like the way you discourage your readers with all your negative opinions in the end. I\'ve seen worse places than Manila.
11th October 2011

It seems to me that you\'re making generalizations about all of Metro Manila when you spent most of your time in Ortigas. NAIA, I won\'t even go there. We\'re all disappointed in the sad, sorry state of that airport. But really, you have the audacity to generalize Filipinos as smarmy, obsequious, and ingratiating? Largely because you were upset that your $119 \"hotel\" stay was disappointing? Please. Have a little shame. Everyone knows better than to stay at Discovery Suites. There are plenty of other decent hotels nearby. If you\'re so particular, maybe spring for Shangri-la next time, or at the very least, Crowne Plaza. You\'re a sad, entitled first world brat. Don\'t come back.
11th October 2011

somehow true
Somehow most of the things you've said were true. Heavy traffic, dirt and garbage are all over the place. Sometimes I really wonder, how did ever Manila be the capital of our beloved country Philippines, or maybe just because through time, people are getting more careless. The traffic... arrggghhhhh its getting worst and worst..... If you were to come back again here, you might just want to visit, Boracay or some other good places here like in Palawan and Davao. Seriously, there are lots of Good places here, but sad to say, I think the Dept of Tourism lacks promotion of these places.
11th October 2011

Suggestions
I would suggest next time you fly down to Manila, go stay in Roxas Blvd. Area, there is alot of budget friendly hotel there that will fit your budget. or try the Resort World, which is just infront of NAIA 3 and is very accessible if ur going to Makati, Fort Bonifacio and Ortigas as there are alot of alternate route there that has less traffic. Travelling in EDSA is not a good idea, especially if ur entering a MALL AREA like SM or Galleria Ortigas or Shangrila leading to Discovery Suite, expect heavy traffic! True, Manila could be disappointing, but it is still home to us Filipinos.
11th October 2011

I'm Filipino and I agree. In fact, I think it's an understatement. Manila is a greasy, filthy, slum-infested hellhole. There's nothing here but smog, provincial squatters, billboards, and malls. The parks have been cut down and the heritage sites torn down for "development". You could've said more about the blight rather than that overglorified hotel. That aside, good job, sir!
11th October 2011

For a close-minded old man, there's really nothing in Manila.
11th October 2011

Find other things to do in Manila
Maybe you should try staying in another place/doing other things in Manila? For instance, if you hate Ortigas, why not stay in Makati where the hotels are nicer (seriously, Discovery Suites?) and where you can visit modern art museums? If you hate filthy roads, why don't you roam around Bonifacio Global City where the infrastructure is first world? If you hated the old airport, why don't you take a Philippine Airlines flight so you can transit through the new airport? If you like things that are worth photographing, why not visit Intramuros, or the art deco buildings, or any of the colonial baroque churches scattered all around the city? And you're looking for shops you say? Some of the world's biggest shopping malls are in Manila. How could you have missed them? Maybe it's just a matter of finding what's good about a place. That's how most travelers do it anyway. I'm not even sure if you researched well enough about the places that are worth visiting in the city. And it's funny because I know a handful of people who came here from Europe/North America, and they were able to find things that are worth doing here. It's not exactly true either that the Philippines hasn't grown in terms of economy. It's average annual GDP growth rate is 7%, more than the growth rate of most developed economies. But of course, the problems you mentioned do exist. But still, I daresay it wouldn't help our city if you just categorically blog about Manila as not worth visiting when (in my opinion) you haven't exactly exerted enough effort to see the other side of it. And sorry, but I also think you shouldn\'t make generalizations about Filipinos. If you post an article like this online, you should expect to run the gauntlet of a lot of defensive people. That's just how social media works. If you criticize Michael Jackson, expect his fans to come to his defense. (Furthermore,you can expect a large percentage of those defensive people to be offensive, especially if you combine words like "obsequious," "awful," "dump," "ingratiating," and "smarmy" in your blog post. Lol). If you can find good things about Afghanistan, I'm sure you'll be able to find good things about Manila. Whether you\'re up to the challenge or not, you have to figure out for yourself.
11th October 2011

In my opinion, NAIA isn't really that bad. I'm from Cebu and i've been to Manila a few times, flown to few other asian countries. I don't really see anything wrong with NAIA, or maybe it's just me. But i have to say, once you step outside Naia, it is really stressful and depressing. Manila is a very disorganized place. It would really be very frustrating thinking about improvements. It seems hopeless, especially the traffic. But there are actually some other areas in Manila that are really nice and decent, like the Makati area. So i can't really say it's all bad. But still, i wouldn't live there... considering everything's more expensive than where i'm from. :)
11th October 2011

Philippines - Manila - Awfully Disappointing
a hard pill to swallow...I have to admit, I do agree with what you posted on your blog, I just wish that the Filipinos would someday change INSIDE, but I guess that would just remain a thought or dream especially with the degrading economy that we have....sad but true enough :(
11th October 2011

Admittedly, even as harsh as your words are, they are very true. It's really sad to see that the country is literally going to the dogs. The worse part about it is that we do have the capability to turn things around but the corruption around here is so so bad.
11th October 2011

Too Small A Sample
Hello, So you saw the old airport, had crappy coffee, stayed in a bad hotel, and went through horrible traffic and that made you write-off Manila completely? I say go experience the best of Manila before you dismiss the city (and the country) as hopeless
11th October 2011

Constructive
You want the truth?! You can't handle the truth!!! Hey Geoffrey, I have to say that the directness of this post may be too much for some to handle, but it may also be exactly what they need. Hopefully, more people take this as constructive criticism rather than taking it offensively as many might. Hoping your next stay in Manila might be more pleasant =)
11th October 2011

Thanks for being honest. There are indeed many great things and places in our country, but I agree, Manila is not one of them. I'm 25 years of age, but I do remember as young as 15, that I began wondering what happened to our country. We were number one in all of Southeast Asia, envied by our neighboring countries.. Today, we are being left behind. Now, there's too much corruption, poverty, people are undisciplined, crimes everywhere, pollution has worsen (especially in Metro Manila). It really is sad and depressing if you think about it. But until Filipinos can accept the truth, move on and do their part (including me of course) then that's the only time we can get up again and reclaim our former fame and glory. I love my country, I honestly do, but I'm not blinded.
11th October 2011

the truth hurts......for them fellow Filipinos
I understand where you're coming from. I grew up in Metro Manila and my work also required me to be in different countries so I can say that I also have the right to compare. Yes, I can say that I'm not proud of where I live in and what it has to offer and the very reason is the government that runs the country. - Filipinos hate corruption but tolerate it anyway. From citizens bribing cops for petty traffic violations to politicians bribing other government officials for their own good. Now if the government ain't corrupt, then people wouldn't be led into corruption. - They litter the streets with impunity, break laws/ordinances but look at them once they land into foreign soil....they become the best of the best citizens. Once they go back to the Philippines, they go back to their old ways. If the government has the political will to impose the laws like in other countries, then it would've been a lot better. - Facilities like airports not maintained? Government property. I'm sure they have the money but the bulk of it goes to the pockets of corrupt officials. - Hotels not keeping up with the world? Tourism fuels hotels and the government is doing a very lame job in promoting and taking care of tourism. Again, funds going to non-deserving pockets. If only we had a government not made up of aristocrats who enrich themselves and fiddle with the country's wealth, we would've been the same Manila during its wonder years which was the post-WW2 era. Yep, I am an island born Filipino.
11th October 2011

Exactly
I'm sure you're getting the bratty comment "well, if you don't like it here then you're not welcome" but for us regular travelers based in Manila, the wholesale neglect of this city's development and the mediocre attitude by people who are supposed to lead are a major embarrassment. Imagine how fudging depressing it is to depart from nearby Bangkok International Airport and land in that pigsty- every. single. time. Thank you for your post. You are definitely gonna get some media coverage in the next few days from the local press- and you're gonna get a fair share of dissing from ignoramuses. But I assure you a fair number of us locals are agreeing with what you wrote. I just hope the local tourism board, the monkeys that run the airport, the stakeholders in the hospitality industry and the freaking President and other high government officials who are whisked away in VIP-only areas of the airport reads this and maybe a sudden jolt of wisdom come their way. Thanks.
11th October 2011

I totally agree with your article. Unfortunately most people in Manila would rather get defensive and call you a jerk for not sugar-coating your criticism instead of having the balls to actually change anything. There's overwhelmingly so much problems in Manila that it's hard just where to start fixing. And the corruption in the local government does not help at all.
11th October 2011

The smart people have left...?
I can only disagree with your assertion that the smart people have left. On the contrary, they were not smart enough. And here I am not referring to them in general but to those who have had the talents and especially those who were educated in our public institutions. I cannot blame those who came from poorer families and had to find their opportunities elsewhere, but I do feel scornful of those who had the talent and resources to remain here but did not. I did hope however that the experience may have compelled you, sir, to do something more constructive than criticism or worse, bashing, which we always get anyway, not only from foreigners, but also from some of our fellow men. So to speak, no need to rub salt on the wound. Finally, I am sorry for those who reacted violently to this post. I am of the opinion it was written rather impartially. Have a good day.
11th October 2011

mostly true but still this is an
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11th October 2011

First - Manila is now the leading BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) city in the World, known as the \'Sunshine Industry\', and definitively outwitting India, China and everywhere - because of the high education levels and the high understanding levels and acceptable universal tone of speaking the English language. they reckon over 1 million Filipinos will be working in this Sunshine Industry by the end of 2012. Second - a whole new city within the city as part of Manila, at Bonifacio, has been built, and is still developing apace and is ALL state of the art and world class. Third - The Ayala Group are building like there\'s a new beginning all around the Central Business District of Makati City in the heart of Manila. The greenbelt area is absolutely World class and has been mentioned far and wide as being such by many commentators. Fourth - Condomania has become a trend, because people are buying residential property left right and centre all over the many developing areas in the Greater Metropolis. Fifth - Eastwood near Quezon City has become \'yuppy central\' with tremendous building of all types to suit the young up and coming professionals. Sixth - The International Airport has 2 major new terminals, which are a great improvement on the original one, and there is of course Clark Airport 1 1/2 hours north, which will eventually link up with the Metropolis, which already has a good highway built. Seven - Alabang now has a good skyway road all the way to a popular living area, allowing access to the Central Business District of Makati with a vastly improved roadway. Eight - there are many new hotels to choose from, some high class and bespoke for the more discerning business traveller. These are spread out in several different locations to accommodate the increasing number of business travellers into this definitive and dynamic city. Nine - a major financial house has declared the Philippines as one of the top 20 developing countries in the world. Ten - the Mining Industry in the country is booming and massive investments are being financed by major offshore companies from Canada, Australia, Britain and even the biggest mining company in the World from Brazil - Valle. Ten - A people friendly beyond compare! 11 - Addressing the winging eloquence of the Old Boy - colourful and chaotic is definitely a characteristic of Manila, but no need to stay in whiffy old hotels...hello...get out of your paltry boring routine and look elsewhere and seek new pastures...believe me there are plenty of them. But here again you seem to be dealing with bankers who are not the most adventurers types to say the least. 12 - Well then there is Britain and Europe..aren\'t they falling apart- I say old chap go back to your 200 year old pub and be a winging pom in the place that will most appreciate it! Stay at home old bean. 13 - What did Johnnie English say in the new movie when translating something like \"The British are very horrible...I mean very honourable\" Stick to your old guns chunky, after all we all know that you had a very long flight, a crap cup of coffee, a nightmare with the traffic and a very bad day - get some rest and don\'t be so smarmy next time around - cos you are missing out on a country going places and a people friendly beyond compare. It all a bloody good show over here old boy - Turn the key and experience it fresh and vital as it really can be. Viva Manila and Mabuhay to those who look on the bright side. After all its all in the mind in the end. After all we are told that \"the only journey is the one within.\" I do hope you enjoy your next time around.
11th October 2011

I'm from the Philippines, born and raised here. I love the Philippines and I\'m sad to say that what you wrote is so true. It\'s disheartening to hear it from a visitor of the country but for us to grow, we should accept what other people are saying. Those are hard facts and you\'re just pointing out what is obvious. I do hope the situation changes. Doctors, nurses, skilled workers, etc. are all going out of the country to seek greener pastures and that says a lot. I can\'t wait for the time when the country flourishes again and Filipinos would just stay here and contribute to the growth of the country. For now, I guess we\'re crawling like babies waiting for growth to happen. I\'m still being optimistic and I hope the next blog you have about the Philippines will be better. I hope you and I will still be alive to see that. :D
11th October 2011

As someone who has lived and grew up in the Philippines, sad to say, I do agree to everything you\'ve wrote. - Airport is STILL a mess - Traffic is STILL terrible - Economy is STILL bad - Government is STILL not doing anything - The never-ending war in Mindanao is STILL there - Poverty is STILL rampant There are STILL so many negative things left to say but, nonetheless, I consider this country as my home. I guess the only reasons why foreigners would love to go this country are because: - The stuff here are cheaper compared to other countries - It's easy to communicate with people since most of the people can understands/speak English - People are really nice (Well, people are usually nice to strangers anyway - try going to Taiwan or Japan)
11th October 2011

So True
This is a very honest review of the current situation in Manila. Some people might cry "foul" or "discrimination" or even "racism", but let's all be honest here; Manila really is in a sorry state. A lot of Filipinos live in a state of denial. Whenever a foreigner says something negative of the country, they immediately go on the defensive. Well the truth hurts. The Discovery Suites is actually in the nicer side of the metro. I am sure your views would be much worse had you needed to take the trains (MRT/LRT) or the buses. It would have been infinitely worse if you went to the poorer parts of the metro. Filipinos need to wake up. Our country was one of the most progressive nations in Asia. It is now a shell of what it used to be and it is continuing on a downward spiral. Articles like these should serve as a challenge to all of us. Thank you for posting this and I hope many more Filipinos get to read this. Hopefully each reader will act in their own little way for the improvement of our nation.
11th October 2011

Hi ! I\'m a Filipina and I would just like to share my two cents on this. Each and everyone of us has different opinions and views, so despite that I got a sad reading this blog entry, I still respect your opinion. You have shared a lot of sad but TRUE facts regarding Manila. Some people may have reacted violently about this blog post, but I hope will serve as sort of a wake up call for the Philippines or sort of a challenge to prove to the world that Philippines can be a better country or place to visit/live in; that it can keep up with its neighboring countries in terms of economic growth and development. My positive outlook is that - Philippines can still soar given the right people in the government and with a positive mindset for all Filipinos. Thanks! C
11th October 2011

Ahem
For a self-described intellectual you cannot spell Baguio correctly. Maybe you should step out of your hotel more. While I agree with the airport comment, your post unfairly sum up the entire city just because of one shit airport and a 119USD hotel (where I have stayed several times myself)? I doubt you would sum up Bangkok as a city of ping pong balls just because the ladies at Soi Cowboy shoot ping pong from their nether regions. I am quite surprised by your post, not something I would expect from an ADB \'consultant\'. I have quite a few of very good non-Filipino friends who work for ADB in Manila and adore the city regardless of its shit airport. Sweeping generalizations are not what an intellectual make. You are the disappointing one sir.
11th October 2011

please visit these sites getrealphilippines.com and antipinoy.com. check also for get real philippines and antipinoy crowd in facebook. I admire your honesty. I\\\\\\\'d like you to know that there are thousands of filipinos who think just like you. but there are hundreds of thousands more who are blinded by false patriotism... and MILLIONS who... just don\\\\\\\'t f*cking care. you can count the government in. I will post your blog in the facebook groups mentioned above. more power to your blog.
11th October 2011

Indeed!
I don\'t mean to offend my fellow Filipinos but I strongly agree with you Geoffrey! Areas in Manila needs to be rezoned to make it more livable. Too much traffic even on streets, sigh! Airport and public services are awful, more than awful and beyond! The government cannot even eliminate the squatters in the capital, those who migrated from countrysides to Manila. Twenty-minute rain = Flood!!! Everything you see here is dirty, ghastly and smelly, not unless you\'re inside Shangri-La, Sofitel, Greenbelt and the likes. And oh, have you tried the MRT and LRT (trains) yet? How about the smelly and super-aged cabs? A must-try if you\'re looking for more disappointments!!! I\'ll follow your blogs! :-)
11th October 2011

You know, what you have said is true. ALL of it :( I\'ve been fortunate enough to visit other countries, even some in Europe, and whenever I get back to Manila, arriving at the NAIA, I just instantly feel the dreariness of the place. Talk about first point of contact :( I\'m sure your blog entry will receive a lot of flak, but those will come from the uber-emotional Filipinos who are too proud too realize that we are sinking amidst the successes of our Asian neighbors.
11th October 2011

hi! if you\'ve been expecting to experience luxurious accommodation you should have checked in manila peninsula, sofitel or shangrila hotel... and may i ask where exactly in manila have you been to judge it as \'awful\' and say its dirty and the food is bad? let me guess, tondo. you should have ask the taxi driver to drop you at eastwood city or greenbelt, or glorietta. manila has alot of flaws but i would honestly disagree if it is being rated as \'AWFUL.\'
11th October 2011

i admit that you have valid points but some of them seem a bit exaggerated. 1. Manila itself is a shambles. The traffic is AWFUL - you claim to be a person who travels a lot, awful traffic is not and will never be something that occurs only in Manila. in fact, if i\'m not mistaken, it happens a LOT, mostly in busy cities. 2. an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left - while a part of our economy relies on remittances by our countrymen abroad, it is not the end-all and be-all of our economy. you say you\'ve been coming here for many years, you should have noticed that. and not every smart person leaves this country and not everyone who leaves is smart. there is so much more to Manila and our country than what you have posted. i feel sad that in the many years that you have been coming to our home, you have failed to see that. you have presented valid points, and many of us share SOME of your sentiments, but you put things in such a bad light.
11th October 2011

I\'m not surprised you\'ve gotten a lot of unprintable comments; perceived slights get a violent reaction here. I\'ve lived near Manila, and there\'s nothing you\'ve written I could disagree with. What the Filipino people don\'t seem to understand is that whatever else they have to recommend them and their country, a lousy first impression ruins everything. And for that matter, that an honest opinion from someone who is very familiar with the country and has had an opportunity to observe it over a long period of time ought to be taken at face value.
11th October 2011

proud to be filipino
i know you said that you\'ve been in and out of our country for quite sometime now, and that what you\'ve posted here (it\'s your blog after all) came from what you\'ve experienced and you\'re just airing out your opinions, still it hurts most of us, filipinos, to read them. you see, manila maybe dirty, our country maybe far behind from other asian countries around us, economically, financially, even the modern comforts (like good quality airports, updated hotels, good roads with less traffic, less garbage) and all other things that you may find distasteful in our country, it\'s still our country. we may have the corrupt government there is but most of us true filipinos try our best to make our country as beautiful as it can be. sad that you\'ve only seen the surface of manila. there are a lot of beautiful places here. aside from baguio, boracay, cebu, bohol, davao...aside from all these other places here in the philippines. manila, old and yes dirty in most places, but it\'s full of such awesome history. historical places, good food, cheap hotels with good service, all you have to do is look. but obviously you haven\'t done that, despite of your claim that you\'ve been in and out of our country for a certain number of years. your blog post came across as if you\'re generalizing all filipinos, the entire manila, and almost the entire philippines. perhaps this is the reason why you got a lot of violent reactions. see, you didn\'t like it, it grates on you. same with us when we read your blog posts. think before your click. or perhaps, make sure that whatever you post, regardless if it\'s your blog or not, just make sure that you don\'t step on anyone. after all, who are you to judge us anyways? you don\'t have the right sir. sad but it\'s your loss, not ours. and if you think that manila, philippines is the bottom of the bottom for you, them perhaps you should take your business elsewhere, hmmm...
11th October 2011

Thank you.
Thank you for being honest.
11th October 2011

Another Filipino's Viewpoint
Hi Geoffrey. Well written post for telling it like it is. I\'m Filipino and have been living in Manila all my life and agree 101% with what you\'ve written. I grew up in Makati but now live and work within Ortigas Center which is where the ADB and Discovery Suites are located so I know of what you speak of. I could go on and on about what\'s wrong with this country and especially Manila but there are other capable minds (such as yours) who can offer better insights. The biggest problem of this country can be distilled into one word - politics. To my mind, this is the root cause of all our failures as a country (and its people) and I still see no light at the end of a long tunnel. Some of the well-educated minds at ADB can probably attest and explain this to you in more detail but I think you get my meaning. I hope your blog serves as a wakeup call for other Filipinos who can appreciate the truth behind what you\'ve written and finally get around to doing something about it.
11th October 2011

I already wrote a long comment/argument to dispute all your angst against Manila. But then, how can I dispute your article when it is your personal experience that you are writing about? So I deleted it. But there are a few things I would want to say, 1) maybe you should change hotel when you find yourself in our neck of the woods. You are obviously dissatisfied with the old hotel and that area offers a lot of hotels that caters to foreigners and businessmen. 2) As you have been coming to Manila for more than a decade now, I find it impossible to think that you do not have local friends (real ones and not those \"obsequious or ingratiating\" people you seem to encounter) Maybe you should get them to bring you to the new places, you might be pleasantly surprised on what they can offer. and 3) Yes, we have a shitty government. all I can say is, It\'s a learning process for us. It maybe a slow, painful and frustrating process, (we are, after all a democratic country where everyone has an opinion on everything) but we will eventually get a government that we can proudly look up to. Those of us who are smart enough to CHOOSE to stay will make sure of that. And eventually we will get that old NAIA airport renovated and the traffic sorted out.
11th October 2011

I really don\'t wanna bash my own country because I love it here but unfortunately, it is the reality here. :( I have been to Singapore and Hongkong and I can\'t help but compare. Indeed, Philippines is much left behind.
11th October 2011

I agree with the first commenter--it really is an ugly city. The false patriotism doesn't help; it just allows for more corruption by communicating that we're dumb enough not to notice that our tax money is going nowhere.
11th October 2011

I\'m born, raised, living and writing from Manila. Good points! and well taken!
11th October 2011

Generalizing
I understand where you're coming from but from the looks of it, you haven't explored much of Manila and it is so unfair to generalize. This, I cannot accept ---"P.S. No pictures because there's nothing worth photographing in Manila, it's drab and dirty." Although Manila has full of flaws, it has its own beauty and pride! And to say that the Philippines is a “disappearing” country? You don't know what you're saying. Please don't take this comment negatively as I only wish to clear the blur on your mirror. Saying all these things just because you've had a bad experience to a certain portion of Manila is not fair. I hope you realize that. -From someone who loves his own country.
11th October 2011

Truth hurts---as cliched as it may sound. I'm a Filipino, a very proud one, but I sadly have to agree with you on this one. It should be a wake-up call for us. Like you, my job as an aid worker allows me to travel a lot mostly to least-developed countries. And I can't help comparing the Philippines with its south-east Asian sisters. While its neighbors are busy climbing up, the Philippines is sliding downward---hopefully not to oblivion. I appreciate your writing this. Sometimes, we need someone to look from the outside to see the mess inside. I just hope that we will have the audacity to accept truthful criticism and not let our pride kill our already-dying country.
11th October 2011

I understand where you\'re coming from but from the looks of it, you haven\'t explored much of Manila and it is so unfair to generalize. This, I cannot accept ---\"P.S. No pictures because there\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\'s drab and dirty.\" Although Manila has full of flaws, it has its own beauty and pride! And to say that the Philippines is a “disappearing” country? You don\'t know what you\'re saying. Please don\'t take this comment negatively as I only wish to clear the blur on your mirror. Saying all these things just because you\'ve had a bad experience to a certain portion of Manila is not fair. I hope you realize that. From someone who loves his own country, Jaypee David, blogger of enjayneer.com **Please disregard my first comment. I needed to repost it due to some connection errors.
11th October 2011

Reality hurts for most filipinos.
Hi Geoffrey! thanks for telling the facts because it is true,where filipinos dont accept it because its the reality and that is the problem of some filipinos, I am filipino working in abroad and been to other places..its so disgusting and so shameful for us, when you compare Manila in other city in Asia its so disappointing to think that Philippines before is progressive than any other asian countries..Philippines particulary Manila has no changes and in fact it is so populated and pollutions shameful...Iam from Cebu, eventhough it is a small place but at least not as crowded as Manila and not that polluted..by the way thanks for the blogs i hope Filipinos will accept the reality where they came from...
11th October 2011

As a Filipino born and bred in Manila, your post is hurtful but you do have valid points. I don't live in a dream world, I know Manila has lost the splendor it once possessed. But at the same time, you can't call the entire place a dump. Granted, it has its faults, many in fact.. But to generalize the whole place as wasteland is a bit much. Like the other places you mentioned in the Philippines, the National Capital Region of the Philippines is also broken down into cities. There remain hidden gems and I guess only a local would know about. It is very unfortunate that you had such an awful experience. Hopefully, one day you can dare come back and see improvements or at least come back to visit the other regions if NCR is too offensive for you.
11th October 2011

i hope our people in our government reads your article, in the hope they\'ll do something about your observations. about the airport: yes - NAIA 1 - (the oldest airport, which almost all airlines use) is a dump. no doubt about it. we have far better airports than that. NAIA 3 for example, or the one in Clark, however, due to the usual government blunders, there is still pending case re: NAIA 3 and Clark is just too far. I really hope myself they stop using the old NAIA. on the city itself, yes, i cannot deny that while we put on the facade of a skyline of buildings in Makati and Ortigas, the reality is that poverty is just worsening here. I am a filipino and i often say that i love living here in manila and will not live elsewhere permanently, your comments do hit a nerve, but i just think to myself that we should look at it as something to improve on.
11th October 2011

generalize
You said you should not generalize yet here you are generalizing about such a large city. First, the airport. What do you expect to find in an old terminal. Try terminal 2 and 3. Secondly the hotel, what do you expect to get from an old one? Its like trying to say Manila does not have any good hotels. You can visit any other city in the world, even in your shiny first world cities, and find a dump. You are just staying at the wrong places and seeing the wrong scenes. Manila does have her flaws (which city does not have one?) but she has her good sides as well.
11th October 2011

generalize
You said you should not generalize yet here you are generalizing about such a large city. First, the airport. What do you expect to find in an old terminal. Try terminal 2 and 3. Secondly the hotel, what do you expect to get from an old one? Its like trying to say Manila does not have any good hotels. You can visit any other city in the world, even in your shiny first world cities, and find a dump. You are just staying at the wrong places and seeing the wrong scenes. Manila does have her flaws (which city does not have one?) but she has her good sides as well.
11th October 2011

well, if there\'s ONE thing missing in the Philippines...it must be discipline. When our people lost this, everything else came fumbling down. But thanks for your post. Though i\'d have to say, there are still some good things in Manila.. just not as good as before. Things can be way better.
11th October 2011

Bad luck, maybe?
Hi there! I\'m sorry if your stay in the country was below your standard. Living in Manila myself, I have encountered many of the things you have mentioned. However, I would just like to balance things out a bit. Regarding the airport, from what I know, NAIA has 3 terminals. You might have had the misfortune of landing in Terminal 1 as this is the oldest terminal. I recently went to HongKong via Terminal 3 and it was not bad at all. In fact, it was great. Everything was new, clean, and systemized. I can\'t argue with the fact that the old terminals should have been updated to keep up with the times, but I want to point out that there have been progress as well. You just might have missed them. About the coffee, there are crappy coffee shops in any country. In you want good coffee, grab a cup from Starbucks (or Seattle\'s Best, or Figaro, or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf). They\'re everywhere. I haven\'t been to Discovery Suites but I\'ve recently stayed at Sofitel and their service is superb. If you have the \"misfortune of coming back here\", you might want to try that place out. :) On the subject of shopping, the country has developed a lot of new and BIG shopping malls. You probably did not visit Mall of Asia, Greenbelt, TriNoma, or SM North EDSA. Finally, though big part of the population demands for progress without getting off their couches, some are still actively trying to \"create the change we want to see\". There are still a handful of \"smart people\" who have not and will not just pack up their bags and leave this mess we call our country. The force is weak but there\'s still hope for the Philippines.
11th October 2011

I do agree with you up to some point -- traffic, pollution, etc..but sorry, yes, call it false patriotism, but probably you also haven\'t seen the other side of Manila. There IS a good side. And though Filipinos have got a lot of work to do to \"emerge for the mire\" we\'ve sunk into, I hope we will. I don\'t think it\'s impossible. I do hope your post will be one of the instruments to wake the sleeping government and both public and private institutions. And lastly, I hope that someday, when you come back to Manila, you will glimpse the other side or at least see that things have become better.
11th October 2011

thank you
Yes. Thank you for posting this. I am a Filipino (and unfortunately still living here in the Philippines) but I don't live in Manila. I live in Marikina and though it's not as 'developed' as Manila, it certainly is much greener, cleaner, and definitely not congested, not to mention the people are more disciplined and civilized. People who have been to Marikina 15 years ago will definitely say that there are A LOT of changes (good ones) in the area. But the Philippines in general is as you say "a disappearing country" and that\'s a very scary thing to admit for a Filipino like me. Sure a lot of foreigners visiting for the first time will rant about how much they love the Philippines, but they were not here 15 years ago, or 25 years ago where everything is still grand and divine. I thank you because I can share this post to as many people as I can. I don't know if that would even do a tiny bit of help to this falling country, but as a Filipino I feel this is the only thing that I can do to spread awareness. I am a 20-something woman who aspires to leave this country and live my precious years abroad but there's still a part in me hoping and wishing for a drastic change to my beloved home. Again, thank you for the reviews. :)
11th October 2011

While I do agree that some parts of Manila are drab, it\'s not a total lost cause. I do agree on NAIA, though - get out of there as quickly as you can. For a hotel, you might want to check out Crowne Plaza Galleria (roughly the same distance from ADB as Discovery Suites). It\'s newer and provides better service for roughly the same price. As for places to go to, I suggest you go to the Fort Bonifacio district in Taguig - that\'s where all the new development is (especially in the Bonifacio High Street area). Manila may not be the best place in the world, but I\'m still proud to call it home.
11th October 2011

Sadly, I agree
As someone who has lived in Metro Manila for a long time, I cannot agree with you more. 1) The traffic has indeed become worse, invading even the side streets. The population surge (caused in part by people who move to Manila to have gainful employment), the lack of respect for traffic rules, the road constructions and repairs that always seem to start during the rainy season as well the changing regulations all make for an infuriating commute. So hard to accept that if one takes the bus on EDSA, for example, you need at least an hour to travel 4 to 5 kilometers. It\'s really disheartening. It\'s a simple problem that we never seem to be able to solve. 2) Discovery Suites has stayed the same and has become a shadow of what it once was, also true. There are better business hotels now (which I hope will be maintained well). 3) I love my country but I\'m not one to sugar coat its problems. It\'s because I love it so much that I stay, contribute my time and talent to its economy AND demand that our government do something. It is one of my fears that someday, I will lose hope in the Philippines, give up and join the diaspora. Kudos for your honesty. I believe that if we Filipinos continue to be blind to the problems of our country; we are making matters worse.
11th October 2011

Hi! I do agree with you that Philippines has been, over the years, deteriorating. Once the Pearl of the Pacific and the Pride of Asia, it has now been over taken by its neighbors who have experienced wars and repressions as last as 1990s. I also admire you being forthright and calling a spade a spade. Unfortunately, when we leave governing of countries to politicians with vested interests, countries invariably \'disappear\'. Younger generations of Filipinos, me included, have seen what you have seen and are working towards improving the state of our country. We might be able to change it overnight, you might be able to encounter Filipinos who bash you and hate you for writing the truth but the younger generations are open to your insights. We want our beloved country to be great again, as it once was. Unfortunately, it will be a long process. We might stumble and fall along the way, but we will never stop trying to improve and make our country better... Once again, thank you very much for having the courage to speak the truth and break the stupor that Filipinos have fallen into.
11th October 2011

Sad but true
Good day Mr. Geoffrey, The article you wrote about Manila is depressing, no doubt about that. I am a Filipino and I live in Manila, I can deny as much as I want that what you wrote is not true, however deep down inside even I a Filipino am ashamed to admit how low our country have fallen. The corruption in our country is so bad that everyone is no longer afraid of breaking the law knowing that they can fix the problem with the proper price. The thing is our government knows the source of our problems, but they just provide a solution that would last for as long as their term lasts which is roughly 3-5 years. You stated that the smart ones leave Philippines, that is true again sadly, the smart ones know that there is no future for the Philippines anymore. Salute to you sir for courageously posting stuff like this.
11th October 2011

The Good and the Bad
Interesting post and I applaud you for blogging exactly what you feel. You come from the point of view of an international traveler, coming here for business and with that, I see where you are coming from. Manila has nothing to offer travelers anymore. Most of its it\'s neighboring countries, even cities, offer much more bang for your buck. Funny thing is, I wouldn\'t want that to change, not yet at least. Lack of development also means good small-medium local business opportunity with much lower entry costs. It\'s all about perspective - another man\'s trash is another man\'s treasure.
11th October 2011

Thank you!
I am a Filipino leaving outside the country now, and I can see clearly what you\'ve pictured. A blind eye, I think, is the problem not just the government has but most of us Pinoys too. To quote a famous political leader, “What the country needs is not a change of men but a change in men.” - People are thinking about nothing else than profit ($$$) that they just forget the more important things. Even local media vie for non-sense television shows when back when I was a kid we watch educational TV programs...sad but true. And yes, I always get disappointed at the NAIA...especially all those dues you pay that other countries don\'t have...they say the fees are for the betterment of the airport (been paying for 9 years) but the airport is just the same...lol. In any case, visit other parts of the Philippines as you mentioned and do write your experience there too. :)
11th October 2011

To be honest, I did get hurt, because let\'s face it, this is my country you are talking about, and I think everyone has the right to that, however, you sir have valid points. Manila is indeed crumbling, I just wish that the people in charge of the country, and even it\'s ordinary citizens realize that, before it becomes too late. Forgive me for the term, but this \"rude awakening\" of yours is maybe what this country really needs. Kudos to the courage you have for publishing this post, at the same time apologizing for the offensive comments you\'ve had received from my fellow men. Publishing a post that is not generally pleasing is bound to give you ugly tirades, but that doesn\'t mean that you don\'t speak the truth. I just hope that if ever there comes a time that you will need to visit this country of ours again, you\'d have a different and a more appreciative blog post about it. Good day to you sir!
11th October 2011

Thank you for this interesting post. I\'m a Filipino and I have to agree a hundred percent with everything you said, especially the airport which is an absolute disgrace.. like holy ****. It\'s really sad for people like me who travels to other Asian countries because we realize that our own country is a huge mess. Might I suggest that you visit and enjoy places like Boracay before the country sinks off the map though. Really beautiful beach.
11th October 2011

Most if not all are aware of the sad truth that you\'ve written about. Speaking for myself, I am sorry that you encountered such awful experiences while in our country. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call to those-who-can-make-a-difference and do something about it. There are still those however that believe that the Philippines is not yet a lost cause. They are working towards positive visible sustainable change. Hope you\'re still around to enjoy it when it happens. :)
11th October 2011

Your post is misleading and inaccurate
Your comment on the lack of re-investment from the private sector is misguided. Don\'t let your experience at a single hotel cloud your judgement. While the Ortigas area you stay in may show limited progress, the opposite can be said of the Mall of Asia, Makati and Fort Bonifacio areas where there is a construction boom. Two new 5 star hotels will open up at the Fort soon, while a new stadium is being built at the MoA complex (among many other developments). Admittedly, the growth and development of Manila has not matched that of our asian neighbors, but it is certainly not deteriorating into a pile of garbage as your post suggests.
11th October 2011

hey
I hope this is a good sample for us, I'm really sorry of what you've been through while on your vacation here, All of that you've said is true.
11th October 2011

It's
It's too bad that you had to experience the worst of the city. Although it is true that Manila is nowhere near the economic & developmental ranks of our neighboring countries, not all of it is, as you coin it, a dump. The same way you refuse to generalize an entire country by one mere city alone, I think Manila cannot be generalized for merely some parts of the whole, and the same goes for the people living here. Believe me, I am no patriot or eager nationalist, but I think it\'s a bit presumptive to think of the entire people as a smarmy, obsequious lot, when truly, the world sees \"Filipinos\" this way as a result of caricatures made out of the actions, words, or politicking of the \"few\" who we were misfortunate enough to have been represented by. London was, for a time, seen as anarchistic because of the riots, but wasn\'t that a case of misrepresentation by a troubled few, as well? I can\'t say how extensively you\'ve gone around Manila, but I, speaking as someone who is not the hugest fan of the city either, hope that you, and everyone else who might read this or feel the same way about their experience in or perception of the city, won\'t stay jaded about this place forever. I know the streets are not as sparkling or decongested as other more \"developed\" countries, but there are gems (often of the hidden, hard to find kind) here. No doubt it will take a while for our government to pick themselves up and straighten themselves out, all the while citizens like me can only submit humble li\'l comments on scathing blog posts like this--and as I\'ve seen from the comments above, I\'m sure there are those who speak without thinking and only deepen the indentations of your negative feelings toward us, but I hope I was, in some measure, able to voice out a more rational side to things, and that one day, should you find yourself traveling back to Manila, you\'ll find something positive to say or photograph.
11th October 2011

I agree.
Yeah, what you have said is true. And AJ is right, false patriotism is all that is left of our once lovely, proud country. Manila is a dump, as well as some parts of the country, mainly because of the people running it. Isn't it sad?
11th October 2011

True, but please, don't generalize.
Good day, Sir. I must admit that the Philippines has indeed lagged behind on a number of things.Quezon and Ortigas are difficult to get through, and indeed, passing through the crowded streets is a daunting task, no matter what nationality you are, no matter what country you\'re from. However, I\'d like very much to say a few things, because this article, while citing very concrete points, are a tad too exaggerated, and what\'s worse is that you imply in your comments that we are an illiterate people. It is offensive for one who loves her country dearly to read this and see the entire nation painted in a bad light when really, what you\'re angry about is Quezon City and Ortigas. I know that you mentioned foregoing Manila to head off to Cebu or the other places, and as a Cebuana I am glad for that, but the fact that you had to make it seem like the entire Philippines is like this was a little uncalled for. \"The smart ones leave the country\", you say. Alas, our country suffers from massive brain drain. The smart ones leave; but the truly smart ones, the ones who love their nation enough to rough it out and make concrete change instead of leaving for a quick buck, stay. Indeed, the state of our more populated cities is dismal, and the poverty and overpopulation situation is alarming, to say the least.The rest of the Philippines, however, is not like that. Perhaps if you took the time to spend more days in the other places, for leisure of course, and not business, then maybe your views of the rest of the Philippines will change for the better, and you will know to choose your words more carefully when writing a scathing review of a place. Thank you very much, sir. I may carry a different passport, but my love for this country has solidified my decision to stay and help change this country for the better, once I finish university. Your words have shaped my decisions, and who knows, one day you\'ll hopefully see a brighter Philippines and you\'ll know that despite your acerbic post, you helped initiate it. Have a good day. P.S. I recommend Richmonde Hotel, near Discovery Suites. Much better service, you\'ll adore the bed, and the breakfast buffet is pretty good. A bit more pricey but not bad at all.
11th October 2011

Sigh... depressing how criticism and opinions of others are bombarded with harsh attacks.Most Filipinos need to accept the problem and focus on how to adress it. Problems are adressed with quick fixes and the whole of metro manila lacks basic urban PLANNING.
11th October 2011

not all the time :D
http://www.facebook.com/philbeaches
11th October 2011

Disappointing!
I'm a Filipino still trapped in the Philippines. I was able to go on an out of the country tour when i was young but the funny thing was, I missed the Philippines and nothing beats living in a country where you were born, so I went back. Honestly, I agree with you. I've been living all my life in Manila and it's obviously disintegrating. But, note that if you are a traveler with lots of money and WILLING to spend it here, then I'm sure you won't be seeing the things that has disappointed you. Why? There are lots of other hotels here even with the same rates with Discovery Suites, that has awesome amenities, great service, delectable food, brewed coffee and can be compared with hotels in Bangkok, HK etc. Discovery is an old hotel. They went cheap and unprofessional because they can't keep up anymore with the rising of far more elegant yet cheap hotels. If I were in your position, I would have requested a meeting with the Resident Manager or the highest high so i can tell them my sentiments and observations. This way, they're alarmed and might be willing to change for the better. Of course, they wouldn't want their hotel to go down. But, it's just me. You're a foreigner, we don't expect you to help us "know" what's need to be known. As for the airport, oh well, taxpayers money went kaput as well as the budget, therefore, renovations and beautification is well, a far fetched dream now. This post should be an eye-opener for us Filipinos more so for those who are involved in Tourism. One foreigner's revelation is something that should be not be disregarded. For Pete's sake, Manila is the capital of this country! and this is outrageously disappointing!
11th October 2011

Manila
I understand everything you have said and as a person who lives here in Manila and has to survive the daily, harrowing journey over traffic and flood and filth, I get your point. I would only hope to say that Manila is not a city for the quick traveller, for the impatient or for those who are rather busy. In many ways, it is not a city for a traveller who swings by only to leave within the next 72 hours. Manila is a city for the patient, for those willing to bear with a little traffic, a little inconvenience to get to the nice shopping centers - Greenbelt, Glorietta, Serendra/High Street or Eastwood. It even takes a lot more patience to discover the little art enclaves, the flower markets and the antique streets with the hole in the wall cafes. The people here, once you get to know them, are some of the best in the world. I know that because I\'ve met a lot of foreigners in college, most of them from Europe and most of them haven\'t left the Philippines since. I hope one day, you travel here again and you meet some pretty awesome Filipinos who can show you what living in Manila is really like - where the best food is, the best art, the best shopping and everything else. If you never get to that, then, I would think it would be a sorely missed opportunity. And because Filipinos are always gracious - Salamat at Mabuhay!
11th October 2011

Welcome to Manila! Hehe.. =) We\'ll Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been renovated for a couple of years ago.. Which terminal have you been? About your coffee at the airport is true.. But there\'s Figaro and other cafe in the airport at you could buy a good coffee, not those cheap awful coffee... As for your hotel stay, have you complaint to the manager or gave your opinion about your stay? Base on your story, you have been a loyal customer of the hotel. But there have been much better hotel you could stay in $119 is considered cheap for a stay in Ortigas now a days. Traffic eh? Can you imagine about the population growth in our country ever since you\'ve been here? About the shops and amenities you\'ve been telling, there\'s a lot of great place in Manila where you can dine and shop without a hassle. Filipino people and our economy. I think you have been generalizing about the people. Our economy have gone really bad since the 80\'s, there\'s a lot of filthy political here. It\'s like a decease, a cancer maybe? Manila is a CRAZY city. There\'s a lot of people going in and out of the city. But I LOVE this place! Don\'t be offended but maybe it adds up with your age that you don\'t want too much of the crowd and buzzling traffic and you said that your not a backpacker so wouldn\'t appreciate the hassle of the city. I know and met a lot of foreigners like you that LOVE MANILA as much as I do. It\'s sad that you only saw the bad side of the city. It\'s nice that you\'d still appreciate Cebu, Mindanao and other provinces. A piece of advice, stay on a different hotel try something new! Manila is a HUGE CITY!!! You could go somewhere else where has a GREAT HOTEL, RESTAURANTS and CLEAN surroundings. DO NOT STAY ON ONE PLACE! DO NOT BUY CHEAP COFFEE!!! (hehehe) Specially cheap coffee in the airport those 30 pesos per cup! That\'s an instant coffee were you can buy for 5Pesos per sachet! If you have a complain about your stay in a hotel, PLEASE approach the front desk or a duty manager so they could help you! Instead of complaining after your stay. You may just google out a better place in Manila were you can enjoy a great stay. About our economy and government. We can not do anything about it! If there\'s a chance to win the presidency I\'ll let you know! Hahahaha.. Kidding aside, Manila is a great city you just have to dig in it. As for you, you may just go to the provinces of the Philippines where you can enjoy a peaceful place and relax. Thank you for your honest opinion and comment. I feel sorry for the bad experience you had in our country and other people you have met here. Thank you for appreciating other places like Cebu, Mindanao and Baguio. Have a nice day!
11th October 2011

eye opener
I'm amused about your comment about most of the replies you got were incoherent and offensive. Most of us filipinos would rather backlash at a comment rather than recognize what the problem is. We would rather get up in arms and beat our chests because of our filipino pride. We get comments like these about pur beloved metropolis all the time and these are way more sound than some of the other stuff said about manila. My take is, we filipinos would take offense at a criticism rather than see the real problem than do something about it.
11th October 2011

booo
if you have nothing nice to say then better shut up. Your mouth is stinking. awful words.
11th October 2011

yeahh
yeah. this is true.
11th October 2011

I have lived in the Philippines all my life specifically Manila yet I find what you have written to be true. You have spoken what some or few Filipinos have been thinking. When you look at our neighboring countries you\'ll see how they\'ve striven to pull themselves up since majority of the business do thrive on tourism. Our country seems to be going the wrong way, instead of trying to keep up and allow more people to have job opportunities the country is being plague by corruption, poverty and violence. I think we have lots of opportunities to make up for and unless our government and the people around starts to take notice of what we are lacking then unfortunately even if you come back 15 or 20 years later we are still going to be where we are or much worse, while the rest of the world advances on. As what was said in the first comment the people around seems to have a delusion that all the malls, skyscrapers and fancy hotels are what makes a country thrive. I hope blogs like these would open their eyes to what we are truly lacking and what we need to take action on. Thank you for your honesty.
11th October 2011

Don't give up on us just yet!
Before I start addressing your post, I would first like to address your replies to the comments thus far. I agree that Filipinos in general can\'t take negative feedback and are one of the most sensitive creatures in history. We take offense too easily and lash without thought, restraint or in most cases, sense. We often mistake being onion-skinned for patriotism. For this I apologize. Now, moving on. Yes, most of Manila is in shambles. A result of imbalances in many sectors but I\'ll digress if I elaborate on this any further, besides it may be misconstrued as me making excuses. You are on point with most of your observations but I MUST contest the \"quip\" about us being a disappearing country. How can I agree to that? Right now, people that feel the same way I do are fighting the tide, few as we are... we represent both hope and the struggle. We could use people, not just from my country, but from all around the world to help. Your post is actually helping in a round about way. More than informing/warning foreigners away from here... I actually I see your post as a slap in the face for my countrymen... everyone could use a good slap every now and then, to wake-up to their senses. My country is on the verge of development, we are in our own version of the dark ages as of the moment, every developed country today went through their own versions before they got on track, so what I\'m getting at is bear with us a bit, yes we are getting there slowly but we are getting there.
11th October 2011

I hear you and I agree with manila boy, you get what you paid for. I suggest next time browsing the internet or inquiring the locals is the best option.The same applies with traveling in other countries. As for AJ, my advice is to review your choices, what and where you from. It\'s been years when was the last time you experienced Manila.
11th October 2011

hasty generalization?
hi, i do agree, but i think it was unfair to generalize manila in general. you stayed at one of the business districts in manila therefore expect the traffic to be present. discovery suites does not live up to its name, heck it isnt at all famous for its hotel rooms. it is mostly utilized for business meetings and corporate events, if you noticed, they even gave a portion of their tower for commercial purposes. you should have stayed at the astoria in ortigas, or in the crown plaza to get your moneys worth. i do agree on some points, but i think having to describe the entire place as darb and dirty is a bit unfair. try visiting the Fort in Taguig and see if it matches the description that you actually gave, which is also part of manila. your points may be valid, but they do not make and describe the entire experience of manila. just a thought. thanks
11th October 2011

True.
As a local who's lived in this country since birth, I have to agree with your stand on the country. The Philippines has been left far behind by other countries in Asia, and has not progressed in any significant way since I was born. I'm sure you've received numerous hateful messages because of the content in your article, but I can tell you that you are absolutely right. Many are too blind or ignorant to see that this country is headed towards self-destruction. As a local, I sincerely thank you for writing this article. People need to read this and know that this is the truth, though unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that will ever happen.
11th October 2011

thanks for making it clear about manila. i totally agree with everything you wrote. i'm from davao and it's happening in my hometown too. people from luzon are moving to mindanao and does the same thing. what's sad is that our culture is really sick and i already lose hope. i don't have that feeling of security.
11th October 2011

Sad But True
What you said is honestly quite hard to digest even for me but reality is just reality. Can't deny the truth. Been living here in the Ph for the rest of my life and although I have no plans to live in another country, I myself is trying at my own means and ways to shed a little enlightenment with my country men. Why? It's sad to say that a lot of us are still stuck with the old mentality. I'm hoping and doing my part for change because IT'S ABOUT DAMN EFFIN' TIME! Wake up and stop being complacent fellows!
11th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino and I am very ashamed. All you said are true. If only I could do something. If only I have power and authority... I\'m also wondering where the International flight Travel Tax - around 1670PHP I think - goes. And why NAIA Terminal 1 hasn\'t been developed yet. Several decades ago, Philippines is one of the most affluent countries in entire Asia. One proof is that Philippine Airlines was Asia\'s first and oldest commercial airline in Asia.. But where are we now? The situation of the Philippines is comparable to Discovery Suites. It was okay before, but corroded in time. Stagnated. Don\'t tell me the TV is still CRT and not wide screen? You really did not deserve to be treated like that. $119 is already a huge money. I still have hopes however that the Philippines will still emerge, one day. If I\'d become the President maybe. LOL If you\'d still come back stay at Oakwood instead :)
11th October 2011

I want to Travel Around the Philippines Except Manila
I live in the island of Cebu and without any biases, it's a nice place to live. I have been to places around Cebu, Bohol, Mindanao, and Boracay this coming November but I have no plans in going to Manila even though there are air fares that are offered for less than $10 from time to time. I hope they are going to overhaul Manila from the airport, to the streets, all the way to their accommodation because honestly, they are left way behind in terms of tourism compared to other islands in the Philippines.
11th October 2011

though i don't agree with the tone of the article, i do agree that we as a country are being left behind and the government isn't helping at all. that being said, i do disagree quite profusely that Manila as a city has nothing of value to present to you as a traveller. as you pointed out, in terms of aesthetics or culture or what have you. you mentioned cambodia's great restaurants and hotels, well we actually have those in abundance over here. I would know, being a bit of a foodie myself. maybe Manila caught you on a bad day (or week) but it certainly has a lot more to offer despite the disenfranchised nature of our economy. but i agree, the traffic is a pain in the ass!
11th October 2011

For a supposed \'economist\', I find your comment about our \'economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left\' quite ignorant. We have a thriving BPO sector that contributes significantly to our economy. Not to mention, sectors like Real Estate, Mining and Tourism that will boost it even further. Perhaps you weren\'t aware that the PSE was the top performing stock market in 2010. You would\'ve made 58% if you invested in it last year. Or the fact that our economy has been growing while the rest of the world\'s happens to be contracting. ADB\'s headquarters are here for a reason or maybe you are just too stubborn to appreciate that. Manila is not a perfect city. London wasn\'t too crash hot during the Industrial Revolution. This is where we are right now; our own version of the Industrial Revolution. London still is considered quite dreary in the 21st century. We are a work in progress and we will become a better city. Equating your experience at Discovery Suites with the state of hotels in Manila is another display of ignorance. Perhaps a visit to Resorts World which houses The Marriott and Maxim Hotels is in order. While you\'re there; cross over and have a look at our new airport. And one more thing, give me Filipino hospitality and courtesy any day! I\'d rather have that than having to listen to another ungrateful and \'whingeing pom\' like yourself. When we do become a great city; please do us a favour and head off to Kabul. Your negativity and ignorance would be appreciated over there.
11th October 2011

yeah manila sucks. the government sucks. all the politicians run for position to siphon all the country's money to their own pockets. they shouldnt be public officials, i hope all the corrupt die as soon as possible. other parts of the country are lovely though, especially the beaches, some of the world's best.
11th October 2011

Comment on the article
I would not go as far as saying that there's nothing worth photographing in Manila. It's not all evil my friend. But you\'re dead right on a lot of things,. The airport, economic development and the traffic, definitely the traffic. If you'd be able to wander off south of Manila, you\'d find industrial eco-zones that are at par with global standards. Commercial establishments in Alabang, Laguna etc. Away from the congestion of the metropolis manila but still part of the NCR I might not agree completely but thanks for your insights and sharing your experience. This should serve as a wake-up call to everyone. especially government officials
11th October 2011

Depressing.
I wish people would take all this criticism and actually work on bettering the nation instead of reacting so defensively when someone says anything negative about the country. Unfortunately it seems to be the knee jerk reaction for most Filipinos. I\'m pretty sure you\'ve had to moderate a torrent of angry replies to this entry by now, and for that, I apologize. Here\'s to hoping people\'s eyes will be opened by this post, but I\'m doubtful.
11th October 2011

I do apologize
Hello sir.Well Truth hurts as they say. I\'m a Filipino still staying in the Philippines not in Manila though im in Cebu...Everything you have said is true and im ashamed about this.Thats one of the reasons i did not accept a better paying job in Manila.Id rather stay in Cebu than work in an over crowded city.Hopefully things would change when you comeback in our country.
11th October 2011

hey! i think your article is right. it is really depressing for me as a citizen to see Manila crumbling like that and i can't do anything about it. maybe it is because of our government who are wasting time and taxpayers' money passing unnecessary laws that will not help on rising our economy as well as to alleviate poverty. also the people who lives in it are not really urbanized in the sense that they keep throwing their garbage everywhere. i think the problem is deeply rooted to our culture, being "masinop" or thrifty which is good. but sometimes it is not because they are not thinking of the long term effects of it. however, im still positive that these problems will be solved at the near future. there is a cultural lag that is happening. hopefully we will overcome this on our own not with the help of some foreign country intervention ideologies. but thanks for giving that outsider's view, hopefully this will be read by those crappy people. err
11th October 2011

sure, you didn't generalize.
Your post is mostly about NAIA (granted, that\'s true), bad coffee and discovery suites. You go to the adb from your \"awful\" hotel which is just hop and skip away. You caution your readers from generalizing but did exactly that by saying Manila is a dump with your minimal exposure to a limited area. I would love to hear your other comments on other areas in Metro Manila - since Manila itself is a entirely different city from where you stayed - to say that you have not been generalizing?
11th October 2011

A little one-sided
I have lived in Manila for most of my life. Your observations are spot on.... But, a bit one sided. There are 3 airports in Manila. Two of the three are ok. The one you used is 30 years old and is really in need of a refresh. Discovery Suites is a bit tired. This reflects management of the hotel rather than anything else. There is a fairly new Oakwood right across ADB and a Shangri-la nearby. In 4 more years a new Marco Polo will also open. The city is in the midst of development... a lot of hotels are going up. I know of about 10-15 hotels going up in Metro Manila. Oddly, I have been to London twice. The hotels we stayed at are worse than any hotel I have stayed in the Philippines. I would be happy to stay in a $119 hotel in London that is the quality of discovery suites. It really was that bad. BUT, I am sure that had I gotten local input, I am sure that my experience and views of the city would be different. I can say the same for the US, Japan, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Australia, etc.. and other countries I have been to. In short, great review, I agree with you. But, there are 2 sides to every coin. :-)
11th October 2011

Sad as I am to read this, sadder still is the fact that I cannot tell you how often I have expressed these same sentiments myself. I am still hoping for change, but I am not holding my breath. I apologize for the \"insulting illiterate scrawls\" you have been getting - I find it difficult to believe that anyone living in Manila does not share or has not shared at least one of the thoughts you expressed here. I hope that you find a reason to come back and give us the opportunity to change your mind about Manila.
11th October 2011

I am not surprised with your remark about the comments you\'ve received but did not post. As a Filipino myself, I see first hand how easy it is for my countrymen to blow up over any and everything that is insulting to the country or the Filipinos. The funny thing is, they probably know there is truth to the insult. Many Filipinos are quick to complain about the state of Manila, the country, the life here, our government officials, so on and so forth, but when someone else tells them the same things they moan about.. oh boy. It\'s really quite sad since the country has the potential but it is never been able to break away from the cycle of problems that has been plaguing it the twilight of its glory days. I hope that one day soon someone\'s negative perspective of the country would be taken as a reality check, instead of an insult and something constructive and LASTING would FINALLY be done to harness the country\'s potential.
11th October 2011

As a Filipino living in Manila, a large part of me is itching to disagree or even cry out in \"righteous\" indignation. Sadly but maybe fortunately, the rational part of me is still lucid enough to see things clearly. I can probably nitpick at your article and look for things I could prove wrong but doing so would be counterproductive and any argument I could use would just be sugarcoating the awful and bitter truth...that Manila is indeed a dump. While I recognize that changing things is an almost insurmountable task, there are things that can be done. Poverty and corruption cannot be dealt with easily but even simple things like pocketing small bits of trash and throwing them in the right places could really do a lot to make Manila more livable. If only all 94million residents of the city did that. This maybe wishful thinking on my part but I\'m not asking for large scale sweeping changes. Just a little bit (even just a teeny weeny bit more) of discipline could go a long way in making the city cleaner or reducing traffic jams. *long sigh* Some days I just wanna pack up and leave too.
11th October 2011

try makati or fort area
have you tried going to other places like in makati, global city in taguig, resorts world in paranaque? i think its unfair for you to generalize that Manila is ugly and everything. Our malls are waaay better than the malls even in the US or HK for that matter. And our restos/bars are way cooler than the bars in SG or Bangkok. Im not an expat myself but I travel a lot and been to most cities in Asia and US. I do agree with you though that Manila needs to clean up and traffic has to be improved but with Skyways, new SLEX and NLEX I believe were getting there. I hope you give credit where its due,. I love Manila! and there\'s no place like home bro!
11th October 2011

Good Day Sir, I have just read you blog. I felt sorry for what you have encountered. I don\'t think something is wrong on what you have written, this is the truth and what is really happening in our country. I just hope more tourist like you will go and write on stuff like this on how manila has become so that there will be an awareness on our people and most specially our government. I love my country, but there\'s just too many corrupt people in our government and they could care less. Shame on my countrymen who will find this blog insulting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Manila (I hope just Manila though).
11th October 2011

DAMN YOU!!! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO WRITE ALL THOSE THINGS?! IS YOUR COUNTRY THAT PERFECT?! DON\'T COMEBACK HERE ANYMORE IF ALL YOU CAN SEE AROUND ARE THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF OUR COUNTRY!!! ALIENS LIKE YOU ARE NOT WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY!!!
11th October 2011

I\'d like to defend my country but what\'s written here is all true. And I cannot just blame it on the corrupt government for even the people, everybody in one way or the other is contributing to corruption. Well I guess this is but a hard lesson for us all.
11th October 2011

Thank you for your honesty. I am a Filipino and though this stings alot, this is true. Bitter reality. I agree with you that the provinces have much to offer than Manila. Me myself I don\'t want to settle in Manila for good. Thank you again. This calls for us Filipinos to help and improve our country.
11th October 2011

Words from a Filipino
As much as I would like to defend and say nice things about my country, everything you\'ve said is right. I do like to travel as well. I\'ve gone to a few places abroad such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. While I was at these places, all I was thinking to myself was, \"what would the foreigners think and feel about the Philippines?\" Your blog clearly pointed out some of the bad things one can encounter in this country, but these are just a few from what Manila has to offer. As an 18-year old Filipino who has lived here all his life, I am truly ashamed of what the Philippines has turned to. I am sure that most Filipinos think the same as well, but not everyone will want to admit it. I\'m sure that all Filipinos will want to fix our very own country but with the way our country is being run and with the way some Filipinos themselves are acting, it would be pretty hard to change it and improve. In behalf of the whole Philippine nation, I\'m sorry to disappoint you, but I do hope that when you come back next time, our country will be a completely improved Philippines.
11th October 2011

Sad But True
Just came across your blog and I must say, what you have written regarding Manila is true. I worked there for 8 years and I have never considered Manila a clean, safe or \"pretty\" city to begin with. Yes, it is historic, but it really is a dump. It is time for my fellow Filipinos to realize that the \"premiere\" city of our country looks like a polluted,festering boil in the face of South East Asia. Your article made me realize that moving back to Davao City (Mindanao, Philippines) was one of the best decisions I ever made. People from Manila might consider that as \"moving back to the Boondocks\" but if that means having clean air to breath, being able to drink water straight from the tap and not get sick, have one of the lowest crime rates in the country (which is ironic...), great schools to choose from, and live in a city that doesn\'t look like a garbage dump site, then I\'m proud to be living in the \"Boondocks\". My fellow Filipinos should swallow their pride and stop living in the past. It\'s time for the residents of Manila as well as the Government to realize that they have to seriously start rehabilitating the city. Because all the beautiful history of the city will be lost if they neglect to take care of their city.
11th October 2011

Hurt, but in agreement.
Thank you for being very honest. I agree with you, Manila is no longer the great city it once was. While of course, many other people would point out to the burgeoning \"mall culture\" and \"condo lifestyle\" as examples of improvement, I would say that Metro Manila (not just Manila itself) should be more coherent in how it improves itself. In terms of the past, I am utterly shocked at how some historical landmarks have been torn down or renovated beyond recognition -- if they haven\'t been abandoned outright. It\'s a crime against Philippine culture and history. As for the future, it\'s a shame that politics and business hold sway over city development in a negative manner. Let\'s not even get into the attempts at tourism. The traffic situation, too, is a total embarrassment, as at the heart of it is plain corruption (and the attendant lack of discipline, both for law-enforcers and law-breakers) on many levels. I wouldn\'t say that the Philippines is a \"disappearing\" country, though I admit it that the \"bright future\" will belong to generations ahead, not this one or the next. I firmly am beginning to believe that the Philippines, as a country, should be shamed into improving itself, shamed past the point where the knee-jerk defensive reaction can effectively uphold mistaken pride. As a hardworking Filipino living in Metro Manila, I can still see glimmers of what was the Grandeur of the Capital - but what I hate about it is that so many people cling to those little glimmers without realizing that if they love the city (and the country, by extension), then pride is not enough - they should work hard in their own ways to make it as it was again.
11th October 2011

Root causes well defined
\"Where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region.\" and \"...there has been no re-investment in the country, neither by the public sector (hence the terrible airport facilities), nor by private industry. People might build a hotel, but they run it into the ground rather than trying to build a long-term institution. Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy, not one where people want to build sustainably long term.\" ...are passages that all those who want a better Philippines should take to heart. Your critique isn\'t anything new (many Filipinos are aware of what you\'re saying one way or another), but I\'ve never seen anyone define the root causes of our country\'s problems so well.
11th October 2011

This really is quite true. I\'ve been around for 20 or so years and in that short amount of time the place has degraded drastically. Wonder what it must be like for those who have been around for much longer
11th October 2011

What people are too polite to say about the Philippines
...and how the misguided \'patriots\' defend it by hook or by crook. Face it, Filipinos - your country is terrible. The rich get richer on the misery of the poor and middle class. Corruption from the lowliest clerk to the highest officer. It\'s terrible. We Filipinos ride on the coattails of Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco and Apl.De.Ap but do not make an effort to work as hard as them. These people are not successful because they are Filipinos, they are because they worked for it. Manila reflects the mediocrity of the Filipino as a whole. And it\'ll only get worse.
11th October 2011

True
Hi, what you have written is mostly true. The Philippines has let itself gone to shit. All the improvements that the government or the private sector is doing is mostly just cosmetic. Basically, they just want people to think that they\'ve done their part by appearing to have at least \"tried\" to make a change. I believe that the people who are in the position to actually do something are selfish and incompetent or are, at the very least, outnumbered by those kinds of people. Most Filipinos just find someone to blame for whatever is wrong and don\'t realize that they themselves have to help as well. It\'s no longer a question of finding the right leader, it\'s making the general public do their part to improve the country. There are so many problems here in the Philippines and probably the best way to solve them all is to start with smallest one and then try working on the bigger ones after. I don\'t think the Philippines is going to change anytime soon given the type of people in the country right now.
11th October 2011

Sorry, but I think you just went to the worst parts of Manila. If you want comfort in your hotel, then try the Marriot (one of the best hotels in Manila), Peninsula and others. Seriously, Discovery Suites? It is considered as one of the low-end hotels in Manila. Next thing is the airport. Manila has 3 international airports. NAIA, NAIA2 and NAIA3. NAIA, we even Filipinos thinks it is the worst airport in the world. But please, have you seen NAIA2 and 3? Yes we accept the fact that we are one of the worst countries in the world. And we take that as a challenge. But your comments are inappropriate. Who are you anyway? Just an average man with enough money to travel. if we only knew you are here, we should have asked the Tondo boys to rob and kill you. They can do that in flash, so beware! we got your photos scattered around the country. :)
11th October 2011

Sad but true
I totally agree with you. I live in Manila and there is ZERO economic planning whatsoever. It doesn\'t help that every administration always tries to undo what the last one did because \"they were bad\". And it\'s not just the government\'s fault (People always blame the government for corruption), but the people are also at fault. It\'s the whole culture of bypassing laws because \"we\'re family\" (figuratively) and people not following rules because it\'s inconvenient.
11th October 2011

If you\'re going to the Philippines again, fly with Cebu Pacific or PAL, they are the one using the good airports.
11th October 2011

I hate to admit it but it\'s really true.been travelling for quite some time now and i still see the philippines as a wonderful place to visit and even a country to be proud of.with that, i thank you for sparing the other cities.manila surely is super saturated already....i checked in at discovery suites before, and my oh my!!you were right about the vintage tv set! :( it just makes me sad because everytime i See travellers giving negative comments about the phils, i really fight back.guess this is really an eye opener. Anyway, you should also visit bacolod city. It\'s the cleanest city in the phils and the city of smiles.youll get a lot of warmth there.the food there is great too! Thanks for being honest.i know that once these issues of yours will be resolved ( which i doubt will take a LOT of yrs) you will love manila again. cheers!
11th October 2011

agree but not totally
I lived in Manila all my life and I agree with you in every thing you said. But just to point out, (I believe you also said it) it\'s not the whole Philippines that\'s disappointing. There are other places here that can be worth the time. Reading the article in a broader perspective, let\'s you imagine that the Philippines itself as a country is disappointing. Maybe you could just change the title or just emphasize that it\'s only Manila that\'s disappointing. Maybe that\'s why you are receiving tons of \"hate\" mail because of that.
11th October 2011

Hi there Mr. Geoffrey. I am a filipina and I live in the Philippines since I was born. Although some of your comments are a bit offensive, I still respect it. I admit that my country isn\'t that good, and maybe that\'s because of the government. The leaders of our country are too corrupt and they even don\'t care about their country. How I wish we have good leaders.
11th October 2011

For a Filipino, it hurts to read what you have said. But I have to agree with you and you know what they say, \"the truth hurts.\" I worked for a couple of months outside the Philippines and every time a foreigner asks me what is there to see in the Philippines, I always tell them about the places in the provinces and not Manila.
11th October 2011

Hey, Filipino here. You\'ve made a lot of good points that I agree with. The only thing I really disagree with is this: \"My suggestion if you want to see the Philippines: get through Manila as quickly as you can, it has nothing to recommend it. Go out to the islands, Cebu, Mindanao, up to the cool of Bagio and see the people in the countryside and some of the spectacular scenery. That’s probably worth the trip. Otherwise pick almost anywhere else in Asia and you’ll get a better deal. \" There are some nice places and things to do in Manila. Were you able to really look around, or at least ask people where to go to in Manila? (I feel like you didn\'t get to. Have you been to Intramuros, at least?) Plus, it\'s also a matter of what interests you -- if you\'re looking for particularly scenic places that feel and look vibrant, then I agree, maybe Manila really doesn\'t suit you. If you\'re a shopping-mad lady (which, as I can see from your photo, you are not), Metro Manila\'s a great, great place to visit. There are also some good restaurants and other places you can hang out in, but again, it really depends on what you expect from a place, or what interests you. As for the hotel... Probably time to check out the other ones, in case you go back :) With regard to the negative feedback you must be getting, I wouldn\'t really think much of it. A lot of people refuse to see what\'s in their faces, and in fact, it\'s reactions like this that fuel people\'s faux-patriotism out of nowhere until they form an angry internet mob. (It\'s a totally normal human reaction.) Lastly, what does a faux-economist do in ADB, by the way? (Just curious.)
11th October 2011

I too
I, also have been there recently after more than 5 years of being away. I feel what you say regarding the airport. There is a more \"modern\" terminal but its exclusive to the flag carrying airline. I am unsure as to where you went in your stay in the country - but there are nice sites to see, places to be and better food to smell. Was your trip purely business and restricted to the Manila area? You seem to know a lot of other places to see. In defence of Manila, there are places which are worth going to - maybe much more difficult to find and will depend on your purpose of visit - hence I asked if it was purely for business. Undeniably, there are many things taken for granted and not maintained at all; but there are also new things to see and try. Were you given the luxury to see any of these places? Nonetheless, it pains for me to say you are right in most aspects. It will be up to the people to actually understand the predicament they are in. Which is either to do something about how other people perceive what was taken for granted or pile another building to cover it up.
11th October 2011

SIGH
I hope that more people will get to read this entry and that it will reach people who can really do something to address the points you have addressed. I am not going to be naive, though: those people probably still won\'t and dismiss everything as unfair and untrue. It makes me think: do they see differently than we (the rest of Filipinos and the rest of the world) do? I am Filipino, by the way.
11th October 2011

I would have to agree with everything you wrote in this entry. I am a Filipino myself so I would know. I kept nodding the entire time I was reading this post - finding myself in agreement with every little statement made. I could not be sadder about this but it is what it is. The country\'s hopeless in every single aspect. There is no way out of this and the sad thing is some people force their eyes shut and ignore the harsh reality. In the country there are only three strata: one, the elite who have the biggest lands and properties in the country (only about 5%, I can imagine); two, the middle class who struggle to keep things together on a daily basis (about 20% at most); and three, the poor who will always depend on the government\'s hand me downs and blind faith. Living in the Philippines is only a good experience if you\'re one of the richest in the country. But even the smartest of the richest people go out of the country in search of a decent life.
11th October 2011

Half Hearted
Hi. I got the urge to read this blog of yours because people have been ranting about it on Facebook and many are hurt by the words you used. I do see your point of view, for I have worked in Singapore before and that place is the epitome of discipline and cleanliness. But I chose to go back to Manila because nothing beats your own turf. As an architect, its sad to see a gloomy Manila. How I wish we had beautiful buildings, world class infrastructures ... but we don\'t, and it frustrates me. Even Satan would give up on Manila traffic ... i\'m just used to it. The NAIA Terminal 1 is a historical structure and made by a National Artist, so tearing it down is not the solution. But the interiors can still be revived, and the system too. Discovery Suites, they tried to renovate (a couple of rooms on the 6th floor) but they didn\'t have enough budget for the whole building. Yes, we do not the have the money to give Manila a make over, because most of the money goes to corrupt officials\' pockets and bank accounts, but we have to live with that fact. Of course, i do not agree with everything you said because I still think we have some of the best beaches in the world. We can\'t just focus on Manila, we have 7,107 islands. And i bet many of these islands are worth praising. I do suggest, go to Siquijor, its majestic, not as glamorous as the Caribbean but it will still give you the R&R you need. Filipinos go to other countries because many think they will be better off there, but also many work abroad because of love for their families who are struggling here. And ask every Filipino, we do not want this kind of 3rd world way of living, we know we can do better and we deserve better. I think a blog like this may enrage our kind but its an eyeopener to make ourselves better and show to the world that we can make a change. It will never be an overnight thing to make 80 million people work their asses off ... but it wouldn\'t hurt to pray that maybe someday we will live in a better Philippines. Some pieces of advice Sir, change your hotel (there are lots of better hotels out there, I could even give you a list), just buy from Starbucks or Coffee Bean for good coffee, make sure you have good music in your iPod to relieve you from stress on Manila traffic and make time to visit Siquijor (i can give you the resort\'s name), its a beautiful island ... there are still places, things and people in the Philippines that are worth being proud of and are even better than any place, thing, or person in this world. :)
11th October 2011

it would be great if you posted the offensive comments as well... some people take them for good comedy ^_^
11th October 2011

Hi! Everything you have shared here about Manila is true. This is caused entirely by so much corruption in government, lack of discipline among its citizens, etc., but please don\'t get too upset on your visit. Manila is just one city in the Philippines. You are correct in saying that if you want to enjoy the place, check the countryside and you\'ll discover how magnificent our natural resources are and get to experience the diverse culture and traditions of the Filipinos. I truly appreciate your article concerning my country. You are just being honest and I thank you for that. God bless...
11th October 2011

I live in the Quezon city area, and I for one, has had enough of the metro. Every day all I get to see is the same kind of scenario, terrible traffic everywhere, rude and dumb drivers and the likes. I feel that this country has lost its sense of direction. Nothing new, everything is just going downhill. I do hope it changes, but I really doubt it.
11th October 2011

Thank you, Sir, for your candid post. It\'s a wake up call to a lot of people. I\'m 22 years old, born and raised in Manila, and I envy the version of this city that my elders would always talk about, which I never got to see. I hope you\'re wrong, though, about there being no hope for Manila to emerge from what it is now, because I don\'t like it any better than you do. I for one am hoping to someday be able to do something about it.
11th October 2011

Hi there. I\'m guessing a lot of my fellowmen and women are getting mad for what you\'ve said. Interestingly, if this article was written by a Filipino living here in Metro Manila, then a lot would actually agree. And I think that\'s a sad thing. Accepting direct criticism from foreigners is something pretty difficult for many of us - especially since we\'ve gone through years of imperialism. A lot of people here don\'t like the idea of anyone meddling with how we do things (especially to those who do not like neoliberal views or any view posed by Caucasians imposing their \"whiteness\"). This makes the task of acting upon such valid criticism like yours even more difficult. But honestly, I\'m over history-based hurt and issues. Instead of getting mad, I think we should be making things right, and by we I\'m referring to our government and business sector and citizens, especially again, to those like me living here in Metro Manila. It\'s not just for you, but also us locals. Proper sanitation, working amenities and great customer service - not just in hotels, but EVERYWHERE - are what we all deserve, not just here in Metro Manila or the Philippines. It has nothing to do with impinging upon our culture. Those things are standards for BETTER LIVING, so I hope we all take note of this commentary and make the necessary changes. To end let me say that Manila can re-emerge, if people imbibe such a mindset and take action.
11th October 2011

fair enough, but...
Firstly I would like to apologise on behalf of my fellow Filipinos who have sent you offensive messages. We are a sensitive lot, as you may have encountered during your visits to our country. It\'s not an excuse though, as everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I feel that you were fair with your comments, and even went out of your way to try and point out some of the nice things that the Philippines still has to offer. As a Filipina who now lives abroad, I can only sadly agree (along with AJ Linao) about the deplorable state of Manila. I have only been home twice since leaving my homeland 9 years ago, and it was alarming how rapid the deterioration was in between each time I had returned. Being lucky enough to travel extensively, I have been able to compare how much other Asian countries pour into their tourism. Sadly, the only time that I can recall that there was a big push for tourism was when I was about 7 years old. And it was targeted more towards overseas Filipino workers to spend their dollars in the country. So much for tourism. And yes, when I was last home in June this year, I could not help but rant at how ridiculous it was to have 3 newer terminals with modern facilities available and still have the international arrivals and departures in the decrepit NAIA Terminal 1. I do, however, disagree with your statement on your final note. Please do not discourage people from visiting the Philippines by saying that it\'s not good value. Sure, Manila isn\'t as it once used to be, but the rest of the country is still wonderful to travel in. As you yourself have said at the beginning of your entry, it\'s best not to generalise. And being a true Filipina at heart, I do fervently wish that your prediction with regards to the country \'disappearing\' won\'t come to pass. Please ask yourself, was that necessary to add in your post, when you claim to hate negative ones? Thank you for your time. p.s. if ever you are around the country again, why not stay in the Makati area? It\'s slightly more expensive than Ortigas, however it offers a whole lot more comfort. Unfortunately, the traffic is everywhere so... nothing I can say to that one! :)
11th October 2011

gutsy for calling spade a spade, the first tourism secretary resigned his post recently, you know why? precisely the points you have raised in this blog. You hit the nail right in the head mate. Im a filo in Sydney and have never set foot on that stinkland for ages, youre right they had brain drain and the country is left with wankers, hoars and insane polies. Theres nothing more worst than criminals with a badge and surprised you havent run into one. I always tell Sydneysiders to check in at hotels in Makati and perhaps you may like it.
11th October 2011

Unbalanced, methinks
Hi, I'm a Filipino living in Singapore, and when people I know want to visit the Philippines, I always talk about staying a day in Manila and going elsewhere right away. :( (Especially since it's rainy season now, and Lord knows there's absolutely nothing to do there culturally in the middle of a downpour!) However, I notice that you didn't take note of any of our sights or cultural landmarks. Manila has its great points (often overshadowed by a lot of negative things), but you didn't even care to mention any of them. Intramuros? UST? Rizal Park? Even if you HAVE seen them and were disappointed, they are still worthy of some coverage, at least about their historical significance. That last bit about "nothing worth photographing in Manila" annoyed me greatly. Then you condescendingly threw in that bit about the countryside and the spectacular scenery, but concluded with a generalization: that it's a disappearing country (and you had scolded yourself earlier for making such generalizations!). You may be painfully correct about that in terms of the sustainability of our economy, but a country that is capable of winning 2nd on TripAdvisor's "World's Best Beach" awards is hardly "disappearing." I also resent that you pointed out that you were able to find some good things about Afghanistan, yet seemed completely negative about Manila. That seems unbalanced to me. I also suggest you try exploring alternatives, if you're required to be in the capital due to work and are unsatisfied with what you're experiencing. While I realize that commenting one's displeasure at a blog post on the internet has the same overall significance as passing gas on a deserted island (or in our dear, polluted Manila), I just wanted to give my two cents. Cheers!
11th October 2011

long-term planning
\"Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy, not one where people want to build sustainably long term.\" I think there\'s a lot of truth in this. My family and I live in Marikina Valley, and though our house is situated near the foothills of Antipolo, two years ago, during Typhoon Ketsana, our community was still inundated by five feet of floodwater. Despite this, we were lucky. Residents whose homes were part of subdivisions developed in the * flood plains * of Marikina River were hit hard. Afterward, my friend and I wondered why in the world the local government would permit residential development in flood-prone zones. The only conclusion we could reach was that the local government needed the revenue. The same is true, I think, for the traffic problem. It appears Manila\'s roads weren\'t designed for future expansion. All along Circumferential Road 5, which may, I suppose, be likened to a city by-pass road, commercial development has been permitted. And these buildings were constructed adjacent to the road. Should it ever become imperative to expand C-5, the only way would be up. (A similar plan has been proposed for EDSA, but at this point, it\'s nothing more than talk.) I suppose authorities could opt to demolish existing structures instead, but I doubt it. It seems to me that our leaders are stuck in the moment -- they are utterly bogged down by the problems of the present, so much so that they are either incapable or unwilling to think long-term. And when they do think long term, their philosophy seems to be, \"Let our successors figure it out.\"
11th October 2011

Well said.
I am a Filipino ,and I agree with you on everything. I also appreciate the fact that you did not generalize and limited your rant to Manila since there are far better places in the Philippines. This kind of negative feedback is what this nation needs to wake up and realize the failings of its obsolete and corruption ridden system. Manila is indeed in shambles and is a disappointment of a capital city, which sad to say reflects the nation\\\'s current state. I find it depressing that some narrow minded people are filled with blind nationalism that they fail to see the true state of the country and lash out on everyone or everything that criticizes the Philippines in any manner. In all honesty, aside from maybe Manny Pacquiao, the Philippines have nothing to show the world anymore. We are a backwards country wallowing in our past successes.To my fellow Filipinos, these criticisms are aimed towards the downcast state of the country, specifically Manila, not towards our being Filipino. To the blogger: I apologize for the rude comments/death threats (lol) that I\\\'m sure you are receiving in boatloads. And no, I am not saying this just to be \"ingratiating\", because I would also definitely take offense if you called my home a dump, no matter how reasonably you say it. I sincerely hope that you will come back to a better Philippines and have a better experience (try 2020? lol).
11th October 2011

Philippines!
I am a Filipino, I was born and lived here until now. After reading your blog, I realized one thing. I love my country but hell, i wanna move to other country where the weather is great, doesn\'t have or at least minimal pollution. You\\\'re right, many of my fellow Filipinos can\\\'t accept the fact that this country is sinking because of patriotism but are you going to be patriotic if it will kill you and your love ones? Others are migrating because they wanted to have a better life but many can\\\'t because they don\'t have any chance to do so including me.
11th October 2011

wake up call
Agree - this is a wake up call. The Philippines has a huge potential for tourism development but sadly we are missing out on it from the minute tourist arrive at the airport (terminal 3 btw is an improvement though still not at par with our neighbours). On the brightside, there\'s no other way to go but UP (hopefully). The only question is when will this happen? hopefully it\'s within my lifetime. ;-)
11th October 2011

i agree with some of your criticism, but i pity you for not seeing those cultures that are not things... they are priceless, you are not wondering why other races from other countries back again here in the Philippines? it is because they\'ve knew and appreciated our culture... Discovering our culture is not about reading books or notes or either reading information from internet. you have to EXPERIENCE it personally...
11th October 2011

it\'s too bad that you feel that way about manila. we do have the worst traffic and the old airport indeed has seen better days. i wonder too myself when they plan to switch over to the newer airports which is sparse but the design has atleast forgone the linoleum. may i suggest the next time you try the crowne regency which is in the same area as DS and i believe closer to the bank? or maybe the oakwood suites which is newer. since you come to manila for business, shopping won\'t probably interest you much and that\'s one thing fabulous in the city that shoppers can enjoy. maybe you should also find yourself a better local tour guide just to point you to better places to eat and hang out. if the thought is still revolting though, i really suggest passing on the work you to do to someone else who can tolerate our city for a few days.
11th October 2011

Your description of Manila today is accurate indeed, especially after witnessing parts of the city at dawn from the bus that I boarded back in Naga City a few weeks ago.
11th October 2011

grr, it\'s all true, screw the corrupt officials here. and I hate to admit that many of my countrymen are relying heavily on the government and not doing something for themselves to make their life better.
11th October 2011

A challenge
I've lived in Manila for ALL 30+ years in your life. Although don't believe that we are at the extreme end of the "worst," I do agree that Manila has been left in the dust. I love Manila, but I get back from a trip abroad, especially from first world countries, I cant help but be sad with the state that Manila has gotten itself into. We have surely been left in the dust. Imagine, our airports, which is the first impression that foreigners will get, isn't even fit for travelers! Filipinos are not good at taking criticisms, and that\'s why articles like these mostly take the flak from Filipinos. But I hope that we take this as a challenge to make Manila better and restore it back to its old glory days, so that tourists like you, Mr. Geoffrey, would have nothing but praises the next time you visit. I hope I will live long enough to see that day... :)
11th October 2011

Hi! I\'m a Filipina from Cebu, but I moved to Manila to finish my studies in the Ateneo de Manila University. When I first read your article, I saw some decent points against Manila, but as I kept going on, I realized that you\'re obviously working on a couple of biases that you have already formulated in your mindset even before arriving in the Philippines. \"Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy, not one where people want to build sustainably long term. As I say, the smart one’s all want to leave. \" The smart one\'s all want to leave. That mentality alone, can instantly give me the assumption that you have your own biased opinions about us Filipinos. Not everyone want to leave, a lot of people WANT to stay in the Philippines and to find ways to make it better so as to avoid having to receive criticism like yours. It\'s that mentality, that makes me question how much of a professional you really are. Personally, I don\'t find Manila attractive, but the intellectual growth and the growing Westernization in Manila has been increasing. If Westernization isn\'t modernity, then what the heck is? The United States supplies most of the Philippine imports of machinery, dairy products, cotton, papers, drugs, automobiles and much or the petroleum products. Although countries like Japan, Canada Australia, and New Zealand are getting more and more involved in trade with the Philippines, America remains to be the Philippines most important trading partner, and well, as we know the economy of America is dropping, instantly giving the Philippines an instant drop as well. But I think maybe you overlooked the number of malls that may be up and about. Sure, it\'s nothing as amazing as what you may have seen all over, but really......Are you REALLY sure that Manila is THAT awful? It\'s nothing like Cebu, I must admit. Cebu, the progress, so much like Manila yet in touch with nature. But seriously, Manila has grown. I think maybe it\'s because Manila has a lot of Western influence, specifically from America, that it doesn\'t suit your fancy. Have you been to Fort Bonifacio? Or Maybe to the Mall of Asia. It\'s pretty good there. \"P.S. No pictures because there\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\'s drab and dirty. : That\'s really insulting. Considering you call yourself a professional. Take pictures of the \"drab and dirty\" Manila. At least the public can see how \"drab and dirty\" it is. \"Manila itself is a shambles. The traffic is AWFUL (I seem to be using a lot of capital letters in this post) and nothing has been added to shops or other amenities (whereas e.g. Bangkok has transformed itself into an almost livable city).\" WHICH PART OF MANILA DID YOU VISIT? If you\'re expecting to receive proper treatment and decent facilities, seriously, Makati! Quezon! Where did you visit? Binondo? How can you say that no shops have been added? Have you seen how much establishments have been franchised in order to cater the growing needs and desires of the Filipinos.
11th October 2011

Sorry to hear about your disappointing trip. i too, have travelled to places around the world and can\'t help but compare my beloved country and come up short of reasons to defend it. I have also been living abroad these past few years and am able to see the stark differences : while there are many things that i miss about the Philippines, there are also many many things I will gladly do without. Like hotel/mall personnel\'s lack of customer service... in most underpaid establishments. They don\'t have the proper training for anything, is why. The Phil govt is to be blamed for most everything, they are just so corrupt. There are no incentives for creating jobs in the provinces, and there is no moderation in terms of who gets to live in Metro Manila. Proper taxation and maybe passing the RH bill might solve the metro\'s problem of overpopulation ...but even the rich get off paying the proper taxes. (The poor doesn\'t pay their taxes, obv). And the middle class gets taxed absurd amounts. I once heard someone say that in the Philippines, even if you pay the right taxes, they\'ll still come after you to pay more. Corruption in the govt is the number one thing that needs to go before anyone\'d see improvement in the country. I don\'t speak from a broad POV, I have dealt with these mofos in govt and have witnessed just how thick they can be (they are confident they\'d get away scot-free bec of \'who they know\' ). And dont get me started on these actor-turned-politicians. ugh.
11th October 2011

nice
you don\'t like Manila. Manila don\'t like you either. It\'s a big big world, throw your @$$ somewhere else!
11th October 2011

Manila..
The Philippines is a \'third-world country\'. We used to be the tiger economy of Asia but the past 40-50 years were hard times. Our economy is huge but is not stable, our leaders are stable but not reliable, our education system is more than average but it is not for those who cannot afford. Our city is in shambles, like you say. But I refuse to feel bad about your blog because I am a \'smart one\'. Smart ones leave the Philippines but we always come back after each and every member of the family were able to get a decent education. We don\'t leave because of our \'extractive and exploitative\' economy. We leave not because we want to. We leave, because we have to. You\'re a self-confessed \'faux-economist\', not good enough but fair enough. And yes, we take matters like these seriously. It\'s like you\'re guilty of libel against 95 million people. But then again I thank you for your insight, sir. I have high hopes for my country, though. Drop by in the near future, who knows? Maybe the tables have turned by then? :-) Cheers!
11th October 2011

Hello. I love the Philippines, i would never live anywhere else in the world. But sadly i have to agree with you. I live down south in Davao. I would also usually bypass Manila when i travel either locally or abroad. My stress levels shoot up whenever i\'m in Manila. I hope you can visit Davao and other beautiful places here in the Philippines, so it would lessen the disappointment you get when you pass through Manila.
11th October 2011

Hello! Quite an interesting article you got here, and as a Filipino currently living in Makati (financial center of Metro Manila), a lot of the things you mentioned here are the daily complaints that I usually voice out. I may not know of the quality of Discovery Suites in Ortigas but I do know that other Discovery hotels are of very high quality (Tagaytay and Boracay), as well as other hotels in Manila that are of so much better quality than DS that\'s of the same price range. The airport is indeed terrible, I try as much as possible not to cringe whenever I travel using Terminal 1. Although a lot of things about Manila seem awfully gruesome, I admit, there are some things in the Philippines that are worth visiting. Places like Palawan, Amanpulo and El Nido in particular, Mactan, Bacolod, Surigao and so many others. I do invite you to try the other places out, because I myself am well-traveled, been to Hawaii several times, the Italian alps, lived in the US mainland, and I can say that the Philippines is not all bad, not bad at all.
11th October 2011

Manila..
The Philippines is a \'third-world country\'. We used to be the tiger economy of Asia but the past 40-50 years were hard times. Our economy is huge but is not stable, our leaders are stable but not reliable, our education system is more than average but it is not for those who cannot afford. Our city is in shambles, like you say. But I refuse to feel bad about your blog because I am a \'smart one\'. Smart ones leave the Philippines but we always come back after each and every member of the family were able to get a decent education. We don\'t leave because of our \'extractive and exploitative\' economy. We leave not because we want to. We leave, because we have to. You\'re a self-confessed \'faux-economist\', not good enough but fair enough. And yes, we take matters like these seriously. It\'s like you\'re guilty of libel against 95 million people. But then again I thank you for your insight, sir. I have high hopes for my country, though. Drop by in the near future, who knows? Maybe the tables have turned by then? :-) Cheers!
11th October 2011

I love your post about Manila. I am a Filipino and yet I know manila is really a dump! I studied in Manila way back 1997 and nothing has really changed up to now. No development or anything. Some of my co-workers here in Singapore ask me what to see in Manila, and I would be very honest to them that there is nothing to see in Manila. Its just dirty and really nothing good to visit. Even for me as a Filipino, I would rather visit other countries than going back to Manila. I admire your post and will back you up 100% on how you criticize Manila.
11th October 2011

Good read
Thanks for this. It highlights the sad situation here in the Philippines. I expect people to get hurt over the words you said but it\'s the sad truth. The country has not progressed whatsoever and it just sucks. As a Filipino, I expect some improvement but nothing has changed. Again, thank you for this article. I hope it wakes up (even if just a bit) the eyes of our politicians.
11th October 2011

While I agree with a lot of your sentiments, I can\'t help but feel that you\'re overgeneralizing. Yes, a lot of the places you went to were dumps, but if you want a better class of everything (services, amenities, etc), you\'re really hanging out in the wrong places. NAIA sucks, try flying PAL next time. They have a modern terminal with enough seats, some coffee franchises, etc. Maybe stay in Oakwood or Hotel Celeste instead of Discovery Suites - they\'re not Shang but they\'ll address all your concerns. If you want to shop, Rockwell or Greenbelt has a lot of the same brands as Hong Kong shopping districts. If you want something historic, go to Intramuros. Food? We have the 10th best restaurant in Asia, according to the Miele Guide. I appreciate a lot of your points: our economy is depressing, we do tend to build anew instead of maintaining structures, and the countryside/beaches have all the natural wonders. But I\'ve done by share of travelling, both in Asia and the US, and it\'s a bit over the top to say we have nothing to offer discerning travelers and that we\'re the worst stop in Asia. I\'m sorry you had a bad time here, but the reality is that we\'re a developing country with a huge disparity between the rich and poor. If you don\'t want drab and dirty, we have it, but you\'re going to have to look for it.
11th October 2011

I agree with (almost) everything you've said...
I agree with (almost) everything you\'ve said. Having been living in Manila my entire life, I can testify to all the \"inconveniences\" you\'ve experienced. To be quite honest, I\'m actually hurt with what I read. But I won\'t go bashing and branding you as an unfair person, because I myself won\'t deny (and most other Filipinos out there––especially those from the younger generation) that \"those\" are all true. (This is unnecessary, but the older generation are \"usually\" the ones in denial bide away.) I love being a Filipino, and I love my country. It\'s the GOVERNMENT and BAD GOVERNANCE that taints everything. Like you said, from the airport to the dirt and grime you see on the streets, its bad governance that causes it, and sadly, the \"bad\" collective, way of thinking of ignorant Filipinos too. Oh, and for the \"almost\" part, maybe you were just at the wrong place and at the wrong time. In spite of the filth you keep seeing, there are still few (and when I say few, you can count it by hand) places or pockets of areas in Metro Manila that\'s still clean. I won\'t mention all of them, because I\'m assuming you already know some of it with your 15 years of coming back and forth to the Philippines. There are also a lot of (really) good F&B places as well, but sadly, most of them are hidden, and might require a bit of traveling and patience. As my final note, I\'m just hoping you\'re not generalizing the country and its people as a whole. As what you said in your previous comment, there will always Filipinos that are illiterate scrawls, but there will also be others that are the opposite. Same applies to places and landmarks. Most of the really good ones are usually outside of Manila, at the provinces and in the other islands.
11th October 2011

Which places in Manila did you go to? All cities have it\'s ugly ghetto parts. More so a developing third world country. Maybe, just maybe, that\'s why you couldn\'t find a single thing worth photographing. I definitely agree that Manila, especially NAIA Terminal 1 (where unfortunately, all international flights go to) has a LOT to improve upon. And it\'s true that traffic is terrible! This can be said in other countries as well. But we have decent places too. For starters, if you were to travel domestic, you would\'ve gone to the newer NAIA Terminal 3. It\'s more spacious and modern compared to NAIA 1. If you wanted to relax and shop leisurely in a mall that\'s not overcrowded, you could\'ve gone to the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell or stroll around Serendra or Bonifacio High Street at Fort Bonifacio. Did you visit these malls? Please tell me you didn\'t just go to Robinsons Galleria or SM Megamall. We also have AMAZING, relatively cheap food! The food alone deserves several photos :) As for touristy stuff, the only place I can think of at the moment is Intramuros (the walled city during the Spanish colonization) and our churches. Have you been inside the Manila Cathedral? Definitely worth a picture. Manila is too urban and too congested for other tourist attractions. Even our high-end amusement park is an hour and a half away. For R&R, Manileños travel two and a half hours to Tagaytay, Batangas (which boasts of a volcano within a volcano). I believe our country is better known for our rural areas and beaches in Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Davao, etc. My dad told me that the Manila during the mid-1960s was a thing to behold. We had the 2nd best economy in South East Asia and we were the \"it\" place to shop for luxury brands. Our taxis were even Mercedes Benz\'s back then. But now, we have the 2nd to the lowest economy. That speaks volumes. But our country doesn\'t lack natural beauty, whether it be mountains or beaches or people. It\'s sad though that our talented people migrate abroad rather than help cultivate the country they were born in.
11th October 2011

As a young filipino, I am hurt and even a bit angry at first. But we must also realize that these insights are coming from a person completely unbiased, who gains no benefit from stating these opinions. Also, coming from those few \"privileged\" people in the country, I can say that my peers who are in the position to succeed and/or at least make something out of their lives (unlike the majority you may have seen on the streets) tend to have this clouded view of how things work. I\'d like to think that we are in an \"emergency\" situation but yet the things we prioritize are merely scratching the surface. Our country is falling apart. The culture itself is encroaching. I\'m not the most productive person in the world either but I know how it feels like to be \"sucked in\" the pool of mediocrity and never hope to come back. I hope i still make sense. Anyway, I praise you for your honesty. Thank you for this. A message to my fellow countrymen: how many posts like these do we need?
11th October 2011

I was born and raised in the Philippines. But I\'ve been traveling around for work for the last 4 years. Every time someone will asked about the Philippines, I cannot even try to encourage them to go because I know what\'s inside. NAIA would look like a small town airport if you will compare them with Singapore\'s Changi Airport and Thailand\'s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Even the small airport in Phuket Thailand is way better compared to terminal 1 of NAIA. The TBS Bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia is way bigger and cleaner compared to NAIA. The total Philippine transport system is shame to it\'s Asian neighbors. I even had the chance to talk to foreign nationals who had been or know someone who had been robbed or ripped off by the locals. A German friend of mine lost his phone, 3 times. He even experienced the taxi-driver-hold-up modus. It\'s always better that people can read these problems from a foreigner\'s point of view. But be prepared, Filipinos never wanted to hear anything bad told about them. We are probably the most narrow minded people in the planet, we dont accept criticism very well. So Good luck! :) I totally respect your honesty and courage.
11th October 2011

Philippines - Manila - Awfully Disappointing
im a pinoy. all i can say is: totoo! (true) kababayan, huwag kayo magalit. totoo lahat ng sinabi nya.
11th October 2011

That was brutal...DO More!
11th October 2011

Yes, Manila is not clean... but maybe if you stayed in a different hotel you would have better service? And maybe you didn\'t go to the nice places here in Manila? It\'s sad that you had a terrible time here.. I wish someone took care of you and took you around so that you\'re impression wasn\'t so bad. I hope in the future you are still open in visiting... and about the airport, yes, NAIA is terrible and old.. we have new airports though that are cleaner and are much better, i just don\'t know why until now they still couldn\'t find the time to renovate the old international airport.
11th October 2011

I am a Filipina but I have to agree. Some people here just lack discipline and it\'s very frustrating! I think it mostly stems from that. I could go on and on but I don\'t want to be too negative about our country. Hey, why don\'t you try Oakwood Premier at Joy~Nostalg Center next time? It\'s just across ADB (and some of its offices are even in Joy~Nostalg)!
11th October 2011

Spot On!
Your report is sadly accurate and you are frank about it. You forgot to add the discrimination of Filipino staff-members against their Asian brothers--giving preferential treatment to Caucasians (whether out of fear or reverence) and stares of contempt to Co-Asians who dare raise a fuss when service is sub-par. So many things need fixing in Manila and the rest of the country and the next generation do not seem to offer any glimmer of hope at all.
11th October 2011

I totally agree with you. I am a Filipino living in Davao (all my life actually). I find Manila very stressful and dirty. Of course there are areas that are ok but in general, it is a horrible place. I\'m afraid of walking the streets alone and taking public transportation without a guide. I never venture the streets of Manila on my own, I always have a relative take me around (BTW my uncle used to be with ADB). I\'ve been offered many jobs in Manila (even double the salary I get here in Davao) but it isn\'t worth it. Oh and there\'s the flood, typhoon, riots, massive protest rallies, slums, dirty beaches, water scarcity, kidnappings, holdups and robberies at gun point.
11th October 2011

I\'ve taken the time to read your article and it\'s depressingly true. It appears the only ones who can see the Philippines in its truest light are those who are intelligent enough to do so or those who have left it. The social problems hounding the country are so numerous it feels as though it will never come out alive. Let\'s hope things turn around, eh?
11th October 2011

to be honest, i kinda prepared myself before reading your article because a number of foreigners (and sadly, a few filipinos, too) really don\'t have a good opinion about my country. but after reading it, all i can do was to agree. i love my country and i am hopeful that it can pick itself up and do better. i agree that it used to be a great country before, even old japanese people tend to look back and admire how philippines used to be the great asian country. but, just like you and i, they also shake their heads to what it has become now. so left behind... when i talk to my foreign friends, i advice them to visit other places in the philippines (which are still kinda at par with resorts like bali, phuket, etc), but manila? a big no no. my mom and i would like to go back to the university of the philippines (in quezon city) to get MA programs but after visiting the area (after 5-7 years), we changed our minds. i hope articles like yours (and other criticisms that we get from people) would be taken as constructive criticisms and get the positive out of it instead of mere rage and blinded patriotism. i also hope i can contribute, even as a simple citizen, to my country\'s revival (i believe manila is just not the place to focus on).
11th October 2011

Manila boy here
And I\'d slam your blog with a flaming rebuttal if you weren\'t telling the truth. But you are telling the truth, so I\'ll just shut up.
11th October 2011

This is brutally true. I have been a proud filipino, however with the description on your blog I agree with 100%. Massive corruption halting progress in my home country made a domino effect into the poor inhabitants. People from the provinces going to Manila thinking that its a land of milk and honey just to arrive jobless and ending up in the slums. I would like to commend you on your honesty, albeit too much for some of my countrymen, however the people need to see the situation with a different set of eyes, and yours kind sir, are crystal clear.
11th October 2011

As a Filipino, I felt sad reading this, but I agree with what you said. I feel that we\'re being left behind.. far behind our Asian neighbors. This post should be a wake up call. We rely so much on tourism these days to help improve the economy but still many have experienced discomfort during their stay in our country. Thank you still, for promoting other places in the Philippines.
11th October 2011

Sadly, that's the reality in this country: a deadly mix of government mismanagement and corporate exploitation has left this country's economy and geographic wonders into shambles and I can't blame you for the disgraceful comments, because you are telling the facts based on your experience. I'm glad you have nothing against the Filipino people, since, despite our long colonial history worth of complete economic and political mismanagement. I support your claims that our shoddy infrastructure systems and development contribute to the eyesore of tourists like you. I support your claims that we have a TERRIBLE garbage management system. Anyone who goes and rebute my claims are not more than wishful thinkers and mere daydreamers, who often look at what we're saying as purely contradictions of reality. On economic development: the Human Development Report placed us on 105th, not bad considering the 177 member countries of the UN. I actually praise you for your honesty and excellent critique and analysis of the physical abomination, that is the Philippines.
11th October 2011

Hi, Some parts of your blog might be true. I live at Metro Manila and yes, compared to other countries, it really didn\'t improve that much. With all the taxes we pay it\'s still \"as is\". And I also envy the other countries who strived to improve their place. But, I really disagree with the fact that you said that there\'s \"nothing to recommend\".As for the Filipinos\' standards,Manila is not just a \"dump\". We\'ve been in this place more than the 15 years of your visit and we know more places than you here in Manila. Saying \"nothing\" is kinda exaggerating don\'t you think? \'coz even the richest people here in Manila will leave if there\'s really nothing good in this place. nothing worth photographing? If we can show you photos of good places in Manila (which are actually nice for us Filipinos) will you still saythey\'re drab and dirty?
11th October 2011

There are some redeeming qualities too!
While you\'re correct and Ninoy Aquino airport needs an update, traffic is horrible in a lot of areas, and although I\'ve never stayed at Discovery Suites I\'ve never really heard anything about it to make me want to stay there, did you ever visit the surrounding cities such as Makati and Quezon City? I go to the Philippines every year and it always amazes me how it seems to be better every time. There\'s Terminal 3, a new airport where some airlines are slowly moving to, right across from Resorts World---a new hotel that very much reminds me of Vegas. You may not want to go back but if you do, there\'s Greenbelt with it\'s many shops, restaurants and bars, and you can stay at nearby hotels which are within walking distance and visit even more malls like Glorietta, Rustan\'s and Landmark. If you could hire a car/driver, ask to go to Tagaytay---it\'s a bit of a drive but you\'ll get to try delicious restaurants like Sonya\'s Garden and Antonio\'s and see the Taal Volcano. On your way back, you can stop by Alabang Town Center to grab a quick bite (if you\'re still hungry) or just browse through the many shops available. You don\'t really have to go far to see how things are improving in the Philippines, you just have to visit new places. Progress takes time---however slow it may be.
11th October 2011

As a Filipino citizen, and still currently living in Manila, I couldn\'t agree with you more. I have been living here since birth and witnessed each day of my life here and yes, Manila, in particular is getting worse. I was hoping that someday, improvements will arise but I was looking at false hopes. The people to blame for the downfall of the country are the government. Full of corrupt and greedy politicians, a president who is just too stupid, useless laws being implemented rather than resolving age old issues, greedy business men. Full of greed--greed--greed, and stupidity in the government. Local TV shows that pollute the mind of people -- full of drama, killing, shouting, betrayal. And the list goes on and on... I used to love my country. It used to be so livable. But now, I couldn\'t even go out without worrying about me getting nabbed, my bag getting snatched, my car getting hit by a reckless speeding bus, or a police officer flagging me down just to extort money. It\'s just so saddening to see how my home country is being criticized like this by you, foreigners, reading articles and blogs about how awful the Philippines is. And I felt guilty and humiliated. I used to hate it when foreigners says something bad about my country and I used to defend it, but now, there\'s nothing worth defending anymore. It has dawned on me that everything they criticize about the Philippines is, in fact, so true. I am soon going to leave the country. And probably just come back here to visit the beaches and provinces where people are more disciplined, where the air is breathable, but not to witness the greediness and stupidity of the government.
11th October 2011

comment
sir, don\'t you dare speak like that about Manila! it is a forgotten PLACE! it should be erased! it should be renamed as TABOO CITY! (reads again...) oh yes, sorry! :) thank you for the honesty. seems like the government itself never listens to the people who lives here. also the fact that most Filipinos will really say otherwise, Manila has been overcrowded, overrated and over to the top. i understand where you\'re coming from sir. the airport is really like what it was before. even the new airport. i also don\'t know why that airport is the center. wherein they could have other international airports within the Philippines. i love my country. this is the only one i have. but i have been fighting a lost cause. most Filipinos won\'t act. most of us deny the problems. but i am still hoping for a better one. again, SALAMAT. thank you for being honest. keep it up
11th October 2011

I agree that the Philippines failed to keep up with the rapid economic growth experienced by our Asian neighbors. For a country which aims to up its tourist numbers, the current state of NAIA sure is embarrassing. I guess we Filipinos just got too used to poverty so much so that it has become a way of life. It truly is saddening that the former \"tiger\" economy of Asia is now in this state.
11th October 2011

Bitter bill
Thank you for this wake up call, if ever there is such a thing, because I think the people running the Philippine state needs more than just a jolt. By the way, I am a Filipino and I am not at all offended by what you have written. Overall I think it was a fair assessment. Despite your misgivings (and your apparent disappointment), thank you for inviting would be tourists to visit the countryside instead of Manila (where I live actually). I myself have been contemplating on relocating somewhere south. "For the Philippines the question is surely will it ever emerge from the mire into which it has sunk?," you ask. To tell you the truth we have been asking that same question for years and unfortunately I do not think relying on our political institutions as they are right now will give us any promising answer.
11th October 2011

Sad But True
I am a Filipino and I am proud to be one. What I am not proud of is whats happening in our country. 20 or 25 years ago Philippines is the Lion of Asia and all neighboring countries are looking up to the Philippines but to day its like other Asian countries are building rocket ships and the Philippines is still using an Abacus. Thank you for stating this phrase \"Philippines has many natural advantages and in fact a talented people who provide services everywhere in the world\" because most good people go abroad it seems that nothing is left in our dear homeland. I would really hope that government officials would read this post and be awakened that there are lot of things to do for our country instead of fighting and blaming with each other. And yes there are a lot more to see in the other parts of the Philippines.
11th October 2011

Hello. As a Manila resident, I do appreciate your opinions. However, I think you must not have gone around Manila that much for you cannot be serious when you regard Ortigas or Mandaluyong as being the heart of Manila. While I understand that you were here for business and that you must not have had the pleasure or the time of roaming the capital, I hate to think that your disillusion emerged from seeing only one or two cities. While I understand where you\'re coming from with the airport reference (I also hate our public restrooms, to be honest, and I have stopped drinking coffee years ago for health reasons), surely you must not base your opinions on those alone. IF you should happen to come back to Manila (heaven forbid *shudder*), I must insist you travel to the REAL business district, Makati. I\'m sure you will find your palate very much appeased by the row of restaurants in Greenbelt or Glorietta. If you will find time to shop, make sure to drop by the Podium or the Powerplant Mall (I imagine these would be more to your taste). BUT you WILL still have to deal with the absurd traffic. Otherwise, you can stay at Dusit Thani, Makati Shangri-la, or The Manila Peninsula. These hotels are closer to the airport and the malls that I mentioned. Oh, let\'s not forget Resorts World casino and the Newport Mall which are almost a stone\'s throw from the dreadful airport. Regards, Manilenyan Who Has No Desire to Leave, Not Even for a Million Bucks.
11th October 2011

In our defense...
I understand your point of view, because the city has been declining over the years. However, with a government that takes majority of the taxpayers\' money, leaving very little left to divide between tourism, education, healthcare, maintenance, transportation, etc., it\'s no surprise that what little resources we have left cannot be concentrated on the airports and hotels. While the criticism is warranted and understandable, viable and realistic suggestions would be even more appreciated, and definitely of more use. This is neither sarcasm nor anger, I\'m just a reader who can understand your views but also understands the difficulties the country faces.
11th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino backpacker and I share your sentiments. Manila is not easy on the eyes and nose, especially when you\'ve seen what\'s outside Manila and the other ASEAN cities. Too many those elected spend more time fattening their bellies than implementing long term solutions that require funds and intelligence. Many of the visible \"projects\" are set out to make Manila more attractive with paint or accessible utilities, but with too little urban planning and more people from the provinces turning into the urban poor, Manila\'s bound to get uglier. AJ Linao already covered it. A lot of Filipinos need to learn appreciation for honest. Thanks for this post.
11th October 2011

Yo geoffrey. I agree with what you wrote 110%. I\'m a Filipino living in Manila and has gotten used to the filth. Even the prized places such as boracay and baguio have gone filthy as well. You can see the street signs in baguio laden with vandals and nobody\'s cleaning them. boracay is turning to a big rubbish dump as well. Problem is, a lot of Filipinos think it is ok to bask in poverty and filth as they feel they are \"blessed\" by their creator. Anyway, I hope more and more of my countrymen would read this article and be awakened. cheers mate.
11th October 2011

im actually sad for you that you did not enjoy manila as much as i did. when i went there, i enjoyed it a lot and i had lots of good memories. Sure it has traffic and dirty places, but what the heck, even UK has its own. And seriously, 119 dollars? Maybe its enough 15 years ago. If you want a decent stay might as well have a decent budget. Also, if youre going to judge Manila base on your coffee, hotel, the traffic, etc., I think its pointless. What im saying is it has much to offer. The malls are great, very affordable and great theme parks and attractions, plus the bargains are very good. Im sad for you because you did not experience Philippines the way I did. And if ever Im ask about Manila, id say its a beautiful place to stay. P.S. (for the A.J. Linao) how dare you criticize your countrymen when you are not in your own country. Hiprocrisy at its finest!
11th October 2011

Honestly speaking, I think you\'re right. Im a Filipino and currently living here in the philippines (manila to be exact, and I will for the rest of my life), and I\'ve been travelling around the world alot lately. And all I can say is its very disappointing to see my hometown to be this mess. We\'ll first of all NAIA terminal 1 is really not a kind of airport you want to be at if you are a tourist. But to our defense Terminals 2 and 3 has alot of improvements compared to the old and rusty terminal 1 (I think you haven\'t experienced yet the other terminals). Also, with regards to the chaotic lifestyle in manila. that is the trade back to us Filipinos choosing to be free to the expense of being rich. I got this from the current US ambassador to the phillippines that its very stupid to exchange richness to freedom, and I think Filipinos choose being free. If you live here you would feel that kind of laidback lifestyle. We might not be the most beautiful and rich country in the world but I am proud to say that we are one of the most free people in the world. :-) (Where else can you find people selling in the middle of the streets and crossing the streets anytime they wishes, And people building homes anywhere they want and blaming the government if anything bad happens to them, eg. flood, garbage landslide, etc,). Only here in the philippines. Also, If any Filipino that will read this that went to other countries. You will realize that we have a very rich history. It\'s just that we havent realize that yet. I know It might not sound good to most of the foreigners but try to understand that we are just a new independent country (less than 100 years compared to European countries) that chooses freedom over bondage. We might not be the best now but we are maturing and most of the younger generation are being more aware of this. I havent lost faith in the Philippines and will never will. We have a very very rich history, culture and natural resources. The only problem is when will the filipino people wake up and take advantage of this.
11th October 2011

i have to agree
Hi! I thought your review was candid without being insulting or offensive. I was born and raised in Manila, and it will be my home forever, but I have to agree with you. I left the country to pursue graduate studies abroad, and have been back twice in 6 years. Every time I go back, Manila just seems to be getting worse. It\'s a shame because it has such a rich history, with a very colorful heritage comparable to some of the best European cities. If Metro Manila wants to regain its status as a \"world city\" in Asia, I think the biggest hurdle to overcome is political leadership. The capital needs visionary people who will work together to make it into a clean, progressive city, and make its people proud of it. Right now, what it has are leaders of each city looking out for his or her own territory (or their own pockets), thinking of short-sighted projects that can get them elected for the next term, and getting pissed at the other mayors who they think are trying to get in their way. Any Filipino who gets offended at your review needs to calm down, take deep breath of polluted air, and drink a tall glass of microbe-infested water.
11th October 2011

love it
I'm a Filipino and I hope this would be read by our tourism secretary and the president...this is just bluntly honest...hopefully every Pinoy can learn from this post =D
11th October 2011

Well, that was...quite embarrassing and...err...hurtful. I apologize on behalf of Filipinos for your awful experience in the country.
11th October 2011

Hi Geoffrey, Manila is as you say filthy but any city that is congested is the same way. Even first world countries have slums. We are not a country that is rich in money but we are rich in natural resources. Our islands and mountains are beautiful, especially away from the busy cities. Our seas are rich. If a person such as yourself is looking for first class service, you can\'t find better service than in the Philippines. And very cheaply too. You see, Filipinos are not just \'ingratiating\' to foreigners like you. It is part of our culture to be hospitable, to give foreigners the kingly treatment. It is our nature to want to please. Of course, a lot of this is economics too. For many here, pride is a luxury. Pride can’t feed one’s kids. Your tip can. In your hurry through Manila, perhaps you did not notice how families here love each other. How we take care of our children and have them sleep with us in bed for as long as they want to. How we care for our elderly and do not leave them to wait for death in those posh ‘care’ homes, because their families cannot be bothered to care for them. Perhaps you did not notice that people work very hard to make ends meet. How they are forced to leave their babies in the Philippines to take care of other people’s children, because their parents can’t be bothered to care for them. And yet... the incidence of depression here cannot compare to that of the US or your country. You were in such a hurry that you didn’t see how freely we express our joy over the smallest things. You see, when you are poor, it takes so little to make you happy. Just feeding your family three square meals in a day is a triumph for many. The things that you take for granted are precious here. And that’s why you’d be surprised to know that despite appearances to the contrary, despite our lack in all the material comforts, our people are generally happy. (I know the unhappiest people are those that come from the first world. Really. That’s because it takes a lot to make them happy and very little to make them whine in discomfort. I sincerely hope that the next time you come here, you would have a better experience. But your experience will also depend on your level of compassion. At the very least I hope you would feel gratitude that you do not have to struggle in life so much. I hope you could look beyond the dirt and smog and stay long enough to make friends and perhaps we could change your mind yet. :)
11th October 2011

Agree and disagree: may have been just a matter of wrong place wrong time
I\'m surprised that this has not fallen on the ears of the management of Discovery. I agree on some levels and I believe, national pride aside, a lot of people would also. I assume you have gotten several \"love it or leave it\" letters. I left Manila about 3 years ago and in the times that I went back, i felt my heart sink little by little. It was like the feeling of seeing someone suffer and cannot do anything about it. I go through terminal 3 most of the time so it is a bit tolerable, though my memories of T1 was not always pleasant. I came back a last year on two different occasions and stayed in Dusit Hotel. During the first time, the room was awesome, clean, great facilities and service, while the second time was a pale comparison. Not that it was bad, it was just older. I suppose not all could new rooms. Maybe that is what happened to you. If it isn\'t then DS needs to do some renovations. When I was still living there, I always felt a sense of impending doom. From the corrupt government, to the yearly floods and typhoons, to kidnappings and other isolated heinous crimes that would get escalated to sensationalism and eventually hurt the country in more ways than one. From a tourism stand point all the way to its developmental planning. The leaders keep changing and the ones that are in power are in there for themselves. Like I said, impending doom. But despite that, the question is what can one person really do. What can a traveler offer? What can the rest of us who left do from this point? You compare the Phils with Cambodia, Bangkok and other ASEAN countries and I agree with you, I assume, you do a bit of analysis in your job in the ADB, what\'s your 2 cents on why the country keeps taking two steps back after one step forward. The people are willing to do anything, they are even willing to leave the ones they love the most, so they can elevate their way of life, despite the danger and possibility of being abused as a domestic helper or raped in the middle east. That kind of commitment is as bit hard to come by these days.Surely that has to count for something. People are at a loss and they feel trapped and use the mentality of a victim. From a travelers perspective, if you are staying in Manila, stay in the FBGC, or Makati area. I believe you will find things a little bit more satisfactory there.
11th October 2011

Worthless Manila??
While I agree with many of your sentiments, I have to take offense at generalizations like \\\"there\\\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\\\'s drab and dirty.\\\" Are you a professional photographer? I know a few, and of those who have been to Manila, they find it endlessly compelling. Many parts of Manila are a disgrace, but it\\\'s not all drab and dirty. I assume since you\\\'re not a backpacker, you\\\'ve visited upscale parts of Manila, like say, Fort Bonifacio, Rockwell, Greenbelt and Alabang Towncenter--places that are in no way drab, that rival the best malls in Asia in terms design and experience. Many of my well-heeled friends are able to describe Manila as a city of contrasts, there are the slums and then there are almost futuristic-like spaces for the rich. It\\\'s misleading of you to say that it\\\'s all drab and dirty and not worth aiming your camera at. Have you had a good look at the architecture of the main building in UST? Sure the area around is poor and dangerous, but the university is a historic jewel, and a quick google search will show you how many photographers have chosen it for a subject. I\\\'m not sure why you\\\'re landing in the old airport, which is as embarrassing to Filipinos as it is uncomfortable for tourists, but most flights are now in the newer terminal, which, though no Suvarnabhumi, is still decent, and usable, and has your beloved coffee, which by the way should not be a judge for a city\\\'s worth. I wouldn\\\'t judge Heathrow on its ability to make my favorite Thai milk tea, or a proper Vietnamese cafe sua da. It\\\'s saddening that the Philippines\\\' economy has been left behind in SE Asia, but statements like \\\"nothing has been added to shops or amenities\\\" need to be substantiated. Carelessly thrown around they discourage tourism and contribute to the decline you claim to be disappointed by. There are a slew of new spaces, the Trinoma Malls, Greenbelt 5, shopping centers in the Fort and Resorts World Manila, that have been built in the past few years, and cater very well to tourism. Good luck finding a shopping experience like what Mall of Asia offers in either Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. Manila is certainly not for everyone, and having a friend provide tips beforehand can make all the difference, but I want to say it\\\'s perfectly possible to have an enjoyable visit to the old city, if you are first aware of its deficiencies and what the city is good for: great shopping, great dining, old cathedrals, awesome clubbing and a great music scene. Good friends of mine have been to other more well-traveled countries like Thailand and didn\\\'t come away with positive experiences, while after three visits to Manila they feel like they\\\'ve just scratched the surface. I appreciate that you honestly describe this blog as part-fiction and based on your opinions, and yourself as a faux-economist and intellectual. I am a Filipina PR writer for the international travel and hospitality industry, and though I am no intellectual, this is not an illiterate scrawl, and I hope it does make your comment feed. Cheers.
11th October 2011

well said sir!
Well said sir! I am from the province somewhere in Mindanao, and when I first came to Manila, I was highly disappointed! Just sitting inside the plane looking out at the smog... I almost felt like making a U-turn. I thought Manila was advanced? After all, it is where most of the country\\\'s money go! But look, it\\\'s so dirty! There are so many beggars on the streets, too much traffic and lots of snatchers. I would very much prefer to stay where here in Mindanao where the city breathes with fresh air, and clean streets. I do not plan on coming back there again..
11th October 2011

If you stay in Ortigas then yes, its pretty crappy. Have you tried the other cities? Makati or Taguig? They have more to offer I think. I mean, its not a huge difference but I like them better. Alabang is also quite nice, and far more spacious. Of all the big cities in Manila Ortigas is the most run-down and crowded.
11th October 2011

Welcome to reality of Manila.
Hello sir, I'm a Filipino student studying in Manila and I have to agree on everything you have said. The government is not really doing anything that would be enough to re-urbanize Manila. Actually, Manila has been left behind by some other cities in the country since 1990's like you have mentioned, the Cebu City. These high-rising buildings, fine colleges and universities and provided yet limited jobs in Manila are only cover-ups on the real slums of the city. I'm glad you haven't been a victim of some sorts of theft crimes.
11th October 2011

I couldn\'t agree more. I\'m thankful I don\'t live on that area. It\'s so congested, polluted, unsafe and dirty as hell. And i couldn\'t even go there without my car, because of the thought of being robbed in an instant, and no one gonna help you. Its a shame that it is the capital of the Philippines. I\'ve been on the other country like Japan and Singapore, and got really disheartened and disappointed when i compared Manila. But on the brighter side, there\'s a lot of place in south way much better than Manila. But if I had a chance to get out of this country i really would.
11th October 2011

First is the Hotel: Discovery Suites (the $119 per night is cheap) so, do not expect something. In fact, I stayed in LA in $122 dollar room per night, its like a plea motel. Discovery Suites is far more better than this plea motel. The Coffee: Why, you have no money to go to Starbucks, Bizu, Shangrila, etc., well dont expect a first class coffee. I went to the Hilton Hotel in the US, coffee is like 7-11 quality. You said: \"But the Manila, where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region.\" THIS IS CRAZY. How much money do you pay for your workers? Are you hiring real office workers or janitors to do office work. Are you talking to janitor or a taxi driver because nobody finds you to be worth of something?
11th October 2011

All are true. Sadly.
I currently live in Manila since the day i was born and I\'m 21 now. And to be honest, all of the author said is true. I for one would like to live elsewhere in the Philippines other than manila. I hate seeing people without their upper garments especially fat beer belly people loitering all over the place, people spit on the sidewalk, seeing trash all thrown all over the place and these same people complain of flooding and clogged drainage systems. I hate seeing running 2-3 yrs old in the middle of the street butt naked. Seeing homeless people overrun an empty lot. I most especially hate(sorry for the word) jeepney drivers, taxi drivers, or other public or even private vehicles who don\'t know how to properly drive and block the road for whatever reasons. I guess I\'ll see or read a lot of negative comments and a few positive or neutral ones about your post. I hope other Filipinos like myself would interpret your criticism as constructive and not react violently as AJ linao said. :)
11th October 2011

Hi, I'm a Filipino and I\'m currently in Singapore. I am saddened by your experience in Manila, but unfortunately I also cannot dispute that it is in fact true. It is truly unfortunate that our country is in the state that it is in, as you said it has so many natural advantages, it can easily compete with other Asian countries. I have been around the region, and even though neighbouring countries have beautiful tourist attractions and rich cultural diversity, I believe that the Philippines has its own unique attractions with a rich cultural heritage as well. As you said a few decades ago the Philippines was indeed a different place, but I believe that I can still be that place. I just hope that the government will realize how important tourism is to the Philippine economy. The revenue that Malaysia earns through tourism is even larger than all the remittances of Filipino OFWs. But I think that we, as citizens, can also do our part to make tourist stay in the Philippines enjoyable and safe. I truly hope that the world would see the beauty that is just hiding underneath it all.
11th October 2011

AGREE that Manila (not the whole Philippines!) is in shambles, it\'s been that way for a very long time already! You gave a valid point about the lack of re-investment, but that\'s not to say that the public and private sectors are not trying. And perhaps in instances that they do invest on something, deterioration simply just eats the \"improvements\" away due to overuse, misuse, and abuse. (Perfect example: our commuter trains.) Overuse. Misuse. Abuse. We blame the government, the lawmakers, the politicians, blame the corporations, the small vendors, we blame the rich, we blame the poor. It seems that this unsightliness and overcrowded squalor is our wound, and yet it is also our pride. Why? Because we flay ourselves with it... just don\'t put salt in it (we\'d know how it hurts, and most will let you know too) :P
11th October 2011

As a filipino, i hate to admit it but all that you have said are true. The situation here in the Philippines is awful. The Government is corrupt, Education is poor, Medical assistance are helpless. Everything is expensive and you don't seem to get what you pay for. I guess "Disappointing" is the best word to describe it.
11th October 2011

We know. We blame most of it on the hideous corruption in the government, and practically everywhere. We hear stupid news everyday about lawmakers calling reproductive health bill an abortion, and banning angry birds in the malls. Aside from the inconveniences you mentioned in the airport, foreign workers like me need to queue up extra line to pay for \"travel tax\" we have no idea what for. We hate that, and truth is, I feel as hopeless for my home country as you sounded in your article. But for a travel blog, you can also focus on the more positive part of Manila, Like Rockwell and The Fort, and selected areas of Makati like Greenbelt, pretentious as they are, may not be as horrible as the image you have of our cities. When we travel, we go to \"good\" places anyway, not the bad ones.
11th October 2011

hi. i\'m also a filipino and i must admit that i agree in most parts of this entry. i think that the problem, and most probably, the solution, for this problem is already stated in the text: most of those talented and intelligent filipinos are away, serving the other economies and are becoming great assets where ever they are. i think it\'s about time that these people return to the country and be a part of the solution towards its development. i really believe that we have a lot of great talent from this country. the sad thing to note is that those who are abroad, at least most of them, still haven\'t got the courage to go back and contribute. yet, they still continue blaming those who are in the country. i\'m a filipino, and i still love my country.
11th October 2011

re: Manila
I must say your experience is only as good as how you want it to be. Manila has a lof of good things to offer too, and to choose to dwell on the bad sides surely will set the whole tone of your trip. I'm sure you already know this as a traveler. If you dont like the DS hotel, (I stayed there 5 years ago and I back then I thought it was overpriced for their "basic" amenities) there are other plenty newer hotels in Makati or Ortigas. Ascot and Shangri-la are one of my top choices. And not all people obviously see your general assessment. There are plenty of high-end real-estate projects ongoing and planned - Versace Milano Residences, Century Trump Manila (Yes, Donald Trump is investing $150M on real-estate here), and Grammercy Residences. All of which you chose not to look up or be informed about because you were more concerned about the negative stories.
11th October 2011

I am a Filipino. I understand your side. No matter what type of hotel it is 3 stars or 5 stars, they should provide good service. To be honest, I pity my country because of this situation, little by little we're sinking. My countrymen doesn't have good education, no support of government and no modern equipments for work. Unemployment rate are increasing. I love my country but I learned to face what it is now. Other countries are developing, my country is becoming worst. This is sad, as a student I'm thinking what will happen in the future if we don't take this thing seriously. What future will be left for us? I appreciate your review. If ever some Filipinos read this article I hope they open their minds and accept this criticism for us to learn. I still love my country I hope it would be back in it's good shape.
11th October 2011

Sadly, I have to agree. I have lived in Metro Manila for all almost-24 years of my life and the fact of the matter is that I cannot disagree with anything you wrote there. (Yes, even the part about the \"intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English\", ahahahaha.) Makati -- the central business district in particular -- is pretty much the most tourist-worthy part of Metro Manila. And the baywalk of Manila city itself, though the typhoon that hit us some weeks ago has destroyed that now. Just before Ferdinand Marcos came to power, we were once second to Japan as a nation. Now, where are we? :( It\'s so easy to point fingers at the governing bodies, both national and local, but we also have to look at ourselves. (The point of this comment, though, is not philosophical so I will not delve into that.) Private institutions are more concerned with making money and maintaining their 11-figure profits (case in point: the oligopoly of gas/fuels!), most senators and house representatives give more thought to their pork barrel than to the betterment of the country... And, like you said, the smart ones want to leave, taking with them their talents and skills to do better elsewhere. (The University of the Philippines, with an Executive Order declaring it as THE National University, has now imposed a Return Service Agreement upon the students with student numbers 2011 and later: they are now all obliged to stay and work in the country five years after graduation.) Corrupt government officials, greedy rich people, and brain drain? The future isn\'t exactly bright for this country. :(((((((((
11th October 2011

I agree with you. I am a local and lives in the city. The city could have been a decent one, but I guess we Filipinos, don't really mind. We are more melodramatic than practical. We admire beautiful things and only imitates them and not produce our own. We are good as individuals but we don't work well as a country. We complain a lot and do less to improve. And corruption in the government doesn't help boost our attitudes. But still beyond that we never lose hope, and I must say that whatever dismay I may also have for our country, I love it more than any other place. It has a chaotic and homey charm. I rather live here than any other country I've been. I just wish, that as nation we could improve for the better. Perhaps we lack inspiration and love for our own country...and I hope that changes.
11th October 2011

hmm
I concur with your sentiments. SADLY:( I am a Filipino who has lived in London, Asia, and the US. Coming back home is always bittersweet. Sweet, only because of family and friends. Otherwise, everything is just bitter. Traffic is indeed horrendous. Corruption just keeps getting worse. On the other hand, being a traveler like yourself, I find the same gripes in common busy cities. I'm gonna go out on a limb and dare say, New York is comparable to my disdain towards Manila. I actually call New York a bigger Manila. It stinks. Wreaks worse than Manila. Traffic is crazy. Pedestrians are crazier. They have treacherous bigger rats (which are not afraid to walk around with the locals and tourists). Seriously, I can go on and on. Point is, of all the places in the Philippines, why in the world did you stay in Manila? I also think this anger and hatred you have may stem from something deeper. Manila may be awful but yes, there are great and good things about it. Well, I'm being optimistic. Anyway, the Philippines is beautiful as a whole. People are generally kind to a fault even especially to tourists. So, next time, pick a better city to be in. Don't be such a hater. Hey, if you didn't like it that much, you should've moved elsewhere. Just being realistic , you know.
11th October 2011

my thoughts exactly
good that you are disregarding all those \"incoherent and offensive\" comments which you received. surely, these were forwarded by people who have never gone out of the philippines or have only used the cheap airline - with cheap i mean tattered plane seats rowdy passengers. there are actually 3 airport terminals in Manila. the very old terminal 1 which was built before i was born, terminal 2 which is used by Philippine Airlines, and terminal 3 which is used by Cebupacific- the cheap airline. it has always been suggested that terminal 3 should be used by other carriers, instead of it being used by cebpac. terminal 3 is comparable to the newer airports in asia but is not being utilized to its fullest because of the corruption controversy linked with its construction. imagine only 1 airline using a whole terminal while 20 or even more airlines are using the old, smaller terminal. oh wait, you forgot to mention the Php750 (~US$17) terminal fee that you have to pay when you depart from the crappy terminals. ummm, i'm not really sure where they use this terminal fee. i've traveled around asia and always made sure that i'm the first person to finish checking in. why? because i love the airports! it\'s like a whole new mall that i must finish exploring in 2 hours. and then there\'s the city. you stayed in the ortigas area which is much cleaner and much better than the manila city area. i\'ve always told myself that i should stay in some hotels in Manila just for the experience but the rates are too expensive. the price of a night\'s stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel in manila is comparable to a 3-night stay in a hotel along the vegas strip. thank you for being specific that only Manila is AWFUL. i am one of those filipinos who was able to explore other countries before exploring the Philippines. It has only been in the past few years that travel to philippine provinces became cheaper than traveling to bangkok, hk, and other asian countries. I am amazed by the natural beauty of the Philippines and if I just keep my eyes closed while in Manila, then I could feel that there is hope for this country. there are more poor people in the philippines, who are unfortunately being sheltered by the government to get the poor vote during elections. the middle class and rich are paying tax money which are given to the poor. Even if the government will give a million pesos to each poor family, nothing will change simply because the marginally poor are the lazy ones who expect that their life will improve while they sleep at home. As you said, the smart ones all want to leave. my ultimatum is if Manny Pacquiao becomes president of this country, then it would be time for me to flee this country and find a life elsewhere. In the meantime, i\'ll explore as much of my country as i can.
11th October 2011

Interesting
Whilst your comments have some credence, for a self proclaimed \'intellectual and writer\' your grammar is simply appalling.
11th October 2011

Good evening (Manila time)! I\'m also a Filipino, and I must say your blog is very spot-on (especially the one about the Ninoy Aquino Airport). It\'s really saddening to see my country crumble to this level. Now I don\'t mean to sound like a traitor to my own nation, but it\'s true, we really don\'t know how to take care of our own country. Our government here is concerned mostly for popularity points to remain in their positions rather than actual progression, which is probably why we can\'t get rid or at least organize the informal settlers (in case you didn\'t notice it, along the airport road, billboards were put up in an attempt to \"hide\" the squatter area). The Filipinos (well most of us at least) , with our false patriotism, are hard headed people. Sure we\'re kind of friendly, but majority could care less for one another (crab mentality). The hospitality we\'re suppose to be famous for is more like an act for the foreigners. Sorry to be blunt about it, but yeah, we\'re pretty pathetic. Which is why I commend you for writing this. I have no idea why you\'re getting negative responses from the other Filipinos. The things you said are very evident (and your criticisms didn\'t even hint any sign of racism at all...in fact you even tried to compliment us in some parts). Hopefully the people here would read this and treat it as a wake-up call. I mean we\'re in desperate need of a makeover
11th October 2011

Yes, you may be right, the Philippines could use a bit of spring cleaning or a bit of upgrades here and there but try looking bigger, we\'re not like Singapore or Cambodia because we have a plethora of problems we have to deal with, most notably corruption in government which takes the money which the government intends to use for the country and i think this problem is bigger than having a crowded lobby or a bad coffee. Another thing is that Discovery Suites is a hotel that isn\'t run by the government so if they burnt your bread or the internet is slow, you don\'t have to blame the entire Philippines, or at least its name. Another thing, You said that they don\'t clean your room until you ask because these people have to clean hundreds of rooms in the building, they\'re not like The Flash who can go through an entire floor so if you have a problem with Discovery Suites, take it out on the one who runs it, not Manila. Probably the biggest thing that offended me was when you said that there is nothing worth photographing in Manila. But that is the beauty of Photography! Making ugly things look beautiful at a different angle. Now you\'re probably thinking that you\'re not a professional photographer, then okay, you\'re not but there are still things that are worth photographing in Manila. In case you haven\'t noticed we put up statues everywhere to commemorate our history and past events that happened in that spot so you can never say that nothing is worth photographing in any country. If you\'re going to write a review or a blog, try looking at both sides just to even out everything and instead of taking the time to think of your next bad post, try thinking of ways to help us in the Philippines because that would be a lot better than writing bad stuff about it.
11th October 2011

I was laughing while reading the post because I agree with you had experienced recently. A lot of businesses around here tend to deteriorate because of greed. They think they found a formula that works then moves on to the procurement of more riches, rising their prices without upgrading anything. And don\'t be surprised about the airport. It was supposed to be \'modernized\' but something happened behind closed session doors and we came out with the $*!# end of the deal. So, we\'re stuck with that musky, unsecured airport, where they ask OFWs for P6,000 for \'processing fee\' and ask for it in a white envelope. For government initiatives, all is lost in politicking and staying in power. Filipinos pay 40% of their earnings to a systems that does nothing more than grandstand and show off themselves as the hero of the people. My boss and I have been agitated recently by the swarm of \'service\' related businesses in Manila that take your money, make promises and then makes you want to buy a gun instead and blow those f@*1ers away. Its like you\'re the one who has to be grateful that they took your money and \'offer\' these services. And you\'re supposed to take it while they\'re spitting on your face and stomping on you @s$.
11th October 2011

very awakening blog...
11th October 2011

Hi! I for one appreciate the honesty. You\'ve hit so many critical points that our government have overlooked all these years. You\'re right, Manila isn\'t exactly a tourist magnet - and that comes from a Filipino. Our Tourism Department has been campaigning for more, well, tourists but you\'re right. What is the point in inviting people to come when you\'re not delivering the kind of experience that would make someone from halfway across the world get motivated enough to go here? Although, in fairness we do have nicer hotels than Discovery. In the end though, I have to defend my city. Manila is no first-class city. We\'re noisy, dirty, scary. But I think what makes it special is not the physical aspect of it but more of the experience. There are so many things to do here that you probably won\'t experience in other cities, I\'d like to think of it as an acquired taste. Anyway here\'s hoping your next visit would be way better than the last :)
11th October 2011

You should send a copy of this blog to the philippine tourism board. I agree totally with the run down NAIA airport. However, I disagree with generalizing how our service in other hotels and restaurants suck. There are lots of other choices to enjoy from but i guess your no longer coming back. I guess when your arthritis acts up in the cold weather of your home country you won\'t be able to enjoy Boracay\'s sunny beach front in a future. What a pitty. An advice of concern, if by your worste nightmare you get to visit Manila in the near future. Make sure to have a wig on or dye your hair purple to disguise yourself from the mob of assasins out to get you because of your blog ;p In the likely event that you get injured and survive and are flown back to god knows where you live. Rest assured though that there will be a Filipino nurse or Doctor who can finish the job ;p - don\'t take my comment too seriously they\'re only meant to inform and amuse... Don\'t bother to sue me I live in the dump you came from which is quickly disappearing 3,2,1 * gone...
11th October 2011

Drab
I\'m a Filipino and I\'ll be honest and frank: I hate the Philippines too. God knows I speak the truth and have no intentions of offending my fellow countrymen. Yeah truth hurts; but what hurts more is that we ALWAYS have to write all these shit in school, pretending to be patriotic and blah. It\'s so hard to think of things to say when we can\'t find any good points. It would be so much easier if I were in a different country or of different nationality (like you) writing a review of countries I\'ve come across. I must be honest I haven\'t been to any other country, but simply from what I see on TV and internet and comparing it to this drab, our city/country is not even worth mentioning.
11th October 2011

It saddens me to read your blog, especially with the strong words you used in describing my country. It saddens me more that I can’t actually defend Manila since what you mentioned are true. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is a disaster, the traffic is awful, and regarding the hotel, I could only take your word since I haven’t stayed at Discovery Suites. Even your description of the economic growth of my country is true. The public investments are lacking and the provision of basic services needs massive improvement. However, while you did mention the other parts of the Philippines worth visiting and gave less insult to the people, the overall impact of your entry makes the Philippines seem worthless. And the difficult part of this is that I can’t argue with you on your terms; to try would be going beyond the scope of your blog. I will however, briefly give you a food for thought. Try to look at the Philippines at another perspective. From someone who considers the enormous corruption in the government for nearly half a century (from the Marcos era to Gloria Macapagal’s term) that sunk the country in the dump. Think of the amount of money which should have been invested in the economy and in the people, but were just stolen by a chosen few. With minimal government support, one would think that the Philippines has resiliently survived economic crises, local and global, and is still striving to become better. Its people are trying to excel, and are succeeding, DESPITE the big disappointment from the government; DESPITE the lack of investments on education. Try to see my country in this line of thought, and maybe, just maybe, you will see that the Philippines is not worthless.
11th October 2011

To manila boy: your way of thinking is exactly the reason why Manila is in the state that it is in. Whether the hotel charges $119 or $40 a night, it is a standard procedure that rooms are to be cleaned daily without the guests having to call housekeeping for this. When you open up a hotel, you should maintain your quality of service through the years and manage it it like the first day you opened it...this will ensure return visits from the guests. You have to read this article with an open heart. Manila or Philippines is a great country to live in, food is delicious and cheap, most of us are nice, shopping is excellent...but we have to accept that other than that, we don\'t know how to take care of our country. traffic is bad, service in banks are slow, customer service is weak in most establishments...it\'s not the general public\'s fault, it\'s our leadership who have no regard for rules...how does the government expect its people to follow when they themselves are only thinking of their own well-being.
11th October 2011

can i just say!
anyways i read about your blog, and i kinda say i couldnt agree more, its really is a shab going aroung manila, and to think its the country\'s capital, sigh as you said earlier smart ones leave...uhmmmm maybe i accpeted that i am a nurse by profession and YES i say the country is really2 a bull when it comes to economy manpower etc. everyone wants to be in power, no wonder they kill themselves in the process, and leave millions of filipinos to starve....so what if paquiao wins every fight?? will it help the country?? bull again! it will just put the filipinos on top when it comes to boxing..whahahaha just a thought!
11th October 2011

Do not make hasty generalizations
while your comments may be true with regard to the places you\'ve been to - that is not a full representation of manila.. There are many areas for improvement, but you\'ve only been to less than 5% of the metro to generalize and say it\'s crappy. The airport, i agree, is poorly maintained but it\'s not a reflection of all of Manila. Please stop generalizing and be a more responsible blogger...
11th October 2011

Hello
all you said was true. because you are alone. if you have someone to guide you and tour you, maybe you wouldn\'t have said these. there are parts of manila that you havent seen or experienced. BECAUSE YOU ARE ALONE.
11th October 2011

hello. let me just say first how surprised i am with the lack of comments against your blog entry, as i\'m sure enough Filipinos have read it. although as you say you did receive vulgar responses which you would rather not post, and i understand that. i don\'t have much problems with what you said, in the sense that they are all undeniable statements. but perhaps it would have been better for everyone if you backed up your argument with a little more than \"the airport sucks, the hotel sucks, the traffic sucks, the economy sucks, therefore don\'t go to manila.\" there are certainly more factors to it than those you mentioned. with that said, let me clarify that i am not writing for the purpose of intellectually bashing your opinion. in fact i am here to agree that Manila is not a place i would recommend everyone to visit. but that is because it takes a different kind of person to see the beauty beneath the beast. there are little gems around Manila if you truly care to look. but if you lack the patience to bear the traffic and you build up a temper before you get to your destination, then of course it would be challenging to see the notable sights. then again, perhaps i only say these things because i am trying to justify my own residence in this \"awful disappointment\" of a city. i am a Filipino because i was born to Filipino parents in the Philippine country. this is to say my life and experiences here are rooted from that one \"accident.\" if i were born in some European country like you were, where your rich history of kings, castles and conquest defines your elegant and extravagant contemporary, i would probably share your sentiments. but even if it was an accident, the fact of the matter is, i was born a Filipino. and because of that i understand as well that our cruel and corrupt colonial history defines the current state of the Philippines. we were robbed of the chance to grow on our own, to develop into a strong united nation like Great Britain. we do not love our presidents like you love your Queen. during the course of Philippine democracy the public had gotten used to the \"fact\" that politicians only look after personal interests (i would say they are only following suit after their American colonial masters, but this is a matter which could trigger debate so i will stop here). that is why Filipinos leave the Philippines. and of course, if locals are afraid to build a future in their own country, why would foreigners be interested to invest in it? i suppose you can see that it only spirals downward from there. i admit that i am another Filipino who wishes to leave my motherland. but that does not mean i do not care at all for the splendid views i enjoyed and wonderful experiences i went through. mostly i appreciate the values it has taught me. there is something great to be learned from watching \"the mighty fall.\" Manila is not a place to travel to because she is cruel to those who are cruel to her. treat her with respect, and she will give you more than you could anticipate. p.s. i hope this comment gets published, i believe there\'s no profanity here.
11th October 2011

Can't agree more
I\'m 100% Filipino and I can\'t agree more to what you\'ve said. Now if only more of you visitors will post comments like this, pretty soon this corrupt government will be put to shame and actually make something out of the darn 32% in taxes that I give them off my salary, not to mention the countless added VAT\'s that are spread across each and every food, clothing or what-not that that we citizens purchase. Shame on the corruption that\'s still running rampant on this country. Nearly every money-producing Filipino is on the verge of leaving this forsaken country.
11th October 2011

You're spot on!
You\'ve hit upon one of the greatest weaknesses in Philippine society: the seeming inability to keep a good thing going. As you mentioned, we\'ll put up a fist-class hotel, then let it fall into shambles rather than invest in its upkeep. Our government purchases expensive vehicles from abroad, then lets them fall apart for lack of maintenance. A lot has to do with a preoccupation with empty showmanship (e.g. a politician posing beside a newly bought tank or cutting the ribbon to open a new building) and a lack of appreciation for actual substance. Of course, the fact that our government system has remained immature and largely self-serving is a factor as well.
11th October 2011

Agree!
I\'m a half Filipino and I\'ve been visiting the Philippines every now and then. and I totally agree that Manila needed a very major renovation/rehabilitation. When I say major, the people in there should evacuate then the government should blast the capital city and create a new city on its ruble. The thing is everyone should stop visiting Manila and start visiting the locals. Bohol, Cebu, Camarines Sur, Palawan. You might not get a good airport but still it\'s way better than Manila. It\'s worth spending more than $500. Trust me. Just a suggestion, try making a blog on other place in the Philippines other than Manila. I would appreciate it. And for the retard officials of the Philippines reading this. This should be a wake up call to all of you. Start working! I won\'t wonder if East Timor would be better than Manila! Kudos sir!
11th October 2011

Awfully great post
Seems your post is starting to gain traction on Facebook. Most likely you\'ll be labeled as another isolated evil racist white man by my fellow men, and they will link to this on their FB pages in order to get more people to hate you. But we seriously need more people like you and more posts like this. The Philippines has been so pitiful for far too long. It\'s embarrassing. And people here mistake the pity praise we get from politically-correct foreigners for real praise. And the government actually believes our living conditions are satisfactory. We need more people to visit the Philippines and write honest reviews like this.
11th October 2011

Yes, Manila is indeed not as shimmering as it was before, and you do have a point in advising the Philippine\'s visitors to visit the provinces instead. Manila has long been overrated. The good Filipino life indeed belongs to those who enjoy simple, laid back, and healthy lifestyles in the provinces. I grew up in Bacolod City - though miles behind in terms of infrastructure and commerce compared to Manila, I honestly believe it is one of the most livable places in the Philippines. You should try visiting it.
11th October 2011

Your criticisms in this post are valid and yes, our economic development has been stunted for the past 20 years or so. Compared to our neighbors in Southeast Asia, our economy has not taken off and our resources have been exploited not only by foreign investors but even by our own people. It is with a heavy heart that I write this, for acknowledging the sad truths in one\'s country is never easy. This is probably why the comments you received were offensive. Please understand that most people will perceive this as an attack to what we hold dear, our country, our pride and glory. All I ask, and I believe that I\'m speaking for my people, is that our country not be judged based on one city and on our economic history.
11th October 2011

This is sad, but what\'s sadder is that it\'s true. I am a Filipino and have always been proud to be one. I love my country and love travelling domestically. But i have to agree with a lot of your points. We are so used to mediocrity (or probably even lower than that), that we do not even strive to be better, in terms of services, or even the little things (coffee, etc). We always say, \"well, its really like that\" and shrug without even trying to improve. We are so used to poor processes (traffic, highly disorganized queues, etc) that those handling them do not feel the pressure to make living better. Oh, and we always blame the government without looking at what WE can do. Just a tip though, next time you visit Manila: try checking in at Shangri-La :) Oh, and please visit Palawan. Allow the beauty of the islands to redeem our country :)
11th October 2011

a reflection
Now that you have made public your thoughts regarding Manila--- have you ever read the blog of Market Manila? you might also learn and pick up some advice on how can a person who seems to be educated can air and vent out his views to the public. You might also find some information that may broaden your views about the world in general. People in Manila may learn from the points you raised in your blog. But the way your message is conveyed makes the reader see your anger more than the constructive criticism you want to convey-- it seems to be more destructive (vs constructive) not just for Manila but to you as a person too. Your actions and words reflect so much of what you have inside of you. How you are wired.
11th October 2011

Because you are not a local, you do not experience the added stress of airport officials trying to fleece you when you go through customs. Normally when people get back to their home airport there is a feeling of relief and comfort that one is home. In the Philippines, there is stress and fear because of these greedy airport officials.
11th October 2011

Sadly... I have to agree.
I am a Filipino and I am saddened by your words; however, they are true. I hope the Filipinos reading this will be inspired by it rather than hate the author. I don\'t want to blame government any more. It\'s such a cliché now to blame government. Our ignorance put them in power. We don\'t chose a president on credentials. We choose him/her because we think he/she has a chance of winning. These are not horse races (where you bet on who you feel will win); these are elections (where the future of our country is determined). We need to dig ourselves out of the mire and muck. Let\'s start with me...
11th October 2011

look at yourself first
dont be such an ass.... geoffrey.... im not a filipino but all people have flaws.... and your one of it.... you are disgraceful than anyone....
11th October 2011

i would agree to most of your comments, i havent gone back to the philippines for the last 5 years. Generally, it has been crowded, polluted and dirty ever since...sad part is, all you\'ve seen was the ugly part of Manila. If youve gone to places like Intramuros, where you\'ll have a glimpse of old Manila... or even Makati, Pque etc..there are so many nice places to visit..it was just unfortunante that you werent able to see the \"good places\".
11th October 2011

Harsh, but true...
Hey there! As a fellow foreigner (American) living in Manila, I\'ve got to say, your assessment is more or less on the ball. There are some nice areas in Manila, such as Greenbelt in Makati (well, almost anywhere in Makati), or The Fort in Taguig, where one can seek refuge from the drab brown and grey. As far as accommodations go, there are some nice hotels around town other than the swanky and pricey ones like Shangrila (try Hotel H2O next to Manila Ocean Park).
11th October 2011

My countrymen needs to start taking these things constructively. It\'s bad enough that the country\'s in disarray (whether we admit it or not), but to want to strangle the first person who says something bad/true is just tired and ridiculous. There had been instances like that and it is really humiliating how the government asks for apologies whenever a TV show or a prominent person makes a joke about Filipinos or the Philippines. What about other races who are made fun of on air every now and then like the Chinese or the Koreans? They just laugh along! I appreciate your honesty with this blog entry and I am grounded enough to admit that Manila has truly become quite unbearable. It makes me question the future ahead of me -- whether it be here or somewhere else where the grass is indeed greener. It\'s 2011 and the country has had plenty of chances to reinvent itself, but the corrupt government has shown no mercy to its people. Real shame.
11th October 2011

You are right in saying Manila\'s a dump. There\'s trash, pollution, corruption, traffic, and so on. Your review may be extremely harsh, but I believe 20 years is enough for you to be qualified to say these things. I will not argue with you that there is little for repeat visitors here in Manila (Backpackers, possibly, but not people like you, who aren\'t into discomfort, crippling poverty, trash, and pollution). I do have my arguments, though. First, I disagree with you when you say that there aren\'t any places worth photographing here in Manila. Off the top of my head, there\'s Intramuros. It\'s a really old district, reminiscent of the Spanish era. You can hire a tour guide named \"Carlos Celdran\", and I\'m sure he\'d be ecstatic to show you the place, along with what other sights there are to see. This is only if you\'re willing to try to see what little good there is in Manila. Second, I don\'t really know why you would recommend Mindanao to tourists. Of all the places in the Philippines, Mindanao is the most hostile. It houses the Abu Sayyaf and MILF. Unlike the NPA, who usually only focus on the Philippine Army, the Abu Sayyaf and MILF are known to attack and abduct civilians and foreigners. So far, I haven\'t heard of any attacks lately, but peace still hasn\'t been established. Finally, although you do specify Manila as the city you are talking about at the beginning of your blog, I completely disapprove of the multiple times you mention the Philippines. It gives readers the idea that the entire Philippines is horrible. Manila is Manila. It may be the capital, but it does not mean the rest of the Philippines is like that. I honestly wouldn\'t mind you calling Manila a filthy shithole, but I would appreciate it if you keep your focus only on Manila. You like water sports? Come visit CamSur. You like beaches? Boracay has tons of white sand. You like hiking? Mt. Mayon is renowned for its symmetrical conical shape. What about diving? You can swim with the whale sharks. I share your sentiment. I know Manila is horrible. I may not have been to as many countries as you, but I have seen other countries. I know, from first-hand experience, that our museums and churches don\'t come close to Spain\'s. I know that our traffic is horrible, and that the friendliness we are known for completely disappears the moment we step into a vehicle. I only ask that you don\'t criticize my entire country, if you haven\'t seen the entirety of it. I assume you come here for business. Of course, I can only make this assumption based on the information you\'ve presented, and I could of course be wrong. However, if this were indeed the case, then I ask that you change your entry\'s title to, \"Manila - Awfully Disappointing\", because although you are indeed qualified to judge Manila, you have not seen the Philippines, and therefore have no right to judge it as a whole. Its economy, perhaps, but nothing else.
11th October 2011

you should try visiting Cebu City instead...
11th October 2011

if you are a \"development\" professional then you know exactly why the Philippines is like this... Filipinos love \"Democrazy\".. too much freedom... all surrounding southeast Asian countries have some form of autocratic government and look where are they now... the Philippines on the other hand have always been democratic since the 80s uprising and since then it has been declining... just an interesting perspective for you.. the \"west\" has been promoting and even imposes (through funding agencies) all these liberty, freedom and democracy stuff... and the Philippines embraced it all which leads us to the question: have we been developing? NO! Filipinos (we) must learn to surrender some rights, freedom and ego so that development is not hindered. every minute of debate someone dies from hunger..... viva la revolution!
11th October 2011

Silver Lining! :)
Good evening from Manila! :) I'm a young Filipina student so I hope you don't mind that I have a too positive outlook about my country. I'd like to applaud you first for your brutal honesty which I'm sure has garnered you the ire of many patriotic Filippinos. However I do agree with you that compared to 15 years ago Manila has vastly degraded from the once bright and hopeful city that it was. However the people here still have that little spark, that bright hope, that things are going to get better. We are working on it. That I can assure you. May I invite you to see our new Airport? :) Ninoy Aquino International 3 opened just a few months ago. It has a little bit of it's kinks to fix but so far it should be working smoothly soon! So maybe next when you visit and land in our country you'll enjoy our new airport! ;) we can't promise foccacia bread but we can recommend some delicious Filipino specialties and treats! Maybe balut if you're adventurous! True that Discovery Suites is an old hotel already and we do appreciate you telling them off for their lackluster service but may I point out that there are newer and smaller botique hotels being built? :) Discovery Suites is not the basis of our hotel hospitality that I can completely assure you! So I hope you try one of our newer boutique hotels like Midas Hotel or Hotel Celeste? As for the traffic.. :) well.. :/ I really have nothing to say about it. Even I am still hoping for lighter traffic. Thank you also for pointing out that we, the Filipinos, are an educated and talented group (from what I could infer from your words)! Since you yourself admitted that, then you must know that our talents and smarts won't let us just "disappear"! We'll fight back and be brighter and better than ever! I hope that you can give us a chance to show you and the world that we can once again be the Pearl of the Orient and the delicious little stop-over in your tiring trips. I do hope that while you saw the sad part of Philippines in the present times, that you will come back in the future. Maybe in a time shorter than 15 years? And let us show you the small and difficult changes we have made to make Manila better We are growing and it is a slow growth but like everything that turns out to be the most beautiful and the best it will take time to perfect. Mabuhay! "Live" or "To live" that is our hello and good bye! So from a Filipina to you! Have a happy day!
11th October 2011

my thoughts about this sh@t.
Things I agree, - airport sucks, - bad traffic things i disagree, \"P.S. No pictures because there\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\'s drab and dirty. \" - it is also saying that \"india\" has nothing worth photographing. Complain about Discovery Suites - totally an isolated case, there are several awesome hotels you didn\'t try, some are even cheaper but with awesome service... Not sure who recommended this hotel to you. i guess you are just a tourist and not a traveler. my only recommendation for tourists like you is that don\'t go \"developing countries\". every country/city has its own character, beauty, and ugliness but judging it based on your airport, hotel, and traffic experience not enough.. you didn\'t even try living here. This blog is simply reflects how narrow minded as \"traveler\" You are. no offense.
11th October 2011

More please!
Thank you so much for the accurate description of Manila, well at least, the places that matter to our guests. It\'s refreshing to hear it straight. When we Filipinos comment on the state of things in our country, we are either ignored and judged as politically-motivated. When foreigners comment, the government merely tries to save face and does some facelifts; and the misguided patriotic simply goes berserk. Nothing is truly done just like election promises. I wouldn\'t mind another strongman leader a la Lee Kuan Yew sans the old leeches feeding on the sweat and tears of the army of smart but sad ones who are sending back the dollars. FUCK!!!! There. I\'m good. Thanks, again. I hope you like chilled San Miguel and grilled tuna head. Ask for toyo and calamansi. Best enjoyed by the beach. Cheers!
11th October 2011

Google is Your Friend
I had to stop myself from getting terribly upset by what you wrote but honestly there is a lot of truth in what you wrote. The airport you landed on is quite old and a disgrace I agree but there is new one just near it that is immensely better. Granted you can’t compare it to some other countries’ like Hong Kong’s but it is remarkably better than the drab old one. There are a lot of ways to travel from the airport to other places without being conned to pay more, ride the yellow taxis that’s just outside the exit. They have a higher base rate and increments on their meters but they are often better than the other options. Things you have to understand though, Discovery Suites is old and not the only place to stay on that area. Ortigas (where your hotel was) is not the poshiest place. If you were in Makati you might’ve had a better experience. You should’ve researched for a lot more information before going and staying at the places you were used to. In the end it seems like you just expected too much from a third world country with the worst economic growth history and didn’t exert the effort to use the internet to help you find the best place that would suit your (maybe) non third world need.
11th October 2011

hahaha..you went to one place and got a stupid coffee? then you insulted the whole city for it?..there are places in london where coffee taste like brit balls then london\'s at fault for it?..your country is the most corrupt among caucasian countries...maybe thats why you are a traveler little piggy..
11th October 2011

Manila is crowded because a lot of people from the provinces lived and worked in Manila because of the belief that being in Manila will instantly make them rich. Unfortunately, this \"flow\" was not well controlled by the government that\'s why Manila looked like scrap. I live in Metro Manila and I agree that majority of the places here definitely describes poverty. But for someone that loves looking for the good in the bad (like me), you\'ll still discover places in Metro Manila worth going to. You just have to be adventurous to find them but if you are not then, yeah, Metro manila is really not for you. :)
11th October 2011

Arrogant Bastard
Look Who\'s talking? Why UK is a dump too...If you don\'t like it here...Then Scram! You\'re not welcome here. You arrogant Bastard!
11th October 2011

Manila is not just the airport or hotel. It may not be Hong Kong, Tokyo or Bangkok but it\'s definitely not drab and dirty...Rome is dirty...and Singapore with all it\'s bells and whistles can be sometimes drab too ;-) Although I will have to agree with your observations about NAIA Terminal 1. Terminal 2 and 3 are in better shape although not at par with Changi or Chek Lap Kok, it\'s relatively okay. Discovery Suites is the dumps, I second that...but what about other hotels? Marriott in Resorts World is new, The Peninsula got renovated and both Fairmont and Grand Hyatt are under construction. Albeit there may be beyond your usual budget, the truth is there are better hotels in Manila. The truth is Manila and the entire Philippines is in a bad shape because of poor governance and greed. I wish there was a switch or a pill that we could take to make it better but years of corruption couldn\'t be reversed overnight (if we could ever reserve it). But Manila is more than just what you have described. Granted they are all true and valid observations, there are things about Manila that endears her to other tourists and locals alike.
11th October 2011

It's not all that
The problems in the Philippines, just like in any other developing country, is complex. The things you disapprove of are but a part of a deeply entrenched problem that some smart Filipinos, who do choose to stay in this so-called \"dump,\" are trying to remedy. I understand your disappointment. You want your money\'s worth. But most of the time the things we say or see when we\'re very frustrated are hardly accurate or fair. As you said, what you\'ve described is not the whole of the Philippines. In fact, you don\'t even have to go to the islands to know that. I will not, by any means, justify or deny whatever discomforts or unpleasant sights disappointed you. There\'s always one in every country. But to call us \"disappearing\" just because you were served over-boiled coffee or were seated in a musty furniture is a bit of a stretch, don\'t you think? This is why emotionally-charged post, like yours, should be taken with a grain of salt. And not all of us who can do that wish to leave this country. It\'s disappointing how experience can teach so little to some.
11th October 2011

Honestly, being a Filipino, it really hurt and hard to accept what you\'ve written in your article. But I can\'t disagree with you either...that\'s the reality now in most places/areas in the Philippines. And it is obvious that our neighboring countries are way ahead of us now in terms of development and progress. Most Filipino people will disagree with you and will even hate you but truth really hurt right?! And whether they admit or not, it is the fact right now and some people (both in the government and private sectors) are just turning blind eyes on what is happening now to our country....it may be because of fear for their lives when they voice out their complaints and grievances....or maybe because they have their own hidden agendas and personal interests. I just hope and pray to see the Philippines of \"old\" - LESS CORRUPT, LESS CRIME, LESS GREEDY (referring to people in the government and private sectors/businesses...and to some extent, even some common people), LESS OF NEGATIVE THINGS, etc.
11th October 2011

I am a 22 year old Filipino lucky enough to have been born with an American Citizenship. I have lived in Manila for 21 years and moved here in San Francisco 11 months ago. Everything that you have said is true. The Philippines is a big mess and I would not live there again. If ever I am going to visit, it will be because of family since my parents and my brother are still there. Every time someone here asks what it\'s like in the Philippines, I would always say that it is disgusting and very gnarly. I don\'t get surprised when they tell me that other Filipinos say it\'s a wonderful place to visit because Filipinos are very delusional individuals. They can\'t accept the fact that their country is so third world and progress won\'t happen in centuries. I am glad that I left the Philippines. Its people have a bad culture that doesn\'t foster growth or progress. I will never say I am a proud Filipino as well since... I am an American anyway and there is obviously nothing to be proud of. I apologize for those ignorant Filipinos who are/will be bashing you. Just keep in mind that you have only spoken of the truth that they themselves are unable to do. I hope you have a great day and do visit San Francisco again if you\'ve been here before.
11th October 2011

I agree..
I completely agree with your observations of Manila... Such a shame that Manila is getting worse as time goes by. Too bad that the country is run by over corrupt politicians and dominated by greedy businessmen. Too bad that the once grandeur of the so called Pearl of the Orient seas has dwindled through time and even worsening. But apparently least has been done by those who are in authority. Although I\'m thankful that there are still few foreign tourists who still visit the Philippines despite of the negative aspects that many can easily observe..
11th October 2011

I agree with you!
I have traveled extensively too because of my work and, even if I am Filipino, I quite agree with you. I always get frustrated with the state of the International Airport in the Philippines as compared to our other Asian neighbors. The worst thing is that you get airport personnel asking for "pasalubong" and some have the gall to ask for dollars even if they see that you are a Filipino! I also hate that when you are waiting for your flight, you can't get a decent meal in the airport. The widespread corruption in the country has led to a very slow development in the Philippines and I find this quite sad because we are getting left behind despite the fact that the people have much to be proud of in terms of natural resources
11th October 2011

Hi. I know there are a lot of unpleasant things here in Manila but don\'t you think that you\'re blog would just make things worst? It would discourage tourists to visit the country and making it even harder for the government to attract them. Yes, the government and the citizens should do something to improve the places here in the country. However, let\'s not forget that one of the first things listed on a traveler\'s checklist is to check out the reviews written about the country. If they happen to encounter your blog, do you think you\'re helping the Philippines in terms of tourism? Manila is not a perfect city. Every country (or most of the countries) has its own share of informal settlers and dirty places. I just hope that your blog doesn\'t discourage future travelers here in the country. The Philippines has a lot to improve on and we should try to help one way or another.
11th October 2011

TRUE
yes, as a pinoy, i don\'t support manila as a capital of the philippines anymore since it never developed into a city that you would expect of a \"capital city\". Garbage everywhere, never ending traffic with big pot holes on the street, low class health service (if you try going in a Govt hospital), the bad smell of Manila Bay. everything was basically downgraded. I\'m sorry that this is what you got from the visit. Next time try going straight to other places and try getting a plane that does not land on the Old NAIA terminal 1 airport. Get a plane that lands on NAIA terminal 3 and you\'ll find yourself the first class airport that you\'ve been looking for.
11th October 2011

Hi. I read your post and was wondering what other places in Manila have you visited? It seems based on the post that you\'ve pointed out 2 locations. The old airport and discovery suites. Whilst I would agree that the NAIA terminal is most probably the worst national airport, and that traffic is really bad in several parts of Manila, the question which comes to mind is: are those enough to conclude that (Metro) Manila is that bad? Have you been to Makati? Taguig or other cities in Metro Manila? or was the conclusion based solely on the \"limited\" (I say limited as you did not mention other places you\'ve been to) locations you have actually visited? Oh and just an FYI, there has been re investments made in the private sector. The Naia Terminal 3, though it caters to just a few airlines, is a far cry from the misery and discomfort of Terminal 1 and 2.
11th October 2011

I'm from Manila, and all you say is true. There\'s no point in denying what is already the facts, especially the airport and the traffic. Still, we hope these will be fixed little by little. Never checked in at Discovery, though. But if based on your experience, I guess I won\'t :P
11th October 2011

Thank you for saying it out lout. But unfortunately, our government (and some of our less-than-smart-ones) have been adamant about these \\\"problems\\\" we have in the Philippines. 119$ is not considered cheap! we expect good service no matter what kind of hotel we stay in. Disappointing. From the corrupt people at the airport, the corrupt police along the road and to the place where you want convenience. Sad. But as a citizen, I will always be looking forward to the day I will leave the country I am in right now and go back to my country. A new and better Philippines.
11th October 2011

it gives so much grief to read such a criticism where everything is true. I\'m hurt not because of the comment but to the truthfulness of this article/blog. I can\'t deny the fact of all the criticism that the author made for once it\'s not a trash talk it\'s a FACT talk. I am a filipino though living in manila but i grew up in the middle east. i really appreciate the truth and yes most of the filipinos won\'t like this blog but what the hell the truth hurts all i wish right now and prayerfully asking the most high is for my countrymen realize that we are already in the brink of \"disappearing country\". I can\'t blame our government alone but as a whole every citizen of the philippines including me should be blame with the downfall our own country not the other people. here\'s a lesson that we should learn and take this criticism seriously not for pride but for our future. I would refute the writer if this were false but it\'s not, every details are true! i still love my country...and i still believe hope is still visible...
11th October 2011

Couldn't agree more
I couldn't agree more with your post, and this coming from a Filipino who lives here. Rampant corruption living in the government has done nothing but destroy what was once a travel destination in Asia. People have also become ignorant and impulsive. Everyone now has a "to each his own" mindset. On the other hand, I suggest you also visit Cairo, Egypt. I have been there and apart from the pyramids and other museums, it is worse than Manila.
11th October 2011

All right, please pardon me for saying that your post is not a travel blog because, truly, it is not. I have made the fallacy of reading through your diary and thinking that it was a properly laid out Travel Review. First thing that you have to understand is that you have to expect that there would always be people in a Mega City like Manila, Philippines. It would always be crowded, dense, noisy and congested with traffic. It is a great irony that you call yourself an \"inveterate traveler\" and then comment that you do not like crowds of people. Perhaps you prefer the low-density setting of North America where suburbs are lined with placeless cookie cutter houses. Yes I do agree with you that Manila is filled with old busses, smoky \"jeeps\" and yelling street vendors but this is its fine feature and cultural distinction to some extent. It is true that Manila is the home base of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) but the country has seen very little development over the course of history and there are numerous reasons for this. Some of them may be traced back to the political workings of the Philippines lined with graft and corruption but some reasons are far more imbedded within the economic and political dictatorship of developed countries like the U.S. I would recommend that you read about the \"Washington Consensus,\" which is also know as the \"IMF Conditionalities.\" The ADB, on the other hand, is not free of scrutiny, as this lending institution has also been criticized of being a tool for manipulation and the preservation of another super power country\'s interests, which is known as Japan. Here are some readings that you may want to refer to in your quest for economic understanding: Stiglitz, Joseph. “Globalization and its Discontents.” WW Norton, New York, 2003. Weisbrot, Mark. “Another IMF Crash – Argentina.” The Nation Magazine, December 3, 2001. Fellows, Michael, Flannagan, G., Shedd, S., “Economic Issues: A Canadian Perspective.” McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, Toronto, 1997. Ellwood, Wayne. “No-Nonsense guide to Globalization.” Verso, New York, 2001. Samuelson, Paul Anthony, “Economics: 6th Canadian Edition.” McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, Toronto, 1983. Shultz, Jim and Whitesell, Lily. “Deadly Consequences: How the IMF Provoked Bolivia into Bloody Crisis.” Multinational Monitor, May-June 2005. Kolko, Gabriel. “Ravaging the Poor: IMF Indicted by Its Own Data.” Multinational Monitor Magazine, June 1998 Anderson, Sarah, “The IMF and World Bank\'s Cosmetic Makeover.” Dollars and Sense Magazine, January-February, 2001. Moberg, David. “Plunder and Profit: The IMF and WorId Bank continue to push privatization, in spite of its massive failures.” In These Times Magazine, March, 2004. Bello, Walden and Guttal, Shalmali. “Crisis of Credibility: The Declining Power of the International Monetary Fund.” Multinational Monitor, July-August, 2005. Dollars and Sense Magazine. “The impact of IMF, World Bank and neoliberal economic policies on infant mortality and increasing longevity in the Third World.” July-August, 2000, p 37. Cavanagh, J., Welch, C., Retallack, S., “The IMF Formula: Prescription for Poverty.” IFG Bulletin, 2001, Volume 1, Issue 3, International Forum on Globalization Ibon Policy Paper. “Repudiation of Marco’s Illegitimate Debts: A Pro-People Measure to Address the Fiscal Crisis” Ibon Foundation, Inc., Manila, 2004. Buira, Ariel, “An Analysis of IMF Conditionality.” G-24 Discussion Paper Series, United Nations New York and Geneva. No 22, August 2003. Also in the note of economics and your claiming to be a \"faux economist\" (whatever that means), You do know that while the Philippines receives millions if not billions of dollars in remittances this does not compensate for the \"brain drain\" that is taking place in the country. Moreover, most of the profit that is generated by these international Filipino workers stay within the country where the service or product is made as part of the economic linkages. In the end, you should know better to applaud those who have left s this creates a \"positive feed back loop\" of escalating problems. Finally, I do appreciate your honesty in saying that you are not a back packer or a true traveller. Please forgive me again but I think that this thing you wrote is more of a \"prima donna\" complain list rather than a proper critique. Manila Boy was right in noting that you get what you pay for by staying in an inexpensive hotel. Do stay in a more expensive hotel or perhaps in a secluded beach. Ohhhhhh, and do proof read what you write...
11th October 2011

Ugly truth
Ouch. We just got slapped in the face but it's a wake up call. So thanks.
11th October 2011

I think it all falls down to corruption, philippines has a lot of corrupt officials, if only they used the money they pocketed in helping their country, then maybe.... there could have been progress
11th October 2011

Hmm..
So you\'re saying, you used to enjoy Manila? I noticed you kept comparing certain things in the past. And as I was reading this article, I already knew in the back of my head that you would be getting a lot of hate comments. A lot of Filipinos get offended if you diss ANYTHING about the Philippines, regardless if it\'s true. Pardon these people for being closed minded. While I see where you\'re coming from, I do believe that there are still a few places in Manila worth visiting. Honestly, I would want the Philippines to get better but as it is right now, comparing it to other countries in SEA would seem like a long shot. People always blame the government but they don\'t get that change also has to come from society itself. I remember reading about how the Japanese were so disciplined, determined and efficient in rebuilding after the recent disasters that affected them. It made me so envious. I wonder if we\'ll ever see the day that this country would rise from the ashes. On a side note, what\'s your favorite country in Asia? I\'m a Filipino by the way.
11th October 2011

i love it
I love the filli
11th October 2011

I'm a Filipino living here for years, and most, if not all of your posts are true. The situation here is really sad because of stupid corrupt politicians (anti-planking law?! wtf?!), bureaucracies, too much religious dogma, and apathetic citizens. It\'s so depressing.
11th October 2011

Thanks for pointing out and specifying Manila and not the whole of The Philippines in your story. I am Pinoy, born and raised, and have spent all but 8 of my 33 years in Manila. Except for the more developed cities of Makati (not all of it but just the CBD), Pasig (actually just the CBD again), Taguig (mostly in a terrible state except for the Fort Global City section), Metro Manila is indeed an embarrassing eyesore. Traffic is terrible like you said. Riding on the perpetually packed-to-overflowing Metro Rail Transit system is a joke. The International Airport is literally falling apart (a huge chunk of the ceiling in one section completely crumbled & fell at one point). On the other hand we do have a very decent modern terminal (Terminal 3) but is so far only used for domestic flights - go figure) But I digress. My comment was to thank you for not bagging the whole of the Philippines and still recognizing after your horrendous experience, that aside from Manila, the rest of the country does have a lot to offer tourism-wise.
11th October 2011

the filipino lifestyle is a short-term living. they earn money to pay the next day, if they\'re lucky the next week. and if they\'re good, then the next month is secured too. freshly brewed coffee is not in their lifestyle and will surely not be in every household - i\'d say only a few % of the richer household would have a coffemachine. business as i said are short-termed, if it works, why change something? why not buy food for the whole family, or invest on the childrens schooling? or get a life! everyone works and they hope for a better living, not to give others more comfort in life, but themselves. i just think you shouldn\'t look for \"home\" in other countries. manila is the home of millions of people, but not yours.
11th October 2011

n/a
To you Mr..???.. You have to deal with it! If you can\'t then don\'t come..
11th October 2011

BUSTED!!!
You are an ass for sure. How can you have such unrealistic expectations of a place and then rip it apart like it\'s news that the Philippines is in such disrepair. Look at your picture, you look like everyone of those sex tourists that hangs out and BS\'s there way through some meaningless conversation just so they can pop their viagra and try and relive their youth. The problem is your youth was you home with a jar of vaseline. I wouldn\'t trust you to recommend where to fill my car with gas. Drink some more beer and fatten up that gut buddy, you are almost there. An over weight, diabetic, ignorant american that expects 3rd world countries to look and feel like America and Europe. BUSTED!!!
11th October 2011

Thanks
Before anything, let me first say that I love my country: anything from its people and down to its culture. It\'s where I live; it is who I am. But I cannot help but agree with what you\'ve written down here. Yes, it\'s true. Manila is disappointing and in many ways, downright depressing. But in all this, it\'s what I\'ve accepted and learned to live with- and with me are millions of Filipinos that share the same sentiment. The best we can do is make good with what we have and be faithful with what were given. Because whether I (or we) like it or not, as long as there are stupid and (incredibly) selfish people along the hallways of Malacanang, the Philippines will never change. So, thank you for your honesty! My deepest wish is that the higher-ups out there are able to read this and LEARN. We have to start looking from the outside in... perhaps the time hasn\'t been so ripe as now- short is the distance between time and change. oh well. Again, thanks for speakin your mind! - A random Filipino
11th October 2011

I'm filipino, and frankly, I couldn't agree more.
I guess manila boy here either haven\'t been to DS before, ore has never even been to a hotel. In any case, you\'re post is truthful, no matter how much it hurts as a filipino. But as we say, the truth will always hurt. The Philippines has become a dump within the past 10 years. If you\'ve been here long enough, you\'ll see that most of the filipinos wouldn\'t give a single care about most of the other filipinos anymore, which is really the main reason of it falling into the nothingness it\'s currently in to. And, on behalf of the filipino people who still thinks that your post is true and accept that fact, I would like to give you an apology for what you have experienced (and may experience if our holier-than-thou government asks for a public apology from you, which usually happens when people talk about the Philippines). Your posts are great so don\'t let some retards say otherwise! Cheers.
11th October 2011

Hello sir, quite a blog there. While a lot of what you said are indeed observable in Manila, I do hope you can see some hope too. I guess you work in ADB and indeed you know much about development. I've been travelling some bits too, not as much as you do perhaps though. However, what I see is that development does not have to be in one place. It can happen in new places and aspects of things. While where you visited in Manila have become old and failed to maintain itself well, progress and development has also spurred in new places in the city. Maybe you can go around and see the new malls and compare them with the old, new residential or commercial places and compare them with the old. I guess buildings are like people sometimes, we cant replace them. Lets look at the younger ones if you like something new. I hope you find something good, young and vibrant when you do happen to go back there. After all, those that do leave the Philippines, always dream of coming back to where home is.
11th October 2011

Somehow I can agree with you. If ever I\'m gonna invite my foreign friends to visit the Philippines, Manila will only be a night\'s stop-over to our proper tourist destination (Boracay (ugh), Cebu, Davao, etc). However, I think there are always places in every city where you could really say \"wow... this is a great city\" and, consequently, where you could say \"wth? I\'m in ______?\" Take Shanghai for example. (I\'m living here now for my education). When you say Shanghai, you think of The Bund, Nanjing Road (shopping district), the bottle-opener tower among other sites. However, there are still places in Shanghai I would consider dirtier and crap-ier than places in Manila. Consequently, there are also places in Manila which are dirtier and crap-ier than in Shanghai. Maybe if someone bothered to take you to, say, Serendra/High Street, night markets/Sunday markets, even Luneta Park, hell I\'d even take you to our favorite drinking spot near Katipunan, I\'m sure you\'d have a good time. Of course, I wouldn\'t know exactly what you\'re looking for when you visit another city. In my humble opinion, it\'s always best to take the word of a local friend when visiting a foreign city. Unless it\'s a tourist city (like Paris, or in China\'s case, Xi\'An), guidebooks or tourist sites are never helpful. Still, you do make a good point. I think the reason behind your last few paragraphs is that Filipinos have no inherent and throbbing love for their country. I can see this clearly with some of my foreign friends, especially Chinese and Americans because despite the bad things their countries have, they still love their country. Ask any Filipino and they will generally say on most things, foreign is almost always better - save for food. Maybe next time you shouldn\'t look around the city and just focus on the meal you\'re getting (I do hope you\'re quite adventurous gastronomically).
11th October 2011

Philippines is not Manila
I agree..try out Cebu, it's wayyyy better than Manila
11th October 2011

My tales and stories are part fact/part fiction
The title of my comment is taken from your profile...says a lot. And no, not many people should take your comments too seriously. I know someone already made the same comment that immediately jumped in my mind. $119 a night! and you claim to stay in decent hotels. There is a complete disjoint in your two claims. You stay in one hotel, probably not venturing out into newer areas of Manila, probably because it is more convenient to not do so. And based on this you completely write the country off and have nothing good to say. Your point is invalid because you use limited examples to make huge generalisations. About your reply that \'The rest were incoherent and offensive - which kind of makes my overall point.\' Actually, I doubt it makes the point conveyed by your article; it more likely betrays the underlying prejudice of your review. These are different. Over the last few weeks I have read, online, countless incoherent and offensive comments from the Brits (and others), but what point does this demonstrate about a country? Your points about the economic development of the Philippines are, sadly, quite true; but they are misplaced in your narrow description and, one might suggest, out of place in a travel blog. FYI: I have been to Manila many, many times, including as recently as April 2011. \'If you can\'t say something nice, then don\'t\' kind of rings out here. More appropriately, be a better traveller and search for better things to write about. They are there and others with less experience travelling to Manila can bring them out. In a country as screwed up as you claim, with people in desperate circumstances you whinge about bad coffee...
11th October 2011

sad but true ...
love to disagree for the sake of my country ... but i just can\'t ...
11th October 2011

Cheers!
I am impressed with this article. I am a Filipina but been out of the country 5 years. Truth is I have seen and compared Manila to the countries you\'ve mentioned. As I just recently came back from a backpacking trip across SE Asia, and truth is for that amount of money, you can stay in a nice hotel in other countries. Anyway, truth is, this should be a wake up call for the government, who are too busy making some new laws or putting money in their pocket. The International Airport sucks.:( I was actually wondering how and when are they gonna be able to construct a new one because it seems that people are too busy criticizing the President we have now rather than to be of help. The city is dodgy during the night and dirty, crime rate is terrible, the metro is so old. I have seen some people posted this on facebook and mostly of course are Filipinos, but its the truth. People shouldn\'t react to it violently but instead do something about it? Cheers mate! Thanks for posting this. :) x
11th October 2011

Everything is on-point here, but with the \"disappearing\" country part. All I can say is, we\'ll see. There is hope and if ever you do come back here again, try to look at the Philippines in a more positive light. Please? :)
11th October 2011

Hi! thanks for your honest blog. I love the Philippines. But most of what you said is true. Sadly. If there\'s one thing I can change in Manila, is the \"smog\".. It\'s awful, no one from the authority cares about it.. In fact, in Bangkok, during my stay, I never saw a single vehicle emitting smog. So, yes, go directly to the other islands of the Philippines... Another, sad thing though, someone is killing Palawan - one of my favorite vacation spots.. I heard a lot about PAL these days.. Try checking NAIA 3, which is a far better airport these days... bigger, new, classier.. you can check-in directly to Marriott. a 5-minute taxi ride far from the airport... to go to Manila from Europe, you have to go to Bangkok or Singapore (for example), and have a connecting flight to Manila via Cebu Pacific. It\'s a cheaper option (so dont expect too much), but it will take you to NAIA 3 instead. Again, I\'m still loving Philippines - especially that I am not from Manila, originally.
11th October 2011

Really?!
What did you even do in the Philippines? I mean did you expect to breeze through a City with a population on 10 Million people? Traffic is everywhere. Manila has aweful traffic and it is dirty but it is to be expected with a City with a big population.
11th October 2011

Well.
You\'re lucky if you\'re getting paid to do this article because I\'m sure everyone here knows what you\'re talking about. I love the Philippines and I\'m proud to be a Filipino. I think most of us just got used to it. Complaining really won\'t get us anywhere. It\'s deeply rooted \"disease\". tl;dr - What AJ already said: false patriotism. Great to be \"pinoy\" eh? (Warning: prepare your flame-suit cause if this goes viral, a lot of Filipinos are gonna go ape-shit on this article without understanding what the hell it really means.)
11th October 2011

It\'s a sad truth about \"Manila\". Although, I am not residing in the Metro, those things you have initially stated such as the AWFUL traffic, the \"under repair/not working\" toilets and the overpriced coffee, the old airport and the economic development is a disaster... are all true, enough said. Reading from your comment, you have not posted some comments because probably those who have disagreed reacted violently. I will not justify this but rather apologize because many things from what you have just written are true. There\'s no need to react and comment violently to something which is pretty much obvious. On the other end, you said \"an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left. \" I respect that if that is how you look at it. True, that our Overseas Filipino Workers help our economy just as much, but I do not believe that the economy exists only on the remittances of the \"smart\" ones who have left. The poverty has heightened in the Philippines, but naming people as \"smart\" just because they have left this \"awfully disappointing\" country is somehow odd to say. Smart, in a sense that they were able to escape the misguidance from the government? How about those who have stayed? Those who stayed are not in any way less worth than those who have left. Us, the ones who are still here, work just as much like the ones who have left. Lucky those who were able to get out and reside out of the Philippines, but life is just what it is that doesn\'t mean we here aren\'t able to cope up. You have the opinion from a Filipino living abroad, now I\'m speaking for those who are still in the country. We are not blinded by the glittering malls, skyscrapers etc, we are very much aware that this country still needs a lot of work, I think everybody does. Good for those who left to seek a better chance in life, but it doesn\'t necessarily mean that we who stayed here don\'t get that chance as well. It\'s a simple cause and effect, study hard and you get a good/better job, work hard and you get a better pay. It does apply everywhere. How can you be so sure that those who work here don\'t get the same thing as those who left? The only difference is, we get to deal with the ones that you are complaining about. It will be great to have these infrastructures upgraded. You are right that Awful Traffic?? probably you experienced in EDSA? The road was basically constructed fit during the time it was built, but overlooked the fact that the number of vehicles using the road will eventually arise. Thus, causing this extreme traffic. Thank you for your honesty.
11th October 2011

Thank you!
Hi! I\'m a Filipino, lived here all my life. I guess we need more articles like yours! It\'s a good wake up call. I think one big problem the Filipinos have is we\'ve lost our patriotism. We\'re all watching out for our individual selves (goes triple for gov\'t officials). It\'s the articles and criticism like yours, specially mentioning how great the country once was, that really stirs up the urge in me (and, I hope my countrymen) to really work towards getting back to where we once were, if not better! I really respect your point of view, having gone back and forth here for 20 years and having a good comparison and observation of changes over the years.
11th October 2011

It is really sad to hear these bad things about my country but it\'s true. We used to be the envy of other Asian countries many years ago but now we\'re totally left behind. Corruption is really what is killing this once a great country. I still hope that someday and somehow we will be able to stand up again. THanks for your honestly. People rarely do that these days.
11th October 2011

agree!
I saw your post disseminated at Facebook and as expected it has elicited nasty reactions. I guess it\'s typical here in Philippines - people tend to react negatively to comments rather that use it as tool for improvement. I totally agree with what you have said and could have added more criticisms on the list.
11th October 2011

hmmm
Point taken. I can\'t blame you mate. I would like to believe that much of the \"disappointment\" in my country is because there\'s just so much to expect from it and nothing happens still. you said it well---people are talented, natural resources are to drool for but noone taps the potential well. I\'d treat this blog post of yours as nitpicking though. Maybe you just need a better person to show you around, or a different set of eyes to see the city. Every city has its set of achilles heel, and frankly i may sound biased but i do definitely think Manila is way way better than some of its neighbors. p.s. i got this post of yours because a friend of mine posted this in facebook. there are a lot of us who remain optimistic about our country, especially the younger ones like me. I hope you dont lose faith and give this city another chance, i do think we\'re gaining momentum.
11th October 2011

You have the point man but I think you were just exaggerating at some things. But i somehow agree with most of your posts. BTW, Filipino here.
11th October 2011

Obviously, I am a Filipino. I am currently taking up International Politics here in the Philippines. I agree with everything you\'ve stated which makes it a stingier slap to my face. I think it\'s capitalism though that had cause Manila\'s downfall (wow, I sound like a Leftist but no am not). It\'s just that Manila is comprised of trans and multi national companies and the government does not have control over them because of 1) no strong policies 2) government officials are cheap stakes and they benefit from the low capital high income business they\'re having since 3) most companies have government officials investing
11th October 2011

Dear Sir, Thank you for your very honest opinion. However, you are both right & wrong with your observation. As with any other country, it is just a matter of knowing where to go & what to do. There might be flaws here & there, but as with any other nation, there are unkempt places & eyesores everywhere & anywhere in the world. I am not missing your point. But I am not sure though if this is more like an assassination of the image of our country, or if you are just too disappointed with your recent trip. That said, there is really no need for derogatory remarks nor demoralize our country & mock our fellowmen. Some of us might be too relaxed or stubborn at times, but Filipinos are talented individuals. And if you have a better idea on how to improve our country to be at par with your standards, by all means, please feel free to take the place of our President. Thank you! MIA
11th October 2011

I am a Filipino, naturally born, fair-skinned. As an average citizen living in our country, I can say that the post you have written was nerve touching. It screams inside me, wants to get mad and screw you like hell. I simply want to strike back. But the thing is, I am not armed to fight with sarcasm, nor have I been brought up to speak of it. Your blog had echoed the truth beyond what most of my countrymen sees to ignore. Sadly, thinking outside the box had made me accept the fact that the democracy we had as a nation 25 years ago was the same democracy that unchanged the way we live. The rich became richer; the poor became poorer. On the average, our society as a nation had been blinded by prejudice. Though your words maybe harsh, it speaks of reality rather than covering up the issue. There is no right or wrong opinions as I take it. I believe it varies. To answer your question: If our country can ever emerge from the mire? Yes. I believe change is feasible, and with God's help, all things are possible.
11th October 2011

Born and living here the Philippines. I totally agreed with all that\'s written. I applaud you for your courage and guts. For those who don\'t agree, all I can say is \"Ouch! Reality bites!!!\"
11th October 2011

Love of this city is like faith
Hi Geoffrey, Paris Hilton was in recently in Manila and loved it, or so she claims. Surely, she was being polite or patronizing. Thank you for your frankness. Some years ago, on a bus back to Bangkok, I argued with a Filipino friend. We were talking "Bangkok vs. Manila". All the evidence was against me, of course. The train system, the fabulous view of the Chaophraya from our balcony, the excellent food, the envy in my heart ... All I had against this were some meek comments about Manila malls and certain 'improvements'. I won that debate however, or I think I did. I believe love of city, especially of a city like Manila, is like faith. Anyone who has tried to believe in God knows how hard it is. Believers are perpetually under assault from the Dawkins and the Darwinians of this world, so that faith is held by together by a seemingly forlorn hope; you are called stupid, backward, and your own compatriots abandon you. Atheism becomes as tempting as the US, or Canada, or Singapore, or any other wealthy country Filipinos lust for. Yet, faith is most necessary in darkness. And these countries did have their moments of darkness. And their citizens had the faith to pull through! Singapore was all but lost when she was kicked out of the Malaysian federation: poor, dirty, and friendless, Lee Kuan Yew had to tearfully ask his people to believe in Singapore. And what a glorious success they’ve made! Perhaps the first Australians, convicts and outcasts from England, had to endure the same. They too have risen to glory. Manila is far from glory, yet this religious patriotism, this ‘faith’ is beginning to take hold. Those Filipinos who insult you for your post are part of it. Their insults are shameful and uneducated for sure, but I am glad they did not pat your back for your opinions, as they would have done in the eighties or nineties. On their backs will be built a new Manila, and the Philippines at large. As a guest, we do not expect you to join this religion or even be aware of it. To hold on to the knife-edge of hope, to find beauty in ugliness, is our burden. However, we do need you to remind us of work left undone. Thank you for your post! With that said, you may want to stay in a Singapore-esque district of Manila called “Bonfiacio Global City”. Currently, there is only one mid-range hotel operating in that area. In a year or two, a boutique hotel and a five-star Shangrila will open.
11th October 2011

You\'re observations of the country is unfortunately very concise and accurate. The people who send you hate messages are deluding themselves of the mess the country is really in. For a seat of government, Manila brings to shame the rest of the country in the eyes of foreigners. IT IS A DUMP. Infrastructure is derelict and inadequate. Urban planning is non-existent. How can the country recover from this mess? No one knows. The government is inept, corrupt and lacking in vision. The national pride is riding only on the personal successes of several public personalities (e.g. a boxer and a beauty pageant contestant).
11th October 2011

It's a wake up call!
Filipino's don't take criticism lightly and they are always on the defense. But as a Filipino living in Dubai, I see nothing wrong in this article but honesty and truth. I love my country and I've lived in Manila for almost 8 years. Frankly, I was blinded when I lived there... I got used to the traffic, and all the stuff mentioned in this article. I didn't see what was wrong until I came back to the province, and I didn't see the whole picture when I got out of the country. The government is one thing, but I think the change that we are looking for should start from ourselves (Filipinos). We can\'t blame this all on the government (I\'m not defending them... I didn't even had the chance to vote). We Filipinos lost our ways... we are proud in words but not in action. We point fingers when in fact we let all this all happen under our watch. It\'s not too late. Take this wonderfully written article as a wake up call, a splash of ice cold water in the morning. For my fellow countrymen, this is what you call constructive criticism. It is for us to know what we should improve on so we can grow and we can really be PROUD. To the author... thanks!
11th October 2011

Get real Part II
As you have said in your disclaimer, don\'t bother to sue because you have no money. Don\'t forget that you were only able to travel to various places, experience nice airlines and airports, have good coffee in nice airport lounges, and stay in fairly nice hotels because you\'re company funded your trip. I bet you\'re also one of the Brits who\'s trying to get out of UK because you can\'t afford to live there anymore because everything is just exorbitantly priced even for bread to keep you busy while waiting for more than 30 minutes in a popular restaurant with only 3 out of 40 tables taken on a Friday night. Speaking of London restaurants, some popular dishes in London included french fries drenched in mayonnaise, meat pies with almost no meat, and prawn-flavored potato chips. Quality pizza, Chinese food and Japanese food are tough to find, as are kid-friendly places and decent-sized portions. And I thought Manila has a bad crime rate but I realized that London has a higher murders per capita rate that is about three times as high in the US. I could go on and on about how equally bad London is, but will stop here to remind you to first look at yourself in the mirror \'cause you may have more dirt in your face than what you have found on other\'s faces. I think you\'d be a backpacker if you\'d have to pay for your travels, but that is if you can even afford to do leisure travels. Get the air out of your head and get your feet back on the ground.
11th October 2011

A bitter pill to swallow, but, to some degree, he is right. Indeed, we were left behind by our ASEAN neighbors... "For the Philippines the question is surely will it ever emerge from the mire into which it has sunk? Very frankly based on my very long experience of the place I really doubt it, in fact it is a “disappearing” country if there is such a thing." <---- i may share his disappointment, but instead of getting offended by his words, i take them as a challenge... a challenge to prove him wrong - we are not disappearing and will to disappear, but rather, Manila will REEMERGE...
11th October 2011

I understand.
I just read your post, and I\'d have to say I totally understand where you\'re coming from. I\'ve lived here in Metro Manila for the past 16 years (and in the other side of the country for my first seven), and my views are almost the same as yours. A lot of times I\'d love to invite travellers to come here, if only to meet interesting people, but I stop and think: what\'s there to see and do in Manila? Nothing really. Maybe some backpackers might like to try our Fear Factor-worthy street food, but nothing much other than that. Count yourself lucky you didn\'t have to commute the streets of Pasay or Lawton at 6:00am. I had to walk those streets going to school for a couple years, and what do I see? Street families sleeping on the sidewalk. Beggars. Street vendors who scream crassly at one another. The worst I\'ve seen so far was one couple having sex on the sidewalk, albeit under some thin sheets, I was embarrassed to even be seen passing by them. I have met some genuinely nice people (and I\'m not saying that just because they\'re my fellow Filipinos), but honestly, when it comes to poverty, we\'re almost hopeless. Now I know some lucky ones who are smart enough to live comfortably within their means, but then there are those that have countless babies from equally countless fathers. They never learn. Like you I hate being negative, but it\'s stuff like these (and our political circus) that makes me ashamed of my country. You know what? I honestly hope I can invite you over in a few years\' time, and show you a better country, and maybe you can say at least one nice thing then. Until that time comes, I wish you good times in all your travels!
11th October 2011

Re:
Manila boy, you don't travel much do you? Your ignorance is really giving you away. I've stayed in a a lot of places in various places around the world for a lot less and frankly, it's not about the price, it's the attitude of the Filipinos that a "passable" standard is good enough for us and we hope and think it will go unnoticed by other people as well. I have lived in the Philippines all my life and completely agree with what the author has to say. I too, wish that if it were not for my businesses here, that I could leave the country and leave everyone to squabble amongst themselves amidst the blatant corruption that seems to permeate every single level of society here, which is one of the the biggest root causes of the problems stated here, selfishness and no care for the living standards of others.
11th October 2011

I am Filipino, but left my native country since 2002 to pursue opportunities in the US. It\'s kinda sad how my country is slowly deteriorating and left behind by neighboring Asian countries. For change & improvement to occur, people need to accept the fact first that the country isn\'t in good shape. Honest feedback from tourist like yourself is a necessity, hopefully people will listen and use such criticism/s as motivation to solve our country\'s problems (even little by little). My way of helping my country is same with millions of Filipinos working overseas who contribute to the country\'s GDP via international remittances.
11th October 2011

I agree..
i'm a filipino but I do agree on this... The Philippines has a lot to offer but people are too lazy to actually take care of it and proudly offer it. Everyone is just busy trying to squeeze out money from anyone. It is such a shame on what has happened to the country's capital. I know filipinos would react negatively on this but this man who wrote the above review of Manila is offering constructive criticism... I salute you sir for your honesty.
11th October 2011

Thank you for writing this. This could serve as an eye opener and some people could even start to do things differently. As for your few last words, let\'s be positive and pray that there\'s still hope for this country.
11th October 2011

Being a Filipino living in the Philippines, I must say that I agree. Filipinos don't (and won't) like to hear it, but it must be said anyway. Yes indeed, the Philippines has been left behind by other Asian countries, and it's sad to see that the government isn't doing a whole lot to bring the country back up. I really do hope we can regain the beauty and the "power" we once had. We can't lose hope. Going back to the point of this comment... thanks for this entry!
11th October 2011

surely with your post, tons of pinoys will curse you. some cannot just accept the reality that is right under their nose. it\'s really disappointing that other ASEAN countries have overtaken Philippines while the talented citizens are contributing to nations like Singapore, Malaysia and the like in their economic progress. soon Vietnam, a country savaged by war, will fare better than Philippines. where have we gone wrong? my country is still under the bondage of medieval religion, the same old politicians still leading the nation (are they?) and the population keeps on ballooning...just the right recipe for economic and policy failure. however, to say that it is hopeless, that i do not agree with you. you\'re a foreigner so easy for you to say but every filipino still hope and dream for their country.
11th October 2011

Hey man, you can't make such quick generalizations about the country's development based on your experiences of hotel service, traffic and state of public and private infrastructure. If you want to make comments about development in the Philippines, then you should at least be fair and talk about the problems that affect Filipinos. Problems like urban poverty, corruption, land reform, overpopulation, etc--things I presume you would have the capacity to talk about given your background as a development professional and your frequent trips to the ADB. I'm not saying the Philippines isn't underdeveloped, but your opinions on the matter were premature and lacking support. Neither am I hurting that you said "Manila sucks" because honestly this city has a lot that it can improve on. But next time if you're gonna write about your experience traveling to these parts, then write about your experiences only.
11th October 2011

The problem I have to admit is Manila itself not the country. I myself don\'t like going there as it is a mere shadow of its former self and requires a really big infrastructure upgrade. The problem of course is that it is supposedly the capital of the Philippines even though it hasn\'t been developed as one. I would dare say that the true capital is Makati, one of the most developed cities although its a pity you have to go through the nightmare called EDSA to get there. As much as the country is a presidential system, one would notice that the power distribution is very decentralized. And Manila hasn\'t had a mayor who took pride in being the capital city. I mean the sheer number of inhabitable and eyesore buildings has to rankle somebody you would think. How nice a city highly depends on the current mayor. The only presidential projects you\'ll ever hear is for far flung provinces and tourist destinations. I do apologize for all the harsh comments you probably received. It is only natural that we as a people would defend our country from a perceived attack on our pride. Fact is most of this people even with their pride wouldn\'t dare walk in the streets of Manila alone. Quezon City, Makati, I wouldn\'t mind commuting and walking. Manila is a different story.
11th October 2011

Thank you for the honesty. I am a Filipino who is just as disappointed as you are when talking about whats wrong with the country. But it seems to me like you were stuck with the Philippines that you once knew. Many things have changed friend (except for the traffic which changed for the worse). The mere mention of the airport tells me that you landed on NAIA terminal 1 which is as terrible as a 4th world country (if ever there is such). NAIA terminals 2 and 3 are FAR better (Nowhere near Changyi of SG or HK international airport, moreso, Incheon... but is miles ahead of the old one). As for Discovery suites in Ortigas... really, do travellers or even Pinoys even bother visiting the place? I barely spend time on that side of Manila, considering that I\'m just 3-4 miles away. How about Bonifacio Global City and the much improved Makati commercial area? Greenbelt and Glorietta? How about the hotels in the area? There seems to be a lot that you haven\'t seen judging from the limited experience you cited in your post. Not to say that Metro Manila is at par with HK, SG, and Bangkok, but it is surely far better than the stated post... coming from a person who has seen the best the Philippine Metro has to offer and better from another country. Just my 2 cents :)
11th October 2011

I\'ve lived in Metro Manila my entire life and traveled both within the country and abroad quite a bit, (never stayed at Discovery Suites and thanks to your review, I never will,) and I can safely say that I\'ve been to worse Asian cities. I think that perhaps it\'s more the fact that you\'ve been going back to old haunts that\'ve aged badly with time, rather than the fact that the entire city isn\'t progressing. Off the top of my head, I can recommend Crowne Plaza instead of Discovery Suites if you\'re looking to stay in the Ortigas area (I did a quick search and a standard room will cost you approx P3,700 for an overnight stay, which costs even less than what you paid for DS). Crowne is one of many decent business hotels, which you could\'ve probably found if you\'d looked through travel sites with recent reviews. It\'s not exactly fair to judge every single business hotel in the city on the basis of the deterioration of one, don\'t you think? In regards to the airport: unfortunately there\'s nothing to be done for that. The new international airport (i.e. NAIA 3) is exclusive to a handful of airlines, and if you don\'t fly with of those airlines, you\'re stuck using NAIA 1 (which is, I agree, quite horrible). If you\'re looking for decent food/ambiance, I\'d suggest going to the Greenbelt area in Makati, Eastwood in Quezon City, or the Fort in Taguig City. All of those areas are quite close to the Ortigas area (since you mentioned staying at Discovery Suites, I\'m basing my recommendations off of your ideal hotel location), and taking a cab to those areas would take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Yes, traffic can be bad during rush hour, but if you travel during dead hours (i.e. around 2pm on a weekday or any time during Saturday or Sunday), you\'ll get to your destination fairly quickly. I think you\'d be hard-pressed to find \"disease\" and \"dirt\" at Serendra or Greenbelt, but you\'re certainly welcome to try. :)
11th October 2011

Thank you for posting these observations on your blog. I totally agree with almost everything that you said. I think this is a \"wake-up call\" not only to the public sector but to the private sector as well...or in fact, to every Filipino (although there shouldn\'t be a need for this blog to open every Filipino\'s eyes on these realities) . However, I disagree, to some extent, for saying that the smart ones leave the country. While most of them left the country for greener pasture, i think it would have been smarter for most Filipinos (in particular the \"brilliant\" ones) who went abroad to have used their talents and invest in this \"AWFULLY DISAPPOINTING\" country. In this case, the country could be steered towards a better and livable status....there are still many of us who, although we can settle for a better life overseas, opted to stay here and do the best we can to improve the condition of our country...and i think that cannot be labeled \"FALSE PATRIOTISM\".
11th October 2011

Before you say how awful and disappointing we are, why don\'t you check our history (the real history) first and how THIS \"Ugly\" Manila came to be. How about giving and contributing to the possible solutions to problems you see rather than complaining about it? You actually disappointment me, you complaining as to how the bad coffee tastes or how slow your internet connection is, not writing about real problems in the Philippines like massive poverty or how many people starve to death here while you enjoy the luxury of staying in DS. Shame you and your first world problems
11th October 2011

I do agree about your comment with regards to NAIA... its falling apart and needs tons of repairing to do... but not all airports here are like that... specifically NAIA 3 and Centennial. You\'ll see.. if ever you come and visit the country again.... just be sure that the airline that you\'re taking uses those airport. And better check-in a newer hotel next time if you would like the amenities to be better. Manila is not really a place for tourists or those seeking a pleasant vacation, it offers more on some historical landmarks and some shopping in specific areas that would suit a particular persons taste. As for its economy, its really sad seeing my own country not having any improvements and the government doesn\'t do much about it. I love the Philippines and it really hurts seeing that a country with a lot of potential couldn\'t grow and blossom. I appreciate that you did not generalize the whole country.. for Manila alone is not a sole reason to judge what a particular country has in store. Its just that its overcrowded.
11th October 2011

Thank you for the (brutally) frank comments. I found your article circling around facebook, and I made it a point to share your article as well. Although I find it a bit unfair that you let your recent experience with the Discovery Suites dictate your view on your overall stay, I do agree with your point that re-investment in our country has been lacking. It is because of this particular point that I share your article with others, hoping to catch the attention of other people who might be thinking of leaving the country for greener pastures, and urge them to think twice before leaving the Philippines. P.S. All Filipinos hate the traffic here in Manila, imagine how we feel about facing it every day.. so lighten up!
11th October 2011

Hi, I\\\'m a resident of Manila and I do agree with almost about everything you said... the international airport is yes, dilapidated and the services there are probably the worst in the world. We have the same complains but the present administration is starting to rebuild it.. There are a lot of management problems with the newest airport (NAIA 3) but hopefully soon they will be open for international flights. I can\\\'t really recommend a good hotel in the Ortigas area and man traffic IS bad in a lot of areas there, but those who want to go to enjoy manila have the option to try out other places such as the Marriot, Pan Pacific, Maxims Shangri la etc. Newport city and Global city is being developed so expect new and better hotels in that area in a year or two..I have to admit, our country is in shambles when it comes to the economy and the standards of the average people here aren\\\'t really as high as people from other countries. Last week I bought a brand new Japanese car, I paid almost about a million pesos but all they could serve is instant coffee in a styro cup.. I didn\\\'t really take it against them because serving 3in1/instant coffee here doesn\\\'t really mean we\\\'re not trying or we disrespect visitors, it\\\'s just the standard here I guess..I know that is no excuse because I myself can\\\'t live without a decent cup of coffee (which I still brew from my trusty \\\"filter type\\\" coffee maker). Improvements ARE happening. I apologize for those people who have nothing better to comment, its just that this city may seem like a shithole to others but we all love it here. People here are generally kind and hospitable compared to a lot of Asian countries. I am sure you have witnessed that. But they tend to overreact and forget their manners when negative things are said about their country, its like they get kicked in the balls each time. I do hope that you can go back to a Manila that is in a better state soon so you will give us a much better tag.. at least something better than dump :)... I love your blog!
11th October 2011

- The NAIA is probably the worst airport in the world. i agree with everything you\'ve said about it. It\'s one airport I can\'t wait to get out of. It\'s so inconvenient to get to and get out from, except for the public taxis that are going to rip you off even when you\'re a local. - The city lacks hotels. But that\'s no surprise. No one goes to Manila anyway. but still, why are hotels are so expensive in a city that no one ever goes to? - \"get through Manila as quickly as you can, it has nothing to recommend it. Go out to the islands, Cebu, Mindanao, up to the cool of Baguio\" - This is what i always tell my foreign friends. Manila is a waste of time. Go straight to Cebu or elsewhere. - \"P.S. No pictures because there\'s nothing worth photographing in Manila, it\'s drab and dirty. \" This cracked me up. I never even bring out my camera. Unless you\'re someone who likes to take pictures of poverty, then my all means, it\'s paradise. But for someone who\'s a travel photographer like me, it\'s pure disappointment. And I too agree with the post above (AJ Linao), people in Manila are blinded by false patriotism. They think it\'s so good, but they\'re only fooling themselves.
11th October 2011

While I appreciate your true honesty about how this place is, upon reading your blog entry, I felt a lot of mixed feelings because a lot of the things that you have mentioned is true. But isn\'t it kinda hypocritical that you critisise the whole country yet encourage others to visit the other provinces? I hope this entry is just a rant. I am a Filipino that grew up in Papua New Guinea and lived in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand and only spent a few years living here. And at times, in the midst of heavy traffic and large crowds do I swear and cuss about how things are here, but eitherway, I accept this country for what she is. Yes, I\'m a hypocrite for this, having lived in countries that offer better comfort and not to mention a better environment. And at first, when I started living here, I was comparing it a lot. But when you take time to actually understand why things are the way it is here, this blog entry wouldn\'t exist. Thing is, some people are so quick to make an assumptions or judge this country for what they see on the outside and they stop there and don\'t really look deep to understand. But that\'s the problem with comparing countries. You say you\'re a traveller, so you should know by now that you can\'t compare countries. Each country has its negative look so to speak. For the likes of Thailand, Indonesia, even Hong Kong, they have slum areas too, I\'m sure you\'re a foreigner living in another Asian country to have this kind of comparison. And as you know, the economy here is tough, it has been for a while now. Not all businesses can afford top services or maintain to have top services as they used to have back 15 years ago. New hotels and competition grew and so a hotel that used to offer the best services back then may have started losing the competition as new ones emerged. Yes, the environment is a huge problem. I lived on the 12th floor of a condominium building and as I look out to the city of Manila (I live in the heart of Manila), I see the smog, the traffic, it is always noisy. I can keep complaining about it, but because I live here, I don\'t have a choice but to deal with it. I am not one that is blinded by false patrionism. I have to admit that I am not a fan of Pacquiao or the Azkals soccer team (who are only good to look at but suck on the soccer grounds). Some people ask me why I ended up living here again especially since I grew up elsewhere, I ask myself the same question over and over again. Perhaps it\'s because, having lived in a place like Papua New Guinea... It gave me the freedom of having an open-mind and to accept countries for what they are. There are so many things I can say about PNG, 11 years of my life, I was meant to live in fear, not being able to walk on the streets or ride public transport. Having a security guard at your house to keep the rascals away. Despite the corrupt government and the dangerous environment, I kept an open mind about it and living there ended up being the best 11 years of my entire life. Will it emerge from the mire into which it has sunk? Maybe.. Maybe not. It\'s kinda sad that people have totally given up or have made judgements on a country that they have not fully experienced or lived in. For the other commenter, you say scratch beneath the surface, they don\'t need to. They see it everywhere, it\'s visible everywhere they go. But do you expect the people here to wallow on what\'s underneath the surface all the time? Don\'t generalise Filipinos, not all Filipinos are blind. There are Filipinos who are not blinded by false patrionism. Yes I am reacting violently. Because you have said a lot of things that are true yet I was hoping that because you see all these things that you would include in your entry ways to make this place better, because you\'re good at criticising and pointing out the negative but are you going to leave it as that? Tell me, have you lived here or did you only just travel here to pass by or just for business? Try living here. Then maybe you will understand why things are the way they are.
11th October 2011

This is very depressing. I want to be mad at this entry but i cant because your observations on what has happened to Manila are, sad to say, true. The country is sinking into a mire of neglect and disrepair, worsened by a corrupt government and an incompetent administration. I want to blame this situation on others, but I also find myself at fault as well. the state this country is in, is frustrating. it seems that the only solution is to tear everything down and start from scratch. When I see the students in the university, i see hope. When I go to the streets, I feel despair. True, the Philippines has been the envy of its southeast asian neighbors, but that was a very long time ago. But unfortunately, most filipinos look down on their neighbors and still view them as uncivilized, failing to notice that they have become brutes living in a metropolis. and another thing, manila has become so densely populated, thanks to people from provinces and far flung areas who dream of making it big in the city, only to find out that there is nothing here in store for them. I could go on ranting about the many causes of our worsening state but that wouldn\'t do anything about it anyway. I just hope that before Filipinos react violently at posts like this, they should think twice and take this as a wake up call. personal attacks and illogical arguments will just prove that they are indeed, arrogant pissed off pricks. my apologies for any incoherent thoughts that i might have made, there\'s so much thoughts going on through my mind and my fingers can\'t keep up. cheers!
11th October 2011

The observation is not far from the real situation of Manila. I would say it is rather an objective \"review.\" I wish the Philippine government and the Filipinos in general would take this kind of observation constructively and not be too defensive. We Filipinos are intelligent and talented people, we probably just lack the discipline and the willingness to get our act together to make our country great. Stop the crab mentality, support the good cause that our leaders are doing (instead of trying too hard to prove them corrupt to oust them) and let\'s all work on cleaning up Manila and the Philippines as a nation.
11th October 2011

I think you failed to mention about the high security in establishments (malls, hotels, offices etc). What\'s up with that? The city is not as important as Singapore, KL or Bangkok to be even by terrorists as a target. Is it because Manila is so worried it\'s going to self-destruct any second now.
11th October 2011

I agree
I have lived here my whole life. It was really an awesome city before, even hearing stories of what the city was in the past amazed me. Today, I look for that \"awesome city\" I once knew as a kid, or even any resemblance of what Manila was as I\'ve heard in people\'s stories. Sadly, I haven\'t found it and have only grown even more disappointed with Manila. Frustrated would be an extreme understatement. Needless to say, I agree with your blog. I\'m not surprised that a foreigner has posted something like this, I have been wondering WHEN someone actually would.
11th October 2011

Davao
It still hurts me from what you said about Manila but a lot of it is so sadly true. There are a lot of things I am ashamed about the life in manila. But then, it is still part of the Philippines, and so I must stay in my country and hope I am making the difference. I must disagree that the smart ones leave the country. We know we can earn a lot more outside, but that is only for those people who think that is the only way to earn. Many of us are here in the Philippines because that is the only way we can make it better. I say, that there are those who chose to be left behind (not those who stayed because there was no opportunity to leave), are the real smart ones. I am sad that you could not find that in Manila. I am in Davao. I have been to Manila, but mostly at the business districts of Makati. I hope you can visit us in Davao sometime soon. We help each other here. We keep out city clean. We keep our city safe. You can walk in our city at night without fear of getting mugged. Our garbage trucks are only allowed to collect non-biogradable wastes. All residence here are required to have their own compost pit (or one compost pit for a subdivision) for the biogradable wastes. You have to see how fast Davao is growing too. It may not have as many buildings in Manila, nor as tall as most, but we have a thriving economy here. And as for my personal mission here, I am currently dedicated in teaching my fellow Filipinos that they don\'t need to leave their country to fight poverty. And I am not alone in this. There are much much more, who are even more dedicated to the cause. They even made it into their full time job. I am smarter than those who left.
11th October 2011

Mr. Geoffrey, I can agree that for the most part, this blog post is smack-dab truthful and reflective of the true situation of Manila. Being a Filipino from another province who moved to Manila to study college and work, I can say that the capital city is really a city of paradoxes and stark contrasts. I agree with you that most of the institutions are regressive instead of progressive, and the bad just keeps on becoming worse. The people of Manila are worse off than other Asian populaces. I would like to think that this is because of the unbelievable rate of corruption that is going on. I can discuss it in detail but really, who hasn\'t heard of bitter resentment against the corrupt establishment? I hate the traffic, I loathe the airport and I hate the congested city layout. Still, Manila has its charm. On your next visit, do try exploring the metropolitan spaces such as Makati or Bonifacio Global City or you can go to Chinatown and Intramuros for a more relaxed outdoorsy jaunt. Sadly though, the places that I frequent are commercialized and spackled with businesses and establishments. I wanna get out of here.
11th October 2011

Hi. I'm a Filipino and have moved out of Manila and am now living in the Visayas region. I still visit Manila 2 to 4 times a year, as most of my relatives are there. I know exactly what your saying. When I try to complain, all I get are dagger looks, like I'm being impolite or crazy to expect more. Me and my circle of friends are working hard in different areas to "wake up" our fellow Filipinos, but it's an uphill battle. Still, we don't give up even if at times we seem to labor in vain. It's a long and hard road that we chose to travel, but if not us, who will? It is sad, and I hope you don't mind me saying, but articles like this, though true, still hurt.
11th October 2011

Partially agree and disagree
I worked in high end hotels abroad and dealt with VVIPs and I can say I know what they want and expect especially when they mean business and not for leisure. So I can understand where the frustrations are coming from. I am with you in some of your observation. Although Philippines is such a wonderful country, rich in all natural resources, it has been run by poor governments for decades and no amount of good government can change it overnight (unfortunately, that good government is yet to come). Corruption is the number one reason for all the failures and for being left behind by neighbouring countries. Another thing, in the Philippines, the rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer. But politely I say, you haven\'t traveled the whole Manila (which I understand since you are only here for business) so you don\'t get to see the other side of the fence. Rather you were struck in a place where as you said you experienced unpleasant things. I am into travel business now and mainly focus on in-bound tourism and that is my main concern, to somehow make a change. And I started to explore Manila and discover it\'s real beauty beyond what most people notice as eyesores. Yes, $116 is still $116, but do you know, that you can stay in a nice hotel at $50/night (limited service though). And that\'s in Intramuros, not strategically located close to your business place in Ortigas though, so chance you will also choose to stay there unless you are game for half an hour drive from Intramuros to Ortigas Center (or I am afraid all the more you will curse Manila) . But believe me, having worked with and for business travelers like you, I know what your preferences are and all clients (even those difficult ones and hard to please) were pleased when I take to Intramuros. It\'s like you detached yourself in crowded people (which as I read, doesn\'t please you, and so I am), and yet, you actually stay in historical site. Not bad to just give a few minutes walk to see the place just outside your hotel. Anyhow, I can only apologize for whatever inconvience you may have experience in Manila (not the Philippines). That\'s the best I can do for now since as much as I want the same improvement you thought are necessary, my cability is limited in providing alternatives. Thank you for your thoughts and I hope you\'ll still consider other good things about our country (and yes, you mentioned about Baguio, Cebu and other places.) If only we can invite you sometimes, to travel and see the Philippines beyond your normal business routine.
11th October 2011

Hi! I don\'t want to over-react to your blog like what most of my \"Kababayans\" have been doing over at Facebook. But I have a few comments/tips though in case you happen to \"have the misfortune of coming back here\". People who have been traveling to and from the Metro know that Ortigas has one of the worst traffic cases. Never, never get into its roads during rush hours. You should\'ve just asked more advice from other Filipinos who knew about this. Discovery Suites is owned by a private sector. If you\'ve had problems during your stay, complain to its management instead of ranting about it online as if it\'s the whole country itself. I mean most people from the Metro knows that hotel sucks today! Try Hyatt or Sofitel or New World or Marriott. As for NAIA Terminal 1, well...yeah. They should\'ve closed it a long time ago. My tip for you is to make sure to ask, before you book your flight to Manila, wether your airlines\' gate is either at the NAIA Terminal 2 or NAIA Terminal 3 but never that old terminal. That\'s all =)
11th October 2011

Yes
There are a lot of Filipinos who\'d agree to most of the things you said in this blog. And its time Filipinos stop reacting violently to people stating facts about Manila. Though I may agree with some of your insights, I\'ll never agree with your conclusion. Dump, crumbling, filthy, depressing, and not livable. Conlusions that was drawn based on your experience with airport? traffic? internet? coffee? Those are very shallow and, probably to a lot of other people, irrelevant. I\'ve travelled other countries as well and experienced first hand the convenience you failed to get in Manila. Its nice, I admit. But there are things outside the convenience of life that makes Manila a very hopeful and favorable place to live at. I know I share this with a lot of Filipinos.
11th October 2011

Hi! Reading your blog all the more make me think that indeed our capital city hasn\'t evolved for the past decades or so. I\'m one of the plethora of Manilenos who\'s chosen to seek greener pasteur partly for the reasons you\'ve mentioned in your blog. Whatever observations and comments you\'ve posted certainly aren\'t arguable. I just hope blogs like yours will be taken more seriously by the people in power rather than wasting their time passing bills re \"Anti-Planking\" et al. I just wish (maybe upon a star) the next time you or other foreign visitors come to Manila, better services are provided for.
11th October 2011

US expat formerly in Manila
While a lot of what he says is very true, there are some good points. The food market on Saturday mornings at the park in Salcedo Village is fantastic. There are very nice hotels you can stay in for that price in Ortigas, Astoria comes to mind first. Also, The Fort is a great area with shopping and restaurants, has less pollution, and is safe. That being said, most of what you said IS true. The systemic corruption is crippling, and the lack of upkeep is absurd, and the often pathetic lack of oft effort from staff and management is appalling. The $10 massages (tip included) do help you forget all that for at least an hour though.
11th October 2011

US expat formerly in Manila
While a lot of what he says is very true, there are some good points. The food market on Saturday mornings at the park in Salcedo Village is fantastic. There are very nice hotels you can stay in for that price in Ortigas, Astoria comes to mind first. Also, The Fort is a great area with shopping and restaurants, has less pollution, and is safe. That being said, most of what you said IS true. The systemic corruption is crippling, and the lack of upkeep is absurd, and the often pathetic lack of oft effort from staff and management is appalling. The $10 massages (tip included) do help you forget all that for at least an hour though.
11th October 2011

In behalf of other Filipinos, I apologize for the discomfort and disappointment. Everything you said are true and and even for me as a Filipino, traffic and bad service hurt my business already. I do not understand how blind the leaders are and how low the citizens\' involvement in growing the country is. Sad, very sad however, as a Filipino, I never stop hoping that maybe someday these negative things will change. I\'d like to hope that the Philippines is just slow and not yet a hopeless case. Thank you for your honesty, I hope this will help wake up the people concern.
11th October 2011

Hi! It is hard to admit but everything you\'ve said is true. I\'ve been living in Manila for 26 years of my life and just started working abroad. I\'ve seen how Manila evolve from a clean place to a horrible place. Comparing to its neighboring country, Philippines was really left behind. I hope that someone from the Philippine government was able to read this, and it will be a wake up call for them to make improvements in Manila, which is the capital city of the Philippines. But I\'m still proud to be a Filipino!
11th October 2011

You have not seen today's Manila to be honest =)
For me your experience is an isolated \"hate\" case. I do not blame you but many people have stayed in Manila and loved it - ergo, I would not think your word matters. You definitely have not seen the best of Manila as you are shrouded with the negativities your blog radiates. There is poverty everywhere even in your country and you are lucky you get to have your eyes open that (1) you are not in their position because definitely if you were placed there- you won\'t survive (2) there\'s so much more to life and we should spread love not hate and disgust :) If you would have visited/shopped at Makati/Tiendesitas, partied at the Resort\'s World, visited Fort Santiago, watched a cultural show in CCP - for me, I could not help but be proud because Manila and the Philippines is still world class To all the Filipinos who read this blog and is ashamed of the Philippines - shame on you. The reason why many people like this blogger looks down on us is because we do not believe in the beauty of our country. We view poverty as if it only happens in the Philippines and what do you do as a Filipino- realize that it is a fact and then what? Be ashamed, and hate? Think twice. You really should. Anyway I feel I have said my piece - to the blogger, for me your experience is a cultural immersion - if you did not like it because you were exposed to poverty of a country, it shows how you shouldn\'t even be travelling at all - and check TripAdvisor/Lonely planet if you do not want to be disappointed. It\'s already 2011 you should have access to it :)
11th October 2011

Go back
I\'d say go back every 5 yrs or so. Yes we have filth and dirt, garbage dumps, dogs with rabies everywhere, prostitutes, criminals, STDs, floods, traffic, typhoons - name it w e probably have it. Again I\'ll say - go back every 5 years or so. Those who leave may have varying levels of intelligence but I notice many operate more on the premise of fear and not of hope and vision. I say this because I notice that amidst all the \"comfort\" and the \"good life\" they achieve in other peoples\' country, they know that something\'s quite amiss and they ( or their children ) eventually go back home. Because no matter what anyone says, this bunch of islands in the Pacific is still their home. Our home. You haven\'t stayed long enough to see a number of Filipinos like me cleaning up. But that is understandable cause you may say that we are in the middle of all the pile of crap and you have to squint your eye a little so you can see us. Believe me we are in the middle of it and we are cleaning up. For the longest time a lot of my countrymen diligently clean up the filth of other people. Gradually however this is changing as many are sick of it. I think this is good and I wait for the day when everyone cleans up his own crap and not ask polite and friendly people to do it for them. We - I know your points and many are valid but not all. I take it as a package nonetheless. Go back after some time. If you cant go back, google us on occassions and check our status. I think you will be amazed. Dumbfounded. I can just imagine you even right now. When you are here, give me a holler ( is holler American or British? ), I\'ll treat you a bottle of San Miguel beer and shake your hand. just forgive me a little because my hands may probably be a little dirty from the clean up in progress. Good day Maharlika
11th October 2011

From a Filipino who has lived in the Philippines his entire life
I am insulted not by the descriptions of the places you have seen (very few places, may I add), which I admit to be true 80 percent of the time, but at how you, despite talking about generalizations, have in fact nonetheless made a lot of them. One such generalization, and this is what insults me the most, is that all the \"smart\" people have left the country. And I quote from your article: \"... that does take the edge off the sheer misery of a crumbling, filthy, depressing city and an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left,\" reiterating the same thought when you said \"As I say, the smart one’s (sic) all want to leave. \" That there are millions of migrant Filipinos working abroad cannot be denied. That there is brain-drain in many key professions cannot also be denied. These concessions, however, can not, and in fact, do not mean that all the smart ones have indeed left. There are MANY who have chosen to stay to try to make a difference. Let me make this clear, many of us Filipinos living here in the Philippines KNOW and have accepted a long time ago that the Philippines is lagging behind many of its regional counterparts. That does not, however, mean that no one is doing anything about it. Again, I say that there are many people trying to make a difference here. The international community has recognized some of them, but those who were recognized are not the only ones. There are many more of them who have gone unrecognized despite their decades of self-less service to the country. Another generalization you made is that the remittances of the Filipino OFW\'s is the only factor keeping the economy afloat, and again I qoute \"a crumbling, filthy, depressing city and an economy that exists only on the remittances of the smart ones who have left.\" I know you know better, and I know that you understand that although these remittances are significant, they are not the ONLY things keeping the economy alive. Since I have started talking about Filipino overseas workers already, let me comment on the Filipino migration phenomenon further. The curious thing about Filipino migration phenomenon is that the only things publicized are the REMITTANCES. The trade-offs in the social well-being of the Philippine society is under-reported. To the Filipinos abroad who think that they are the \"enlightened ones\" (emphasis on the qualification), my challenge to them is that they come back here, and educate us, the Filipinos who have remained home, and have remained \"blind\", and help us see the \"light,\" so to speak. If they remain where they are--outside the Philippines, working for a foreign boss in a foreign land, then they are equally as guilty as those who caused the decline in progress of the country. Here in the Philippines, these Filipino migrant workers are painted as heroes. This is how I see it: Sure, let us consider them heroes, after all we cannot discount the fact that our economy has become resilient, and less sensitive to crises because of their remittances. But please, let us not paint them as people in white robes who have done nothing wrong and who are blameless. The reason many of them left the country (and I say many, not all) is not because of self-less service, that they want to be able to remit to dollars to the economy to help keep it afloat; it is because of their individual interests to help their families (never mind the others), who are here struggling to make ends meet. My point is, they are as self-oriented in that case as many of the people staying here in the Philippines, and therefore have no right to feel that they are better, and that the ones to be blamed for the lack-luster performance of the country are not them, but us who have stayed.
11th October 2011

true in every way
Some Filipinos are actually aware of what you said. There are Filipinos that are trying to change this country but they are very, very few and are always beaten back by the illiterates who want to stick to traditional and irrational ideas because that is how they are taught. When the smart ones say something about the problems in the Filipino society, they\'ll always be attacked with vulgarity; they\'d always attack the individual instead of giving a reasonable insight; they dont know the concept of constructive criticism. Manila is a dying city, it\'s over-crowded, polluted and dangerous. I remember an exchange student who studied martial arts before she came here in Manila because she knew how dangerous the place is. Laws in the city is just for formalities its almost non-existent. The current govt is more interested in pointing fingers in corruption cases than serving the public. Filipinos have this strange false and fanatic nationalism, they think huge shopping malls and local singers getting known outside the country are national pride, and so, they had been blinded of the things around them. They use freedom and democracy in a very bad sense.Some of the people I know say I\'m crazy when I told them that Manila isn\'t a healthy city for intellectual living. I told them I\'m actually getting ready to move away (say,Tokyo) because Manila and the cities,suburbs around it are not a good place anymore for living. In my observation, I think in 15-20 years time, if conditions dont change, Manila or even maybe the whole country will become a huge dump of mediocrity; and the people will live a very sad, pathetic existence. Oh and btw, I worked before at a bar in Ortigas Center and I remember some guests walking into our bar complaining about Discovery Suites, like, you can\'t even smoke at the hotel\'s bar or in your own room. Nice blog, I had shown this to select friends already. Thank you.
11th October 2011

I feel so sorry for you. You see the Philippines as a reflection of your horrible self. Read your own article a few times and you\'ll see that you too are such an unlikable person. I bet you you\'ll say something negative on anything each you don\'t get your way at the cheapest price. Why are you so sad?
11th October 2011

I am very sorry to hear you had an awful experience, but it is sad to say that Manila has truly disintegrated. Sure, Mayor Atienza tried to \"beautify\" some parts of Manila like the Manila Bay area (and the Mall of Asia is quite impressive I must say but it\'s quite a trek just to get there) but the rest of the city still has a loooooong way to go. Even I am afraid to step foot in Manila (well maybe not in Intramuros, that place is pretty decent). Every time I go home to the Philippines I would rather stay in my hometown Bataan (very peaceful place although it is such a nightmare to drive on the highway) or go to other provinces in Visayas (I highly recommend Bohol and Palawan!). If ever I venture out to the city I avoid Manila for most of the reasons you listed and go to Quezon City instead. The new \"airport\" (Terminal might be a more accurate term I am not sure) that Philippine Airlines uses is more modern. I\'ve been there once and although I haven\'t tried the food and whatnot it is definitely an improvement from NAIA.
11th October 2011

Sad, but true
The Philippines has always been a beautiful country. Indeed it has been one of the most visited countries for R&R and/or for business in the past. It's saddening that the past positive views might have been added to the pride on the country's part, and have failed to maintain its excellence over the years. You were right in saying that the other parts of the Philippines are still worth a trip (I thank you for at least saying that much); these places are the ones the previous government have been trying to improve for a time now. Our country as a whole is struggling, and I'm sure the government have the best intentions, but improving just specific parts of the country without maintaining and/or improving the rest is not dealing with the problem; it won't help in the long run if the good things are being made better while the bad things are being left to get worse. The main cities, especially Manila, have been, and unfortunately are still being, neglected. I want to quote what you said, "Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy". I sadly agree with this. And the even more depressing part of it, it is we, the Filipinos, who even exploit our own country and people. I do not believe what the previous commenter said about having false patriotism. I believe we as a people already lost that feeling of patriotism and nationalism; it no longer exists. The few who still strive are seldom ever heard, and mostly do not have to power to be heard and understood. And without that sense, it is hard for the country to grow and improve, for one man or woman, cannot do everything alone. It hurts to see a blog like this for the whole world to see, and it's very cliche to say that this may and should serve as an eye opener to us Filipinos (for I don't believe in that anymore either). This may just be another source of sizzling news for the media and common gossip for the people; it will be all talk and no action, and will fade someday without achieving anything. But still, I thank you for your honest opinion, and apologize on behalf of the those who gave you "insulting scrawls". I'm sorry that you had to write such negative words, and I know you only did it with the intention of wanting to improve the state of this country. I appreciate that. Again, I want to say that the Philippines has always been a beautiful country; we, the Filipinos, sadly just became too smart and selfish for our own good.
11th October 2011

Thankd
I agree with you man. It\'s such a very big shame. I love my country so much, apparently we are suffering from a damage culture that nobody cares. Everyone is thingking about themselbes and no one cares. As a youth i humbly take this shame and i hope that my small actions may affect the next generation. Thank you for this post.
11th October 2011

I totally agree with you, i\'m actually half filipino myself and was born and raised in UAE. I decided to go to Philippines for education purpose and thought that since i\'m going to be here for around 4 to 5 years, might as well work to support myself. I have to say, though the people ARE friendly, but majority of the population are poor people and uneducated. The government wastes its time passing on useless bills like the anti planking or anti angry birds instead of focusing on more serious issues. Everything about this country is sub-standard. The airport (as you say) is a very big disappointment. When I first arrived here, I was thinking \"How the hell would this be a recommended country to visit over and over again if their airport is in shambles?!\". I can see why most filipinos leave the country for better lifestyle. Manila sucks big time, but the provinces are worth going to. It\'s just a hassle having to go through manila if ever that\'s the case. Best bet is to visit any other ASEAN (dis-including the Philippines of course).
11th October 2011

Hi, I really appreciate your feedback regarding my country and it is disappointing how you clearly just mentioned the country and does not focus on the city itself. I know you mean Manila but stop saying \'Philippines\'. Having visited the country numerous times tells me that yes at some point you must have admired it. And this would have come out as a disappointing visit - it would have been great if you just mentioned Manila rather than including the country. Im not from Manila - yes. There are indeed a lot of other islands that are worth visiting and you have mentioned some, yet you have that pessimistic approach to the whole thing. I might be one of those Filipinos that is disgruntled with your feedback yet it doesnt mean I am not aware of what is going on. We do are far away from our neighboring countries yet you dont really have the right to compare us to them seeing that you only saw a part of it. Manila doesnt make up the whole of Philippines. This comment would have hold a lot more value if you\'ve traveled all over and not stayed in Manila only.
11th October 2011

From a Filipino
No, your post was hardly an opinion-- it\'s a statement of fact. The people here, as I\'ve observed, can be terribly emotional and would feel heavily affected by any kind of criticism... especially if the criticism was given to them by a fellow Filipino. We tell them to invest in something in the long-term instead of wasting their lives on doleouts from a certain game show host, and we\'re told that we\'re ingrates and idiots for not being \"with them.\" All of the problems here, I believe, are because of the damaged culture. Poverty is rife because of people at the top and at the bottom. I once went with a group of church volunteers in a slum area, and I was surprised at the sights there. I recognize the throng of children there-- they well... tried to force me to give them alms, and I\'m not surprised that they\'re so crooked, as their parents were busy burning their savings with drinking sessions... in mid-day. I heard that they would just sometimes work for the booze, forgetting that they have children in the house. I don\'t think I\'ll be able to pass by there, because I got dagger looks when I commented about the situation. So I\'m sorry, but the number of rude/dumb people here far outnumber the nice/smart ones. Population growth? I\'ll put it this way-- people here are emotional creatures. They do not think, they only follow their concept of \'authority\' (e.g. people who can give them dole-outs / charismatic people / religion), and parrot their views willingly. It\'s only one of the reasons that they don\'t see that their \'bundles of joy\' are slowly choking them to death. Sorry, but I actually have a lot more to say since I\'m rather.. frustrated at the situation here, but as an educator, it\'s my (hopefully not futile) job to ensure that you guys never see things like this here. Thanks for the heads up.
11th October 2011

True...
I couldn't agree more. When we travel outside the Philippines, we are required to pay about $55 for Travel Tax and Terminal Fee. What happened to the money? It wasn't even used for the upkeep of airport. My previous visits to Manila were always unpleasant. You will never know when you will be conned or be ripped off by a cab driver. Smog, garbage and pickpockets. Lovely. P.S. If someone comments exactly how he/she sends a text message, u for you or pls for please, etcetera, it shows his/her laziness. Not to mention proper capitalization of words.
11th October 2011

I am myself a travel blogger who writes about Cebu. I lived in Manila most of my life and have grown used to its filth. In fact, I once enjoyed it. Like an adventure. But is was a tiring adventure and I am glad to have settled in Cebu now. Some times I pay Manila a visit, just to remind me how beautiful Cebu is.
11th October 2011

119$ is quite cheap for a hotel in manila, pricing for a good hotel on manila is quite overprice because of the density of people and I agree with the traffic it is quite annoying 90% most of the time.
11th October 2011

Sad but true.
11th October 2011

I have a few comments regarding your post: 1. The airport Actually there\'s a new airport terminal called NAIA Terminal 3, right now only the local airlines and a few international airlines are using it due to some legal issues with the developer, but expect it to be fully-operational in a few years time, in which case most international airlines will probably move their operations there. 2. Discovery Suites There are lots of nice hotels in that area which are better than Discovery Suites. Maybe you should have tried Oakwood, Crowne Plaza or Edsa Shangri-La. 3. Shops/Restaurants Since your hotel was in the Ortigas area, maybe you didn\'t venture out to The Fort in Taguig City which has many exciting developments such as Bonifacio High Street, etc., There is also the Ayala Triangle Park in Makati City where you can find a bunch of nice restaurants.
11th October 2011

I agree with you specially with our airport it really sucks!
11th October 2011

ANSWER YOU POINT BY POINT
We do admit that the old NAIA airport is OLD and needs to be replaced. and that is what we are trying to do. That is why there is NAIA 3 and the development of Clark airport. but to include in your blog comments about coffee and lounges is not fair. Staying at the sampaguita Lounge was a CHOICE YOU MADE. Why choose Sampaguita when there\\\'s MIASCOR lounge. Since you\\\'re not backpacker why not fly business class then you can have access to airline lounges where coffees are made from espresso machines.and you can dignify your comment that YOU DONT LIKE CROWDS. If you\\\'re not happy with DISCOVERY SUITES, why stay there? There are so many hotels/apartments within the vicinity. There\\\'s OAKWOOD, LINDEN SUITES, RICHMOND HOTEL , ASTORIA, EDSA SHANGRI-LA. It is not the country\\\'s fault if you have poor taste in your choice of accomodation. My point IT WAS YOUR CHOICE TO STAY AT DISCOVERY SUITES How can you say that Manila is in shambles. Traffic is bad in other countries too. No additional shops and amenities??? a couple of blocks away from Discvovery suites and ADB are SM Megamall and Robinson\\\'s Galleria a little further is Shangrila Mall. Haven\\\'t you seen the expansions that these 3 malls are making? The way you describe our People and City is so negative, why do you even bother to come here. If you have business with ADB, there are technologies available that will allow you to do your business without having to set foot here. Crumbling, filthy and depressing are strong words that does not describe our city. Which part of Manila did you go to? for you to describe our city as such. I admire your standard for measuring a first class airport like Cambodia HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICHES ON FOCACIA, FRSHLY BREWED COFFEE, CLEAN LOUNGES. The next time you are at the NAIA, go to MIASCOR lounge they have all of that and more. You can even take a shower if you want to. Restaurants and Hotels are plentiful. you just have to choose right. Go to SERENDRA at the fort and have your fill of the best cuisine. Or to greenbelt. You\\\'ve been in and out of the country. you should know all these places. and you should know that what you have written in your blog is not all true. How can you say that the people of the Philippines are not one to build sustainably long term. Tell that to the investors and locators in the country. Tell that to the likes of Mr. Sy and Mr. John or Manuel Pangilinan (MVP) and Ramon Ang (RSA). Those who left the country are people who think that grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Manila can offer you a lot. What kind of a tourist do you want to be? Historical? we have intramuros, Art? we have galleries all over the metro. Museums? we have the Ayala museum, UST, San Agustin. Shopping? 3 of the biggest malls in the world is in Metro Manila. Theater? we have world class talent performing in different venues everyday. We have theater companies that developed world class talents. Drab and Dirty - Are you blind? Where in Manila did you go? I can provide you with endless number of pictures showcasing the beauty of MANILA.
11th October 2011

i am a filipino. i live in Manila, and i could not agree more to your post.:( for hotels i think we have shangrila hotel. :) a good one.
11th October 2011

it\'s \"awfully disappointing\" how Philippines can allow foreigners like you to visit our country. An immature, bad-tongued, highly opinionated, and useless \"alien\" to our country like you just get what you deserved for your visit and i am so happy about this that you had a bad experience -- actually i hope there was a very strong typhoon during your visit so you can be blown away back to your country. For sure you are a nobody in your home that is why you are wandering to emerging countries so you can feel better for yourself --- i pity you ! Again, you are NOT welcome in our country, even if i don\'t reside in my country, i have pride for it and my fellow Filipinos.
11th October 2011

Despite the fact that I flinch at your blog\'s words, I have no other choice but to accept that part of what you say is true. Manila is lagging far behind in terms of economic growth, travel and R&R amenities. I hope this can be a rude awakening for all of us. I love my country and everything in it. One thing I disagree on is calling Filipinos who left the country \"smart\" because it fuels the \"brain drain\" that\'s already happening for a few decades now. I am a teacher at the University of the Philippines and I try to instill nationalism to my students by emphasizing that what our country needs is not remittances but innovators and investors who would serve as catalysts for change. I am currently in the US earning my PhD and almost all Filipinos here (sad to say) and even some of my American friends try to convince me not to go back because there is so much opportunity here for me. I tell them my country and fellow Filipinos are the ones who need me more and people like you could at least help in our cause. One of my former students posted your blog and seeing him agree with you just breaks my heart. I hope you realize the influence you have on people who read your blogs and you can actually use it more constructively.
11th October 2011

i agree
with everything you wrote and i despise those people that are \"too\" sensitive to hear or read truths about manila and that they\'re too busy and too blind to see what is really in their own backyard.... wake up! they easily and effortlessly find fault in other people yet they can\'t accept any form of criticism......so, surely, they\'ll bombard you with angry reactions. They\'ll even make you a fb hate page, i\'ll strongly bet on that!
11th October 2011

Oh Look at you! Can you look at yourself in the mirror? You look like Satan who has nothing to say but non sense opinion. Are you sure you are well traveled? Have you been to China or other parts of the world? When people are barbaric, spitting on the floor... Traffic Jam is all around the world, even in your country! You should have drink coffee in a nice restaurant. There a lot out there especially near Discovery Suites, where Podium or Shangri La Mall are around. You are disappointing yourself for having an illiterate brit-mind. Don\'t worry for what you have blogged here, you will get lost in the world in a few days. Terrorists are looking for you!
11th October 2011

I am Filipino, have lived in Manila all 45 years of my life. I have seen what you have seen, even said that we keep producing more cars that travel the streets, and yet it\'s not like we\'re able to \"produce\" more streets where these cars can go and not cause further heavy traffic... I\'ve walked into and around the airport you described, dunno about the men\'s room, but the ladies\', thankfully, have been better where sanitation is concerned. I have a modest standard of living, have a house shared with my siblings, definitely livable and clean, and we serve food that we ourselves cook, coming from a family that hails from Pampanga, famous for people who cook well... For the past 45 years, I\'ve seen things that come and go, very much attuned to the world outside as well, news from outside Manila, outside Philippines, things happen. There\'s progress, there\'s deterioration, there\'s development, there\'s regression. Too long an introduction? Let me try and hit the nail right on the head: In answer to your question: >>> For the Philippines the question is surely will it ever emerge from the mire into which it has sunk? - - - - - - DEFINITELY, THE PHILIPPINES WILL BE BETTER. MANILA, IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING YOU\'VE SAID ABOUT IT, WILL GET BETTER. I sense some bias, too strong a discrimination against the Phlippines, specifically, Manila, where you have visited, much to your regret, for the last 15 years. You failed to see that it\'s not all that bad; not generally the wet, slimy soil of some depth or deep mud as you used the word MIRE into which the country has sunk. I suggest you explore further, open your eyes wider, and be more objective. If Discovery Suites has stopped being the good deal that it once was, for your business, YES, please, go ahead and change to another hotel if you have the misfortune of coming back here. It\'s plain and simple. EXPLORE further. There are other hotels to choose from. I\'d recommend DUSIT HOTEL in Makati, or there\'s the CROWNE GALLERIA (you can check out this link, just for comparison): http://secure.directrooms.com/cgi/msp/search_results.cgi. Another hotel that\'s quite close to Asian Development bank like Crowne Galleria is the HOLIDAY INN MANILA GALLERIA, here\'s the link>>> http://www.wego.com/hotels/philippines/manila/holiday-inn-galleria-manila--175471 I really didn\'t like what you wrote about Manila, but of course you and I and the rest of the people who have come across your blog, are entitled to our own opinions, however opinionated it is. We have different points of view, and we have different ways of looking at things. I have both eyes open, there\'s always two sides of the coin-- the good and the bad side. I hope you will soon see the good side. Explore and Enjoy !
11th October 2011

Hmmm...
I don't live there anymore but I was there for 2 months a couple o' months back. I do love my country but what you pointed out is true. Traffic is horrible, there's garbage almost everywhere and people are generally undisciplined. NAIA changed but not necessarily for the better. And as the years go by, the Philippine government becomes more and more of an embarrassing joke. I read your article several times and I'm just curious: this "Manila" experience you had...did you actually go around the city? Or did you land in NAIA and took a cab via EDSA to get to the Discovery Suites? 'Cause that's just sorta one stretch of a road. Long and with a lotta traffic, but still one stretch. Going through your article, you had a lot of things to say about the airport and your accommodation but very little about anything else. I mean, have you been to The Rizal Park? How 'bout that biggest friggin' mall in Asia (Mall of Asia)? To the Greenbelt area/Makati CBD? Intramuros? Manila Ocean Park? What did you think about those? I do think it's sort of your fault, too, to stay in Discovery Suites (you keep coming back all these years?) when you actually think it's crap. There's Linden Suites; it's even cheaper than where you stayed and the feedbacks are positive. There's Holiday Inn (which is even near ADB!) and that hotel is quite good. The price is almost the same as in DS. Breakfast is not free but you're not a backpacker so paying for food, no matter what time of the day, is not really a big deal, right? Manila is not my favorite city in the world but as a tourist, it may not be to your advantage to say "what a dump!" about a city that you haven't fully explored. Or at the very least, half-explored. I'm just saying.
11th October 2011

...
I am a 25 year old, Filipina, currently living in the UK. I don\'t think it is fair to say negative things about other people\'s HOME. If you HATE writing negative things, then why did you post this blog to begin with? You knew many people will react, especially Filipinos, some would probably even cuss you out. I can come up with a long list of negative things to say about a place I\'ve been to (or even where I am now), but I would rather enjoy and see the positive things that it can offer. But then again, I know I can\'t change how you think or feel about your experience. You probably have a different definition/idea of fun and beauty, which I respect. I just feel like the use of offensive words is unnecessary. You wouldn\'t like others to say sh*t about your home.
11th October 2011

true!
hi! im a filipina but i live outside the country. I love going back in phils as my friends and family are all there. unfortunately all what you have said are true.. I have stayed on the same hotel 2 yrs ago as my friend used to work there. the room key wasnt functioning, the smell of the room was \" moldy\", and the aircondition wasnt functioning as well, and i was even roomed in one of their highest paid room. after a night, i decided going back to galleria suites which has a cozy room and good service. Traffic jam in manila didnt allow me to drive as they dont have any rules on the street, they stop whenever they want. even on the highways are the same as they dont know where is the fast lane and slow lane. The changes 2 yrs ago from today are just the malls that they keep on constructing which made manila more traffic. the poverty of the philippines can be seen already from up above upon landing. shops get more expensive even. we have so many resources in the land which may give the Phils more potential growth but i dont know why the government is not looking into it. We even have intelligent people who can work good but they dont give an opportunity too which leads on going to another country to work. How i wish they would learn to treasure the Philippines and make something better. to start with simple things that would make the country more inviting, more hospitable and more to live with.
11th October 2011

I do agree on most points, but allow me to give it a little context.
I would agree on mostly all your points, except sticking with Discovery Suites. I think they were just seriously left behind where the hospitality industry is concerned. A number of decent hotels within the same price range are around. The deterioration of Metro Manila is beyond explaining away. I think it would pay to look at each separate city for their own respective merits (sad thing is, Metro Manila is often seen as Manila-at-large), and to put some of this in context. Years of neglect, bad politics and thwarted plans of main air traffic hub has left NAIA (the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) unchanged while airports meant to replace its function as the main port of entry have barely been finished to be anything subpar with airports of neighboring countries. Blame corruption, partisan (but non-principled) politics or what have you, however you put it, it\'s been a project put on hold, questioned and mangled in so many ways, it makes no sense to the people anymore. As for the traffic, we need a lemon law, higher luxury taxes or some other way to control the sheer volume of vehicles being cleared for operation in the Metro. It is a story of ambitious projects and laws not being implemented by undeserving public servants and officials, elected by an intellectually immature populace given a freedom no other nation (I believe) on Earth enjoys. There are a handful, or maybe even a good number of individuals who have an idea what to do, and wish to do something. However, the Philippines is far too democratic for its own good (in my humble opinion). I will get flack for saying that last bit, but I do believe it to be true.
11th October 2011

My people
I do agree with you on certain things like how things are ill managed in my country, these are the work of politicians who for approximately 45 years have mismanaged my country and we are now reaping the fruits of their work. I appreciate that you write about my country in this light, you reflect what we should be aware of. I hope my people, though some are acting on it, change their views about being Filipinos. We are divided in many cultures and some even if they are half Filipino, refuse or ridicule the situation we are in. My wish is for more people to become aware that change will not come from politicians, though I sincerely hope they change, but change will come from us the citizens. I hope more people will ride the tides of change that we are enjoying in my country by first loving what we have, second by doing what is right (example by following basic rules in the city), third by leading through example so that others, like how I was enlightened, will see the beauty of displaying openly that they follow rules because for me it will make an impact on government if people are not anymore nonchalant. I disagree with what you said about there being no picture worthy spots in Metro Manila. Try the yacht club on a dry day, Divisoria or Baclaran; though foul in smell and with snatchers all around, its the people and the smiles in both regular and business conversations plus the goods will be worthwhile. Binondo too and Intramuros where I have very good memories when I was little. My country is disabled and the people affected, even the way others think is affected because of lack of education but Filipinos are worth knowing and to experience them is a great catch in any trip, almost unique.
11th October 2011

haha! I\'m a Pinoy but i do agree with you. Nothing to be proud of with this country. Being proud for things like Pacquiao, Singers, etc is nothing more than self-righteous Pride. Nationalism sucks. We have this thing called PINOY PRIDE and it is being proud in almost anything that has a \"pinoy\" in it, Like a hollywood actress with a Pinoy GRANDMA. Reality Check. This country is on it\'s way to downfall especially in the hands of these croc politicians and these self righteous, egoistic, people who make bad decisions and blame the government when they got f*cked up . I love your article. Don\'t mind the haters. The truth hurts
11th October 2011

As a Filipino reading your article the first time, I think getting hurt is natural when you read something nasty that's written about your home. But if you look at it objectively, there were some valid points raised. I always feel that way whenever I have to fly out of NAIA Terminal 1. I believe that airports should always give great first impressions to the visitors, but alas, our airport fails to do just that. In fact, it has the opposite effect on travelers. I'm a travel professional based in Manila and my work allows me to travel to different parts of the world several times a year. Having seen so many beautiful airports, I’ve always wondered when we will ever get a world-class international airport in our capital. Thank you though for mentioning that there are places outside of Manila where visitors can see the real beauty of the Philippines. Foreign visitors might find Manila disenchanting but I know that when they get to see the rest of our islands, they might forget their initial reaction when they arrive. I hope you don’t get tired of ever visiting the Philippines though.
11th October 2011

I'll have to agree
I'm Filipino and I'll have to agree on your assessment. I have the same assessment myself. There is a culture of mediocrity. Where excellence is laughed at or ridiculed. Pride is misplaced. It's like the lot of use never outgrew childhood (which is an insult to some children as some of them have more sense than my fellow kinsmen). We are racists even to each other. I am from Mindanao and I come to Manila and a lot assume that I do not know anything. I am part of several FB groups that supposedly seek for enlightenment and change and are supposedly the "Smart ones" but even then, we couldn't get our act together. I proposed small projects something doable to start some change but sadly I am still the only one doing it *sigh* Egos still clash. At least some of the message is getting across - our request for change but it's still...feels so far. This is a place where the smart ones are ridiculed and bullied. It's depressing. I would leave but I still have things to take care off. So I' m stuck here. I'm still deciding if I leave would I consider retiring here or would I stay in my adopted country. And even if I leave, it's not like I can deny that I am a Filipino. Aah..I am rambling...so much is wrong with us...I don't know where to start to fix it. I don't know if I can make a difference but I try to anyway.
11th October 2011

Finally, someone who shares my sentiments. I am part Filipino and I couldnt agree more. If this is what democracy is about, give me dictatorship anyday. I\'d rather have one dictator rule with an iron fist than a whole mob of corrupt politicians. Polite (maybe), yes. Try (a bit too) hard. Hospitable, very. Some good qualities indeed for a people who have been misled and are heading nowhere fast. What was once the Pearl of the Orient, is now a quagmire (good comparison to Cambodia. I think you might add Vietnam, etc there too. Like you I travel quite a bit). Politicians and political parties squabble for their personal gains and forget the people they should serve. They are so short sighted that things like emergency response and relief are put aside if not totally ignored. My father always says that the leaders there have no foresight (how true it is. Imagine a government who always asks for international aid and private organizations and peoples financial support and donations whenever a typhoon or calamity occurs). I grew to love the Philippines. I still do. But i guess I love myself and my family more. Thats why I \'smarted\' up and left. I constantly encourage my mates to do the same. Some listen, but alas, more choose to stay. Not so much as being scared of whats out there, but more afraid of losing what they are so used to. I was scared too. Thats why I left. I like AJ Linao\'s term...FALSE PATRIOTISM! Well said! False indeed. When they are called for national service they malinger and opt out of it, but when they read the writing on the wall, they react (rather offensively) as if they know what they are talking about.
11th October 2011

So you stayed in a cheap hotel which hasn't been decorated in over a decade, got caught in traffic and therefore Manila is a dump? OK, it's not exactly the Henley Regatta, but all this tells me is you've failed to open your eyes, look around and figure the place out. Understandable if you only fly in and out for business meetings I guess. I lived in (an admitedly very nice part of) Manila for two years, and still get back there whenever I can. You're missing out!
11th October 2011

I completely agree..
Hi there. I am a Filipino and sadly I have moved to Canada just recently because one, there are not enough opportunities for me in my homeland and two, our country is in shambles. I was apprehensive in reading your blog but I was pleasantly surprised because none of your words have offended me. It\'s because I agree with what you have said and truthfully, I hope a lot of Filipinos get to read this and take it as a constructive criticism so that we may be inspired to work for the benefit of our country. I love my country and we Filipinos take pride in it, but how can we say it and not feel a bit embarrassed when people from around the globe are met with the first impressions of a run-down airport and dirty streets. I am still appalled at how many chinoys (chinese-filipinos), pinoy power brokers and politicians are filthy rich yet they dont do anything to help our poor country. Some people also feel that the corruption and monopolistic control is what hinders our development. I guess our only hope is to educate our people so that they may learn their rights, fight for their rights, and create ways to rebuild our country.
11th October 2011

Like the first one you published, I am a Filipino. But unlike him/her, I have had the misfortune of living and working here in Manila. Although your narrative is laced with obvious disgust, I take no offense in your post. Rather, I\'d prefer it more if people wrote about Manila honestly for the dump that it is. I live less than 15 miles away from my workplace but it takes 2 hours to reach work due to traffic. The trains are late, the motorists are rude, the local vultures get awfully wide-eyed when they see white people so they can butter them up and scam something out of them. The government is proud of some of Manila\'s refurbished surface, but underneath, it\'s just a ratnest waiting to crumble. It is disappointing to see reviews like this about the place where I live in, but some of us appreciate all the bad publicity and don\'t go into an offensive stance and blurt incoherent babble. Who knows, someone from the government might actually see this and for once, act on it. Most people (and the government) here look up to the developed countries\' citizens, and value their opinion more. Maybe we can get something out of honest views like these. Heck, even the American envoy exposed the healthy prostitution economy here.
11th October 2011

its just how the way we look on things
Hi sir, from the the way you made your post, you are Obviously Rich,and Knows what Class is all about...But this things are not equal with everybody, its just the way on how we look and appreciate things.Yes Its true that Manila is Dirty,awful traffic and so on..but in some ways Manila is the place of HOPE for other people who are from the provinces,Like the one you mentioned (CEBU,BAGUIO,MINDANAO,VISAYAS) who could have read your post and in that way may shatter their dreams because of your ultimate harsh,descriptive and in some derogatory comments about Manila,the Truth Really hurts,but its just how the way we look onto things, NAIA might be nasty,but your in for it safely right?atleast no bomb did kill you unlike in MOSCOW or as you said you been into the Discovery Suites ,atleast no airplane has the interest to bomb it(911).We have to remember that the WORLD does not revolve around us,and in all that we do or post try to be sensitive to those might read it...Yes I\'m a Filipino and I\'m hurt when a foreigner criticize my Capital City (even when its true).but that is all about us. but even so,Even foreigners like you who are making such statements will be accepted because We are forgiving people, and that is it all about. The main attraction here is not only the Beaches, but also the People. you could have said it in a much more gentle way,or just don\'t make this post public just send t it to your RICH friends...Being intellectual doesn\'t give you a right to be so insensitive...on a personal note : you make your money out of going to the ADB in the Philippines,well if your not that amused or happy with the place, \"Why not get your cheese elsewhere where you will never see Manila again\".... I\'m also a Travel Photographer, and I make sure that \"i think before i click\"..i challenge you to post this comment in your Blog...Thanks
11th October 2011

An eye-opener of sorts. My thoughts exactly, having lived pretty much all my life in Manila. It is definitely run-down--close to tearing apart, if you will. And I agree with AJ, the exaggerated Filipino pride at work again for some folks. Don\'t let your \"supposed\" love for country blind you from the reality that Manila is not the cosmopolitan city that you always thought it was. It probably was, not sure if it will ever be again. From the total lack of discipline of its inhabitants, poorly made and mediocre roads and highways, corrupt local government officials, corrupt police force, corrupt traffic enforcers, poor urban planning, poor waste management system, pathetic traffic management system, rampant petty and organized crime..the list goes on and on. And all of these overshadowed by towering \"supermalls\" and supposedly modern residential and commercial projects, to give us all that false sense of \"living in a growing economy\". I\'ve been to most of SE / Asia (Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hongkong, Cambodia, etc) and I agree--Bangkok may have the same traffic problems as Manila, but it is livable and walkable. Vietnam took on a huge beating back in the day, but they now have one of the nicest airports and Saigon is walkable and livable. Manila is definitely at the bottom of the ladder in my book. For all the haters--save your over-acting and exaggerated Pinoy patriotism for Manny Pacquiao\'s next fight. Your sensitivity and taking offense at every punch thrown the Philippines\' way wont change the fact that each day you wake up, you are being robbed and screwed by the government and its elected idiots. And to any of the morons in the Manila City Hall, Congress and the Senate who, after reading this, ridiculously decide to use this to grandstand and come up with an idiotic idea like filing a bill to declare Geoffrey James as \"persona non grata\", please, please, just this once, save your circus act and NOT show the world again what kind of clowns you have always been.
11th October 2011

Try Other places like Bicol, On the southern tip of Luzon
It's really nice that you went out of your way not generalizing about the whole Philippines, because frankly i don't like Manila as much as where I used to live. It's just that all the good schools are here so I have to study here. Try going to Bicol where the air is fresh and things are being developed here and there. It's a really wonderful place and if only the educational system there is the same as here in Manila, I would have stayed and there to study. I know it lacks the grime, dirt, disgusting rivers and dirty old sidewalks but, that's the way I like it. Though if your looking for the more city like living, Bicol really isn't the place to be. The place is more for R&R as well as for the adventurous I do agree with your comment on the economy. Everything here is short term and usually what makes one successful in the country, you have to know how to work that system as well as develop your own long term plans. Which is also why I'm afraid for the other beautiful places in the Philippines, they might turn victims of the same system and ruin their chances of developing into an actual modern city. They still have the chance to fix it- they just have to not turn to Manila as their model city.
11th October 2011

....
cool story bro
11th October 2011

So, you do not like Philippines obviously and yet you had lots of experienced visiting the country. You do not generalize the country and yet at the end of your racist blog \"but not the Philippines\" what does it mean? you obviously generalized the country and what it has to offer simply because you have had a bad experienced in \"manila\" you are trying to make it sound nice by saying go to the other places in the Philippines such as Cebu or Mindanao and yet u find other places in Asia are more worth visiting but not the \"Philippines\" you even compared and liked Afghanistan better than us eh? you never say so but that was it sounded to us. And that is BS! If you are a true and pure blogger, you should be open at other comments on your blog whether it says good or bad, you are criticising my country and you are not open for criticism. It is like you punched me but i do not want a punch back! I am suggesting you do not go to the Philippines because you are not welcome. The economy in the Country is doing great and soon you will realized it yourself... Have a good life!
11th October 2011

You nailed it sir! Well, I just hope to see my country change from its state today and start emerging as one of the top countries in the region. Thank you for your honesty and it should serve as a wake up call for all of us here in the Philippines. Have a good day sir. Godspeed!
11th October 2011

invitation
sorry to read about your depressing experience and view of Manila. while there is basis to your opinions, you wholeheartedly remarked as well that you cannot generalize for Manila does not accurately represent the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Let me invite you then to see Mindanao, or experience the enchanting islands in the Visayas, or rather bewail your fate in Batanes, perhaps discover history in Castillian Ilocos regions. There are 7,107 reasons to realise that the Philippines is a paradise. A Paraiso. And our people will be the first ones to make you feel that way. Do not lose hope in my country, and please still return, sir. we might not be the best today, but we can still pick up and learn from everyone's critiques. Thank you, sir! : )
11th October 2011

Thanks for the honest comments Geoffrey. I just have some request next time you are force to come to Manila. One, look at NIAA Terminal 3 and Resorts World, two, stay in Crowne Plaza in Ortigas Center, three, have dinner at 7 Corners Restaurant, four, go to Makati to shop, and five, hook up with me when your in town, We can take pictures together, to show your readers its not drab and dirty. RE-INVESTMENT, now I am using capital letters, is the only word you used that i totally agree with. Thanks again Geoffrey.
11th October 2011

Manila
I am from Cebu, and yes, I couldn't agree more of this blog post. I had traveled the entire Philippines in search of its pure beauty. However, what you have said about Manila is so true, as a matter of fact, Manila is the capital city of the Country. I feel sorry for my fellow Filipinos, for my Country which was left far behind by its Asian Neighbors. Filipinos are great people but yet that greatness is seemed to be hidden, buried 6 feet underground. I hope a lot of Filipinos can get to read this blog, its an eye opener! Not to react violently but to gracefully accept the fact of where were at now, in terms of economy and governance. I hope one day, the Philippines will rise again and reclaim its glory in Asia. And to Geoffrey James Quartermaine Bastin, I thank you for your post! Thank you for showing us the real picture, and yes, true enough, photos are not necessary coz by its name alone (Manila)- i already now how it looks like. May you come visit the Philippines again.
11th October 2011

true
what you wrote is sadly undeniable. there are nice, clean places in manila, too... it's where the less poor people go. a foreigner once remarked that being in places like greenbelt and high street, one wouldn't think there's poverty at all in the philippines. however, not all foreigners who come to manila can see all that. not everyone comes to hang out. not everyone gets to see those type of places. and if they could, they have to brave through horrendous traffic. there are other newer airport terminals which are better than the main international terminal, but the government needs to make terminal 1 decent enough. the government recognizes this problem, but does nothing about it. the philippines is gifted with "spectacular scenery." i really hope the government will get its act together soon, so that tourists wouldn't be turned off right away, right at the airport. i hope this blog gets to be read by the current officials and they actually do something about the tourism. they try, but get stuck on surface things, such as jingles and logos.
11th October 2011

I have lived in Manila ALL MY LIFE and this is reality for us. Manila when I was young was pretty, exciting, and actually cheap to live in. Now it is noisy, corrupted, and dirty. It is overrun by its corrupt officials (the ones we didn\'t vote for and yet, they end up in the government) and we pay our taxpayer\'s money every single month for THIS - nothing. I am seriously looking for an avenue out, anyway out. I am a Literature major, so that makes it tough for me to leave (because I study for the betterment of literature in the Philippines), but my end goal as a productive and successful member of the society will not happen here in Manila because there\'s NO WAY you can be productive in a city like this. Manila needs to change. But when? :(
11th October 2011

This Pinay agrees
I only visit the Philippines each year because I feel obliged to visit my mother who is in her 80s and lives in Manila. I dread visiting for exactly the same reasons you stated here.
11th October 2011

i am a filipino and i love the philippines but i would, unfortunately, agree with you...and at this point, i can only pray for the fate of my country as its governance is taken over by leeches - beings devoid of humanity and intent only on sucking every last blood of the filipino people.
11th October 2011

I do agree with some parts of your review (the horrible airport experience, the pollution and the urban decay), but I think it's unfair to generalize the whole of Manila as such. Being born and raised here, maybe I've been desensitized. However, I do have family in the U.S. and have been to other countries, so I don't think I'm (too) biased. That said, there are some nice places to visit in Metro Manila if you look hard enough (try clickthecity DOT com if you're not too disillusioned, LOL). The only thing that bothered me is the way you amplified the negative aspects and made the readers imagine you went to a post-apocalyptic city or something. ("There's nothing worth photographing in Manila, it's drab and dirty." Ouch!) It's funny that I'd normally complain about the things that you mentioned, but after reading your article and seeing my country through the eyes of a foreigner, it made me think about the positive side of Metro Manila. I think that as corrupt as our government is, there have been some genuine efforts (urban development projects and the like) to improve the region even if certain parts of it (i.e. the slums, polluted rivers etc.) still need a LOT of work. Lastly, I did feel a twinge when you mentioned how the Philippine elite feel a sense of superiority over other Asian countries because of their English skills. I have to say, that hit home for me because I've shared the same sentiment from time to time - all while ignoring the fact that yes, the Philippines is behind in every other way. Traveling abroad is a subjective experience, and I don't expect you to change your opinion. However, before you write off Metro Manila as some nightmarish hellhole, perhaps you should give it a chance if you have the time.
11th October 2011

I don\'t normally comment on negative write-ups about my country but I can\'t help myself from doing it this time. Thanks so much for your honest and straightforward comments about the Philippines. As you have admitted yourself, you are not a backpacker so I am sure you have not seen the ugly side of the other countries you have visited because you always stay in a posh hotel and you only see the nice areas of the countries you have been to. I am a development worker and it\'s awfully disappointing to read such article from an expensive development worker like you.
12th October 2011

All things have bad and good sides, it is so unfortunate that all the time you went to the Philippines you were only given the opportunity to see the bad side. I respect your view of reality, and I agree that much work (a lot of work) needs to be done. It is what you have seen (and you have seen a lot) so I don\'t blame you. When I started this comment, I wanted to make you see the good side of Manila, but I think not. it is better for you to see us that way so people would know how exploited our country is. I would rather our government to spend scarce resources for education and health facilities rather than amenities for you. No matter how much you are willing to pay for them. PS I was offended more by a comment on this page than your post. without it I wouldn\'t have bothered commenting here
12th October 2011

I agree wholeheartedly with you that the Philippines has lagged behind severely compared to our more progressive neighbors, but I feel that your article may have focused too much on the negatives. I mean, we have improved, have you been to the Makati Business District, or the Bonifacio Global City? What about the Ortigas Business District, it has improved a lot over the years.
12th October 2011

Hi there, I am a Filipino and I love my country sooo much that I get irritated when somebody speaks ill about my country. but this time, I have to agree on your idea and It is so hard to accept the fact that Manila indeed is like this. I grew up in a small city in south Luzon - Naga City and moved here in Manila 2 years ago. All I can say is that Manila has become like this because of poor leadership. There are alot of obvious things they can improve in the system but I dont know what is keeping them in improving it. Naga is still years behind compared to Manila (you don\'t see tall buildings rising up in the skies) but with its good leaders and cooperation of people, it remains 1st class city in ASIA. There are still other Cities in the Philippines that is branded as 1st class city and its because of its unselfish leaders.
12th October 2011

Thank you for bringing this up. It\'s actually an eye opener especially coming from someone who is not a Filipino. Anyway, we Filipinos are still having a hard time accepting what is really happening to our country, not only in Manila. But I think you missed to see the part that some of us (not only the poor) has to get 2 or more jobs just to get enough money to feed their families, my point being, we are really a poor country, pretending to be rich. But another sad thing is, we don\'t want to accept it, most of us are blinded by the promises of politicians (that they can make our lives better, etc.) fancy shopping malls, tall buildings, condo\'s (thinking that having these places could really help our economy) and of course, our pride. And a lot of times, we are not very open to criticisms and bad opinions and for that I apologize for all the offensive and negative comments, but please understand, we just love our country, we always try to stay positive, happy and faithful even though most of the time life sucks. Thanks again and God bless you!
12th October 2011

Your a joke
I hope you end up in a ditch...i spent most of my life growing up in manila..and have met the most amazing people and have had the greatest times of my life there...and just to make my point ive been to paris, london, sydney, melbourne, tokyo, hongkong, bankok...and many other places i just cant be bothered to list them here...Eat S\"it you motherf@cking ignorant f@ck...geoffrey youre a big f@cking joke..please refrain from calling yourself an intellectual..i know my comments arent event coherent at this point because im soo enraged by your ignorance..you sh@!#t either way I suppose im just reacting to your blatant ignorance in kind..you dont even deserve an argument
12th October 2011

If this blog would make it to the main stream media, I am betting that you will be called all sorts of cursed words that equivalent to the word \"Racist\". You know how touchy \"we\" Filipinos are. I am from a province in the northern part of the Philippines and I moved to Manila about 7 years ago for my job. If I had the choice to work where I came from, I would not even bother spending a second here the \"metro\". But, hey, this is where I make my living. I need to whole-hearted bite on this bitter truth. We middle class and the over-seas workers are getting tired of complaining but not getting action from the goverment that we resorted in just going on with our lives as it is. But, one thing, I am still not living this country. There still a light of hope in me somewhere deep inside. Nice blog.
12th October 2011

Discouraging and Awfully Sad
I felt myself cringing as I read your article. The truth truly burns. Though there are many nice malls and places to go to in Manila (Greenbelt, Mall of Asia, and the like), I do know that most of what you mentioned are true --- the dirt, the traffic, the poverty. I am a Filipino and I\'ve been living in the United States for four years. I still plan on coming back to the Philippines because my family members are there. Yet there are times when I just wish I could have the power to pluck out all the weeds in the government ---that might mean almost all of them ---and start anew. The Philippines never recovered since Marcos\' reign down to the current president. And I don\'t know if it still can. But as I love my country, \"hope still springs eternal in my human breast\". I hope the time can come when the corrupt shall crumble to the ground (literally and figuratively) and the Filipinos will have leaders who will actually use the resources for its people and not keep it for themselves. If only...if only...
12th October 2011

The bitter truth
Greetings. I am a Filipino, and out of patriotism, I have decided to stay in Manila. I\'ve worked in Cebu, and it is truly a great place to live and work. I absolutely agree with your observations of Manila -- it is crumbling to pieces, a drab and dirty urban jungle that still mesmerizes the idiots among my countrymen. Commuting by public transport here in Manila is a fearsome adventure in itself -- one risks being mugged, or being haplessly involved in an accident caused by stupid drivers. Most of my friends who know better have left the country for work abroad, powering the economies of Qatar, China and Singapore. This is truly a hapless country -- a people with no collective memory, a people who do not learn the lessons of history.
12th October 2011

how ironic..some foreigners go to our country for our \"squatters-tourism\". looks like you didn\'t enjoy it. you didn\'t enjoy your visit but please consider the current state of our country. I believe you already received numerous insults, but its our sickness. Many of the filipinos are willing to defend our country with issues like this but cannot fix themselves. I confess I can\'t take how you criticize our country but hope this sends a message to Filipinos
12th October 2011

In defense of Manila
I think its unfair that you had a presumptuous judgment on Manila primarily based on two things: a crappy airport, which I share the same sentiments on and a crappy hotel, which can easily be remedied if you're willing to spend a bit more. Perhaps you can try the EDSA Shangri-La if you need to be close to ADB. The lack of shops and amenities in the Ortigas Center can be met if you travel to the neighboring districts. You can head out towards Greenbelt, Resorts World, Bonifacio Global City, among others, which have an abundance of shops and amenities. In your words, traffic is AWFUL, just as it is in any other third world country. If that's how strongly you despise traffic, perhaps you should travel at odd hours of the day and there would be significantly less vehicles on the road. Something should be done about our airport but all this is buried under the government's red tape and the same goes with the spending for maintenance of infrastructure by the public sector. On the other hand, there is strong support from the private sector, from small-medium enterprises to large scale developments, which is probably what keeps our country going. From the continuous sprouting of new hole in the wall restaurants/pubs to new offices of multinational corporations. It's true that there is more to see in the Philippines than Manila, as you mentioned Cebu, Palawan, Boracay and the likes but Manila is a great place if you'd give it a chance. The best way to see Manila is with a local that knows his/her way around, taking into consideration what you'd want to see and experience. As a starting point here's a pretty good blog on Manila's hidden places (food and travel secrets through word-of-mouth): http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/restaurants.html . He's no food critic so don't rely too much on his comments regarding food but he provides an updated list of new places (mostly restaurants) to experience along with pictures. I can go on and on about my defense of Manila but I think I've shared enough insights for now.
12th October 2011

Hi there! Like AJ, I admire your honesty. I am a Filipino who is in Manila right now and I could not agree more with everything you said here in your blog post. I have been out of the country three times and 50% is spent comparing how the Philippines can outshine other Asian countries if only the Filipinos will work together for our country\'s beauty to be seen by foreign people. Filipinos will definitely react negatively on this post since it is directly describing the face behind Manila\'s mask which I think the government should focus on and not the President\'s love life (the hell?). Thank you for this post and I hope Filipinos will realize how they should take a second look on the country\'s capital before defending it. This will raise some eyebrows but really, Manila is WAY better in the past than today and seeing it from a foreigner\'s perspective, everyone should wake up and do something about it. Good day sir!
12th October 2011

Hi, I am not that good in english so bare with me. I agree with most of what you said and appreciate your honesty but all i want to say is that Manila is beautiful. I don\'t think you\'ll understand. If I CLEARLY see it, and you don\'t, then something must be wrong with the way you look at it. Beauty cannot be measured just by looking at 5 star hotels, the economy etc. If you are the type of person that, according to you, \"stays in decent hotels and expects good service\" I don\'t think you\'ll understand. PS visit and EXPERIENCE 3rd world countries more. Travel.
12th October 2011

Reality hurts for us Filipino\'s, but I guess we are all to blame for letting our country go down the drain. Unfortunately, most of my countrymen doesn\'t want to admit that they are part of the problem. I feel guilty every time I read articles like this, but no matter how guilty I feel now wouldn\'t change the fact that the Philippines is no longer a shining pearl of the orient. I appreciate your views towards the city. I just hope that my people see\'s this as a wake up call rather than an insult.
12th October 2011

bullseye!!!
12th October 2011

Thanks for the comment. The Philippines is a great country - I worked for a while in Mindanao (Davao) - great! But Manila..... 'nuff said
12th October 2011

Thanks for your honesty and bravery in reminding us about some of the things some of us know, yet we try not to look at everyday. :) Like frogs in a pot, we\'ve adapted to the horror you\'ve just experienced during your stay in Manila so we do not have to live our lives feeling awful that we were born in a country filled with clueless citizens lead by a corrupt government, in an economy and media controlled by oligarchs. AJ Linao is right about most of us being blinded by false patriotism. You\'ll see it on our T-shirts but you can\'t get us to stop and sing our national anthem or better yet, do something about the problem. And because of this, you will probably get a lot of bad comments on your blog post for sure. Maybe even a ban order from the government. (They did the same thing to Claire Danes after she said that Manila is filthy. Which is weird since it\'s true.) Though, I would have to say that I respectfully disagree that the smart ones all want to leave. I did that for a few years but this country is still my home and I feel that this is where I belong. For me, there is nothing smart about leaving my family so I can send remittances back home. I believe that the economic problem is not concentrated in my country alone. I know for a fact, that some of those who went to America, for example, needed to have 2 to 3 jobs in order to live normally. I only have 1 job right now, but it\'s enough to live normally, I have a lot of extra time for my family and my faith. Which to me are the most important things. And so, I kept reading your post, and I\'ll be honest. I feel sad. Grateful that someone has stepped forward to state some things we already know. But I feel sad because I\'ve been reminded about how different and bad our situation is here in Manila. That same feeling I get when I go to other first-world and non-filthy countries. And then I asked myself: What now? You\'ve open our eyes to the things we tried our best not to see and now we feel bad that our situation seems hopeless... so what\'s next? Another People Power revolution? (I remember that clearly to be the beginning of the fall of our once beautiful nation. A secret not in the history books but something people also know.) Who tells the government? And even if someone does, will it be enough to change anything? Should everyone who read this suddenly get out of their offices and homes and go to the streets to tell people: Hey! We are a disappearing nation! We should do something about it! You didn\'t write about this just to make us feel bad, I hope? So... Being an intellectual and a faux-economist, do you have any suggestions? Would love to hear about it. :)
12th October 2011

if you're travelling economy, don't expect first class.
Thank you very much for such an encompassing review of my city through your experience of the oldest one of our 3 airports and a mid range businessman\'s hotel. And though I agree that my city is far from perfect, our government is far from efficient and our economy is far from thriving, Manila is far from disappointing. I myself have traveled and have experienced what you described in places like HongKong and Bangkok, to name a few. But I also know well enough to expect what I pay for. If, like you said, you look for value, expect a few trade-offs. A friendly suggestion for the next time you find yourself so unlucky to travel to our god-forsaken city, take a plane that lands in our new airports. It won\'t hurt you to pay extra for business class. Book yourself in a slightly more expensive but better hotel. And visit more of the city\'s newer and more posh recreational destinations. You might need extra pocket-money though. :D
12th October 2011

Hi. I appreciate the honesty of your blog post and the fact that it poses a challenge for us Filipinos. I\'m a writer and a blogger as well and I\'m proud to be a Filipino though I know we have so much to improve on as a citizenry and as a country. I guess what I don\'t appreciate is the way you called the comments of other Filipinos as illiterate scrawls - they may have been offensive because they were offended by what you wrote and they were just speaking their minds (passionately I suppose) - just please don\'t say that their opinions are mereley illiterate scrawls. Thank you again and hopefully soon (if ever you do come back to Manila for any reason) you\'ll see some improvement and a bit of the positive about Manila.
12th October 2011

So True
Hey bud I am Filipino and I feel you! I agree with you 100%!
12th October 2011

Great piece. Heard a popular radio program talk about your piece a few hours ago. Naturally, i googled \"manila disgrace southeast asia.\" You\'re right. It\'s like we\'re stuck in a vicious cycle...quicksand...of some sort. It\'s just us - ourselves - keeping us there. Some of us, naturally, will attack you - the messenger. But, the smart ones - you\'ll know who they are: they\'ll be the ones commenting from abroad - will agree with you.
12th October 2011

Provincial
AS someone living in the provinces I can understand your gripes about the overurbanization of Manila or just about any city in the Philippines. I used to rent in Davao and even there it's incredibly congested.
12th October 2011

wake up call!!!
Honestly, as a Filipino when I was reading your article I felt angry and hurt. But the more I read the more I understand your sentiments...Manila is not the same place that I knew.Sad to say the Glory that was were all gone. I went home last february in the Philippines and I was so excited because I was away for 2 years.I've migrated here in San Francisco for good, but to my disappointment my necklace was snatched while I was walking in the Mall (Trinoma) in front of hundreds of people. no one not even a soul tried to stop the snatcher and the security guard just watched me being manhandled!!! and so really I thank you for writing this article.maybe our local officials in the Philippines would take some action to change this..to improve manila. this is really a wake up call!!
12th October 2011

"There seems to be a theme here: the Philippines has many natural advantages and in fact a talented people who provide services everywhere in the world. But there has been no re-investment in the country, neither by the public sector (hence the terrible airport facilities), nor by private industry." You actually nailed the reason why there are awful things you see in Metro Manila. I couldn't agree more to you. It really lack of commitment of the people and the very poor performance of the government. Government officials are nothing but corrupt. They love themselves and not the country. Private investors seem to be similar. It despises me and most of the people (in which you refer to as the "smart ones wanting to leave the country") because as you have said, we have a lot of resources. I really I am not surprised that you are getting a lot of hateful comments. A lot of Filipinos cannot understand why foreigners like you tend to dislike what you see. I live in the Philippines all my life and I get to travel to different countries in my leisure time also. Neighboring countries are really ahead of us and it is based on what I see when I travel. Other Filipinos are blinded because of the false patriotism or many because they have been used to seeing all these and don't mind anymore. It is their defense mechanism--to fight back--and bash people who say negative comments about the country. In my opinion, until truly committed leaders (public and private) who have that pure love to the country immerse, nothing will change.
12th October 2011

I'm sure you are receiving tons and tons of hate comments. We Filipinos are very sensitive in taking in criticism. Some are just bitterly immature but I'd like to believe that more capable of handling the truth and do something about it. I'd like to commend your blog post as you give an insight from the outside. If you are disappointed with Manila or the Philippines, just imagine how we locals feel about it. You have the benefit of moving on to a neighboring city while we get to wake up to this every morning. I refuse to be hopeless because this is my home but I admit that I feel helpless. Nonetheless, I promise to give my small share in making this a better place not just for tourists like you but for the people who live here too.
12th October 2011

Sad but true
I agree with your observations and I really feel sad and embarrassed that you had that experience while visiting the country. It is so unfortunate that the Philippines, which used to be at number 2 in South East Asia a few decades ago is now at the bottom and so far, seems to have no chance of bouncing back. My agreement does not mean that I accept everything that you have said, because for sure, with your short stay here, there are so many things that you failed to see. It is always easier to see the negative sides of things (and even people), while it takes effort to find the positive ones. It seems like you know quite well about the status of the Philippines right now, which is why, you should not have expected that much. On the other hand, Filipinos must not be so sensitive with these kinds of comments because we get this all the time. I am not saying here that we become callous and just accept what other people say. We should instead take them as a wake up call; each and everyone of us who are able to read and learn about such criticisms. Instead of retaliating, we must try to think about what we, as individuals, can do to address those concerns. We cannot always rely on the government or leadership to do things for us. We are who make the country what it is, and all the things stated in whatever praises or criticisms reflect us. There is really a great problem in the country. You are right, the smart ones leave. Sadly, the (fewer) smarter ones remain and try to save the country but because they are outnumbered, the difference they make is minimal. If we can only keep all the smart people here, to work for the betterment of our own country, you would not have had that bad experience.
12th October 2011

It's easy to blame the gov't, but let me share with you that the Filipino people have somewhat lost a sense of identity during the past 10 years, primarily with the help of an uncontrolled media sector. Not once have I seen in my years of youth any mass communication effort with out a hint of politicking and profit -- thus driving the people to false beliefs and identities; creating more social and political imbalance than ever. I can't help but feel sad and discouraged. I'm one of the smarter ones, mid-20's, yet I've stayed put so far... But you made me think. I guess I've no choice but to flee for the better life.
12th October 2011

next time you vist the philippines i will proved to you that your comments are all wrong
for 15 yrs you keep coming back to the philippine but then u gave a very dissapointing comments better yet not to visit again the philippines if your not enjoyin nothing, philippines is a catholic contry or shld i say 80% of the population, Pilipinos ay loving and passionate so dont generalized what you experience here maybe your are not deserving for what you are giving. its obviously your comments is bias, and you have to admit. sorry but iam just being honest iam a Pilipino with good heart and i have not intention of fighting with you iam just sad with your comments full of negatives and yet you keep comming back =( thank you and have a nice day
12th October 2011

Bulls eye!
I have the same observation -and I have been using the same descriptive words you used to initiate change -but change doesn't come easy. We lost the strong sense of 'Common Good', and I believe the return to imbibing this value is one of those things that will help save the Filipino society. Sadly, many of my countrymen misuse the concept of democracy ---equating it to blind patriotism. Democratic ideals are indeed held dear, yet many are irrationally sensitive and touchy to other people's free expressions of what they feel and see. That is bad democracy!
12th October 2011

Unfortunately, I agree with you. I was born, raised and currently work here in Manila. Why I stayed, I don\'t really know but what I do know is that all of the things you mentioned plus a whole set of other things are making me think of leaving. Don\'t get me wrong, I love my country and I consider myself still patriotic (no, I don\'t join senseless rallies and all those cr**)... but I\'ve already lost hope in our government and in the people. They say change is a difficult thing but Manila is just a world of its own.
12th October 2011

Nice and Intelligent
Hi living here in the Philippines.. your commentary was good and intelligent maybe if we could share this link to the authorities they would have done something to improve if not lessen the issues tackled in your blog...anyways try to visit other regions it might help to lessen your stress from travelling here^^
12th October 2011

I myself am discouraged of the fact that there is no clear and visible change but it's not yet the end. There is still the biggest room for improvement. Maybe the officials that time were focused in something else but people change, we will never know that maybe the following year will be a year for change. I'm still proud of my country no matter what.
12th October 2011

My company is residing on Discovery suites, but guest what, the receptionist are so rude on the employees but on foreigner there are super nice. Fuck them all specially the guys wearing Barong Tagalog and sometimes tuxedo...
12th October 2011

couldn\'t agree more...enough said...
12th October 2011

. . .
this is saddening because it delivers some accurate points. i live 3 or 4 cities away and never thought of living or even just working in the area. but i\'m still hopeful that manila will come out of what it is slowly being stereotyped as. i hope this kind of view would not reflect the entire country.
12th October 2011

Even though I love my country, the Philippines a lot, your words sound really credible. You do not speak of negative things just to bash the country. The thing is, we kind of know all these already and it\'s just that we don\'t do anything about it. I hope that fellow Filipinos who read this take your post as a call to do better in general. It would be really good though if you emphasize more on the rural places and islands being way better and are actually very beautiful. Maybe you are not, but I am looking forward to your next visit in the Philippines and hopefully, it shall be all fine remarks. Thanks!
12th October 2011

Outsider looking in...
For saying such things to my country and as a pinoy who was born and raised here, your words are like a slap on my face, and for that I should be hunting you down, probably armed with a club, hit you in the head or drag you down EDSA and let those over-speeding city buses or Jeepneys run you over or worse throw you at Pasig river and let you die not of drowning but of diseases due to contaminated, filthy water. But no, I instead took the guts to message you and say THANK YOU and commend you for being so brave to write this, knowing that you might be getting the beating of your life from the facebook and twitter savvy people of the Philippines. Sometimes, it really does take an outsider looking in to shake the senses of those inside for us to wake up to reality. I totally agree to every bit of a word that you said, unfortunately. Even about the people here, whom Anthony Bourdain have once described to be \"Ridiculously, damn, nice\" had been, I supposed, relegated as the only consolation if ever tourists come here. Its very sad, indeed. But if there is one thing I have to disagree on you is that witht the right attitude of the people and mainly a new governance that would aim not just for a quick solution but for sustainability, the Philippines, and I do hope, would rise up from the ashes it has slumped into. We still have the resilience to keep up and adapt to the changing times. This I pray for my country. Thanks and keep safe (ummm, don\'t worry its not a threat. I\'m just kidding. Ha ha ha).
12th October 2011

honest
Thank you for the honest sharing of your views as a traveller to our place. And thank you for not putting us down as a people. I know you simply stated about what is in plain sight. Much like Claire Danes freaking out when she saw a cockroach in her hotel suite in Manila, and seeing all the in-bred homeless kids roaming our main streets. What over-sensitive Filipinos don\'t want to admit is that they aren\'t willing to stand up and do enough of what is necessary to overcome this economic and cultural rut that we\'ve been stuck in for almost 30 years. Yet, they\'ll willingly bend over and let politicians do as they please, when they \"vote\" for them again every three years. Manila has become a dump, except for the lofty palaces that the politicians hole themselves up in. Thankfully, not all of the country is as horrid, and I\'m glad you pointed that out.
12th October 2011

Truth Hurts
Hi. It's so frustrating to hear this review. I'm a Filipino and I truly believe *most* of the things that you said. Thanks for not generalizing the whole Philippines and for mentioning the fact that there are good places to visit outside the noisy and dingy capital. Your blog entry has gone viral and hopefully our authorities (esp our Dept of Tourism) will hear about this. Our airport is a mess, really! I'm wondering why it hasn't been revamped. Thanks for having the time to write the review. Truth hurts and your review says the truth about our system here in our country. "How the mighty are fallen." That caught my attention. Cheers!
12th October 2011

we have lost that old glory we once had, i think too much \"pride\" and \"proud\" has resulted to this. No, your blog is just part of the dirt that has existed in the most parts of cities in the NCR besides Manila. if people don\'t choose the right leaders, i doubt this will the last blog i\'ll be reading, if not from you but some one else. sorry to say, ur blog is just tip of the ice berg :P thanks for the criticism
12th October 2011

Karma is Digital
Hi! To hear all those awful and degrading words about the Philippines, no Manila, is just painful (I spent almost 4 years in Manila studying in college). But this throbbing in my chest is a reminder that the country I live is still in dire need of aid and support from its local and foreign sector. Nobody likes to hear the truth but it is a reality and one must face to overcome. One opinion though would not change the way I feel about my country. I love the Philippines and it will certainly stand once again. Thank you for your frankness. PS. Karma is Digital nowadays.
12th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino citizen and I couldn\'t agree more of your post, good sir. Some people may dispute this post but I rather not. In fact, this should be read by each and everyone. I\'ve been to other countries (both in Asia and US), I could say all your complaints here is least likely to be encountered by a traveler in those other countries. Manila is not the place to be IMHO.
12th October 2011

i\'ve always believed that american\'s are the only openly racist of the sort. . .
12th October 2011

Thank you for your honesty.
Wow. I couldnt finish reading all the comments below. It just made me more frustrated about the whole thing. But speaking for myself, I thank you for your article. I do understand where youre coming from and do also want the basic expectations for travellers be met by our airport and country. I share your anger(?), frustration and disappointment with the areas you have pointed out too. As much as it hurts, I do love my country and hope for its best. I would love to experience a glorious Manila sometime in my own lifetime like how my parents described it to me. I have been living overseas for the past 10 years and nothing beats home. However, when I do go home for a visit, it takes me a while to get used to the stuff I grew up with, corruption of the traffice police, traffic, lack of or absence of the sense of security, absence of sidewalks (im a fulltime mom and I now appreciate the importance of sidewalks and proper urban planning of public utilities and areas a lot!) and decent and convenient public transportation and a lot more. I would love to experience the same things I do when Im living overseas; like the simple daily walks with the stroller or relying on no driver to bring me to places safely and on time; oh and a lot more. I dont have the answers that would change my country, but I do pray for it. Everyone has pointed out its faults and solutions and most of them are true and agreeable. Like a broken reacord though, im simply hopeful for my country the Philippines and wish that it doesnt only just have hope and prayers but the courage and strength and capability to change too. Maraming salamat po.
12th October 2011

Re: Post
Hi there, first of all, on behalf of my countrymen, we\'re sorry for the inconvenience, second, even though I am also a Filipino, I totally agree on what you have said. If the Philippines have been fixed for tourists like you by our \"government\", this comment would not be posted and no other violent comments would have been up in the net. And for all of our countrymen, please do not be mad or furious about the blogger\'s comments about our country because this country REALLY needs to be fixed.
12th October 2011

@Geoffrey: I respect your opinion and agree to most. I grew up in Manila and I go out of town as much as I can, when budget permits, to get away from the dirty and busy city and appreciate what my motherland can still offer. @AJ Linao: You've been living abroad, I would assume a comfortable life for many years. Probably for your family? That's a respectful deed but what have you done for the country? You've pointed out the faults and the problems and I agree to most but did you ever try to go above yourself and put first what is good for the country? I'm not judging you but aren't you kind of being a hypocrite? I can understand Geoffrey's comments because, aside from the times that he visits Manila, it's totally not his problem. You call yourself a Filipino and you speak of your dismay and disappointments when you've been an observer for many years. I hope that all your criticism is backed up with actions being a catalyst of change to help the country... Otherwise, you can shut you piehole and continue being an observer. I don't consider myself a patriot but I respect the people who came before me and dedicated their lives to protect this country.. I show respect by the doing the small things that I can..And maybe, that small thing will inspire people to do another small thing..Hey! Small is better that nothing, right "kababayan"?
12th October 2011

Sad but True... Metro Manila isn't a haven for tourists.
I\'ve lived here in the Metro all my life.. and I\'m looking at retiring in Mindanao. I love this country... but this city, in particular.. really.. isn\'t loving me back. The overly crowded streets, the traffic, the pollution, the corruption, the expensiveness of it all (from the perspective of someone who makes her earnings in Metro Manila) doesn\'t do my health good.. As far as tourism is concerned, I, too, believe that this place is merely a stop over to anywhere else. Everyday my body screams for an out of town vacation... I\'m just here to earn my money.. .Coz I can\'t earn it anywhere else in this country. =(
12th October 2011

Everything you said about Manila is true. Your article will slap the Government of the Philippines especially the Department of Tourism and the tourism industry as well. I admire your honesty and concise observations. There\'s more about it, FILIPINOS are lazy! That is why Manila is a dump city of South east Asia.
12th October 2011

Re: Post
I almost forgot, I admire your honesty and hope that some of tourists are like you. It\'s better to be honest than hearing \"good things\" from others which in reality, is not...
12th October 2011

Thank you for the gift!
Your comments are valid and objective. I hope it gets to the proper agency to make the proper actions.
12th October 2011

I read your post with interest. I am a Filipino living in the United States at the moment. While I have made St. Louis my residence for now, I still consider Manila my home. It\'s not an easy city to live in -- its infrastructure is in horrible condition -- I don\'t think major upgrades have been made in decades; traffic is perpetually snarled; the airport is an embarrassment; poverty is widespread; crime abounds. That\'s the big picture -- and we really have to fix it, if we hope to compete in a global economy. But I must say that that is an incomplete picture of Manila. The Manila I know is all of those things -- it is crowded, and chaotic, and in dire need of upgrades; but it also pulses with warmth, authenticity, smarts and ambition. Go into a Filipino household -- an ordinary middle-class Filipino home -- and you will find a clean living room and a grandmother in the kitchen slow-cooking dinner. Walk on a Manila street and you will find neighbors on their stoops and children playing under their watchful gaze. Go to a public hospital -- the building will be decrepit, the equipment old -- but the patients will be surrounded by their families and a bowl of fruit will be by the bedside table, brought in by a caring relative or friend. Go to our universities, and you will find our young creative and ready to work. Visit the financial district, and watch professionals walk by, intent on conquering the world. Listen to their conversations -- there is a nascent confidence -- a sense that they no longer need to leave Manila to make their mark on the world. The truth is this: there are many smart and driven people who have CHOSEN to stay in Manila -- equating our bad infrastructure to a lack of smarts among those who stayed is plain wrong. And so the complete picture is this: Manila is in dire need of upgrades -- but it is a city that will offer one delight after another -- if you only take the time to get to know it better. In the company of friends -- over good food and excellent conversation -- ensconced in a house -- within a chaotic and pulsing city -- you might find enjoyment. I wish you all the best.
12th October 2011

Let me say that I am from Manila and love the Philippines, but I would have to completely agree with you on this one. Don\'t have more time to elaborate but a big part of the reason behind is this is corruption in the government, self-serving businesses and a very gullible, complacent citizenry. In any case, it is a shame and a pity because we are one of the most blessed by nature and in terms of people.
12th October 2011

The not-so-painful truth...
Hi, Sigh.... sad but true. But it\'s good that more and more foreigners are giving comments like these. Had it been a local that wrote this blog, it would probably have been ignored. Anyway, I do hope more of these kinds of blogs go viral as well. Your comments on Discovery Suites pretty much summarizes how the we lack the ability to capitalize and follow through on a good thing. Yeah, we can do a lot of good. But once that \"good thing\" is done, we\'ll just stop and brag and pretend it will last forever without proper maintenance and follow through. Cheers!
12th October 2011

Hi Sir, I am from the Philippines and while I am proud of being a Filipino, I do agree with some of your points. They may be harsh, but I guess we have to accept it if we are to rev up and rebuild the Philippines. Reality really bites. One point I would beg to disagree: Many \"smart\" Filipinos leave the country in search for greener pastures, but I hope you would also recognize \"smart\" Filipinos who choose to stay in the country and contribute to the betterment of the country, regardless of the ineffectiveness of the government. I will be sharing your blog entry as I think it is worth reading and pondering on. Thanks for your insightful post. And yes, traffic is really bad in Manila and I hate it as well (especially now that Christmas is near). Imagine us having to bear with it everyday! Grrrr :)
12th October 2011

Firstly, I would just like to say don\'t blame every single Filipino or majority of it. Some of them aren\'t provided with any education to know any better. Personally, I blame the braindrain. Or the intellectuals who have given up hope in trying to make this country any better. Left to the rich to further the gap with the poor, and the politicians who keep the poor as they are to stay in power. (The ignorant are easier to please) I don\'t expect you to sympathize. I myself am quite shocked that we have billionaires in this country. While the expected cost of everyday living in this country is half a dollar. Second, I agree with the comment about the $119. Times have changed. One cannot expect much with that. Also, Ortigas is a busy place. You\'ll find a lot of the malls there and most of the offices in that tiny spot. You can actually call it a mall city. Four malls all together in one spot. Traffic never ends there as well because of the offices and malls, only in the wee hours of the morning where only the call centers are awake. I always try to avoid that place when I go home. If you want service, it\'s at someplace entirely. $210 per night at some of the 5 star hotels in Makati. Of course that place has your night district too (Which I find ridiculous, but oh well). And traffic at areas that have the malls and strips. Thirdly, I just feel awful for humanity with your post... Don\'t you? Who posts to write awful stuff about struggling people? It\'s like laughing at a hard working man, that built a not so good house for his wife and kids so that they can take shelter from the cold and some rain. Most of the people here are trying their best to get by, especially those who are aware of the status of this economy. People get killed in this country trying to make things right. Don\'t think of this country as numbers in terms economic development. Actually don\'t treat people in general, anywhere in the world, like numbers. That is unless of course, you expect them to treat you as such. I\'m a student, who has been to the developed countries as well such as Europe (from sponsorship and not from my own pocket). But has seen my fair share of other developing countries. Maybe Filipinos lack discipline, our a greater sense of love for this country. But we will get to it. We don\'t need people who stomp on our pride to make us feel any better. A lot might say that this isn\'t worth posting or commenting to. But my reckless youth wants to and I want to heed to it. P.S. And to the Filipino abroad who commented... Are you content in escaping this awful life in this country? Do you regret being a Filipino associated with such a corrupt country? Of poor and uneducated masses? Are you content?
12th October 2011

Brutally honest and direct to the point. That\'s how I would describe your blog. I am a Filipino and I have lived here all my life and I\'ve seen what you\'ve seen. I hate to admit it, but you have a point. I may not agree on every point (or rather I wouldn\'t want to readily admit to it), but you did present some very solid observations. Reading some of the comments, people have already pointed out most of the things I wanted to say. My opinion mirrors most of theirs, so there\'s really no point in reiterating them here. I just want to ask you this: \"If there is still one thing left that you like about Manila, what would it be and why?\" Please, humor me with your answer. Thank you.
12th October 2011

I am a guide of Intramuros. Supposedly my tours change the way people see Manila. Or at least that\'s what TIME Magazine says. Come for free as a guest to my tour. Hopefully, you\'ll get to see a bigger picture about Manila and the country as a whole and give the place a little more understanding. My email is celdrantours@hotmail.com. Hopefully, you shall accept this invitation/challenge. Unless of course, you\'ve already been on my tour and it didn\'t work.
12th October 2011

I want to thank you sir for having the courage to post this even with risks of being beaten around by other Filipinos... I am a true-blooded Filipino and yes, i agree with you 100% ... may this post reach our government\'s desk, and our people's minds.. and serve as an awakening... i myself am sick of Manila.. the traffic, pollution, and it\'s dirt- in every sense of the word... i am not much of a traveler like you but sincerely.. i know what a good place looks like and Manila.. somehow... isn\'t much of \'good\' ... Godbless you :)
12th October 2011

i agree
I share the same thoughts with you, Mr. Blogger. And I should say that the arrogance of those who still argue with you is immaterial. The point is, one person noticed these awful things about Manila and it is practically humiliating. You cannot forever be defensive about the history, greenbelt, Manila peninsula or what not, and just close your eyes about how much you got annoyed with the traffic last Friday, Monday or whatever day there is. Sorry, I am proud to be a Filipino, NOT because I live in the Philippines but because I open my eyes to these things and I do simple responsibilities to help the Philippines grow big.
12th October 2011

I think this is a constructive criticism. In some parts of the US, $119/night hotel can be something like a 3-4star hotel in Las Vegas (such as Harrahs, Imperial, Flamingo, SouthPointe etc) or a 4-5 star suites - maybe DS is just overpriced. Dont go there next time. I hope Manila gets better, I do agree on what you\'ve blogged. So for the people who have read this, treat it as a constructive criticism, the blogger had a good choice of words
12th October 2011

sad to say but everything you said is true. i\'m a Filipino and i love my country but everything seems to go down. people here doesn\'t care less to what is happening around them.
12th October 2011

I\'m a Pinoy and I couldn\'t agree more with what was said here. I like this country because of the idea of democracy and freedom. But the rest of it is infuriating. I have a love-hate relationship with my country and most people say I have become a stranger in my own land. Big freaking deal. This country is thriving in pity, bad politics, 3rd tier investments, paradox, modified selfishness and self-righteousness, idiocy, and poor pop culture that pornographs poverty. Pity. I live here. The exodus since god knows when are now totally understandable. Who would want to raise a good family in this democratic wasteland? I mean, sure, I still live here but not that I have hopes remaining for this godawful republic of dump. I guess I have been desensitized by all of this. I live in the Republic of Landfill. And I am a citizen who couldn\'t care anymore. Love your piece, sir. Cheerio!
12th October 2011

Disappointing indeed
I was born in Manila and have been living here my life, I also feel disappointed the moment i step on our airport coming back from a trip abroad.
12th October 2011

I totally agree! And guess what I\'m a Filipino. Everytime a foreign friend is coming in and wants to stay in Manila I don\'t recommend them to stay for long. I always recommend them to stay outside Manila, go outside and you\'ll see the real treasures of the Philippines. I think, yes, Manila is the biggest dump in Asia. On the hotel issue, majority of the hotels in Manila sucks in terms of service and as if the world owe them! I want to add more but I guess you\'ve said it already! LOL Also remember this.... Manila is not the Philippines. Congrats! And welcome to the jungle man!
12th October 2011

I agree - the truth does sometimes hurt
You are absolutely right sir. Before the Philippines (Manila) was far greater than the shambles that it is in today. Corruption of the Government and indifference from its citizens is to blame. It will take a lot of combined effort from the people and the politicians to resurrect our country. Brain drain is the term that you are looking for. Smart people leaving the country for greener pastures abroad. It\'s a shame, but it\'s not just brain drain that\'s the problem. We need change. That has to start from each and everyone of us.
12th October 2011

Look at you, you generalize our country. So i will too. Your country is under-going recession and seeing the news, its devastating but for us? We\'re laughing. you laugh at us, we laugh at you back. yes, its a chain cycle but hello? we\'re so used to being poor that we can get up back on track easily but you? you 1st world country sickos............. YOUR COUNTRY GETS FLOODED and you CRY FOR HELP like its the end of the world for you?
12th October 2011

I am proud to be a Filipino but it disappoints me to see other countries in Asia climbs two steps higher while my country is being stepped upon while trying to take a step and come tumbling down the stairs. I hate when the government is proud of buying a 2nd hand warship from the US whose size is like the yacht of Willie Revillame when compared to the warship bought by China from Russia. If they use that money to improve the schools from the province, then I can give them a clap for that. I hate some of my countrymen that complain and complain all day, about how corrupt the government is, how they were not being served well but they can\'t even see how uncivilized they were, spitting, peeing, throwing garbage, crossing on prohibited highways and streets, and many more. Please! Please! Please! Change those first and that will be a huge contribution in starting to improve our country.
12th October 2011

hi! actually i am a Filipino and i have lived in manila my whole life and you are right. the traffic is really bad and some of the hotels don\'t seem to live up to other\'s expectations anymore. it\'s hard to give a well written opinion since most Filipinos never seem to take criticism very well. I think rather than telling you off, we as Filipinos, especially those in the government should do something about it. Fix the mess created. Create ways to solve the traffic problems, find ways on how to lower poverty, create jobs.. In fairness to the new government, our Pres. is trying his best to fix our economy in the short span of time he has in office. No problem this big can be fixed overnight but it should be a continuing process. We have to learn from our mistakes and do something about it. :)
12th October 2011

If this article has gone viral, I\'m sure local media will take notice. I just hope they feature this article in the evening news instead of some petty crime or highway accident.
12th October 2011

Manila is a stink hole....I totally agree with your blog. People, Manila is just one place...... We have seven thousand islands more......
12th October 2011

Poor Filipinos are deprived of education. That\'s the main reason why growth is still far seen in the Philippines. The rich gets richer. The poor gets poorer. All we need is a bright and good leader with a mighty steel hand. But how can we have one? When during elections, these monsters (effing rich politicians, including effing actors and actresses who have lost their shine decided to be politicians), seek for the poor and uneducated people (which comprises almost 70% of the population) for their votes. What would these people know? Many Filipinos doesn\'t have enough discipline, that\'s another reason. The Philippines has one of the nicest laws, but none of it is implemented.
12th October 2011

spot on
thank you for your feedback.. as someone born and bred right in the middle of metro manila\'s top city, my knee-jerk thought process was very defensive.. like WTF is this geezer talking about? i honestly was about to rebut your article.. but it dawned on me that my view of my home city has been quite sheltered.. being driven around numbs the traffic experience; flying in and out via the newer naia terminals got me to forget that there still exists that other one; and having been blessed to be born into the intelligentsia meant, more often than not, access to nicer places, better people and generally a higher quality experience.. and it took me just a second of pause to realize, you\'ve actually hit the nail right on the head.. my own personal and business travels may have opened my mind and given me a reality check but of course it\'s the sheltered view that i use to compare with the other cities and cultures.. not only do we (at least my friends and I) sneer at the lack of english but we often find our peers elsewhere to be lacking in IQ, EQ, and talent.. but there is a huge gap between us and like 90% of our countrymen.. what made us decide to come back and re-establish our home here are family, friends, and cheap but good help.. these and other intangibles got us to tolerate and gloss over all the things you have mentioned in your rant.. you got it spot on.. our economy and i daresay our culture are indeed extractive and exploitative.. i can offer you an explanation.. it\'s not an excuse, but it\'s the reason why our situation is like this.. just do a brief history check and you will see that it is actually your kind, all the way to your ancestors, who have severely, but hopefully not irreversibly, damaged our economy, our mentality, and our culture -- almost half a MILLENNIUM of extraction and exploitation.. and from whom else would our first intelligentsia learn? the evil half of our intelligentsia continue to propagate this while the good half are either too distracted or sadly have become indifferent.. imagine a child beaten, raped, debased, exploited, abused since birth -- chances are that kid will really be fucked up as an adult.. the western world has done exactly that.. the silver lining is, there are kids who transcend their upbringing.. and that is my hope.. let me emphasize that this is not an excuse.. you don\'t owe it to us as you are an alien to our race, but what i\'ve offered is a window to understand why things are the way they are.. it\'s time for the good guys of our country to really wake the fcuk up.. and thus, again, i thank you for your feedback.. when the truth hurts, it should jolt the rest of us to our senses.. and hopefully transcend..
12th October 2011

Thank you and I admire you for being honest. BUT I WANT ALL THE FILIPINOS READING THIS BLOG TO KNOW THAT... Imagine if this blog were written by a True Filipino? Well I\'m pretty sure there wouldn\'t be any rants or hates here to comment. You know why? Because it belongs to us and its our own people. Masyado tayong balat sibuyas(english for \'Extremely Sensitive\') most especially if someone who is NOT Filipino criticize us from our own mistakes. Well I\'m a Filipino and been living here all of my life... and we don\'t even have the same humor as other countries. We all know this is a fact, and the only way to face this is to change it ourselves. When will Filipinos learn how accept criticism without reacting violently? Let\'s ask ourselves before any rants, please..... Its embarrassing, and awfully disappointing.
12th October 2011

Eligibility to run for any public post should also be upgraded. To become a president, at least 40 years old and above; a registered voter, single or married; able to read and write; male or female a Filipino citizen by birth; and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding election. Come on! that\'s just not what we needed.
12th October 2011

Salamat
Your comments are welcome by Filipinos who love our country. One of my pet peeves is hearing people calling my beloved Philippines 3rd world...I keep on saying that it is a title given by biased, un informed, egotistic and self centered western culture based mindset. I don\'t know what makes a country a 3rd world or 1st world for that matter... is it just the economic status or can there be more to that? Sad to say, what we have in Manila clearly shows that we are accepting the fact that we are a 3rd world nation... (hate to admit it, and I hate it more when I hear it from our elected officials) We as a nation lack the respect for our own nation. I was riding the bus last night and the driver was caught by the MMDA for picking up passengers at the wrong place.. he was arguing that others were doing it and he was doing it out of \"service\" if we as a people have more respect with our laws and our culture we can be have a cleaner environment... Something that will showcase what the TRUE Filipino is (we are world class just to mediocre enough to show it). Our FAITH should show that as well. Sad to say church \"leaders\" are missing the point also. Talk about giving love a bad name right. NOw, I don\'t mean to blame everybody.. the problem with Manila is caused by Filipinos and should be fixed by Filipinos. Our government can not do it alone (or will they ever do it is another question, I think they are to busy running after the previous regime) and your point of view being a tourist that we are trying to invite and visit is important. Our main airport is in disarray (the airport in Sri Lanka is much better.. toilets are working) and for this I say thank you. You will probably read many other comments going against your blog... pardon them. I\'m not trying to be a foreign-pleaser but let me just reiterate Filipinos, we have our work cut out for us... No one can love the Filipino and the Philippines more than us. We are a blessed country, God made the Philippines and Filipinos unique and world class...let us showcase that... enough with false religion and finger pointing... let us work together to make our nation great once more and make our future generations proudly say PINOY AKO! God bless the Philippines! Mabuhay ang bansang Pilipinas
12th October 2011

Hey sir, I appreciate your frank and honest opinion about Manila. I am from here but I agree with what you say 110%! I travelled a lot to other places and has seen lots of comparisons to the city. I do hope Manila rises from its stinky reputation now. I do hope it does so sooner rather than later. Well good luck to you sir! Keep on blogging about Manila. Don\'t mind the myopic people who bash you.
12th October 2011

I do agree with you... I am a filipino and I have been there to the place you have been talking about... Yes sadly Manila is not a good place, I hate the traffic , in the night more scavengers sleeping in the side of the road... Children are begging for food.... Manila is not a safe place so sad to write this but it is true... I don\'t want to stay in Manila... But you see, some of the place are not the same as Manila... Some places like Davao, Leyte were in it is simple but you will really enjoy the place.... Lets not see it as a whole Philippines, some of the parts of the country is not that bad... And yes, Philippines is behind in terms of technology, living here now at abroad and seeing things here is a bit difference... In terms of sanitation, government, prioritization in children, elderlies, people with disability...I just wonder why did you stay at Manila? You should search what kind of place Manila is, if you want to enjoy your travel at the Philippines you should have gone to Elnido Palawan, Bohol, more on the country side. Since you said you\'ve meet NPAs so I bet your not scared of them... Well, for my fellow Filipino who\'s been reading this blog... Being insulted is a choice, insulted because it\'s the truth or insulted because we can\'t do good about it... It just a state of mind... ;)
12th October 2011

It is just a blog... I am sure you have nothing much to do but stir up the haters .... hahahaha but the intellectual ones will read and might be doing something about it, but i am not one of them, I guess i am one of the smarmy one.
12th October 2011

yep, you're damn right
i may be a Filipino, but my country sucks as i see it now, that\'s why i\'m just pushing my self to get a Diploma then get out of this country, rates here are sure over price even for us living in here. i love my country, but the way the leader leads it, the way \"other\" Filipino\'s living with a dead brain, their\'s no doubt i hating it
12th October 2011

So true
I am a Filipino born and bred and I hate manila. The only area worth living in is The Fort. The others you can nuke with a vengeance so that we can rebuild. Seriously, urban decay is really, really bad. Fuck that city. There\'s nowhere to go and you\'re correct nothing to photograph. I went to Ongpin a couple of months ago after not being there for years - it has gone to the dumps. I don\'t want to go there again. Now, the question is, what do we Pinoys do about it?
12th October 2011

LOLing at the Sampaguita Lounge comment LOL. I\'m a Filipino and I love Manila... it\'s got that distinct Asian-Latino ghetto feel. But can\'t keep on loving that always. Things do need to change and well, as much as we have the hands and will to do it if it\'s not the \"priority\" it\'s really not gonna be paid attention to :)
12th October 2011

I totally agree.....the problem is the country\'s local govt. all over the country is useless....just positions to get prestige and source of wealth from.....those in position does not even look around his jurisdiction to look for opportunities for improvement....there is no scientific approach to dealing with problems...i think they don\'t even look and prioritize problems to solve...they just sit in position....and the National Govt. is just as useless....they don\'t oversee that the tax money Filipinos are paying are being used to the advantage of people. The National Govt should set up goals for the country\'s progress but it is the local govt. that will make it happen...the problem is....they are just sitting on their throne feeling good. The Phil. govt thinks those Filipinos that work abroad are heroes.,...that\'s true considering the hardship each family has to go through brought about by the separation....but this should not last forever... no elected govt. official ever had a goal to stop Filipinos from having the need to go abroad to earn money for the family....that\'s sick....the govt\'s goal should be to someday \"no Filipino needs to leave his country and family just to have food in their table\".........sad to say WHY SHOULD THE PHIL. GOVT. GLORIFY FILIPINO SLAVERY ABROAD.......sorry for the term SLAVERY but you see we are working abroad for other people (nationality), use our learnt skill from Phil. school to improve their country, we pay Taxes to those countries and again send money back home (that\'s a lot of sacrifice). The Govt should HONOR the sacrifices of the Filipinos working abroad but they should have a goal to put an end to this. I am a well traveled Filipino ASIA and America, I\'ve seen the Phil has been gifted with vast and wonderful natural resources..in all provinces...if only thyis local govts knows how to enhance them, maintain their beauty, ensure peace in their jurisdiction and encourage tourism.....we don\'t need to rely on foreigners in terms of tourism...rather how many Filipinos travel around or tour around the Phil....if the Filipinos are afraid to travel around the Phil how much more are the foreigners....so for the Govt this should be top priority....PEACE and Order....then improve Transportation.....around the country...if tourism will improve....businesses will flourish wherever there are tourist but them evrything strats with PEACE and Order... local govt. plays a vital role on this.
12th October 2011

ASIA is not Philippines but thank you for giving importance to our country....
You talk of Philippines as if it is the only filthy place you been in Asia, you have been to India? lets not even go there.... your country of origin which is Great Britain, that is, correct me if i\'m wrong? occupied India for more than 90 years, tell me what happened? did you guys even thought them hygiene or even cleanliness or maybe you guys did... did they learn anything? what a great teacher and example you guys are.... none the less, i have seen your kind here in the Philippines, most of you just come here for one reason, the women are cheap and easily manipulated by whites.... but those are just a few negative pointer\'s i would say for now.... but one thing is for sure, you are somehow correct about other things... us being left behind and the smart one\'s leave and we are little by little disappearing....
12th October 2011

Each 2 his own, of course. Manila taught me a lot about patience. I love Bangkok too, though its traffic is just as bad and Pnom Penh is just as seedy but I won\'t hesitate to go back there anytime. I\'ve been in 52 countries in 5 continents but I\'ll still not give up Manila as my home. Nowhere else can I live well for USD$1-2 per day. Sure, crime rate\'s high in Manila - just like London, NYC, Paris, Tokyo and other megacities I\'ve visited. And in my 30 years in Manila, I\'ve never been robbed or victimized anyway. To me Manila is still the best place for shopping, after I\'ve seen HK, Milan, etc. In Manila, I can write well and paint well, just as I would in Paris and NYC - for a thousand times less the cost of living! :)
12th October 2011

Manila - Awfully Disappointing...this blogger too!
It's a pity that you are into development work and all you get to say is the service level of the one hotel you've been to and compare how coffee taste like in a third world country who happens to be host to a multilateral development bank. There is such a thing as honesty, frankness and on the other side, civility and truth. What you expressed here is all honesty because it all came from your experience...but not necessarily the truth. It can be factual because you know the statistics, but insulting. The problem with your logic is you sprinkle your narrative experience with facts about investments, public or private sector development issue. And no, you are not sorry about what you’ve written. You actually used your experience as the reason to segue the real issues which are more personal. In all those bad experiences of yours, how did you deal with it? Have you politely asked the concierge if anything can be done right according to your taste? Haven’t you noticed that your job requires you to be in Manila and not to get through it as quickly as you can? If you have anything to improve or say about Manila, which you need to go to because of your work, why not include that in your consultant’s report? And for Pete’s sake, don’t even dare mention George Clooney’s name as if you two were buddies! Mr Clooney has one of the most charitable hearts in Hollywood, and even goes on mission to the Darfur region of Sudan to stop human rights atrocities. I can only surmise that Manila can be a good place compared to Darfur, but Mr Clooney never did berate or opined about how the water in the region kills people or he experienced taking a shower with cold water. If Manila is in shambles, your personality is in shame. With you being a managing director for FoodWorks Company Limited with an Oxford education at that, everybody can see how elitist you are considering your expertise is about ‘services’ to rural development like agriculture, fisheries, and food industries in Asia. You even boast about having expert level on coaching and mentoring just because you held senior management position and handled projects worth millions of dollars. I wonder how your coachees and mentees will turn out if they will be listening to this piece of crap. Dominus Illuminatio Mea (The Lord is my Light), as Oxford graduates tend to believe. But with you, your light on the stage is much more important than doing ‘real development work’. Don’t try to be cute by blogging about forlorn places you’ve been, because you are not —we’ve seen your picture and you are not good looking. And this is me being civil and telling you the truth.
12th October 2011

You reap what you sow. You put out a dismissive, hurtful commentary based on limited experience and a limited context, don\'t complain if they lash out at you. Filipinos have done nothing to hurt anyone. They have not colonized anyone, they work to serve and help others in other countries taking care of their sick, their elderly, and their children. Their history has been difficult (Not because of circumstances entirely of their doing - you can thank the good people of Spain, the Catholic Church, the US, and hey - even the WB and ADB in cooperating for their shortcomings and to the \"ugliness\" of the city. (Please research the damage done by the US to Manila in WW2 and policies imposed on them during the times of Marcos and Aquino). So when you whine about coffee and make mention of \"smarminess\" and illiteracy and their \"disappearing\" nation, (Nothing in Manila is worth photographing??? - what a bitter stupid thing to say). Don\'t blame them for asking you to fuck yourself. Which I really think you should do. You fancy yourself an \"intellectual\"? Bullshit. You really should have known better and thought deeper before opening your mouth about a peaceful people who really are trying thier best on a daily basis in dealing with a system completely inappropriate to their historical circumstance. (Democracy & capitalism doesn\'t seem to work for the US, what makes one think it would work for a developing nation like the Philippines). Hmm. Let\'s see if you\'ll print this. You only seem to print the opinions of your \"smarter\" Filipino Uncle Toms who agree with your limited and overprivileged point of view. Seriously, you and your grammar make me ashamed of being British.
12th October 2011

the truth hurts
I agree wholly your view on the state of Manila. There are very few words that can describe Manila in a positive note.
12th October 2011

I understand what you\'re trying to say. Its just that Filipinos are very proud of their country they don\'t see all those nasty things you\'ve just said. I am a Filipino and I am really proud to be one but in a realistic manner. I admire you saying these things and I think you should address this to our government, they\'re all pussies by the way. If ever you come here again I really suggest you visit other places than manila because, and I agree with you, Manila doesn\'t look like it was when Marcos is our president.
12th October 2011

this really caught my attention, but i will make this short. do not waste your time writing articles like this.. it is true that the smart and talented people left this place and more are still waiting for the opportunity to leave this place.. i guess you have not fully explored the philippines..manila is just .01% of shame you have seen here in the philippines.. it would take me forever to write an article and also im lazy and i know that it wont change a thing..
12th October 2011

Manila won't stay this way forever
Thank you for the article. I agree in almost everything you said - because it's just a part of Manila I really hope you'll give us a chance and get to see some of the really nice places. You might also want to join the tour of Manila which Carlos Cedran, a premier guide, does from time to time. You'll get to see Manila at a different point of view despite of the same scenery (if there is) you've seen. Thanks for highlighting Baguio. I love the place. But there are also a lot of room for improvement in that beautiful city.
12th October 2011

..come to CEBU instead! :)
12th October 2011

To Bob James
Pre, you've been all over the place and yet you're still oblivious to all the problems in Manila. Nagyabang ka pa, para sa isang taong nakaikot na kamo ng mundo, ignorante ka pa rin. First time ko noon makalabas ng bansa, malinaw kong naikumpara ang bansa natin sa iba. Siguro isang James Mariano ka rin, bulag sa totoong pilipinas. Ano kamo? di mo nagustuhan ang honest observation ng isang foreigner? well suck it! proud ako sa pinas at badtrip din ako sa kalagayan ng Manila pero matuto tyo tumanggap ng criticism. pano tyo magbabago kung di natin makita or matanggap na merong problema?
12th October 2011

manila is NOT the philippines
first, i agree with everything you said about manila. there's nothing good there. every corrupt official is there that's why the decay starts there and spreads throughout the whole nation. second, stop interchanging manila with philippines in your post. manila is NOT philippines. there are a lot of places in the philippines that are a whole lot better than manila in every way. please refer to manila as manila ONLY. we, non-manila residents/people, have had enough of their oppressive nature. their language, culture, stupidities forced on everyone in the country which is quite evident in education, media, entertainment, etc. it's unfair for us (the better part of the country) to suffer the negativity your blog entry just because you got burned in manila. it's just like including you in generalizing about old, white men who come to the country as pedophiles who aren't even acquainted with the verb phrase "to bathe" that when you enter an establishment people cover their noses with hankies or bare hands.
12th October 2011

FF
Follow up comment.. Told you my prideful Filipinos will call you "racist". We never learn, don't we? Well, I pray that you will still be able to find a good light in Manila - I myself is trying. If I have extra time - which is not a lot - I try to visit parks within the metro. Not comparable to countryside i came from, but it's like being on the lesser evil of the city. Again, kudos for this blog. (No need to post this on the comments below.)
12th October 2011

what you wrote about your awful experiences in our country, the Philippines, Manila in particular, some are true and some are not. i will not apologize for your bad experiences because i myself have my own rants with the \"awfulness\" i see around. I\'m not an \"intellectual\" traveler, but like you, i would want value for my money wherever i go but not expecting i would have the same comfort i get from where i live. But having written all your unpleasant experiences in our country, HOW CAN YOU HELP, as an honest-to-goodness blogger, probably a travel blogger of some sort, or as an intellectual traveler, businessman, tourist and...whatever...? CAN YOU HELP? because I am impressed with your candidness and yes, I agree with some of what you have written. There has got to be some things needed to be done to correct a problem. But as a frequent visitor in our country, much have been said and much was true & much of this truth hurts but is there a way for a foreigner (/s) to help in some ways ASIDE from WRITING AWFUL THINGS...No, I\'m not in any way asking for monetary alms (no thanks) but there is a saying if there is an obvious problem, instead of complaining, why not be pro-active...as in do something better? I know visitors in our country fall in love more with the \"other better places\" here in the Philippines and a lot have been willing to help in some ways. So Sir Geoffrey James Bastin, it\'s your turn now to be positively creative and helpful. i also learned from old folks that the person who complains more is usually the one who does nothing...I am not in any way mad at you, but i just want to know if there is anything good...at all ...that you can do. Well, I know it is our problem since THIS IS OUR COUNTRY, and it should be our government\'s duty to make improvements but you yourself have been a witness to a \"dead city-like-manila\". Truthfully, there is much corruption here than what your eyes have seen. I am just wondering how can every person-- Filipinos or foreigners--can make a difference. I am just so eager and curious to know. The key probably would be your pen & a page--or since we are high-tech today, your computer. I am not expecting you to change the world, much less the entire Philippines but i just wonder how...because i would very much love to see our country blooming, prospering, successful, becoming more beautiful and become that \"destination place\" for tourists and even locals. I would love very much to have you come back again & again to the Philippines. I just hope...thank you :-)
12th October 2011

Wake Up Philippines
Hi! You are absolutely right. Our country needs a wake up call just like this. I have a question... Since you've been all over the place, how do the other nations do it? I would like to see this country change from its awfull situation. How can we move on when our Government is just crap. Honestly, CRAP. Should we start with the Government? THis country FEARS CHANGE.
12th October 2011

You're totally right!
i am a Filipino and i agree with your opinion. i am currently residing here in Singapore and I am really in awe for its cleanliness, orderliness and people here were all disciplined and because of that I dont want to go back to MANILA. I dont want to experience again the hour-long traffic, the pollution (people can smoke everywhere and there are a lots of smoke-belching vehicles, just breathing the air will make your lungs and head hurt), the flood (every time it rains), the dirt and especially those bad people (pick-pockets, holdappers, snatchers, kidnappers, etc) which you will encounter in MANILA. Here in Singapore you can bring and use your gadgets (and i mean any hi-tech and expensive phones and gadgets you have like iPhone 4, iPad ,etc) everywhere you go without worrying that someone might snatch your phone or mug you unlike in the Philippines whatever phone you have (older phone models) expect it to be snatch while you use it inside the jeepney/bus or just walking in the streets of Manila. So be careful with your things while you are in Manila. and here in Singapore the processes here are fast (getting a new phone plan for iPhones, new cable tv plans, internet plans, etc). you can get your new iPhone4 in minutes (approx 30 mins) unlike in the Philippines, it would be days or worse, in weeks! and even the government processes here are fast and there\'s no need to BRIBE the person in the counter to rush your application! in the PHILIPPINES the government SUCKS! and most of the people who work in the government are CORRUPT (even the POLICE)! and i blame them if the Philippines is a \"disappearing\" and disappointing country! we pay high taxes but where does it go?? in the pockets of those assholes politicians?? to fund for their mansions and cars?? i hate to think that my favorite places in the Philippines, the beautifully beaches (and there are a lot! esp. Boracay) and the nice places would soon be gone because of negligence. WAKE UP PHILIPPINES!!! and change!
12th October 2011

Manila's not really a tourist destination. Discovery is a hotel and there are hotels with bad service all over the world. It\'s not Manila specific. There are many well kept hotels, even budget hotels like Holiday Inn. Traffic isn\'t always so bad, it\'s more of the jeepneys and public utility vehicles that make it bad but then it\'s also mostly during rush hour. The traffic in Jakarta is far worse. I suggest a trip to the museums, Intramuros, Binondo. Also visit the restaurants in Malate and Pasig. There are probably a lot of things you an still discover. We have good food here and lots of recreational activities.
12th October 2011

Most haters who do not see anything wrong with the urban plight in Manila\'s probably don\'t travel as much or do travel but does not observe how others live. And we\'re not even talking about 1st world countries. And it is funny those that diss you says \"well, you haven\'t seen the swankier places like Greenbelt and Bonifacio\" or \"well, you\'re not staying at a 5 star hotel\".... like they think only the rich deserve a nice environment. And what\'s with being proud of this city\'s malls? If malls are the benchmark of one country\'s progress, then civilization is doomed indeed. Cheers, mate!
12th October 2011

a Reality which sucks but is indeed True
oh well,that was kinda too frank and as a filipino myself it does hurt my individuality...but, as hard as it is to swallow i have to say \"hey folks that posts says it all,its all true.\" How frustrating to see our country in such a Godforsaken state huh! And to my dear fellow filipinos we jump with sheer joy when we get praises from outsiders, shouldn\'t we also learn how to accept realities which is hammered down to us by such nice people. not to insult but just to state the facts. So instead of reacting in a negative way why not take it as a wake up call. I love my country but i just abhor my fellow countrymen who just dont give a shit bout making a difference which should start Now!?or should i say it should have started long ago haha..thanks for that by the way man......
12th October 2011

Metropolitan Manila
Not all of Metro Manila, if that\'s what you are referring to for \"Manila\", is dump. There is Makati. Have you been to Makati, specially in Greenbelt area? Makati is not dump. In Manila City itself, have you been to Luneta Park? The park is not dump. Manila Hotel is not dump. University of Sto. Tomas area is not dump. It seems that what you see is not Manila but Payatas.
12th October 2011

I agree
I guess most of the Filipinos who have read this agreed with you, and I\'m with them, well, cause I\'m a Filipino and I also feel what they feel, as what is written in your blog.. I won\'t make this long like everyone else. I agree with you, ESPECIALLY ON THE TRAFFIC THING. I wish someone from the government would read this and do something about our country.
12th October 2011

Sorry..
I\'m a Filipino, and I\'m sorry you had a disappointing stay here in our country...But please don\'t blame our people..You\'re people (Europeans and North Americans) have been sucking all the wealth in this world, they have deceived and are still deceiving our people, and raped and are still raping our resources..While you are whining about old carpets in your room, slow internet, limited hot water and bad traffic while sitting inside a car - that 90% of my people will probably never have the chance to ride much less own -, most of my people are starving, trying to think of a way to put food on their table...while our government can not do anything (and of course will not do anything cuz these people that run our government were put there by your people) to help these people because it is forced to pay debts, money borrowed from banks run by your people, using money that came from, well, deceiving our people and raping our resources.
12th October 2011

...
Though you\'re right on the dot with a lot of your points, I cant help but feel like there\'s an underlying bias here... To call someone\'s home \"a dump\" doesn\'t exactly scream intellectual or objective, rather it sounds snobbish. So don\'t be surprised if some people go up in arms over this. I do however respect the fact that you have been to the Philippines several times, which gives your writing a bit more credence. However I do expect more sensitivity from someone who claims to work for the ADB.
12th October 2011

Few points: 1.) Reality hurts <--- simple explanation why you keep on earning haters! haha. 2.) I lived in the Philippines since birth, and yes, Filipinos knows the problems, and we know where to start solving it... the government. If only the budgest was allocated properly, we might have \"sold\" our country in the different way. 3.) Based on my economic observation, in less than 5 years, Cambodia\'s economy will surpass the Philippines\' 4.) Lastly, Yes!, those who knows are leaving the country. :(
12th October 2011

Sad but true. Although I am still very optimistic about our future. No idea why, nor can I back it up. But it\'s primarily why I won\'t be leaving anytime soon. :)
12th October 2011

Your comments about Manila are mostly true. I might take flak from my countrymen for this -but as a disclaimer- I consider myself a Filipino not a Manilenyo. I suspect most of the hostile reactions you are getting are from Manilenyos. See, they are very proud of their metropolis and typically look down on every other Filipino that lives elsewhere. For the majority of them (and based on my interactions with their behavior) there are only two places in the country: Manila and others. For born and raised Manilenyos, to live somewhere else is simply unthinkable. To say that Asians are racist is somewhat true if I were to consider the lowly perception we are given simply because we come from the provinces and not from the dazzling Metropolis of Manila. To say you\'ve ruffled a few feathers is simply an understatement especially if you insult Manilenyos and their beloved \"Emerald City\". Personally, your blog doesn\'t speak bible truth and is not gonna influence Philippine tourism much like a US travel advisory can so i just can\'t find it in my heart to hate you. Those were your personal experiences on a personal blog site. Since you seem to be articulate enough about the innards of this country, i suggest you write about what you find best about the Philippines. I\'m assuming you have at least one or two.
12th October 2011

The comments have already been made, BASHING IN SOME OTHER BLOGS. I\'m also a filipino and the reason why I haven\'t LEFT is I WANNA HELP OUR BELOVED MOTHER LAND. (Can\'t blame the others for leaving) The national hero told us that the young ones are the future. It\'s a question that has been raised for quite sometime, but no concrete answers have been discussed. HOW CAN WE HELP OUT??? because, TALENT WISE??? (we have a lot of it, WE ARE ALL-OVER THE ARTS) some of it are in FOREIGN COUNTRIES (making their economies grow faster), but THANK YOU FOR THE ARTICLE. It\'s a big eye-opener for the rest of us who still stay because they want to help out. YES IT IS TRUE, that some of us do find hard to accept the reality. FOR THE PINOYS ABROAD: The reason why you are there, is for EVERYONE ELSE to STAND IN AWE OF THE TRUE FILIPINO. Foreigners love Filipinos, they just don\'t like our country.
12th October 2011

Trash
It's hard to admit it but...... what the F?!? lets be honest.... It\'s F\'ing easy to admit that Manila is crap! How the country is run is horrible. The Government is the sole to blame, the 2nd is the people for voting the same sh!tty politicians over and over again even though nothing good comes from them. Damn, I\'m Filipino and it\'s hard for me to take in what others negatively say about my country, but man, it\'s the truth. What hurts is one person isnt really enough to change the crap Philippines is drowning in.
12th October 2011

I myself would really be disappointed with the Philippines if you only talk about Manila. We call Manila as NCR - National CR (as in the private room the hypocrite whites introduced to us browns) - ...But you said it, you don\' describe the whole country spread over 7000 islands with just one major city. For the Filipinos who left and kept on criticizing the country, look what have you done, you left because you can never be a part of the solution - you see the problem but you don\'t have any to contribute to make it done. If you come here, you insist you have money so you think you can buy everything, but not the FILIPINO hospitality that is real - the one which requires no compensation.
12th October 2011

rating
Well said/ written. I\'ve seen it and lived it for almost a decade. The question now is: \"What are you going to do about it?\" This a applies to you dear writer, and anyone who reads this article.
12th October 2011

Thanks but no thanks!
We have our own opinions but you can deliver it in a proper way and not with insulting side comments. We ourselves respect our country so what right does you have insulting us. Your basis of judging were NAIA and Discovery Suites and calls MANILA \"FILTHY\", hello!!! At least I know that I\'ve done my small share of making a difference for my country so I believe it gives me the license to comment. If you have constructive criticisms you should be credible and have your reco\'s on how to improve the situation, if not its best that you just keep quiet because it just makes you a pessimist. Why not blog about your country and its disappointments then you can comment. I\'m sure UK is not all that.
12th October 2011

you poor,poor guy!
did you say you keep coming back to the Philippines and get awf\'lly disappointed each time? you poor guy! you should stop coming! because you don\'t know how you will get out the next time..
12th October 2011

Appreciate your candid review on Manila. It's nothing but the truth. As they say, the truth always hurts. The awful situation, the dirt, the depression and decrepit Manila is just that - downright awful truth, that must be REMEDIED! And as for over-rated hotels. Ditto. Go to Bangkok or Bali instead, you get better value. Thank goodness for blog post such as yours, you just beat me to writing something similar. Hope ALL CONCERNED have woken up, smelled the squatters and garbage, do something to CLEAN MANILA UP and make those hotels more attractive and competitive with their prices. Pronto.
12th October 2011

what you have said are true and i admire you for it... i myself is a Filipino but already left the country..People like you should be commended i think for pointing out various observations which are mostly ghastly and very unpleasant scenes in Manila.. i just hope that what you have said would be read by the rightful authorities and should do something about it to improve the situation..And for the residents of Manila, maybe it is time for think about the things that were said about Manila..Instead of bickering because of bad observations, take it as a challenge.. begin with yourself first particularly dicipline and the rest will follow...
12th October 2011

The Truth Hurts
I guess you\'re not surprised that so many Filipinos actually do agree with your opinions. I, for one, do agree for the most part. I am sad to see my country (I\'m Filipino) crumbling to the ground, and really wish there was something being done about it. The thing is, a lot of Pinoys have a lack of personal responsibility thinking \"I\'m sure this is someone\'s responsibility and this person should take care of it\". I think this is what causes this inability to prosper like other neighboring countries. Until we as a people learn to own our problems and acknowledge the fact that we are going down (a lot of Filipinos are still in denial), we are never going up. We need more articles like this, that would serve not to degrade the Philippines, but to produce a healthy nudge, if not a shake to awaken the government and the citizens from their lazy snooze under the mango tree. Hopefully, in the process, we can learn to acknowledge our problems and begin to act upon them.
12th October 2011

Manila = 20 million people living in slums. Sad but true. Take a look at Manila slum life featured in BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/06/world_manila_slum_life/html/1.stm
12th October 2011

Now that you have mentioned it sir, I am now missing my 90\'s days...... I can relate to what you have said about 15+ years ago..everything was indeed convenient and proper. But not anymore
12th October 2011

another chance, perhaps? :D
Thanks for your blog Sir. This is one brutally honest blog, first thing I have ever read today. Haha, and it\\\'s quite good, really. We Filipinos acknowledge those issues you\\\'ve said, we all know that. Those are all true. Sad thing is, we\\\'ve lost our hope. Most of us thinks there\\\'s no future in improving the quality of life here. Everybody has a say on everything. That\\\'s only one of the problem. About Manila, we\\\'re so sorry if you\\\'re very very disappointed. Life\\\'s like that here, with all the bad government and dirty politics and alarming poverty and all the negative stuff. We as a commoner, we deal with it everyday, just imagine the quality of life we have. Our country\\\'s problem is not an easy one to solve, I believe if there is one, it would take years. Reshaping each and everyone\\\'s mind on envisioning the same goal for the country is a hard task to do. With all these negativity, we are so used to it and yes, we still find things we can be happy about. That\\\'s maybe the reason why we Filipinos are generally nice and hospitable, to compensate for the situation. Life\\\'s hard as it is, so we have perfected the system of lightening up our burdens... smile, crack a joke, laugh! :) But yes, there\\\'s a lot of places outside Manila you can really visit and enjoy. It\\\'s a tropical country with thousands of islands, sure you\\\'ll find a couple of places you\\\'ll love. About that negativity, look at it at a different perspective. You\\\'re dealing with something you\\\'re not used to. It\\\'s bad, annoying, it\\\'s new, and it\\\'s testing you... it can even give you a lot of things to ponder, realize, and appreciate for yourself and your country. You\\\'re lucky you don\\\'t actually live here, haha. Survival is more exciting and challenging here esp. in the city, and we are lucky because we\\\'ve dealt with the hardest things in life, and we come out as stronger people than others. That\\\'s a good thing. :) I still strongly believe, it\\\'s not that bad. Well, give our country a chance. Welcome to the third-world country experience, Sir!
12th October 2011

I\'m a filipino and totally agree with your comments. I live overseas now and somehow feel sorry for my country. But if there is someone to blame for the country\'s dismeanour it would be the rotten government who has done nothing but corrupt the country. Somehow I feel, that it would just get worse unless the government pulls their head in.
12th October 2011

right on! from a local traveler\'s point of view, everything you have written was right. I have no experience traveling abroad yet, but I had been traveling to different parts of the Philippines. and yeah, other provinces are much, much better than Manila (I myself was born and raised in a city in Mindanao and is now based in Manila). I pity my country, but that does not mean I have to leave. As much as I want to change my country for the better, there\'s still limit to what a young professional can do, and I am just 23 years old. I think these kinds of posts must be read by the president. They have to open their eyes damn it! Just as what you have observed, the government and its people neglect the terms MAINTENANCE, and SUSTAINABILITY. As you can see, by our messed up air port. Other infrastructures are like that. Build it, and operate til fucked up. No funds/initiatives to maintain it. We, as a people, are fucked up. We lost our respect for development. We only think of ourselves. What we need is the rehabilitation of our collective love for our country, \'esprit de corps\'. I know you already gave up on our country. But, REMEMBER THIS, WE WILL RISE UP FROM THIS SHIT HOLE. I will see, in this lifetime, a country that will earn her place as a pearl of the orient once again. I will try, and I will die trying. I hope, when that time comes, you can see it also.
12th October 2011

Okay, you finally realized that this post had gone viral. And you claim to enjoy the \"defamatory and gratuitously insulting\" comments. Lol. But I don\'t believe you, sir. It is never fun to be inundated with negativity. But I think you brought it upon yourself. Next time, maybe you should try striking a balance. I still think your review is a bit extreme. For instance, to say that nothing is worth photographing in Manila because it is drab and dirty through and through is a bit of an exaggeration. You need only look at the panoply of beautiful photographs of Manila posted on the Internet ;) Hope you can visit again and find something you\'ll enjoy.
12th October 2011

Good points
It is true that most of the smart people have left this dirty god-forsaken country for greener pastures. I was born and raised in Manila by a cebuana mother and have since lived there for 23 years. After that I was able to live in Mindanao (mainly cdo and dvo) for a job that required a lot of travelling. There are a lot of a factors to be considered with your opinion, which is mainly how the Philippines-as far as manila is concerned, has yet to find its full potential, or has absolutely lost it. It is of course half our fault and half influenced by Western colonialism. Filipinos in general are brave people and a proud race, but more often times too shallow, mainly because of how everything from the gov\'t down to media down to the usual working class is heavily influenced by corruption. If a few of the smart people left here would be instruments of a change in the system then maybe there is hope. As for your next visit here, go straight to Boracay man. Found a new base here in Western Visayas, and Discovery Shores this side of the archipelago may astound you once again. Cheers mate!
12th October 2011

In some aspects of this Blog post I would agree with the Author. I am a Filipino worked abroad specifically Maldives for some years traveled around Asia Thailand, Malaysia, Bali etc. It is a shame to admit but yes Manila is being left behind by other Asian Countries, we have all suffered from Economic crisis but i really believe that it\'s the culture that keeps us from moving forward. I\'ve been here in Philippines for a year now and God knows I want to go out again. The airport is really a shame I\'ve seen better airports LOLs The one in Bangladesh looks better that NAIA. Emphasis on \"the smart ones wants to leave the country\" (I feel bad that I am here) and \"the sneer at their asian brothers fr their lack of english. LOLs it\'s so true. There are a lot of other people who cannot speak good english in this country, and it is even deteriorating every freakin day. why work in a minimum wage as a waiter here when you can earn more than that abroad?. The worst thing is the people is in denial.. ofcourse a lot of them will deny all this and some of them are simply Frogs inside the coconut they when they get criticized they revolt.. why cant we all accept reality and start working on improving it \"Cambodia which was torn apart by civil war up until 1997 has a first-class airport (fresh ham and cheese sandwiches on foccacia, freshly brewed cappuccino , clean lounges) and some great restaurant food and hotels (see my next post). But the Manila, where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region. \" Really? OMG to think that they\'ve just opened their first Cinema last month in PP, I am visiting PP hopefully at the end of this month will def blog about the airport in there. Please keep on posting and help educate and show Filipinos the reality!
12th October 2011

i live in the Philippines, particularly in Manila. Sad to say, but you are right about Manila. when i get visitors from other countries, i myself don\'t tour them in manila that much. i\'d rather bring them to tagaytay, batangas or subic. and yes, it is very disheartening to see neighboring countries develop impressively while Manila gets left behind.
12th October 2011

In some aspects of this Blog post I would agree with the Author. I am a Filipino worked abroad specifically Maldives for some years traveled around Asia Thailand, Malaysia, Bali etc. It is a shame to admit but yes Manila is being left behind by other Asian Countries, we have all suffered from Economic crisis but i really believe that it\'s the culture that keeps us from moving forward. I\'ve been here in Philippines for a year now and God knows I want to go out again. The airport is really a shame I\'ve seen better airports LOLs The one in Bangladesh looks better that NAIA. Emphasis on \"the smart ones wants to leave the country\" (I feel bad that I am here) and \"the sneer at their asian brothers fr their lack of english. LOLs it\'s so true. There are a lot of other people who cannot speak good english in this country, and it is even deteriorating every freakin day. why work in a minimum wage as a waiter here when you can earn more than that abroad?. The worst thing is the people is in denial.. ofcourse a lot of them will deny all this and some of them are simply Frogs inside the coconut they when they get criticized they revolt.. why cant we all accept reality and start working on improving it \"Cambodia which was torn apart by civil war up until 1997 has a first-class airport (fresh ham and cheese sandwiches on foccacia, freshly brewed cappuccino , clean lounges) and some great restaurant food and hotels (see my next post). But the Manila, where the intelligentsia sneer at their Asian brothers and sisters for their lack of English, is beaten hands down even by little Phnom Penh and left standing by every other mega-city in the region. \" Really? OMG to think that they\'ve just opened their first Cinema last month in PP, I am visiting PP hopefully at the end of this month will def blog about the airport in there. Please keep on posting and help educate and show Filipinos the reality!
12th October 2011

The things you\'ve pointed out are facts about the Philippines that are hard to accept but nonetheless true. I am a Filipino but I hate how the people who govern the Philippines are doing nothing to make this country better, all they do is make themselves rich.
12th October 2011

Ouch!
You sure will stir some anger 'cause the truth hurts.
12th October 2011

Honestly, I don\'t think you have to apologize. As someone who has a blog, I understand that this is just your opinion and you are entitled to what you think. It\'s your experience. It\'s not like you did this out of spite. What would you get out of it? As someone who is Filipino, I\'m afraid you only speak the truth. Sadly, those of us who realize this are few in number. (I wasn\'t going to bring politics into this, but just look at the millions who voted for the president, who ran because the timing was right, his mother had just died, and people were ripe with sympathy and sentimentality. Ugh.) The internet is full of people who react first and think later.
12th October 2011

Hey Sir
First of all thanks for this article. Hope our government officials read this. I completely agree with everything you said, and whoever was insulted can kiss my a**. This is the reality of the Philippines, actually if someone would review the overall system of the Philippines, that would be great. Because at this point, our country really is going down the drain. Face it people, our country sucks because of selfish people a.k.a government officials. I know they\'re not all to blame about this, we have our shares of blame. I just hope that people will be open minded about this article, accept it and finally do something about it, like being a more productive citizen of this god forsaken country. If you ever have the time to visit the Philippines again, try checking out Baseco, Luneta, Quiapo or anywhere in Central Manila, so you can have the real feeling of Manila. Haha. So you can see how fu**d up we are. hahha. Our government sucks and capitalism sucks. anyone who thinks otherwise can suck my brown Filipino balls.
12th October 2011

Manila And It's Attractions
Please check this out. Manila maybe disappointing to those who lived here 20 years ago, but it also has it's attractions so please check this tips so you can advise your friends what to do when they visit Manila. Manila Travel Tips - Tips for travelling around Manila - Where to go ... www.asiatraveltips.com/ManilaTravelTips.shtml - Isalin ang pahinang ito Manila Travel Tips to help you enjoy your trip to Manila. Tips on getting around and what to do.
12th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino, but is fortunate to be well traveled because of my work. I\'ve been travelling locally and internationally for the last 10 years and I can see where you come from. I actually applaud comments like this since its a insightful comment where I grew up. Though I live at the outskirts of the city, my daily commute to work gives me something to compare with my commute when I\'m in another country. Pretty sure you\'ve got sneers from Filipinos, maybe they are just in denial, or maybe they are the ones that just gives comments but does not do anything. I think the government is doing the same. I would like to laugh at loud but you cannot hear from this writing. Sadly to admit, Manila is really crumbling to pieces... and to ashes. Its getting worse and no one seems to do anything about it. Traffic is an abomination, public utility drivers does not care if they are slow, causing traffic or simply harassing other drivers. Take not PUBLIC utility drivers and they are the ones that do counter flow, park/stop anywhere - not really concerned about safety. Don\'t go even to the pedestrians, especially those with Jedi mind powers. They are the ones that raise their hands to stop a vehicle even crossing on the wrong place. Sometimes it works -- that\'s the problem - the reason for the abuse. I can have long list - government, business establishment, the \"enforcers\" - that really does not care about the city anymore. Its more like every man for himself situation. However, there are still that cares - me being partly agreeing. I do belong to volunteer groups that helps, but we are shadowed by organizations that needs to be famous. Even the big stations that shows their \"concern\". Yes they have good intention, but I think its better to just do it. As much I agree, this is the place I grew up. The place I learned by trade and have the reason to give back to the community. Simple contributions, such as following the traffic alone is a good start. Imagine the traffic is everyone follows the rules....
12th October 2011

well, its obvious that you are dissapointed with our country. im a filipino and I couldnt agree with you more. wait till you experience the commuting system! as much as we wanted to please everyone, i guess my country can only do what it can handle. as a citizen I wanted to be dissapointed but since there is nothing i cant do about it, its a reality i have to face. the country is bad but not so bad (if you know what i mean) :P
12th October 2011

Proud to be Pinoy (???)
I agree with all your comments. I think one of the reasons why we are in this pitiful situation is our Pinoy pride. We\'re too proud as a race, as individuals, that we fail to accept the criticisms that come our way (remember the ban on actress Claire Danes?). We\'re quick to find fault in others, but are blind to the dirt and grime that are all around us. You\'re still fortunate that you don\'t have to go through Manila traffic every day. Pinoy drivers (including myself, when I\'m stuck in traffic for two hours because a traffic enforcer suddenly decides that he\'s smarter than the electronic stop light) are the most reckless, ruthless, inconsiderate bunch. Jeepney and bus drivers are on the top of that class, with their smoke-belching machines stopping wherever and whenever they wish. Funny thing is, the traffic enforcers turn a blind eye and focus instead on the private vehicles who have the cash to bribe with. And they\'re all proud to be Pinoy, especially after a victorious fight by Manny Pacquiao. Thank you for your guts in sharing your feedback. Expect a lot of criticism too, since many so called patriots will come rushing in to defend the Filipino race (but would throw candy wrapper out into the streets of Manila, or take home so much complimentary sugar packets from a visit to Starbucks). Anyway, this Pinoy is proud of what you did. Cheers.
12th October 2011

lovely post
This kind of post is what the people of the Philippines if not all, then the majority of US need in order to approximately poke this corrupt politician and the pointless rallyista... if you don't understand most of my term then pls. at least bear with that. I hope that next time please also address your post to the politician who destroyed this once very beautiful country.. i lived in Mindanao, we really felt the devastating effects of corruption. The people you called "Smart Ones" were not really what you think they are. Most probably they are the people who corrupted the country, horde government money then go abroad to hide and spend their exploits. Thanks by the way but your blog about manila is not that exact though, especially with the "smart ones" thing..
12th October 2011

Although I love the Philippines and am even very fond of Manila, most of what you say here is indisputably true. However, I am not sure you are correct to say that there has been little private sector investment. What really shocks me when I look around is that, with some exceptions such as your experience with the Discovery Suites, the private sector really can build and run stuff- the Fort, Rockwell, Greenbelt, the Peninsula and other hotels with good value and wonderful service. Even the airport Terminal 3 seems to be illustrative of this trend- Cebu Pacific, a private sector, budget airline seems, somehow, to have overcome obstacles to setting up a very efficient operation there (HUNDREDS of flight, domestic and international every day), while the national carrier remains in Terminal 2 which you correctly characterize as pretty awful. In contrast to all this, the public infrastructure looks even more lamentable. Unfortunately it tends to be lucky people like me (and you), both foreign and local, who can afford to benefit from the private sector investment and, on the whole, have a very nice lifestyle, despite the traffic. It is the poor who suffer most when the public infrastructure fails. Perhaps that's why change seems to be so slow...
12th October 2011

I agree with everything that you\'ve said. Although I am a Filipino, I dislike the culture nowadays. The people have 0% patriotism. They don\'t care about their fellowmen. As long as they can eat three times a day, they wouldn\'t care even if you\'re starving. And I think that for a country to achieve progress, the people and the government must synergize (as what Stephen Covey wrote on one of his books). Nevertheless, it is sad to say that if the government takes the initiative, the people wouldn\'t cooperate (and vice versa). This hopeless cycle makes the people venture into \"greener pastures.\"
12th October 2011

When i went to Taipei this year, i told myself, Wow, this is a clean country and well organized. People are so disciplined. Then after a few months, I went to Australia, then I said, damn, Philippines shitty compared to these countries. I am now planning to move out and plan to live else where. I cannot raise my family here. Things don\'t work properly, people are so corrupt, not disciplined, dishonest, etc. I wish Filipinos will strive harder for their own country. I feel ashamed to be a Filipino whenever I travel. They even had to let me wait at the immigration just to re-scan my passport because it\'s not well made. OUR MACHINES here are old and useless! Not a proud citizen. If my parents weren\'t here, id be in Sydney now.
12th October 2011

Sad but very true! If you have been living in the Manila for so long and haven\'t been traveling often then you might probably get used to its drabness and you think those towers in Taguig and Makati signify stability and progress, but wait \'till you get out of the country and see other cities of the world. You will suddenly feel poor!LOL Ninoy Aquino International Airport is just downright old, dirty and dark. Anyone who have gone to Hong Kong and SG would agree to me that this is a shame considering that the President is the son of the deceased Ninoy Aquino. I hope he will take advantage of his term in office and not just give this \"International\" Airport a face-lift but an overhaul! If he can do it, then that will be the flagship accomplishment of his administration, so he better take advantage of the opportunity. The carpets there are so worn out and the lighting there is just dim you would otherwise think you are in a pub. It\'s the 21st century and did anybody in the NAIA administration know that yellow lighting there are not energy efficient and is no longer cool? It is the place that gives a first impression to any visiting foreigner and it\'s comfort room speaks so much about it. And the comfort rooms in NAIA near the Philhealth area is just gross. Don\'t ask me about the details... And the NAIA Terminal 3, yes it\'s not fully in operation as it is still in court battle with the Japanese contractor firm that the government promised to pay a certain amount before it goes to use full time. But then yeah, you guessed it right, the government failed to pay. And now they want to con those contractors by pressuring them to open the entire facility but they are not not willing to fulfill their part of the deal. So they want to cut another deal as an extension to a crappy deal. The rest of the things that you said here, Geoffrey, is just so true. No matter how patriotic I am about my beloved country, but I am an honest citizen too. And the views you have expressed here hits the ego of those in the state-of-denial patriots. This is just one view of a frequent visiting foreign businessman. Can you imagine the impression of other foreign investors?
12th October 2011

Have a Good Day Sir:
I sincerely hope that you shall soon end all business undertakings in Manila or anything connected with Philippines so you won\'t anymore step one foot of Philippine territory (even its embassies or consulates) and be aggravated by the dump that is Manila and the Philippines. And I hope that we Filipinos everywhere in the world may be able to calibrate our general attitude to be less polite than necessary so as not give British citizens the impression that we are being smarmy,obsequious and ingratiating. Have a pleasant day sir.
12th October 2011

i agree... but what can we do that is how things work in here..... ....the politicians that the people elects represents what kind of inhabitants occupies this archipelago..BUT can we blame them for being UNENLIGHTENED? can we blame them if the ignorant masses desire only three things... love, respect and food on the table for their family... ..is it colonial mentality?...is it fanaticism?(blind obedience)..is it graft and corruption?...is it ethnocentrism?..is it the weather....is it illiteracy?...is it geography? is it the politics..is it the oligarchs? ...is it the dialects?.... or is it the Economy?.... I go for the latter.....its all about the money....the Ideals embodied in our Constitution will remain in the world of ideas if the government can\'t fix the economy... ...we are fortunate that we have the \"smarter ones\"(infected with messianic complex/misguided vandals) and the \"greedy ones\" (businessmen infected with consumerism and hedonistic lifestyles) who are tirelessly running the show... without them our CoUNTry will not survive.... hehe ..I hope and I pray that someday the remaining smarter ones won\'t leave the country and the smarter ones outside our country can now come home...
12th October 2011

It is the nature of any citizen to be proud of his country. Hell, even an Iraqi will tell you that Iraq is the happiest place to live in even it\'s a shit hole because home is where the heart is. True it might seem even with facts supporting your article, patriotism will tell the heart of any Filipino reader that what he/she had read is full of crap. Anyway, I share you sentiments that Philippines is shitty place to live in especially if you are living on a lower income bracket but because all the people whom I care about, the people who share my aspirations in life, the people gets worried when I get home late or get sick are all here, the Philippines will always be most happiest and most beautiful place on Earth.
12th October 2011

I love my country and proud to be a filipino, especially when it comes to PACQUIAO but I am also ashamed of how things are going for the country and its citizens. Rich are only getting richer, and poor remains poor, leaving them hopeless. If only I had a magic wand and make things better I would. people are so desperate, they would do anything just to survive. PLEASE my fellow filipinos, let us take that first step and make a change.
12th October 2011

Having read your blog. I must say that most of it are true but not ALL. The only problem I see is the way you present it. From what I see... your blog contains so much hatred and is designed to really destroy the image of Manila and specifically \"Discovery Suites\". Guess you are just one of those client that had a bad experience from this hotel or one of those bustard that visit here that looks for sex and had a bad night with one of the bar girl and worst you maybe one of those white people I know that can\'t help themselves but to fall in love with our local and run away with your money. The big question is \"What really is your motivation in writing this article?\" Is it to help, to inform or to avenge yourself?
12th October 2011

We went to Bangkok at 2009 and we did experience corrupt airport officials (my dad is Chinese and they sent him in a long queue where he had to bribe them $200 to bypass the line), heavy traffic jams even at 10-11 pm, cramped hotels with poor food (and tiny roaches crawling near the toaster although to be fair, it\'s not $120 a night).......nonetheless it\'s the best vacation I ever had! I enjoyed the Pattaya beach and played soccer with some Arabs, ate street food and at the food court--all very good (but my parents hate them because of the strong galanggal flavor), the floating market, the elephant shows, etc. etc. But the most enjoyable part here is we managed to see the huge Red Shirts rally so in a way we were experiencing a major historical event in Thailand. Of course, NAIA has to be improved. Yes, hotels should be responsive to their customer\'s needs. Yes, traffic has to be declogged. But personally, I think a vacation in a country or city can be truly enjoyable despite of the discomforts you\'ve mentioned. And one more thing, if you add some good humor and endearment Pinoys will generally take criticism well. By the way, Discovery Suites is just a few blocks away from my house. You might want to try Astoria or Richmond w/c are within the area and ranked higher than DS.
12th October 2011

hey!!!
are you an american? well, what do you have in the U.S.? land of the fraud? mother of A.I.D.S.? lang of those people who don\'t know how to understand their bank account?because they can\'t accept the fact that they don\'t have any money?(overdrawn). Lets take a look on Bronx, New York its worst that Manila...... smells like a garbage.....
12th October 2011

Thank you for your honesty.
We really need more articles like these, actually. Maybe if we get enough of these around, the citizens (myself one of them) would actually start doing SOMETHING about it instead of acting like retarded, bleeding-heart patriots who only picked up on Jose Rizal\'s ad hominem skills and nothing more. This is also a breath of fresh air for me because recently, there was an essay contest for high school students where we needed to write something good about the PH. I still feel filthy for even doing a write-up at all.
12th October 2011

I don\'t normally comment on blogs but this time I think i have to. I\'d like to thank you for your honest opinion! Manila WAS a great place to visit and the Philippines WAS indeed one of the mighty ones. It\'s just so sad to see everything falling apart! Everyone is so bitter about the government that they\'re on survival mode AND nobody is actually willing to help (by this i mean the Filipino people). Everyone only acts if it\'s for their own benefit. A lot of people are demanding change and etc but no one is willing to pay or work for it. It\'s the sad reality now. If you feel like reminiscing and looking back at the old Manila, you have to visit museums and websites! I just hope that our generation will be able to fix our damaged culture. Til then, we\'ll just have to ride out this wave of shame. Thank you!
12th October 2011

I came across this post through a friend on Facebook and, even though I expected the usual faulty rant about the city, you actually do have points. I do wonder why the airport corporations keep using NAIA 1 as the international hub, when terminal 3 seems much more appropriate. Likewise, traffic is literally horrible every day; so much that I plan at least 3 different routes to get from my home in Ortigas to my college in Quezon City. Living here, one gets accustomed to it, but upon seeing what other cities are like, it is shameful to say that, indeed, Manila doesn\'t quite stand up as a good representative for the country\'s capital. Don\'t get me wrong here, I still love my city and home, and I take photographs around Ortigas nearly every weekend, but in all the photos I\'ve taken, some show how run down even a particularly \"well-kept\" area like Ortigas can be (especially on its borders). Your article is worth reading sir, and it\'s a good wake-up call to everyone around the city. We need to do our part, and this article proves it. I do hope the city improves on your next (hopefully fortunate instead of unfortunate) visit to the country. :D
12th October 2011

Thanks for the Honesty
Hi! Thank you for your honesty about our country. Indeed all the things you\'ve mentioned are true. Our country is indeed in shambles. Compared to what we have been 20-40 years ago, its a big shame. I don\'t think your post was racist. I don\'t believe in sugar coating things or making feces smell like roses. I am also a businessman and I know the value calling a spade a spade. I have also traveled some and have met different varieties of people. I have seen and experienced the poverty you were talking about(maybe even more), and I also know the affluence of people in the upper brackets of society. I\'ve worked with people in high places in government and the private sector, and also with people who don\'t know where they would get their food for the next day. But I choose to stay in the Philippines. I\'ve seen what you have in the first world, and I know it is good. Call me stupid or idealistic, but the Philippines gives me an opportunity to do more than I could do in a well-established first-rate country. We were what London was six hundred or a thousand years ago(Only we have cellphones and laptops). Our society is fraught with ignorance. Our government is in a coma or worse, a self-induced trance. Our intelligentsia, for the most part, is too intelligent to do menial things; the hard and dirty work. And our rich, again for the most part, are too busy congratulating themselves on being masters of this dump and flashing their Guccis when a lot of people only have rugbies for dinner. (By the way, I do not think I am better than my countrymen, hence my frequent usage of \'our\' and \'we.\' As a Filipino, I am part of this awful mess. It is OUR problem.) But what an opportunity we have! The opportunity to create something new. To pioneer something. To kick the status quo in its huge, over-blown ass. We still do not have a lot of things which could make life better or inspire people. True, one could do pioneer work in a lot of places in the world. But this is my country. Who would make it better if not its own people? I find it quite boring if I were to live in a place where every good thing is ordinary and taken for granted and that almost every great thing that can be done has already been done. Maybe I am stupid for staying here. I am not one of those \'smart\' people you\'ve mentioned who have left and who all want to leave for greener pastures. If so, I am proud to be stupid, proud to be foolish. There is something strangely exciting to me about the Philippines. Its like a blank canvas(or a dirty one). Unused(or trashed) play-dough. Or a new(or donated and unappreciated) box of Lego. Where one can create almost anything that has never been done here(or the maybe even the rest of the world): Where we can have our own Monet, our own Shakespeare, our own Bach, our own I.M. Pei, our own Glenn Hammond Curtiss, our own Isaac Newton, our own Winston Churchill, our own Wernher von Braun, our own Spielberg, our own Steve Jobs, maybe even our own Neil Armstrong, and give our contribution to the rest of humanity. Right now, we have Jose Rizal, among others, and I think it\'s a good start. I usually don\'t post a comment to stuff like this(I barely have time for facebook), but your article, in its good honesty has prompted me to give(as you have also done) my own opinion, and you are free to disagree with me(and you also claimed that you actually read all comments made to your article which prompted me to spend precious time writing this in a very busy day hoping that some soul would read it and see that there are still fools left in the country). I do hope that one day, you would be able to come back to the Philippines and see and experience good progress. I hope you\'d be able to stay in a good hotel that actually improves, that you\'d get from far point A to far point B in under 20 minutes, and that the poor family that served you only rice(I admire their lack of pretense) would serve you Adobo or some other dish to go with the rice next time you visit(if ever). Wishful thinking? Maybe. But dreaming for things never done before pushes me to go push myself further and dream more. By the way, I\'ve lived in downtown Manila for most of my life.
12th October 2011

I agree with everything you said. I\'ve lived here most of my life and hate it. I hate it because it\'s filthy and I hate that Filipinos never learn---even the \"educated\" ones. The ones who ought to know better exploit a system that is drowning in corruption. Even the good Filipinos will feed the corruption that permeates the government when they need to get something done. They do this because they know this is the only way to get anything done. You are right---THE SMART ONES GET OUT because they know there is next to no hope for the Philippines. How can there be hope when everywhere you turn all you see are problems that should have been addressed and could have been addressed if not for the money-grubbing politicians that we put in office? I get furious when I tune in to Philippine news and, for example, see someone like Pacquiao pining for the highest seat of government. It\'s a total WTF moment. But knowing Filipinos, it would not surprise me if Pacquiao does become President. Filipinos do that sort of thing. (If other Filipinos are going to react to this by saying other countries do this, too, please, stop. I don\'t care about other countries. I\'m only talking about us and how we always do stupid things---like putting idiots in office.) A Filipino who linked to your post on his Facebook account and who has since taken it down said you were whiny. I don\'t think you\'re being whiny. I\'m Filipino and I\'m even more critical than you. People should really stop talking about this and that place in Metro Manila that\'s nice and quaint and real good. Please. We\'re not talking about that, I don\'t think. This is about how disgustingly backward our country\'s development is. Do you Filipinos really think that if we were not like this that Filipinos would seek fortune outside the Philippines? I\'d love to stay in my country. I\'d love to make a life there. I made a lot of money but most of it went to my taxes. And where did those taxes go? My hard-earned money went towards lining the pockets of those bastards in the government. They have no right to be there and I have no idea how they got there. I sure as hell didn\'t vote for them. So before you diss this guy who wrote about what he saw, shove your misguided sense of patriotism down your throats and suck it up. [Geoffrey, sorry. I know I was all but coherent but a lot of the stupid comments I saw from Filipinos about your post made me livid.]
12th October 2011

I agree!
I'm a Filipino and even I don't want to live in Manila. My boyfriend and my family thinks that's where the opportunity is, but I don't care. I'd rather live in Bohol or Cebu and create my own opportunity there.
12th October 2011

I hope your work doesn\'t need to take you back here. Because my goodness,I would hate for you to experience again this post apocalyptic hellhole of a city you wrote about. The last thing this country needs is someone like you declaring doom and gloom for our future. Honestly i don\'t know what you wanted to achieve with this post. Is it to warn other people about going to manila (bec God knows we need more bad press there). Is it purely to express disappointment over an experience? Whatever your reasons are i sure hope you\'ve achieved it. And again, i hope you never get to travel back to this side of the world. Arrogant people not welcome in our crazy, lively not perfect but lovable city ( if u give it a chance).
12th October 2011

I stumbled upon an FB link which brought me to this page. I was expecting another asshole-ish write-up about Manila or the Filipino people. I was wrong. I found myself agreeing with everything you said. Thank you for this post :-) Anyone, please read this book : http://getrealphilippines.com/book1/pdf_book1/GRPbook1.pdf Good read, promise!
12th October 2011

I totally agree with your opinion about Manila, same as AJ Linao, I have spent most of my life living outside Philippines. It is really sad that Philippines specifically Manila is one the places tourist\'s less choice to visit due to the negative (yet fact) feed backs. Philippines is a total disaster and it is really hard specially now to fix it as you said it is \"Disappearing\". However, I am still trying to enjoy my time in the Philippines during vacays but tell you I never stayed in Manila and never will. Try visiting Palawan, it is not as rich or as luxurious as the other city in the South East Asia but the scenery and nature is breathtaking ;)
12th October 2011

Disheartening Truth!
I am in great wonder how this has generated so much disgust and hatred when everything you\'ve mentioned is the truth. I hope more and more Filipinos will be more open-minded and emphatic than reactive and emotional especially those who are left behind by us, OFWs. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes me proud is the fact I have a wonderful family back in Dipolog City and knowing for certain there are many FIlipinos out there who have strived to get out of the rut and make a difference despite the stubborn politics back home and the hard-to-break mixed up and degressive values. Yes, we are very disciplined and hard-working in foreign soils. BUT most will become the same old Juan and Maria disrespectful of the environment and chronic violators of simple rules and regulations when they step back on their native land. This really amazes me. However, I have come to believe it is mainly because the government itself is not trustworthy enough to bring us all forward as what our neighbors have been doing for many years now - modernized, better economy and progressive. Am I proud to be Filipino? I am NOT. Because when I go through immigration, I have limited rights of entry. Because when I work in the Middle East, I am seen as a trash. Because when I go back home, the public figures are not worthy of my compassion. I can easily slip through people as an Asian raised elsewhere BUT here. Can we make the Philippines a better place? I so long for that time to happen. As for now, let\'s just live with the bad reputation and reviews. After all they are true!
12th October 2011

Why oh why
Hey buddy, have you been to China? Yes, they have superior infrastructures. Manila can’t even compare with their airports, airport seats, highways, expressways, roads, public offices, parks, fire stations, police stations, hospitals (oops, I can contest to that), schools, universities, public recreational places, preserved cultural places… so on and so forth, practically all that the government can do to their people. However, you might be missing one pertinent aspect of a country (which you forgot to elaborate more in your blog): People. Yes, I am a “smart” person working abroad (and yes China) but it is one of the biggest mistakes that I have made, a mistake that I have to make for my career. Anyway, I don’t want to elaborate more on China since you, as a traveler, can experience that yourself. Besides, I don’t want to end up like you, bashing a city over its imperfections. By the way, why do you hate Manila so much? My point here is, I don’t think there’s a country in the world where there’s a perfect city. Yes Manila may be a god-forsaken city buried 6 feet underground, but it has one of the most loving, friendly, polite, and happiest people in the world. I don’t think you have the right to bash these people’s hearts with your words. You can direct your blog to our government and maybe they will listen to you (which I doubt as they are pretty stubborn) but as you can see, we are TRYING to change. Yes, it may be working too slow or even not working at all but we are trying. I just hope you could keep these comments to yourself (or again to our government) rather that showing the whole world how ugly our city is. You are doing us more damage (Losing foreign investments and tourists) than good (Filipinos waking up w/c I highly doubt because we are too busy being happy and… contented… even without food)
12th October 2011


True the economy is horrid and the streets are crowded. The hotel seems horrid, and the service sounds shoddy. Every thing you say sounds pretty true, however the very last statement that you make seems a tad over the top my friend . "P.S. No pictures because there's nothing worth photographing in Manila, it's drab and dirty. " True Manila is not the cleanest city in the world, but that does not mean that it is not photo worthy. I lived in the Philippines for most of my life and I can assure you that there is allot of things that maybe photographed. I might even venture to say that you lack an artistic eye if you cant see the beauty in Manila. Regardless, your opinions are your own as are mine.
12th October 2011

October 12, 2011 I am a Filipino and I\'m proud to be a Filipino. I\'d like to share some insights that might enlighten you into becoming a better humane being or into reaching a higher level of understanding 1) no one has to be an intellect to see the obvious, so if you\'re complaining...we can all see what you\'re seeing, however, the difference between you and me is that you are a whiner, you are like my previous employees who aren\'t productive, they have simply stopped being creative and have become empty nests for soulless creatures, again, stop nagging, you do not write well, there are several grammatically wrong words you used, your plural and singular words have mixed, you need to study again, I can see that you are very old and that your senior years have made you rusty 2) compare yourself to the glass that\'s half empty and mine is half full, it\'s how you view things that\'s made you a very unhappy person, you\'re probably not nice to be around with, sorry if I hurt you, just like you I\'m just stating my opinion 3) I sense that you are an emotional vampire, you suck the life out of people, I do not want to look at the world through your eyes 4) Yes in spite of my country not being the ideal country you like, what with all the old establishments not doing anything to improve, in spite of our backward, decrepit structures we are very happy with the little things we have, look at the recent damage that 2 typhoons did (typhoon P and Q) you will still see that famous Filipino smile and sense of humor 5) true we have room for a lot of improvement, we are not asking for your help, however instead of being great you have become someone hated, a lot of expats, philanthropists and even ordinary folk have become great just because of the small change they were able to impart on my country and the impact their actions have made has been tremendous 6) yup, you probably will enjoy other countries, so quit your job (so you don\'t have to work in Manila) and don\'t ever set foot on the Philippines again 7) you forget that what you\'ve done can also be done by someone to you and your country...the Filipinos are known to be clean people, we take a bath 2-3 times a day, and by bath I mean full shower, we clean our hair and scrub ourselves clean, on the other hand a lot of other countries have made commentaries on how dirty Brits are...read the book of \"Band of Brothers\" there\'s a part in the book where people with different nationalities are compared, according to the American researcher, during World War soldiers observed that Germans and Austrians were clean while the Brits were the dirtiest...so before you look at my backyard and sniff around, keep in mind your mouth is nearest to your nose, smell yourself first and check your hygiene 8) I understand that you probably are not bilingual since you did not post comments that you did not understand and that you are a power tripper, since you only posted comments that you like, suit yourself, loser 9) pls stop calling yourself intellectual, your observations did nothing to my intellect, if I learned something from you it might be a different story, so you pay stuff to avoid inconveniences, poor you, you sound like a little boy who has never matured, sadly you\'re very old already 10) your point? you need attention right? that\'s why you made a blog, and now you\'re doing harm to my country by posting your insensitive views, yo have no manners and ethics, you don\'t know how to make your point across without burning bridges, why didn\'t you try doing something not lazy, do the hard work at the same time take the ethical route...to Discovery suites, ask for a feedback form and give your feedback, better yet schedule an appointment with the Wisniewski and the Tiu family, the owners of Discovery, as for the airport, don\'t take the short cut and just blog, take the higher plane, give feedback again to the management or have an appointment with the President of our country and do a grievance report for all the short comings of my country to you, maybe just maybe, you\'ll be great and be able to be our marketing and advertising genius, maybe you can suggest and have changes implemented... 11) Well sorry for the nasty words I threw back at you, take it like a real gentleman and be a man, be better than I and react maturely, I gave just as much as you did so you should be able to take as much as we\'re taking 12) I hope you will not make another country feel victimized by you...no country is perfect...Singapore is a first world country however I\'ve met a lot of Sgs who left their country because of the restrictions they want to avoid and the freedom they want, strangely Koreans love my country, the largest diaspora in the world took place in this century with the influx of Koreans and Iranians...maybe they see a lot of things they like 13) Try meditating, envision a white light and a higher being overwhelming you, this experience will make you feel small, you will be aware of your place in the galaxy and you will see that your fears and complains are trivial and a waste of time...however small you feel you will be happier, not arrogant, maybe even how you spell words will improve...:) smile, don\'t get mad 14) Do not thank people for support, you\'re acting like you\'re a celebrity and you\'re not wake up Mr. Narcissist 15) Wait a minute are you a permanent resident of my country? You\'ve stayed so long you should be...pls apply for a senior citizens card you will enjoy a lot of benefits and maybe you\'ll be kinder to us...:)
12th October 2011

My opinion
Well, i read about people complaining about the philippines a million times already. Now, please don't get me wrong. DFrom what i understand, this kind of problems is worldwide. You might not have had any intention of belittling a country that the people really try their utmost best to have a better life, but you surely did it for me though. Do me a favor as i am not well traveled at all. Go and visit each country you can lay your hands on and see the difference, if there is any at all. I honestly wish people will stop attacking the filippinos, we should actually walk in their shoes for once and see what it feels like. Sorry, you didn't have a great vacation or whatever it is you have done there, but don't blame the whole country and it's people for a few rotten apples. Each country have them. Good day.
12th October 2011

A Pinoy here but I didn\'t feel insulted, whatsoever, after reading this article. But please for those who do not see the true intention of this article, don\'t say that I don\'t have a \'bloody\' (ooops, that\'s just to make you smile a bit, Geoffrey) nationalism and patriotism for my beloved country Philippines. I love Pinas so much it makes me hate the people who run it like an ATM machine and claim to love it like hypocrites! I studied and worked in Manila for 15 years but upto now Manila failed to make me love her. Thanks to the best work colleagues I had it made my stay in Manila worth it. Many Manilenos hates Mindanao so much and say that people there are all terrorists and tend to accept that terrorism is a part of their lives. (You will probably change your mind if you only know the true history of this place.) BUT I beg to disagree. If that claim is true, why do you think I still go back to the place where I grew up, willingly left the blissful life I had in Manila? I have millions of answers to that: robbers are everywhere, too many slum areas, many spit everywhere, VERY POLLUTED air, unpleasant people, dirty, and many more -- and by the way, traffic is only the least. Not to mention that mortality rate in Manila is higher than any parts in the Philippines. I still think that there\'s hope for the Philippines. I also wish that more \"real\" nationalists and patriots will run the government. Geoffrey, the next time you visit Philippines, perhaps it\'ll be good to spend few days in Davao. A lot expats fell in love with this place. Here, you might want to read Bob Martin\'s blog site: http://mindanao.com/blog/about/about-mindanaobob/.
12th October 2011

Hi, Mr. Bastin. I'm a Filipino and sad to say, I actually agree with what your blog says about Manila. I'm now 28 and I've spent those years living in the Metro and the only thing I witnessed changing were the external aspects of our city. Other than that, we didn't 'grow up' and knows nothing about how the world works now. I'm proud that I am a Filipino but given a chance, I'd rather live in a country run by a government that knows what a 'true' country is about.
12th October 2011

why so condescending?
Manila is not the Philippines. It's an archipelago with 7,107 islands. So I suggest that if you want to speak of your "horrible experiences" in Manila, please refrain from referring to it as "the Philippines." I'm just saying...it's really disturbing. I'm from Davao City and this is still part of Philippine territory the last time I checked...and so far, I haven't had such "horrible experiences" that you've had. :p
12th October 2011

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
Hope you realize you just let the whole world know what kind of person you really are. What we see is a pitiful ugly miserable old man with false sense of superiority who mostly see negative things around him. Hope you can live with yourself and sleep at night in your five star hotel room knowing millions of people now despise you.
12th October 2011

Amen to that!
its always sad to accept criticism about your own country, the blogger is merely showing his empathy towards our once proud city. I believe that if we take this by heart we could all band together to improve our city and society. I Love Manila.. but Manila must wake-up and catch up to the rest of the world.
12th October 2011

Manila in Focus
I may agree on some of the things you wrote as I\'ve stayed in some sleazy hotel myself but there\'s more to Manila than the obvious. Take time to get the city more, get out of your comfort zone (hotel). Here is a compilation of some travel bloggers wrote about Manila. It ranges from its rich history, food places, culture, landmarks and even romance. Please read this: http://www.lakwatsero.com/spots/manila-in-focus/
12th October 2011

The World of Possibilities
My countrymen(Philippines) and Every Nations across the globe, let us just STOP this ARGUMENTS, DEBATES and BATTLES! You GUYS all presented the BEST and very RATIONAL arguments in the whole wide world , You guys finally \\\"WON\\\" the battles. Now let us just ask ourselves, does it change the WORLD\\\'S PERSPECTIVE?...does it brings anyJOY and HAPPINESS in ourselves?... does we make a DIFFERENCE?... C\\\'mmon guys as you would say\\\" Philippines is disappearing\\\" well it can be a reality but always remember that EVERYTHING in this WORLD might DISAPPEAR in just a glimpse of an eye. Remember guys NO COUNTRY is exempted on NATURAL CATASTROPHES- such as earthquake, thunder storms, tsunami et.al. In Addition, all of us will soon leave our land and we cannot bring anything when we die. Now LADIES and GENTLEMEN I want you to reflect on it- Instead of DOING ARGUMENTS in our INDIVIDUALITY, RACES and NATIONALITIES why not lets HELP ONE ANOTHER to LIVE LIFE to the FULLEST- NO HATRED, NO ANGER and NO REVENGE! Just pure GOOD DEEDS that promotes LOVE, LIGHT and DIVINE WISDOM. This is the only LEGACY that we could pass on from generation to generations! Think about what GOD is really wanted to restore in our LIFE..... at the end of the day its not about WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU, BUT HOW GOD SEES YOU. ..... The omniscient and creator of everything! Thanks folks for reading!
12th October 2011

Hi, to a certain extent I agree with what you wrote. As someone who has traveled to other countries in Asia, it saddens me to see the glaring disparity whenever I come back home to Manila. I\'m a Filipino and I love this country, but that doesn\'t blind me to how far Manila has fallen compared to other cities. I wasn\'t born long enough to be able to experience the glory days of Manila so I couldn\'t compare. But just a few weeks ago in Bangkok, the tour guide was remarking how my country was number one in Asia before and how it no longer has that position. The regret in his voice kind of stabs the heart. We can point a lot of fingers to whose fault it is, or worse, be blind to our faults, but I think the best thing to do is, simply, to do something about it. Manila may be disappointing, but it is not yet hopeless.
12th October 2011

I am a half filipino-japanese girl and been living here since birth and all i can say is you are totally 100% True. Most people here are not open minded about your reviews in our country, they blame and mostly will curse you because of what you wrote. People are so ignorant and they even vote some ignorant presidents of the country, like noynoy and a ex artist just because they are all popular. And Yes! Manila is the worst place here in the philippines, add up the politicians that gets 70% of all project funds, over power in their positions and the like. Hope this blogpost of yours awakes all the corrupt politicians and people all over manila.
12th October 2011

Optimism
I agree for most part but i think your comments are too scathing to be taken seriously. I\'m a Filipino who has lived in foreign cities (and still is). I strongly agree with you, though, on your advise to anyone thinking of visiting the islands to skip Manila. I have traveled the world considerably both for business and leisure and have a mouthful to say about some popular but disappointing destinations. Manila isn\'t all that bad. I still \"partly\" live there. It is indeed unfortunate that the government hasn\'t done enough to \"shore up\" Manila\'s image, considering that it is the \"face\" of the country, being the national capital and the country\'s seat of political & economic power, to the rest of the world. Politics at its worst. I detest, though, the attitude of Filipinos who flaunt their \"foreignness\" and often in condescending manner, openly affirm the \"put downs\" of other people. Frankly, they haven\'t earned the right to do so. Many of them left because they couldn\'t \"hack\" it there and instead chose to make their living someplace else. Many have traded dignity for bigger pay -cannot blame them. The demographic of the country is promising for this generation. It has a very young and able population and a big local market. It just needs to get its act together -and it will. Mabuhay!
12th October 2011

I'm sorry that you\'ve had a very unfortunate experience in Manila, I'm a filipina and I totally agree with you (especially about the airport). Traffic in Metro Manila is hell.. it's because the vehicles are not well-regulated (you will see vehicles that are supposed to be thrown in the junkyard but are still seen on the streets) and many drivers dont have discipline and dont know the proper driving etiquette.. No one uses the proper stops to drop and pick up passengers.. you will notice that the law enforcers needed to put fences -- awful fences -- just so the people will cross at the pedestrian lane or will ride at the bus/jeepney stops.. Anyway, there are parts of Metro Manila that have better conditions.. try Taguig or Makati.. As for the hotel, maybe if you stay in Makati you might find better hotels.. I don't know :) And yeah, Manila is overcrowded already.. so if you hate the crowd, go outside the Metro.. I think there is an international airport in Pampanga and in Cebu.. from there you can visit the rest of the Philippines (the nature and the towns).. what you put here in your blog is sad, but this is the ugly truth.. us Filipinos should not accept this as a way of life.. we should improve this..
12th October 2011

The Philippine president must read this blog
I wish the Philippine President have been able to read this blog! This is a wake up call for the Filipinos! A wake up call against government incompetence!
12th October 2011

Hello Geoffrey :)
Congratulations on your sudden notorioty. If you have the time and courage, mabye you will join us on the following thread. :) http://www.travelblog.org/Topics/30020-1.html#post_144967
12th October 2011

What you wrote was nothing short of the truth. The indolence of the Filipinos has led Manila to where it is right now.
12th October 2011

If you want to get out of Manila, visit Bohol... and see the beauty of the Philippines...
12th October 2011

Hi! I totally get where you get your review, but you certainly need someone to guide you around Manila. You should have gone to great spots such as Global City in Taguig and a couple more Makati. Laguna is becoming pretty much a suburb due to private development projects. Discovery Suites really isn\'t the hotel to be this time around. You\'ve been into Manila\'s really shady places and I don\'t blame you. If you decide to go to the country next time don\'t ask the taxi driver or people from the front desk on where to go to. Get an itinerary from someone decent. Check the local paper for the \"it\" places. I\'m not offended because I know the places you\'ve been to. There are really so many better spots in the metro and hopefully you get to enjoy the Philippines next time :)
12th October 2011

A local reacts
Sorry you feel that way about my home city. I guess I\'m not one of the smart ones then as I am one of those who returned home after years of working abroad. As one person who thoroughly enjoys Metro Manila life, I have a feeling that you and I are viewing the city from different lenses. You do not see the vibrancy and spirit that is present in my home country. You may not think highly of us Filipinos but we will prove you wrong in 20 years time.
12th October 2011

Spot On
I\'m a Filipino, and I love my country - I love it enough that I\'m not blind to what keeps us down and poor. Your comments our spot on. We suffer from severe culture lag and a damaged national identity. Individually we may excel, but as a society we fail utterly. We boast of and celebrate Filipinos and half/third/quarter Filipinos around the world who succeed in their endeavors because there is a severe lack of achievements on a collective level.
12th October 2011

i agree but...
hi there. thanks for writing about our country, particularly Philippines. I totally agree to some of the things that you have mentioned in this blog, most esp the one about how awful and slow manila is in terms of development. i think this is all because of our law and the people in our government. most of them are uneducated (in terms of political science and public relation). a lot of them appears to care to our country but what they really care about is money and their selves. most of them evade paying taxes while the rest of us have to live with it. "bawat kibot, may tax". i hope your blog will be read by our president. it takes another man's eye to see how grim a thing is before they realize the true situation. i myself wants to go out of the country because i, too, had enough of these materialistic, money-loving government people.
12th October 2011

manila awfully disappointing
manila is decayed and decrepit, i agree. smarmy? yes i agree with that too. but i would rather be called that then be called a murderous thug. those that burned entire neighborhoods in london and went as far as killing immigrants protecting their homes, yes we call them murderous thugs disguised as white, middle class citizens. i don't recall any incidents like these in manila. none at all. maybe a peaceful demonstration to depose a dictator but to roam neighborhoods murdering, looting, maiming? maybe in london but not in manila.
12th October 2011

Very nice article you made about our country and you did the right thing. I'm a Filipino but I\'m sick and tired of these pinoys (Pinoy is a dirty word of a Filipino) blindly using their "pride" (blindly saying \"proud to be pinoy" when most of them actually don\'t achieve anything but being lazy all the time) that they think are always the best than other countries which is not. The only reason those fliptards say that you\'re a racist is because they don\'t know what the word "racism" really means and they can\'t accept criticism thus they go communist and don\'t want to progress. Oh and our president is stupid as well. He never made an apology to the Hong Kong people during the 1st anniversary of the Manila Hostage Crisis because he\'s a coward. I never voted him but these so-called masses idiotically made him the winner only because he is the son of our former president who \"heroically\" puts down our former president dictator who reigns our country for almost 20 years. And they call our country free? What a joke. Btw here are some websites about our country\'s dysfunctional status. Enjoy reading the articles of them mate: antipinoy.com getrealphilippines.com
12th October 2011

so true...
yap! such honest and straight forward blog. im a filipino, i love my country and hated the government.i used to live in manila area its awfully dirty and more homeless folks are now sleeping on the sidewalks and manila city government is just playing blind or simply dont care how disgusting manila city had become.but hey, im still convincing myself that there's still hope for my country (who am i kidding...)
12th October 2011

I think maybe you just need to visit the better parts of Manila. Might I recommend a better hotel next time? New World Makati has been number 1 in room sales since January, and it's right across Greenbelt. You should try visiting the southern parts of Manila. Alabang and Paranaque are a completely different scene from Ortigas and Makati. It's much more laid back, although they aren't progressive cities either. Also, try experiencing the night life! The Fort, Makati and Resorts World areas might be a good change for your Manila experience. I agree with your criticism of our economy and government, but there's not much the average Filipino can do about it. We try to make do and be happy with our pitiful economy and government--that's what we're good at.
12th October 2011

Sadly, I agree with most of your observations. However, I take exception to your opinion about the traffic situation in Manila. I know and have experienced that the traffic jam in Bangkok is the worst.
12th October 2011

hmm??
well all i can say is... everything u've said was true because those were the only things you've seen ^^, try to explore more of manila...
12th October 2011

whew...
Being a Filipino that works abroad, I feel sad that visiting foreigners see Manila like this.. but it\'s the truth.. for Manila anyway... :) It has become a smorgasbord of everything that was sweet which has turned bitter. I am not a fan of Manila myself. Had not it been for the universities, I would have chosen to stay in my province. But still, this post hurts the patriot in me.. the truth really does hurt.. I hope you would still visit the Philippines.. Lay off Manila.. Head North.. :)
12th October 2011

WAKE UP PHILIPPINES!
Most of us Filipinos will find this article very insulting, but maybe its time we open our eyes! I\'m proud to be a Filipino but the way things are going now our country has nowhere to go but down, buried under the rubles of our false sense of democracy. Let\'s face it, most of us had given up any hope that things will go for the better, we just don\'t care anymore. We\'re just too damn lazy to make a change! We accept whatever was placed in front of us, and if we choose to fight we will be dealt with some loopholes in our Laws that renders our efforts useless. Murderers, drug pushers, rapists are freed because of technicalities? Man, come on! Government officials plunder money and when caught will just say sorry?! Court cases were filed but we don\'t get any resolution until the accused died of old age! Legislative, Executive and Judiciary parts of the Government is completely screwed up! This is why we as a country, is a complete SCREW UP! Freedom is good! Too much FREEDOM on the other hand is chaos! As far as I know, the only point in the history of mankind where there\'s TOO MUCH FREEDOM, was when LAWS is of non-existence!
12th October 2011

Philippines a disappearing country?! In the near future people will find your words prophetic. A mere storm signal no. 1 can turn the metropolic into Kevin Costner\'s Waterworld. The provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga are found to be sinking at least 2 centimeters every year. And the Filipino\'s biggest misfortune? A lazy know-nothing Malacanang occupant who prefers to humiliate his predecessor than making sure he leaves an unforgettable legacy of rule.
12th October 2011

I am a Filipino
I am a Filipino - inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I sprung from a hardy race - child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope- hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children\'s forever. This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promise a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me. By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof - the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals - the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world no more. I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes - seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor. That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gergorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst fourth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malacañang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication. The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousand years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness. I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I also know that the East must awake from its centuried sleep, shape of the lethargy that has bound his limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits. For, I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, being apart from those world now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, there is no longer any East and West - only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are hinges upon which history resolves. At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand - a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom and my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy. I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad pass, of the voices of my people when they sing: Land of the Morning,Child of the sun returning…Ne\'er shall invadersTrample thy sacred shore. Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heartstrings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out of the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of the crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge: \"I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance - for myself and my children\'s children - forever.
12th October 2011

Sadly, SOME Filipinos believe that when you\'re good at speaking English, you\'re the smart one. TV and movie actors are criticized, oh, I mean bullied, on internet for such weakness. They are called stupid. See how they misconstrue intelligence with English language? You\'ll pity them even more.
12th October 2011

Sad
You are brutally honest, and I commend you for that. I even agree that it is a disgrace that the capital of the country is in this current state. I hope this slaps everyone in the face because majority of us Filipinos think we\'re better than our neighboring countries whereas the contrary is true. This is a wake up call to the authorities, and my fellowmen.
12th October 2011

I gotta agree with this guy. Frankly, I\'m getting worried that Cebu will become like Manila one day. Seemingly productive with all the constructions going on but that\'s it really. No efforts done in providing better public transport, the roads are still (mostly) bad and narrow, garbage, poverty, growing traffic. Much as I would like to live here all my life (and I\'ve tried and still am), the thought of leaving is beginning to gnaw on me, for real this time. However, whenever I travel to other provinces and see another side of the country (and which I would like to believe as the real Philippines), I\'d fall in love with it (the Philippines) all over again. Because undoubtedly (and many travelers from all over the world would attest), our country is blessed with so many very beautiful, natural landscape. And the local folks are just as wonderful!
12th October 2011

Facebook led me to this blog. Pretty popular entry. And I can\'t see why. The Philippines is \"disappearing\", Manila is a filth. Even Filipinos tweet about the horrendous traffic and pollution on a daily basis. He\'s a Brit and he\'s got a point of comparison. He\'s been in a lot of places. I\'ve never left the country but every morning, I wish the place is much better than yesterday. But beauty is relative, like some Americans prefer the darker and edgier side of NYC than Wall Street. Sometimes, I find comfort in the \"filth\", the toxicity, the proximity of warm and tired bodies in public transport, the noise, the crowd and everything the author defined as \"Manila\". But that\'s just me.
12th October 2011

the president must read this blog and so do the others in the government who have nothing better to do than get money from the country and send themeselves and their families wherever in the world for a life of luxury. It is a shame because i am being taxed heavily and it goes nowhere. i don\'t understand why the international airport is crap and nobody even bothered to make it more efficient. i know manila is crappy, dirty, and the population is generally below poverty line but i still believe there is hope. i was poor.so poor i am one of those people who didn\'t have anything else to eat but rice...not even..but i didn\'t make excuses. i worked hard and here is where i am now, a manager of a multinational company with a bright future, i hope. Manila, good luck! i wish there are more concerned and disciplined filipinos around.
12th October 2011

Hi, I am a Filipina and I appreciate the comments written by my \"kababayans\" whether they agree to the points on the blog or not they what is important is they had expressed both sides of \"Masang Pilipino\'s\" the normal reaction. We were born in poverty so was our ancestors, I just wish that this blog awakens the sleeping government officials and slap the corrupt ones as they have been living in luxury at the people\'s expense. To see Philippines to be as disciplined as Singapore, as developed as Hongkong and grow like China - as parents - will somehow give us a sigh of hope that our children will be living in a good and safe country in years time. OUR VIGILANCE IS HIGHLY NEEDED, for our children\'s future and sake. I wish to have the observations about our country to spread, wide enough to awaken everyone from their sleep.
12th October 2011

biased blog
fact check first, discovery suites began its operations in 2000, so the hotel is only in its 11th year, not 15th. i\'ve been to cambodia and i don\'t think they have that first-class airport. you even have to endure the heat of the sun when you pass through immigration. no airconditioning much less a room for travelers. i never expect brits to say something good about the philippines. all they see about our country are all bad. for them, the only good developing countries are india, pakistan, bangladesh and sri lanka. in fairness to these countries, they have some good things about them also. but the problems about the philippines that you have mentioned in your blog are the same problems that hound these countries. the philippines may have a lot of problems but i strongly believe when it comes to civility, our people are at par or maybe even better than Western nations.
12th October 2011

Harsh but true
I used to live abroad, and there are some bits of truth to what you just said. The city isn\'t exactly world-class. We are way behind in infrastructure. That\'s the problem when those in power pocket the money needed for improvements. Then again, corruption happens everywhere. In other countries, corruption is more discrete. Here, you know exactly where your taxes go: to the congressman\'s SUV, to the senator\'s entourage, to the judge\'s mansion. Clearly, they don\'t know how to hide their ill-gotten wealth. Perhaps they should learn a thing or two from their fellow corrupt counterparts in first world countries.
12th October 2011

I must admit, as a Filipino, I will be a hypocrite if I say that I wasn't hurt on how you described Manila and the Philippines as a whole. I am an overseas Filipino worker and just like most of my countrymen, I would like to think that this just a joke of some kind but the fact of the matter is that what you mentioned in your post were true and right on the money. For many years, the Philippines has been in a slump and hopefully with this kind of words, our government will start to have a rude awakening of some kind so that your next visit (if ever there will be a next time) will be a different one. I would like to believe that all countries and nationalities have it's pros and cons and this is what makes everyone special and unique however in saying this, I for one would like to commend you for speaking your mind, such criticism should be embraced with an open mind as well hoping that the corruption which eventually leads to poverty and lack of basic services can be eradicated. I am not saying that as Filipino's we do not have the right to feel bad after reading what you said, but I think instead of getting mad at you, we as Filipino's should be mad of ourselves for not learning from our mistakes in the past and we have to move our asses now before it's too late.....
12th October 2011

hello
Hello,Sir! I thank you for being honest and for your comments in regards to our country. I apologize for the not nice experience but I thank you also for writing that our country has some other nice places to explore. Yes, it is true that economically our country is not stable tho to think we have a lot of resources. Our roots if you will go back in our history is being rooted in integrity, hospitality,honesty and love for God,country,family and friends! It is just so sad that somehow for some Filipinos we are seeing it drifting away slowly and it is not anymore the reflection of our country but the problems that has not been address again and again especially in Leadership and governance.Filipino values and our good traits are not being practice anymore. I just hope your blog would be taken as a message that, "The face of our country should be seen as a country of joyful,pro active, disipline,honest,friendly, excellent,productive,patriotic and fruitful country"! I also think that patriotism of some Filipinos had already drifted away because if we really love our country , corruption had been corrected a long time ago and even our economic condition is somehow will be fare enough for the Filipinos to survive within our borders and even from the city to its province to its islands to the deepest part of its sea, it will be full of lovely and lively surroundings of people and nature! Iam a mother and I also taught my son about loving his own country and all the good traits we have as a Filipino . I just hope everyone will take your writing as a way for us to improve,continue and maintain the good and correct the bad. Thank you and God bless!!!
12th October 2011

A fair article
That's Reality, accept it kababayan :)
12th October 2011

i agree and disagree.
while i agree with some of what you said, i just feel some were fallacies of generalization based on TWO main events -- crummy airport and shitty hotel service. "the sheer misery of a crumbling, filthy, depressing city" -- this comment is a especially a little too general for my taste. we still strive, you know? just because our airport is not to your specification or Discovery Suites sucks ass, doesn't mean that every pore of the city is as you described. there are people who are struggling to make it better, there are communities that are trying to make a difference, there are sectors who are trying like crazy to reach out and make a difference but i guess they could NOT be taken into account when you made such sweeping comments. and NO - the smart ones don't always want to leave. some work with poor people in the provinces. some stay and try to make a life in this economy because they still believe in possibilities. some teach in universities. some create plays. some try to companies or build businesses. i know how some people from better economies think they have all the answers for countries like ours. well you don't. and you said it yourself "because you cannot and should not generalize about such a large country..." -- the same goes for a large city. you didn't see every bit of it. plus i've been to Cambodia -- just because they have all those nice things you mentioned does not mean they are the picture of a healthy economy. i'm not going to go into details anymore because i pretty much think you've made up your mind and written us off so all arguments are moot and academic at this point. BUT if you have the MISFORTUNE of ever coming back here - do us all a favor and just don't. we need a wake up call, sure. and we need to really dig deep and find the roots of all these evil things that are country is going through. but sweeping destructive criticism is hardly helpful.
12th October 2011

blame it on the greedy politicians
Hey. Read your blog. Well what your saying is actually right. Manila\'s ambiance isn\'t that good...but you know why? You can\'t just rant about how disgusting and filthy Manila is compared to your Kingdom of Paradise in you oh-so-perfect-country. The reason why Manila is like this is because our country is suffering from EXTREME CORRUPTION. All the money and tax we pay which is supposed to be used by the government and president (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) are all being STOLEN. The taxes we Filipinos pay go to the pockets of the greedy politicians thus, there is no maintenance at all in our country and poverty just keeps getting worse and worse. So I just wanna say... If you hate Manila so much, pls don\'t blame it on the place. Blame it on the self-centered power-hungry and greedy politicians who make our country reputation and economy worse and worse.
12th October 2011

This is my country and Manila is its capital city. hate to say this but I agree.. I always say to foreigners that Manila is not the Philippines. Unfortunately, It is the gateway to the country. Before it was ravaged in world war II, from what Iv\'e read and seen in pictures, Manila was at least decent. But unfortunately, we got independence too early and our leaders just made a bummer out of it... Not everyone chose to leave. There are still people who has hope. In a few years time, Clark would be the nations gateway. This is our opportunity to decentralize. We have much to offer in the countryside.. There you would find the true warmth of the people and the beauty of the country. Well, with the abundance that has been given us, we have been given shitty leaders to even the playing field so to speak. Hopefully, we wake up and learn from this....
12th October 2011

to filipinos...
to the filipinos who are strongly agreeing with this guy... i want to ask you -- if you agree, what have you done about it? are you part of a group that tries to help the environment? have you written to your city officials? do you take public transport instead of trying to always bring your own car? if you agree with him, try to look inside yourself first and see why you agree with him. i\'m not saying not to agree with him, it is after all a free country. but don\'t agree just because it\'s so easy to complain along with this guy. BUT he is NOT filipino and will never fully understand what it means to be one. agre with him and do something about it. don\'t let his criticism be some kind of wake up call -- let your own opinions be your wake up call and let\'s spread a more positive criticism. for every right that we have, comes a responsibility.
12th October 2011

\"This post seems to have gone viral.\" --- Well this is probably what you have aimed for. I would suggest that you write in good taste -- be it a positive or negative commentary. With that, you might come out as more convincing to be connected with ADB. To put it simply, you do not write and communicate in ADB standard. In case you are wondering what I mean -- that simply proves that you really are not up to ADB standards. What a shame! You are misrepresenting institutions and trying to earn publicity at the expense of Manila. Go back to the woods and try to pick the bits and pieces of your claim to fame Oxford education!
12th October 2011

Convince me more...
This post seems to have gone viral. --- Well this is probably what you have aimed for. I would suggest that you write in good taste -- be it a positive or negative commentary. With that, you might come out as more convincing to be connected with ADB. To put it simply, you do not write and communicate in ADB standard. In case you are wondering what I mean -- that simply proves that you really are not up to ADB standards. What a shame! You are misrepresenting institutions and trying to earn publicity at the expense of Manila. Go back to the woods and try to pick the bits and pieces of your claim to fame Oxford education! Let me guess what\'s next -- you wouldn\'t even dare to publish this comment on your blog! Coward!
12th October 2011

Yes, what you have said are all true. I am not from Manila nor have I ever been there, but I am well aware of how backwards it has gotten. Actually, the problem of the Philippines is not poverty nor corruption, cos many countries have gone through or still is suffering from those, yet still manage to have something to be proud of. Our problem is our mindset. Because, as silly as it may sound, we are still affected by colonialism. Our colonizers have all moved on but we still live like we have to serve the spaniards or please the americans or bow down to the japanese. When I think about it, there are only few kinds of people in the philippines considering the diversity of racial influence. The clueless, the snobs, the faithless, and the escapists. The clueless comprise of the uneducated masses who don\'t bother to get informed and use their ignorance to shield them from stepping up and manning this dying country, The snobs who don\'t care whatever happens to other people as long as they can have their starbucks in the morning, browse on their ipad to post about their vacation in hongkong to their social sites. But at least, they pride in giving out 0.5 percent of their extra money to charity so they can live on their pretty lives without having to feel guilt nor responsibility. The faithless, people who could do more yet choose to just go along the flow of living a mediocre life because of all the depressing things that you see in the Philippines everyday. And the escapist, who choose to go to other countries and try to console themselves that they don\'t have a future here and can\'t do anything about it. But in reality, we filipinos can always do something. But it\'s almost everyone has agreed to think we are hopeless so we just flex ourselves with what we can. Then we live in a delusion that we are not that worse. But we are slowly becoming worse everyday. To think about it, most filipinos are more proud of a child who could do great cover songs of divas and a boxer who is made the butt of jokes everywhere than a filipino being able to export organic fertilizers to other countries. Of course I would know his/her/their names if I\'ve not only heard of it once in a brief time on TV. well, so not to make a sub-blog on your blog, I\'ll just tell you what I disagree with your blog, although I\'ll say first what I appreciate about it. I appreciate that you wrote it and I hope more filipinos would read it with an open mind and really see our problem here. What I disagree about it is your attitude on your post. You don\'t have to be sarcastic and horrible about it as you are only adding insults to injury. This is a very huge problem of an entire country who once had some things to be proud of, this is the lives of millions of people, this is our country and if you want to help as a friend, you could have wrote it in a way where it can be more welcoming to filipinos who suffer what you have suffered for a week or two everyday of their lives. So now, I am wondering what your motives in writing this entry, to at least wake the filipinos up to the reality and current state of our country or to just ridicule us and high light the shameful points the philippines has as another traveller? I think as a writer, you have a responsibility to have tact and say your opinions in such a way where it can cross many people and not appear as attacking or offensive to them, your readers, so you wont receive insults and their minds wont automatically be blocked by defensiveness. Just a friendly advise. Thanks for the good read, though. ...and yes, I am hiding behind a silly name.
12th October 2011

Devastated (in mind, economy and natural resources)
Correct. So correct. Philippines was \"mined\" and still being mined by the roman catholic church and other religions. Our population is booming (at rabbit speed) so we can puke out OFWs for the need of the world in dirt-cheap english-speaking labor. That\'s what it is.
12th October 2011

Hello :) I just read your article (I saw it in Facebook). I\'m a Filipino, and yeah, I agree. Though I\'m still quite young and unfamiliar with my country, nearly everything you said, I had seen with my eyes. I\'m quite amused by some of the comments here, especially the ones attacking you. It just shows the misplaced \"Filipino Pride\". I am proud of my country, but not to the extent that I totally defend my country for all its faults. Another thing that amused me is that, Filipinos (Reminder to the people who read this: I\'m a Filipino too) can criticize the country, they can raise hell complaining about the state of the country, but when a non-Filipino attempts to do it, they\'re insulted and called \"racist\". Maybe I\'m overgeneralizing but this is my opinion. Anyway, I hope the people who read this use this for motivation, so that we can make our country a better place. I hope that they just do not brand this article as \"racist\" or the like, and totally not do anything. Hope that the next time you visit the Philippines, you\'ll make a new and more positive article :))
12th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino... proud to be one... but I ain't a hypocrite... everything you said is true... just don\'t mind those people posting hate on your blog... I guess they haven\'t been outside the country yet... still there are some good places here the Philippines.. but yes people, we need to all get out of here just to see how far we\'re left behind...
12th October 2011

rather straight to the point. good job! worse, Filipinos may already be hospitable to foreign tourist but they\'re hostile to fellow Filipino tourists. Filipinos could not even speak English or Tagalog in other islands (aside from theirs) to avoid being tricked by Filipinos. That is the harsh truth.
12th October 2011

Thanks for the honest comment you\'ve written here. I wish your article will reach our \'honorable\' politicians who seems to be so busy enriching themselves that they forgot to serve us and our country. Honestly, when I read this, I wasn\'t hurt at all. I am a Filipino, and I live in Manila for all of my life, and what you have written are all true. As for the airport, man I hope that somebody would bomb that decrepit structure. It pains me that every time I go to Hong Kong to visit my wife there, I have to shell out Php 750 as terminal fee. WTF!!!! I am paying around $17 for \'terminal fee\'? Where the **** does it go? I\'ve been to airports in Kuala Lumpur, HK and Singapore and I didn\'t pay any single cent. Kudos to you man, for telling a true story.. Wish there are more people like you...
12th October 2011

you have a point sir
i agree with mr linao\'s post here that most filipinos are having trouble seeing the truth and they easily get mad when someone posts something like this. im a filipino living in manila and i agree that all your points are right except for the discovery suites cause i havent really checked in there.:) to be honest i like to live in baguio rather in manila if wasnt for my business here in mla maybe in the future when im financially stable i could move my family there. its always nice to read honest reviews like yours. maybe you could do a review of cities in visayas or mindanao and make an honest take on those coz ive been to cebu although its a lot like manila (coz they have an ayala center, also something like eastwood, a place like timog etc etc) but its less toxic. if you already have ill check it out:)
12th October 2011

I hope many of the government read this article since this must be one of their priority jobs, to give foreigners the best place they have to offer here in the Philippines, and it is truly sad that they are just putting more and more money in their pockets because they themselves are poor and useless people. Thus we are the one who are facing defamation in terms of our best efforts to advertise our country, I\'m truly sorry for the experience you got here in the Philippines and I hope that one day, when you come back here, you\'ll see a brand new Philippines ( I just hope that it isn\'t much worst than it is right now, I hope it gets better at least for a change).
12th October 2011

Truth hurts
I read the article, and I liked it - I am 100% filipino, and proud of being one. I am not in the Philippines at the moment, but I do go home from time to time. All of the things you\'ve written here hits the nail on the head - this should serve as a wakeup call to Filipinos... I love the article. It speaks the truth. I hope the officials do read this, it should start from them, right? Mga buwaya kasi e.
12th October 2011

Kudos to you
Im a filipino and im not offended by what you said or written. i know you are just giving your opinion and unfortunately it\'s all true. i hope this will be an eye opener for our politicians and also to us FILIPINOS! lets open our mind and don\'t be narrow minded. BE SELFLESS! Kudos to you! Thanks!
12th October 2011

Who forced you to visit the Philippines, anyway? Obviously, you only post comments from people who agree with you. I doubt if mine will get posted. But I hope this reaches you--- PUTANG INA MO. Is that COHERENT enough for you? Your uneducated post deserves an uneducated comment. Who are you in your country, anyway? God Bless your soul. Filipinos fight for a cause. There in your country the youth STEAL and KILL just for an LCD T.V. Now, who\'s uncivilized? PUTANG INA MO you can\'t even afford an overnight stay at The Peninsula (it\'s spelled that way, by the way. not the PENINSULAR. if you\'re well travelled you should know as there\'s Peninsula in major countries of the world). You complain about cheap coffee in the Philippines. Who gets coffee from the airport lounge, anyway?! DUMBASS. Your currency can go a long way. Go get your coffee some place else you CHEAPO. Has anyone ever told you you look like a character from The Island of Dr. Morreau? You look like you have a few years ahead of you. What are you 80? Get a grip. Has your parents ever taught you RESPECT? I guess not. Because probably they\'re dumped in some nursing home in your lovely country.
12th October 2011

Thank you for taking the time to express yourself honestly and plainly. I\'m a Filipino that lived for 10 years in the US but have lived in the Manila for last 12 years. I find your comments and opinions well written and accurate. I wish more people would take the time to think before they put you down. They are only denying the obvious. I do disagree that the smart ones want to leave. Many of the smart ones (I count myself among them), want to stay and make things better, it is difficult when many people it as a personal insult when you point out that Manila and the Philippines needs to make vast improvements. I hope you don\'t mind that I am sharing your comments on my blog. I hope you continue to write these honest blogs.
12th October 2011

hope
This post saddened me. And I can\\\'t say it isn\\\'t true. I do think though that there\\\'s reason to stay and make it a better place. Perhaps it\\\'s idealism but I\\\'d like to believe that we have hope...it is my home country (and city) after all and given me a lot of reasons to love it. Maybe all it\'d really take is for us to re-invest in it.
12th October 2011

110% agree... Very well said. Postscripts rocks..
12th October 2011

five years ago i would have typed a rant in your comment section(all in caps), cursing, calling you lame names, and throwing equally lame insults. but now ive realized that what you guys(foreigners) are saying are mostly true and ive grown mature enough to know that people are entitled to have opinions. i know my country, i love it. and i wont ever let anyone\'s opinion change this.
12th October 2011

Born and raise in the Philippines living in the US of A
You are certainly not the first one to blog such things about the Philippines and I understand your sentiments just because I\'ve been living here in the US for about 7 years now. But, I hope you also understand that Metro Manila is the hustle and bustle of the Philippines just like other big cities of the Western countries ( haven\'t been to Europe so I can only compare to what I\'ve seen here in the US). It has some bad areas, ok a lot of bad areas, however it has some good ones too. About the airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA is probably the oldest, or at some point the only, international airport in the Philippines, it is beat up! But I believe we have a mint condition terminal called Terminal 3 now so that probably a little better than the main terminal. About the CROWD at the airport, it is a custom/tradition of the Filipinos to have the entire family to be present when sending off or welcoming a member of the family, I wouldn\'t expect you to like it but it is our tradition and you are in the Philippines. About the hotel, it is a locally operated hotel maybe next time don\'t try to be cheap and you should try internationally branded hotels like Crowne Plaza or Hotel Intercon (that\'s Intercontinental for you) to meet your international wants. About people leaving the country, I wouldn\'t call them the smart ones. They\'re brave, I\'ll give them that. As an Overseas Filipino Worker or OFW myself, it is not easy to live as a minority in another country. But the real competition is in the Philippines, it\'s tough out there A lot of college graduates and you have to be really smart to get a job there and succeed. Now if you can speak or understand a little English and you can put up with the BS of other nationalities then you can be an OFW, it is the easiest way to earn money, now if that is what you mean of \"smart ones\" then you\'re right but I\'m pretty sure that\'s not what you\'re implying. The economy of the Philippines is not like economy of other countries that are based on stocks markets, that are for the chosen few rich so called Filipinos (Chinese and Spanish). The real economy are the sari-sari store, carinderia, bbq stand and food push carts. One thing that separate Filipinos from the rest of the world is that we know our place and we respect others place. If we go to other countries we don\'t expect them to adopt to us but we adopt to them. Some of us even treat foreigners that go to our country like Kings and Queens (which I think you didn\'t get, hence this blog) but heck, that\'s one thing we will never get if we go to other countries except probably in Hawaii where they\'ll put flower around your neck as a welcome gesture but that\'s included in the $$$$ package you already paid for. Yes you have a right to your own opinion and yes you are free to write about it on a blog on the internet however if your are trying to portray that you\'re country and you\'re people are better or smarter than other nation by pointing out the obvious issues which is by the way not unique only to the Philippines but other countries (developed or under developed) as well. I my OPINION, countries are like your house, it is just a structure but it is the people that makes it a home. It probably didn\'t make sense just like your opinion.
12th October 2011

If you come back here a lot, try Crowne Plaza hotel. Or Sofitel, though it\\\\\\\'s far from ADB. Oakwood is new so it may be good too. You may find something pretty to photograph in Cafe Juanita (a restaurant in Pasig and Fort), Ateneo de Manila come Christmas time, and maybe eat at Isabelo\\\\\\\'s in Marikina. All are great, pretty and have the service you expect.
12th October 2011

I totally agree with you. I'm a filipino myself and I agree, the city is very disappointing! It's polluted, dirty and overcrowded.
12th October 2011

Hello
I do agree with u in some parts. The only clean places around Manila would be the shopping malls and those nice hotels in Makati, Ortigas or somewhere in Greenhills. I do feel sorry with whatever u had to go through after reading this post. But to tell u something, if u come back next time make sure u are checked into those nice hotels like Hyatt near malate, Swire Ellen in Greenhills , Edsa Shang in Ortigas or Fraser in Makati if u really cant stand. on Philippines\' old hotel system. It\'s quite surprising that u mentioned in ur post that u\'ve stated in Discovery for 15+ years and yet didn\'t expect that THIS (slow net, low quality of showers etc) is the system of Philippines. I\'m a foreigner myself (Korean) i\'ve been living here for more than 10 years working as business interpreter and i never seen any of my clients from Korea or Japan complaining about Manila while their stay here in Manila (most of them stayed till max. of 3 months) I suggest if u are looking for the hotels with nice facilities (since u mentioned u are not back packer) do look for hotels in Resort World which is near NAIA, or those in Makati, Ortigas (Edsa Shang\'s one of the best), or in Greenhills (Swire Ellen a condo type hotel). If you are after real fast net i\'m sorry to say that Manila\'s not like my home country (South Korea) where wifi\'s are present almost everywhere and has the fastest speed of internet in the world. Manila may be dirty and well sucky but if u try to look around alittle (let\'s say those newly built places like Fort Bonifacio or Mckinley hills) you will find the whole different side of Manila. Again although i am not a Filipina (Pinay) i still am sorry for all those troubles u had to face. Hope u won\'t feel the same way if ur visiting Manila again by any chance. Good day!
12th October 2011

i was hurt more by what another filipino said than whatever is your blog (too shallow for someone to even waste 2 braincells on).. , if you really know this country as much as you are claiming to be, shouldn\'t you know where to get a good cup of coffee and great service? I bet even england doesn\'t have every coffee great nor every room and hotel excellent. Nevertheless, you shouldn\'t generalize. This country is not defined by a few cups or even tons of bad coffee you may have had nor by traffics or by shallow points of view of foreigners with little understanding yet has the audacity to judge.
12th October 2011

I agree
I totally agree with you man.. truth really does hurt man. I love my country, but its all F** up.. We don\'t even know ourselves anymore.. Our culture, our life, our filipino race, it has all been F** up.. Almost all of the POLITICIANS, oops I mean people here are corrupt, well, most of us are.. They don\'t give a damn about the progress of this f** up country, all they want is to gain and gain and gain more more more more and I mean MORE money.. How can I explain to you what I\'m feeling right now.. I want to cry for this country, I love it here, I love manila, but the problem is, those people who only cares about money! Those greedy people! But then again, we can\'t do a single thing about it.. :( Those who already have power are the ones who control our country.. and all I can do, is to support you with this one, and pray that someday.... maybe someday... :(
12th October 2011

True
True. and fair enough. Most people won\'t even accept the reality of what had become of the Philippines. I loved it from what it was before preferably before the late 90\'s. It even scare\'s me now just thinking of going back home and dealing with the NAIA employees. It is bearable only for those who has connection \'Inside\'. It even includes a wrong feeling of prestige, which is how the country works anyway\'s.
12th October 2011

Hi Geoffrey, your blogpost has been circulating in Facebook and i was curious about your opinion. Unfortunately, most of them is true. I can see that you are a well-traveled person and it is only when one sees other places that one can reflect on oneself, in this case, where one lives. I am a Filipino, living in the Philippines, but occasionally find myself living elsewhere. My family and friends still live here, which explains why i tolerate the very low quality of life compared to other Asian cities (never mind the first world). The non-existent public transportation system answers most of your rant on the traffic. After having experienced a very convenient life in China (i.e. catching the bus to go somewhere will take me less than half an hour), i find Manila to be such an inefficient place to go from A to Z. I see tricycles litter the place without any proper hub - drivers urinating on pavements and walls - stinking up the pavements meant for pedestrians and people like me who prefer to walk. The unregulated eateries sprouting along the sidewalks and the lack of sanitation and clean up at the end of the day make me shudder on the implications for health for ordinary working folks who need to eat without breaking their budget. Simple things like having water trucks clean up roads, regulating the licenses of hawkers...is non-existent but has been effective in a city like Bangkok where you can shop and eat without the awful stench of garbage and the like. Try surviving Quiapo, i don\'t think you will use your new pair of shoes or shirt! It is so simple but why is the market dictating public services???? I do not disagree with the need for livelihood but come on, 15 million people live in the city and how do you expect everyone to get a ride and work and live without infrastructure? People have become complacent because that is the way to cope and survive here. People escape to the clean malls, using their own cars, because those are the only private spaces that make life tolerable here. NAIA 1 is a disgrace. it is not even fitting to be a domestic airport. The last time i used it was in 2007 and now i try to avoid it by flying Cebu Pacific (using the tolerable white elephant that is NAIA 3) or the smaller airport in Clark. There is no way to attract more than 2 million tourists a year because we can\'t even handle 15 million residents in the city!!! How do we expect to handle an additional million when one cannot even fit in the LRT / MRT which is fast becoming antiquated because of the huge volume of people using it. The fact that one cannot buy tickets OUTSIDE of the station is dumb and reflect on the illogical thinking of administrators who prefer to make commuters suffer by lining up at the booth / broken down machines! The lines take half an hour - longer than the actual ride itself! Let us not even speak of the garbage which we do not have a suitable program including an incineration program which is why an open pit dumpsite is being used but no right minded municipality wants the entire Metro Manila waste in their own backyard! The only thing that make me stay here is my family and friends. If one is lucky enough to afford a car and a house, then Manila can be tolerable. If one can stay within walking distance of a hip place / mall, then one can live a convenient walking life. If one can live on sentiment and patriotism, then life is not as bad even if it is. We have grown complacent, and like garbage, once you are used to it, it actually does not smell as bad or look as bad!
12th October 2011

I\'ll have to say you were a hundred percent right. Actually there are a lot of other things you can say about this City that hasn\'t been said. e.g. we have street beggars who are handled by SYNDICATES who would also cut the arms of their men, Families who lives under bridges and sheds, etcetera. But... This is the City where I grew up, where I was raised. My mom was alone when she raised me, had a hole in my shoe I wore all my elementary life... I could go on but my point is, This is a City where I learned to TOUGHEN up, where I never get to sleep sound because you keep worrying what TOMORROW might bring, where I learned to say THANK YOU even if I\'m served with a burnt sunnyside up egg and dirty faucet water, where I kept HOPING that good times will soon come, where I CRY for losing 4 pesos. Get through all this crap and you\'ll end up appreciating LIFE all your days. :-) This City is creeping with atrocities I must say, so Ninoy, I guess it\'s time to do your part because the way this country\'s sinking, my kids may toughen up to be a mugger or a punk. Thank you Mr. Blogger sir for hurting the weak ones and striking the open minded ones) us with the Truth.
12th October 2011

Philippines - Manila - Awfully Disappointing
Request for more extra hotel budget the next time you travel. I’m a traveler same as you, but sad to say I cannot compare the development and service that I have in America to Philippines – London to Philippines o/come on what is 1200 dollar hotel in N.Y. compare to 119 dollar hotel in Manila? What is 2300 dollar hotel in London compare to 119 dollar hotel in Manila? Yes! You\'ve got what you have, you cannot compare the development and service last 10 years ago with your 119 dollar hotel? Actually I’m now in Laos for a boat festival, so what is 600 dollar hotel here compare to 119 dollar hotel in Manila? Service and facilities are almost the same in Manila. As what I have said, you better request for more extra hotel budget the next time you travel.
12th October 2011

As much as I love my country, I am well aware of the situation that we are in. I grew up in Manila and for my 21 years of existence, it\'s really going down the drain. I can feel for you, many Filipinos are sensitive when it comes to criticism, and yet these same people who backfire almost immediately after reading the first line of the post don\'t even bother to read the whole thing. I\'d like to apologize for those people who fire insults at you, for I really believe they are just going with the trend, and if they don\'t disagree with you their friends will think that they\'re some BS ungrateful person. Seriously, it\'s all for socialization. For the country\'s state right now, I really am hoping for changes, although I am afraid I can\'t see it in the near future. The government\'s not living up to their pre-election promises, the politicians (yes, ALL OF THEM) have been so concerned with their public ratings that they act upon what they think would \"sell\" and make them be re-elected in the next election. I hope my fellow Filipinos won\'t hate me for this, I love this country so much that I would still live in it for as long as I can. Never did the idea of living in another country attracted me. But please open your eyes, and read for God\'s sake! Everything is true around here, heck even with a car you\'re bound to be stressed out. Businesses don\'t care much for service unless you show them wads of cash, and frankly, I see the younger generations today as impolite little tykes. Where\'s the future in that? I may have ranted too long already, but I hope I did send the message to you Geoffrey and to the other reading this. Most of those comments you get are more likely from those who can\'t understand a word you\'re saying. I hope by the next time you decide to be here, we\'re in our former glory once again. :)
12th October 2011

I don't get it...
...I don't get why a lot of people are angry about this. Are we always going to be in denial? Yes, this article might not be the best article written about Manila (Note: Manila, not the Philippines) but it...is...so....true. The Ninoy Aquino International airport is a disgrace. It looks so old and dirty and I don\'t even get why we pay such a big terminal fee when no improvements are really being made. The local airports (e.g. Air Phil/PAL and Cebu Pac) are much, much better. As a nation, we do not care about the environment, we throw trash anywhere and everywhere, we populate like mice, and we cannot even approve a simple Reproductive Health Bill, to mention a few. Our officials are so corrupt and the church is dictating our actions, yet, we just let them all do these. We do not seriously expect other people to applaud us when we are far from admirable. We are like kids doing mediocre things and yet expect adults to praise us just because...
12th October 2011

I don't get it...
...I don't get why a lot of people are angry about this. Are we always going to be in denial? Yes, this article might not be the best article written about Manila (Note: Manila, not the Philippines) but it...is...so....true. The Ninoy Aquino International airport is a disgrace. It looks so old and dirty and I don\'t even get why we pay such a big terminal fee when no improvements are really being made. The local airports (e.g. Air Phil/PAL and Cebu Pac) are much, much better. As a nation, we do not care about the environment, we throw trash anywhere and everywhere, we populate like mice, and we cannot even approve a simple Reproductive Health Bill, to mention a few. Our officials are so corrupt and the church is dictating our actions, yet, we just let them all do these. We do not seriously expect other people to applaud us when we are far from admirable. We are like kids doing mediocre things and yet expect adults to praise us just because...
12th October 2011

truth hurts
Hi! Im a Filipino and I have lived in Philippines all my life. I have been to other countries (US, Canada, Australia, HK and Macau) for short visits and it is depressing to think that I could only hope for airports, roads and transportation system similar to theirs. We always point our fingers to politicians (im not saying all of them are bad ) but with that in mind, I think we fail to do our part. We lack discipline (or actually maybe we don\'t have any). We can\'t segregate our waste. We can\'t follow traffic rules (some pedestrians don\'t bother looking at the stop light). Though I still believe that Philippines still has a lot to offer (not just shopping or eating in the metro), it is an awfully long way to go. I hope that some bloggers will be blunt (a bit of negative comments here and there isn\'t working sadly) to shake up people maybe even some higher officials to take a look around and take action (I just can\'t stop hoping). And so I quote (or somehow) a seatmate of mine aboard an airplane as we were about to land, \"Manila looks so peaceful with a view from up here, but once you\'re down there, its chaos!\". I agree.
12th October 2011

My sentiments exactly
Excellent post! It\'s funny how some people get all angry and defensive about the truth. But as for Cebu, it\'s a shit hole; I\'d say don\'t ever encourage anyone to go there. I\'ve been all over - Cambodia, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and the provinces of these countries. Cebu is definitely the WORST ever place I\'ve ever been in my life. It is just so bad, it\'s indescribable. I grew up in the Philippines but it was only several years ago that I travelled to other countries (to study and travel). I have to say, I never saw how bad Manila was until I came back. It\'s a filthy, disgusting place with so many crimes you are afraid of your safety every time you go out. I live in Quezon City and although my area has \"improved\", there used to be dead rats (careful where you\'re walking), rabid dogs, cats who eat from garbage bags thrown on the streets. People also pee on the walls, etc so it stinks near foot bridges. The whole of Manila is pretty horrible and so many squatters who throw their crap (literally) out on the waterways.
12th October 2011

i hate to admit that Philippines economic growth is depressing more because of the kind of power hungry leaders we have.,its sure is a wake up call for us. but think of it maybe other countries comfort rooms are clean because they are still new!,.wait for another 15 or more years and write another blog about it!,.
12th October 2011

We Can Do Something About This
I completely understand how you feel. As a Filipino, I have dreamed that one day the Philippines, Manila in particular, shall prosper like our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. It breaks my heart that we (the Philippines) have been lagging behind in terms of development. I do believe that the country has enough resources and enough manpower to bring back the luster we once had. I think what the country needs is a change in attitude and perspective on things among its people. I can ramble about what my theory (don\'t get me wrong, I\'m not a researcher, I\'m just a mere observer) on why the country is in \"shambles,\" but that wouldn\'t do any good. Why? Because I do not want to give the criticizers something to rant about but instead I want to challenge them. I challenge them to adopt one poor community in the country and turn it into a productive, sustainable community. I challenge every Filipino who\'s sick and tired of hearing negative comments about the Philippines, let\'s all work together rebuild our country, and make it the number 1 country in the world. Believe me, it is possible. For those who share my advocacy, but do not know where to begin, I could give you an idea on how to go about it. We are currently working with Gawad Kalinga communities, a small barrio in Nueva Ecija, and starting a new project in Navotas.
12th October 2011

I do agree about what you wrote regarding about how everything looks exactly the same and \"deteriorated\". I\'ve been out of the countr only for two years and when I came back I was in shock to see the whole place still looks the same only it\'s old and all the prices are doubled. Now to make this comment more interesting... I\'m not talking about Manila, I\'m talking about Cebu. So now you know it\'s not only Manila but its spreading all over the country. I feel like Philippines is becoming Cambodia during the Khmer Regime. I just couldn\'t believe and I\'m having a hard time accepting the fact that I\'ve awaken to my senses and seeing that everybody here are just complacent with what they get and it\'s a real shitty condition. The worst is... I thought Philippines was better but I guess I was blinded back then.
12th October 2011

We grew up in manila, but had my roots in the province. Honestly, i love my province, and if not for the work i currently have in this hell hole city, i wouldnt be here. My relative had gone to abroad mostly in US and Middle East. Reason, off course less opportunity for Filipino\'s , it has always been like this. Filipino\'s have been migrating to other country for decades , because lack of opportunity here. How can we have an opportunity here , we have an ugly city. Stop being so vain and proud of this city. We have been blaming government (ni tayu walang macontribute, mga basura natin di natin alam ayusin.) even us we cant contribute, even our getting rid of our garbage is a problem to us. At sa mga nag abroad I feel you, the reason I dont leave is a simple case of PRIDE,... pride that we can still make this beautiful. FYI, I practice seggregation of my garbages, i recycle that needs to be recycled. And I dont buy IPhone because i find it cute. La ka na nga pambili at pang kain bibili ka p ng IPHONE.
12th October 2011

People commenting here (positive or negative) are missing the point. People should acknowledge that there is something wrong in their own backyard and not introducing the other parts of the house to divert from the wrong part. Try to solve it and not hide from it. Don\'t bet on politicians changing for the better. They didn\'t spend millions of pesos to win a political seat for an annual salary that\'s no where near what they spent during elections. Don\'t bet on this to be on the media either. We can only get lucky. Wake up people. Philippine politics is about return of investment. It\'s not about public service anymore. Just lookup Efren Penaflorida on google. He is no politician but he\'s doing true public service. Contrast that with DPWH and their \"edited photo fail\" showing that they are really working but not really. Check youtube videos about this, they\'re hilarious. You can read other corruption stories and you will not finish reading those for a year (maybe exaggerating but you get my point). This is a moot point since the people on power can just shrug this off and carry on their \"normal\" deeds but since you are an outsider, then I think that my time invested on writing this reply is well worth it. Unless people like Efren runs for public office, I will never waste my time voting for anybody. Philippines will continue to have actors, boxers, cronies running and winning public office coz thats how Filipinos vote. They vote for who is popular and not about achievements. Too many illiterate people win votes for popular figures. As you can see, the educational system in the Philippines is intentionally left as it is for reasons stated above. If all Filipinos are educated and literate, I don\'t think our current President would have won the election nor Erap nor Cory. How I wish Cebu was a separate country from Manila. I bet I wouldn\'t have left Cebu for an overseas job. There is no hope when the whole of the Philippines is ruled by Manila. The country is just too big. Comparing to Singapore, it is successful not only because it is small but the leadership is about public service. I think Cebu will prosper if it is independent from Manila and so does the rest of the places in the Philippines. Vote for an independent Cebu....
12th October 2011

hamham
this is a great article. hamham
12th October 2011

Hoping...and acting on that hope.
First of all, may I say this to all those \"holier than thou\" who cannot say more than invectives at the blogger, Mr. James: PUHLEASE!!! Enough with the hypocritical, \"false patriotism\" (as AJ Linao said). Take off the beer goggles and try to be objective. The blogger was just voicing out his opinion regarding MANILA as he sees it. Try to understand. As for my two cents: I do completely agree with you 100%. I am Filipino, but I have lived in Metro Manila only since 2003 (but moved out again in \'07, but came back in \'08). If I may say so, the city as a whole is indeed a sh*thole. No need to reiterate what was already posted in the blog, and berate those who have posted useless comments, may I just say this: YES, Metro Manila needs improvement. YES the government as a whole is definitely caught up in its own affairs, and is not governing at all. But what do YOU, as an inhabitant of this city, plan to do about it? Here are some suggestions: 1. Please, please, please DO NOT throw your trash indiscriminately. I have seen everything from candy wrappers to PET bottles (mind you, the 1.5 L sized ones) out the car window, jeepney window, tricycle, and people expect that someone is going to pick it up for them...and then complain that the government has not picked them up, and as a result, the streets flooded because of heavy downpour. 2. Please, please, please be courteous to others. Case in point: a lot of people take a whizz in the restroom, and cannot aim (I\'m a guy). Come on!!! If you use the actual bowl (instead of the urinal) and you miss, please wipe your own mess. I have been to my fair share of public restrooms (from malls, to gas stations, to office restrooms!!!), and they absolutely rank!!! It\'s not that hard. The same goes for eating at restaurants and fast food joints. Please wipe the table with some extra napkins, especially if you have spilled gravy and grains of rice on the table. Why do you always expect the waiters or whatnot to clean up after you. It ain\'t that hard. Wipe the table, put the trash on the tray, dispose of the trash PROPERLY. 3. The horrible traffic, a couple of things: a. For those who are about to embark on the quixotic chaos that is driving in Metro Manila, please take driving lessons and KNOW what the RULES are. They are not SUGGESTIONS! b. For those who already have their licenses: please, please, please DRIVE PROPERLY! Yes, trucks, buses, jeepneys, tricycles and \"pedicabs\" are absolutely horrible drivers and should be penalized (and taught how to DRIVE PROPERLY), but that DOES NOT EXCUSE the private owners (the majority of whom I assume are reading this blog) from driving like nincompoops. You should know better. - The lanes are there for a reason, the leftmost lane is for passing, the shoulder isn\'t. There is a LITANY of things that I can jot down. However, I think for such a devoutly Catholic country, a lot of people FORGET what Jesus said: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. Would you want others to just throw trash indiscriminately in your own backyard? NO!!!! Would you want others to cut in front of you while lining up? NO!!! CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU! To Mr. James: thank you for this blog and for saying things as you see them, and I hope more people can pull the wool off of their own eyes.
12th October 2011

I am a Filipino and like AJ, I admire you for your honesty. As much as it pains me to read your article (the truth hurts...), I can honestly say that everything written here is the truth. I know right now you are receiving a lot of flak from other Filipinos because of this article but I guess you can\'t really blame them. Some of us are really overly sensitive to this sort of thing. Anyway, I hope if ever you come back to visit Philippines again, your point of view will change. I just hope also that by then, our country has improved.
12th October 2011

Indeed
Awfully disappointing indeed. I hated the billboards last time I went home. Of course, you have your usual beggars at the arrival area at NAIA. One thing though, Asians are NOT the most racist people in the world. Your circumstances might lead you to think so but I can pretty much say the same thing bout any group of people. Let\'s not get into stereotyping, dear sir. Rather, idiots are the most racist people in the world. While places frequented by non-locals have stagnated or sunk, some places (like my neighbourhood) have actually improved. It\'s still dangerous I hear but at least we got good roads nowadays (and sidewalks). And yes, internet\'s really slow.
12th October 2011

I love my country dude! Olrayt pare! What you said are all true! I am not against it. Its Olrayt pare! the traffic! Ohh how I missed traveling for 3 hrs in Ortigas during rush hours while I could easily cross the span of it in 30 minutes during Sunday mornings! You bet... Olrayt pare! The street foods! Yeah have you tried the isaw? Or the tokneneng? Or this food up in Antipolo called the buchi where you need to wrestle everyone just to dip your stuff to the vinegar bottle or the sauce bottle while everyone is trying to do the same... Yeah olrayt Pare! Ohh how I missed my friends down in St Andrew\'s Farm where we enjoyed drinking top naked in the streets at night and whistle at young & lovely girls as they pass by! Makes me wanna... Olrayt pare! Ohhh the pollution! No one can ignore the pollution in the air! It makes the money spent on clothes seem well spent! See other people use clothes for flair! Such bullshit lies huh! Clothes for me... They are invented for protection!!! And that is what we use our clothes for, to protect our body from the environment! And how I define pollution?... Its too much of something that has no use and are becoming unlikeable... Just like snow or rain or insults on this blog, when they are too much, they become useless and unlikeable... Which is why they use Thick clothes, for protection (this is for the snow)... Hehehe Olrayt pare! Philipinne Christmass... I bet my ass they are the best! Have you tried experiencing christmass in the Philippines Pare? Its like... OLRAYT! YEAH PARE! Hey Manila is disappointing... so true! But it is only disapointing because you are not used to it. I bet you have been pampered and spoiled. I can only imagine how you used your money to buy the comfort you are having now. But you know... Pare I do not care what they did to you there! I could only laugh of your misfortune! You failed to enjoy what is there to be, because you cannot imagine how you should have lived your life if you were a Filipino in Manila. There is beauty to it that you can never understand, because you do not know how to see it like we filipinos do. You know how I read between the lines of what you wrote here? As a filipino, I read how awkward you would be to live in my town, how weak you are when exposed in my environment, how pathetic you can be without room service, and how lame you can be without your money. Too bad you are not a Filipino... Because us Filipinos can say Olrayt pare even in the worst possible condition! Hope you agree if I say, the reason why poverty, corruption, typhoons and bad room service are given to us filipinos is because we can handle them all. If it was given to you I bet you will crumble because you are weak! I love the Philippines! I love Manila! The very sound of saying Manila is pleasing to my ears already. Olrayt Pare!
12th October 2011

That's the problem with most westerners like you. You whine when you cant afford nice things. You can whine just by the weight of your tongue in your mouth.
12th October 2011

as a filipina, i agree with what you said about our capital city, we need to change many things about it but it is really difficult to start just because of financial corruption that\'s happening with our government, people don\'t even focus on cleaning it up just because they\'re preoccupied with surviving and keeping their family alive with just a little amount of money, you haven\'t even seen the other parts that are way worse than manila. yeah i do see your point but degrading our country through public media just hurts more, and it doesn\'t help making us feel embarrassed about our country. it just puts filipinos into a position that would just make them crawl back into a hole and be ashamed of it. If you also think about it, we have distorted and abused many of out natural resource just because of a high demand from the west, wanting philippines to be a great vacation place. anyways, just think about what lies beneath what you see. we cant make everyone happy.
12th October 2011

the truth hurts
Filipinos get offended when they are criticized, instead of waking up to improve our lot, we get defensive and expect the whole barangay to defend the country in the name of national pride. but no less than our national hero wrote about these social and political problems in his novel El Filibusterismo. what our hero saw as problems a century ago is still ongong, no improvement at all. your opinion is a rude awakening but the government and country will still be the same given the next century.
12th October 2011

the truth hurts
Filipinos get offended when they are criticized, instead of waking up to improve our lot, we get defensive and expect the whole barangay to defend the country in the name of national pride. but no less than our national hero wrote about these social and political problems in his novel El Filibusterismo. what our hero saw as problems a century ago is still ongong, no improvement at all. your opinion is a rude awakening but the government and country will still be the same given the next century.
12th October 2011

I respect your opinion and really appreciate your comments about this part of Philippines. Don't worry, even us Filipinos have been crying out loud for the government to see these things. Sad to say that out of millions of people paying huge taxes, overseas remittances, etc...politicians are just focusing on corruption. That's the reality..I would rather say that I choose to be in another place to live in and just be a visitor of Philippines..that is being real than be told as Fake Patriotism.. opinions are always open :-)
12th October 2011

Your blog is disappointing specially to the hotel you stayed, NAIA management, but basically has some truth to it. I am a Filipino by birth, now living in the USA. Whenever I visit the Philippines, almost every year, I stay away from the busy streets of Manila and suburbs. Not only will I be disgusted of the traffic, but also the poverty which could be seen by just driving along the main streets. Yes you are right to say go to the far flung places of the Philippines and you will enjoy it more. I stay in the City of Batangas, no pollution, traffic not so heavy. beautiful beaches to go, and most of all nice people. If only we took care of our land and resources, Hawaii is nothing compared to the beauty of the Philippines. Hope, all is not to late for change.
12th October 2011

shades of truth
Manila is indeed congested. I am from Camiguin Island...nothing like it. You should visit one day. There are thousand other islands that has kept its natural beauty. I have traveled Europe. Canada. Carib. South America. Every country has both positive and negative aspects including your very own motherland. However people will always be affected with negative comments. If you really want change, maybe direct it to the right channel. I live now in the USA most of my adult life, I have to say, I am more proud being Filipino. History has shown, we are survivors. Now that the world is facing economic meltdown, they are looking at the Philippines..for we are the richest nation in natural resources, gold, silver, copper, etc. As the saying goes about the golden rule, the one who owns the gold rules. While Britain still wallows in its heritage, and America facing its downfall... the Philippines will always emerge as that little shine of hope in Asia...yes still the pearl of the Orient seas. But the proud will be humbled and the humble exalted...it is written in the Bible.
12th October 2011

Well Said!
I don\'t normally comment on write up,but you caught my attention.I totally agree with all you said,spot on.Thank you for having the guts to expose the negative aspect of the place, and it\'s hard for most Filipinos to accept the fact,but I hope this will at least led the way for the politicians to get thier act together and do something.
12th October 2011

Well Said!
I don\'t normally comment on write up,but you caught my attention.I totally agree with all you said,spot on.Thank you for having the guts to expose the negative aspect of the place, and it\'s hard for most Filipinos to accept the fact,but I hope this will at least led the way for the politicians to get thier act together and do something.
12th October 2011

Well Said!
I don\'t normally comment on write up,but you caught my attention.I totally agree with all you said,spot on.Thank you for having the guts to expose the negative aspect of the place, and it\'s hard for most Filipinos to accept the fact,but I hope this will at least led the way for the politicians to get thier act together and do something.
12th October 2011

Give it another chance :)
Well, I couldn\'t blame you for hating the Philippines based on your experience with NAIA and Discovery Suites. True that NAIA is falling apart and we, Filipinos, are the ones already complaining about the its current state and continues to question why no one has taken the step to renovate it. *Sigh* As for your hotel stay, I personally haven\'t stayed in Discovery Suites, but next time you come back in the Philippines, I do recommend you stay in hotels that are near the airport (along Roxas Boulevard) to avoid traffic going and from the airport such as Midas Hotel, Diamond Hotel or Pan Pacific Hotel that offers basically the same rate as Discovery Suites. Well, maybe next you do come back, try to go out a little. Ask a Filipino employee in ADB what are the best places to hang out in Manila and hopefully you might say that Manila is not a bad place after all.
12th October 2011

Racist Blog? No, none of this sounds racist to me? However...
Agreed with your comments, including the "disappearing" city one. "Disappear" can happen, although for Filipinos this is a very hard one to confront - "disappear" as in vaporize, vanish, as if they never mattered. If you look at history, cities do disappear, and the reason is 99% mostly due to unabated corruption, and people who allow themselves to be corrupted upon! I do not find your comments racist at all. I figured if you were racist, you wouldn't travel to Asia in the first place. You probably like it just enough to write a truthful blog, and risk the deluge of hate mail. And it is true, parts of Asia are racist, "ask the Chinese what they think of the rest of the world." They view the outside world with distrust and do business mostly with each other. Nothing racist in your blog, just too brutally frank.
12th October 2011

Hi! I\'ve lived in Manila all my life and while your blog makes me sad and frustrated, I can honestly see where you are coming from and why I cannot tell you that you are wrong because I believe that you are right. People in authority and have the power to change the nation are not keen on effecting any change for their own selfish reasons. It\'s going to take a while for us as a nation to make things better and everyone, every one of us, has to do our part. However, I am not sure if I want my 2 children to grow up here anymore. We have an opportunity RIGHT NOW to be like the \"smart ones\" you have mentioned in your blog and this article of yours actually just made it a lot easier for my husband and I to move towards being like the \"smart ones.\" The decision to uproot is not easy because we have a fairly comfortable life here. Aside from a very good job, we have a business to leave behind should we really push towards leaving Manila. However, seeing what life can be outside the Philippines makes me want to bring my children there. I know there is always hope for us....but I am sorry that I do not want to gamble on my children\'s future here. The opportunity has presented itself now and is just waiting for us to take it....for whatever it\'s worth, I do commend the truthfulness of your blog and I do hope it reaches everyone (Filipinos here and every part of the world) so that we can all do what we can to help the Philippines.
12th October 2011

I\'m a filipino, i\'ve lived here all my life, and what you posted is sadly true. I\'m afraid what you\'ve seen is going to be here for at least 5 more years, our current president is a joke and would rather play computer games. I\'m sure his men have read this but i doubt if anyone is going to lift a finger to do anything about it. Don\'t get me wrong, I love my country but I am disappointed myself on what it has become. So many crooks in the government.
13th October 2011

If you are not informed
FYI: Gaijin in nihongo means foreigner, which you are, if you\'re not a citizen of the country. I agree with most of your points in the article. Hopefully people will take all these as points for improvement and not an insult to our country. It\'s just that your choice of words have provoked a lot of Pinoy readers -- dump, disgrace, etc. As for the smart people wanting to leave -- those who stay find that there are more important things than money and luxury that the greener pastures offer. Choosing to stay in our country does not make us the opposite of smart. We have just come to realize that our country is worth saving, and by staying in the Philippines, we are doing our part. Sad to say that you won\'t understand this because you\'re looking at the country from an outsider\'s point of view. I hope that you\'re next visit will be better. Maybe try to check agoda.com for hotel reviews before checking in hotels to get your money\'s worth. And hopefully, try to look at the city in a more positive light.
13th October 2011

I totally agree with your post but what you have said is a bitter reality none of us Filipinos would love to read, hear and accept. In fairness, the Philippines by itself is a blessed country in terms of natural resources but people-wise, wrong people migrated and inhabited this island. What the country is now is a product of what we Filipinos made out of her-- our choice. I guess most of us knows the problem but none wants to take responsibility and solve it. The worst thing is, no one dreams big for the country.
13th October 2011

Agree
Your point is well taken. Manila is in such a bad shape, I myself ( as a Filipino living abroad ) do not recommend a tourist to visit it. It is shameful, yet true. If you come back again, please try to visit the neighboring islands instead. Bohol, Palawa, Boracay and northern Manila. Those are worthy place to visit, clean, and friendly people. Though Hotels might not be 5 stars, at least they provide what they can in service and amenities. Thank you for your honest post, and please do visit the Philippines again.
13th October 2011

Man ive been traveling like you too, i dont stay in a 100USD++ room but in a more suitable one.. but i think every country has its own up and down, dirt and slums.. NAIA? sad but true i definitely agree, but you talking about Manila in general that its drab and dirty? thats unfair! you\'ve seen hotels but have you been to our new malls? new hang out places like Alabang, Libis, the fort area and SM mall of asia? i\'ve been to 22 countries already i think what we have here could could fairly outshines what other countries dont have. Donald Trump partners with Century properties to build high rise condotels here now, aseana village is being build along macapagal with plans of making it a new Las Vegas area in south east asia with new F1 track. i know this because i bought 2 condo units in that area, the construction and developments are going on. I think you should open your eyes a little bit more coz ive seen so much changes in my beloved Manila for 15years,.some are good and some are bad but that\'s how a country slowly rises from corrupt government, well at least most of us communicate well?at least, we are hospitable enough to accommodate you? at least for 15years your 119$ rm is still there :).. why prolong the agony, dont come back here im sure we are not going to miss you..
13th October 2011

Nakakalungkot pero totoo (Sad but true)
If Jose Rizal is alive right now he\'ll definitely regret sacrificing himself if he witness the current situation of his beloved country (forget the people, he knows their indolent). He'll think he should have lived longer and write more books that would fill a library or probably commit suicide knowing it is hopeless. Hearing Pinoy kids hardly speak their local language because their social climber parents thinks its \"Sosyal\" ehk! ang Lansa. WAKE UP!!! hopeless... p.s Pinoy's today are focusing on getting their new SLR cams, latest iphone, Fashionistas whatever... having these materials wont make our country look better. (the gadget looks good but you still look st*p!d). :D
13th October 2011

I was born and grew up in manila, till my 20s. Its true, It was beautiful then, not too crowded...less traffic and the MIA (manila international airport) then was really nice. You are right too say that after 20 yrs, nothing changed. And I wonder why the food in the airport is so expensive, not worth your money. If they lower the price and It still doesnt taste good; then I wont complain...lol. But what the heck..I was born and raised there, my moms still lives there, (cavite city) so I will definitely go back. But i agree with you about, manila (though not awfully) dissapointing...truth is...It really is dirty...sad !!!
13th October 2011

HEY U!!!! IF YOU HAVE NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT PHILIPPINES YOU BETTER SHUT UP AND NEVER EVER VISIT PHILIPPINES ANYMORE!!!NO ONE FORCING YOU TO GO BACK IN THIS COUNTRY AND YOUR NOT WELCOME HERE!!!!MAYBE 1 FILIPINA REJECT YOU THAT\'S WHY YOUR FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS COUNTRY.... GO TO CHINA AND PEOPLE THERE WILL SPIT IN YOUR FACE...... YOU SUCKS!!!!!!!!
13th October 2011

hey! im a Filipino as well, living here in Manila. although i love my country and I know what im doing right now can help improve everything (im an enterpreneur and a part of an environmentalist group), all you\'ve said in your blog are true. and hopefully more people will post this on their facebooks, send it through company chain-mails and have it linked on their blogsites. let this serve as an eye opener to all of those Filipinos who are not doing anything to improve their country but to complain and to blame everything to other people. to all Filipinos reading this blog: Our country sucks! stop complaining and do something about it!
13th October 2011

Nice places to visit in Manila
Next time you drop by in Manila, be sure to drop by these following places, aside from Greenbelt and the Makati Business District which you say you are already familiar with: - Bonifacio Global City - Eastwood City in Libis - Virra Mall in Greenhills (this is very near the Discovery Suites, I hope you have seen how much better it is now) - Robinson\'s Ermita (new fantastic mall the size of a city block in the heart of Manila) - Mall of Asia in Pasay (another city block mall, where a lot of tourists go these days)
13th October 2011

You deserve credit...
...for stating that your blog is not politically correct and it will never be. Let\'s also consider that your entry is presented from the eyes of a traveler from a first-world country. However, it\'s natural for Filipinos to sense some malice in your post. I understand the rage; you were inconvenienced after all. But perhaps it could have been better if you focused on the solutions. What can this dirty city do to get up from the slump and catch up to other Asian cities you speak highly of? Dropping the name of the ADB makes me think that you are more than capable of at least proposing some. PS: That was a PS done in bad taste. Won\'t you agree? Too lowly for an intellectual like yours truly.
13th October 2011

Nearby Areas
And oh, before I forget, Mega Mall is near the Discovery Suites, as is the Shangri La Mall. The Ortigas Business District (which is also nearby) itself has pretty nice areas, how come you didn\'t get to go around there? Did you just stay cooped up in your hotel room the whole time?
13th October 2011

Sad but very true
I am a Filipino, currently working overseas, used to live in Manila for a year. I totally agree with what you wrote except for the DS part. The airport is a damn crap. Traffic, can\'t complain, much worse from where I\'m currently in, but definitely, Manila traffic is a problem. I\'m just lucky that I\'m from Davao and the lifestyle there is way better than Manila. Most people who will disagree with you are those who are rich and has not been to the poorest places in the Philippines. I was a heavy equipment technician before, and I\'ve been to places that you have described (rebel infested areas-used to eat with them, logging areas, mining sites, etc) and these places are never understood by anyone who has never been there. I am damn sure that high government officials do not know anything of what these places are. Anyway, I hope your blog will be read by the right people and take this as a way to improve everything in the Philippines. I\'m still optimistic though for my country\'s future.
13th October 2011

for get real: $ 115 is 115. You can get a deal at Mandalay Bay hotel in Vegas for $250 for 3 days + airfare+ excellent show.
13th October 2011

Cheers
The Philippines has fallen a long way. I say this as a resident that has lived in Manila all my life. A lot of Filipinos actually agree with your opinion, including me. They see what's right and what's wrong and do things in their own small ways in order to improve the situation in the country. But the sad thing is, these people are the overwhelming minority in the vast population of the country. The root problem, in my opinion, is the deadly combination of a damaged culture and a failed democracy. Majority of the people here are shameless, abusive, undisciplined, short-sighted and prideful. Couple these with an unreasonable sense of entitlement and impunity, in addition to a shallow form of patriotism, you get the idea. Proof of which are some of the responses here made by posters who have their neonationalist blinders on. The thing is, it's supposed to be the government to correct these, but the former lacks the political will to enforce what's right, what's fair and what's best in the long run since they're too busy thinking of the next elections. They do not want to risk losing votes because these policies will undoubtedly be very unpopular with a lot of people used to the "old" ways. This, in addition to those who are only after what they can put in their pockets… The media, on the other hand, are being too capitalistic in the sense that they're promoting a false sense of media integrity and service behind the single motive of garnering ratings instead of providing enlightenment to the people. Of course, let's not forget the Catholic Church shoving their noses into political affairs instead of just tending the flock, complicating matters. You can see how this vicious cycle of a people with a damaged culture and the government pandering to their whims and the media giving them what they want contribute to the current situation of the country.
13th October 2011

Hello! I am a Filipina, have lived in the Philippines all of my 37 years and have stepped onto foreign soil only once (vacation to Sydney, Australia in 1996). My home is in the province of Bukidnon (Mindanao) but I lived in Manila for 10 years for high school and college (1986-1996). I am now married and working full-time as a tour operator here in Bukidnon. Thank you for speaking your mind. We need more writers with your daring and gumption to get straight to the point. However, I also have to agree with some of the commenters that you were a bit harsh in your discourse and critique. Okay, so I agree that Manila has been left behind by many of the other Asian cities that used to trail it in the 80s. During my schooling years, I could easily move around the city at night without fear of violence or danger... But now? I make it a point to be at my residence (usually my brother\\\'s house) before sunset because there are so many places that are dark and uncomfortable even during the day. I also agree that Manila is overcrowded and cannot sustain itself in terms of cleanliness and organization. I, too, dislike crowds and even prefer to handle small tour groups instead of big ones because they are easier to manage. However, Manila is not the Philippines. You say you have been all over our country, even to the most backwoods of all towns, and you claim to have enjoyed every visit… except this particular one. And because of this ONE BAD EXPERIENCE, you now disclaim to even like this country. Because of the “musty”, the “unclean”, and the disservice that this ONE hotel in Manila showed you, you now feel you are misfortuned to even have to come here for simple business purposes. That’s a bit unfair, don’t you think? I would understand if you were only disappointed with the hotel’s lack of maintenance and upkeep, but to take your anger and disappointment out on the whole country, is just not right. “That’s probably worth the trip.” Incidentally, this part caught my eye. I thought you’d been around? You mean you’re not sure if it’s worth the trip?
13th October 2011

Japan Blogger
Hi there. Did you hear that Japan is giving off free roundtrip tickets to bloggers who could boost good publicity of the disaster-ravaged country? They\'re doing it to boost tourism, obviously. All you have to do is write a blog about your experience there. If this blog could obtain this much comments, maybe they\'d take you :D check out this website: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2011/10/10000-free-round-trip-tickets-to-japan/ By the way, sorry your trip to manila wasn\'t that great. I\'d agree that it\'s bad here but it\'s not the worst. It\'s hanging on somehow.
13th October 2011

Everybody Chill..Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.He got strong points. Either you accept the facts or not, you all know what he said is true.
13th October 2011

Hello, I just read your entry. And I must say, I am thankful. I\'m a Filipino. And as a student, we were taught to love our country. But how must we love our country if our own government doesn\'t concern themselves with the well-being of our country? I\'m ashamed to admit, But yes. We are blind. We believed from false patriotism. That as long as country problems would not affect our lives... we couldn\'t care less. And I\'ve wondered if you\'ve visited the City of Makati? I say that Makati is more civilized than Manila. It\'s clean and disciplined. But alas, we\'re only inferior. As long as the government is blinded by their luxury, we can\'t make moves. We\'re like robots. (Insulting to say to my own homeland, I am merely stating my opinion) Thank you very much. I hope that even just with your entry, we can wake up and change for the better.
13th October 2011

Honestly I can admit that our country has flaws but seriously do not judge a book by its cover ok?
13th October 2011

hmmmm
i am a filipino and all you said about manila is true. most of us cannot accept this fact and just deflect from the truth by getting angry. i lived in manila all my life and have my share of misfortunes from pickpockets, pollution to government corruption. most of us wants to migrate to developed countries, many have no choice but to stay but a few like me wants to stay hoping that our struggle will help our country to rise. To all filipinos out there, consider what the blogger said to be a challenge in all of us to better ourselves.
13th October 2011

When you wrote on the first part of your blog you said Manila in particular but it seems as you finish your blog still you said coming to Philippines is not a better value ....yes we may say Manila is definitely not improving but going downhill but it is not the case in some places in the Philippines....Yes you compare us to some places but if it is not too much to ask...can you please see what we have been through and what kind of government me have and the other countries you so compare us with????? We are not proud of it but we have made bad decisions when we voted for our Presidents we thought would do good for us but it seems these people were only thinking of their own good...we would appreciate it if you just mention the place that actually gave you a hard time and not my country as a whole....
13th October 2011

Haha! So true..... I also observed that.... Sadly, we asian is one of the most racist people in the world.... If you made a racist comment in the US or in europe, most of them will frown at you..... But if you made a racist comment here in asia they will laugh with you.....
13th October 2011

Obviously I am a Filipino... and sadly, I have to agree with most of the points you raised. I travel alot too, I\'ve seen most parts of Europe and I do go around Asia and there\'s nothing worse than what I\'ve experienced in Manila. I honestly havent seen much of my own country, I personally just choose to go out of the country than go around ( probably traumatized with all the things I\'ve experienced in Manila- thinking that it\'s the CAPITAL of the country.. shame )... Poverty is indeed so prevalent in this country, and I\'m hating it.. I already have thoughts of going anywhere outside the country soon as I get a degree. I gave up my hopes because even the government doesnt seem to be doing anything...It\'s all crazy now. As a youth, I dont even see myself living here for the next 5 years of my life and having a real future.. And yes it\'s very sad that \'the smart ones\' leave the country every chance they get... Quite lost atm, typing in sooo randomly, I dont even know if I make sense... But thank you for this... Someday I hope to see my own country as much as you did..
13th October 2011

Nailed it!
I'm a Filipino but I did not take offense on what you have said. I do hope the rest of my countrymen would take this as a something of a wake up call and not bank on false sense of patriotism. Cheers, Sherlock
13th October 2011

Just my opinion
Hi there! I appreciate so much your honesty, though a bit brutal, I'd say you were spot on with most of the things you said. Just my opinion, I think people weren't upset exactly about what you said rather how you said them. You said it yourself "Filipino people are quite polite", which I think is exactly why they didn't respond well to your rude comments (like I said, they were a bit harsh). Also, no offense meant, but if you really did mean for the article to just be a blog about a specific travel then you didn't really have to generalize so much about your stay in the Philippines all those 15+ years. You really can't blame anyone for feeling so attacked, especially after calling the country a dump. Lastly, I'm sure people weren't exactly expecting for your article to be politically correct, I think they just expected it to at least have some common human decency. Just thought I'd give my piece, thanks for reading.
13th October 2011

you speak the truth. sometimes it really does take a \"dayuhan\" to point out these things to make filipinos listen. the source of the problem, in my opinion, is that a majority of us Filipinos are so used to living in and seeing squalor, that the common reaction to something as horrendous as NAIA would just be to grit your teeth and cowboy through it. much like holding your breath while peeing in an exceptionally stinky bathroom. we\'ve got to change but it will take a revolution, and we\'ve got to start within our families. the practical problem there of course is that we\'re too poor to raise our 10 kids right (a law making reproductive health options available to the poor is currently being attacked for being \'immoral\'). this is depressing, i\'m going to stop now
13th October 2011

woohoo!!
damn accurate observation, sir!!! it\'s not racial, I know... \'tis an observation from somebody who\'s traveled the congested streets of manila, from the looks of it you can pass off as a filipino. hahaha!!!
13th October 2011

PIECE OF SHIT
YOU KNOW NOTHING YOU PIECE OF CRAP. YOU\'RE FROM UK RIGHT? THAT\'S WHY MANNY PACQUIAO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF RICKY HATTON BECAUSE YOUR RACE IS FULL OF FAGS LIKE YOU.
13th October 2011

Hi, I\'m a resident here down south and I usually go to Manila since I was a kid but now I rarely go there because I\'m now a busy dude. You know your blog makes sense and to me, I think, you have a positive character and the negative part is that you just expressed what you have experienced. I think you are a not a racist but rather more opinionated. What you wrote in your blog was true and I appreciate it, though I felt sorry for what I read and me too is disappointed about our country\'s status. Somehow, I\'m glad that I wasn\'t born in Manila but I\'m so glad that I was born Filipino. We may not be rich but majority of us are pious and I firmly believe that our God is guiding us through all the way regardless to the attitude of some fellow countrymen.
13th October 2011

Chasing Shadows...
If you\'re looking for reasonable and polite comments to publish, you would have written your blog in a more reasonable and polite manner.Do you really think calling people illiterate, or calling a certain city a dump would earn you some good feed-backs?There is such a thing as constructive criticism.If you have a certain care in your heart for these places that you pass by for business or leisure,at your level of intellect, try writing something more people would concur with in a sympathetic, \"look for a remedy\" kind of way.Writing all these harsh things you call truth does not/will not change anything.I suggest you write to the President of the Philippines and maybe, just maybe he will do something about it.It is a long shot, but it\'s worth it.I think diverting all that energy you\'ve already exerted despising the place into something positive would have better results.Better than having people call you a racist fag right?-By the way, I am Jean, 20 year old filipina college student/varsity swimmer here in Berlin.
13th October 2011

What you say is so true. I come from 1 of the provinces of P.i, came to Manila for education. I was expecting a cleaner place, people who are more civilized, have a good grasp of English.. all I had were lots of poop bombs, pee, roaches, etc on the floors..., like I never left province; people can be really rude, they laugh at you even for trying to use the correct pronunciation (in classes even!), they laugh at you for knowing how to speak other local languages other than Tagalog. It is sad that everyone is in denial, and when you point out their mistakes, they get so pissed at you. (+) The more rich they are, the more correct/right they become. I just don\'t get it.
13th October 2011

i found your article through friends on facebook who, like me, all agree that this should be treated as a wakeup call instead of a racist/hater article. people are now buying houses in provinces to escape the traffic, pollution, garbage, and other problems over there. the thing is, the government, which should be the first one to notice these things, would give you a hundred reasons why things are the way they are, instead of doing something about it. and then they\'d forget about it after the next tabloid news comes up. also, your post script made me laugh because it\'s so true. :)
13th October 2011

\\\"Eh p*ta pala \\\'to!\\\" \\\"Racist!\\\" \\\"T*ngina nito a!\\\" Initial reaction. Any Filipino would disgrace you because of your article title. I was, those were my reaction also. But as I finished reading your entry, I felt no anger nor want to condemn you for sharing to the world, your whinges about our country. You were disgusted by the awful services and low -- lower than basic -- standards of our establishments and you were just a visitor. Have you ever imagine how we, Filipinos -- who were born, raised, and are still living here -- feel about our own economy? Pure shame. Many foreign visitors have written and spoken about their experiences and opinions about the Philippines. There was this Korean student who wrote an essay on how Koreans envied Filipinos because of our [then] wealthy status (see http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=76351714377&topic=9351). There was this ambassador who thinks foreign visitors visit our country for the Filipina b*tches and not for the Philippine beaches (island \\\'humping\\\', yeah, we got 7,107). Our cries and complaints about our government only fell on deaf ears. It is really despressing how Singapore and Korea have outrun us from the top slot when we have all the advantages: English competency, pristine islands, and talented-passionate-hardworking people. Greed, discipline, and love for our country have been hindering us from the growth we have been aiming for. The Korean student was right. It is also unfortunate to see how most of your Filipino \\\'commentors\\\' (I, included) agreed to the content of your article. But I just want you to know that Iam one of those honest Filipino tax payers who are helping our country to improve. I just dont know where all our efforts went. (Oh look, another plunder case filed for ex-Pres Gloria Arroyo today. Great!) I believe though that it is improper for a Filipino to say \\\"Thank You\\\" or \\\"Sorry\\\" to you or to your post (because your article is additional bad points for us). Lest, I respect your post and I share most of your sentiments. I still hope, when all the disappointments are gone, you will visit our country. Skip Manila next time, we have 7000 islands more to explore :) PS Expect more comments from Filipinos. This will be broadcasted in news soon.
13th October 2011

Hurts but True
I am also a Filipino, thank you for your honesty, it hurts but the Truth hurts really but not all of Manila is dirty. Manila is a small city, but the one we refer as the capital area is the Manila Metropolitan area we call it Metro Manila. It is composed of 16 cities and one of these cities is Manila. Manila is an old city but other surrounding cities are better especially Makati City as it is the cleanest and neat of all for it is the business and commercial capital of the country. Discovery Suites, the one you\'ve been is located in Mandaluyong City and it may not be at par with Makati City. Most businessmen and foreign tourist stay at the hotels in Makati City.
13th October 2011

I Agree, BUT...
I completely agree with the author but even if Manila is THAT bad, it\'s still one of my favorite Philippine or even Asian cities.. I always tell my American or British friends who plan to visit the Philippines (and who are planning to skip Manila because of negative feedback about it) that Manila could be awesome if they had someone to show them around..Someone who knows which streets to take to avoid the bad traffic, the best restos and the coolest places.. Actually I have a lot of English teacher friends in Vietnam who go to the Philippines just to take a break from being in a non-English speaking country. They always say that it\'s soo great to go to a country where everyone can speak English and understand what they want the first time they say it..and of course having red horse beer and tanduay rhum helps! A city is not just about its airports and hotels (although, they are very, very important to a seasoned traveler) and if one wants to see signs of development, progress, efficiency, etc.. just go to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Seoul.. Manila is not for them.. Manila is an unapologetically old and flawed city BUT it could be exciting and comforting nonetheless..The next time you visit Manila, message me and I\'ll be willing to show you around. :)
13th October 2011

I can't help but to completely agree
As a Filipino living overseas for about 7 years, I completely agree that the Philippines (especially the urban areas of Manila) are in shambles. The nation used to be one of the strongest nations and now it\'s weak as ever with the most corrupt government. In comparison, South Korea was once the weakest nation...and have since then gotten back up, became one of the most powerful countries in Asia, and Filipinos in the Philippines are now selling their souls and genitals just to imitate anything Korean and hop on the Korean bandwagon. If only the Philippines allowed foreign companies to set up their own company in there, the economic status will flourish. But no, the gov\'t thinks that it has to be the Filipinos who will create those companies...but who will make those companies? Tons of those left the country to live in other countries. But you know, it\'s still home to me. Yet I\'m ashamed that it\'s been and always been a huge dumpster.
13th October 2011

Disappointed?
Yep, Manila is dirty. But you know what you've missed a lot. Too bad, it\'s obvious from your post you didn't make true Pinoy friends or your interaction is quite limited to the upper spectrum of our society , because you were (or are - still here?) not able to discover what makes Manila magical in spite of its trash, traffic and its poor facilities. Overall, you are correct on stating why Manila is not Phnom Penh etc. But hey to question why ADB is here; it\'s like saying this filthy country does not deserve to have a big organization. That\'s exactly what ADB should be doing, right? Or maybe it wasn\'t what you meant, I maybe mistaken too. I don't want to pass judgment on you. If you are in Manila or will be in Manila, send me a letter I will be glad to explain to you over two bottles of our San Miguel beer what makes Manila a beauty in spite of its problems :) Cheers!
13th October 2011

hello. i am a filipino residing in muntinlupa, several kms south of manila. i see where youre coming from. and i have to admit it\'s true. i just hope it wont deter you from coming back; the philippines is still a beautiful place. maybe we, the urban population, have just taken our place too much for granted.
13th October 2011

It\'s great that someone spoke up so boldly about these things. They ARE true. I\'ve lived here all my life and I keep asking myself and others the same thing. Why are we not progressing? Seriously, crab mentality and selfish elites (actually, even the normal and lower class people) are NOT helping at ALL. Not in the long run and not for the bigger population, at least. I hate the fact that when we see all these bad things, we usually say, \"Well, that\'s Manila\" or \"Welcome to Manila\". We should seriously stop dismissing our responsibilities as citizens of this country and throw away our inferiority complex cause we are all going to die if we go on like this. This country will die.
14th October 2011

Indeed
I have lived here all my life and all I can say is, good job, sir. I could not agree with you more, Manila is embarrassing. I, too blame the government. They\'re too focused on popularity, on Show Biz. I think it\'s really inappropriate that vote should vote just because he has more commercials, or pretty fiancees, or freaking\' better looking. The President should be someone smart. Someone who knows he can handle the country. Someone who isn\'t, didn\'t use to be, and not related to actors and actresses. Whenever I look at old pictures of it I get envious of the people who were able to live it out like that. Manila didn\'t always look like that. And maybe big cities aren\'t for your taste perhaps? Aesthetic wise, Tagaytay City is so much better. A British Lawyer of the U.N., built a house at Tagaytay Highlands with my father as the architect...and he invested a large amount of time during his stay here. I even remember what he said to us, he said; \"I\'ve been to Scotland, Europe, and almost all over thew world, but I have never seen a place more beautiful than Tagaytay.\" or something like that. It\'s quite exclusive but the place is really nice, if you like scenery and golf. Perhaps you\'ve seen the wrong places, sir? Vigan City is another one that\'s better than Manila, I assure you. Manila really isn\'t a place where one can so sightseeing. There are places here where I can be proud of, but Manila isn\'t one of them. You may need more time to appreciate other places, sir. :)
14th October 2011

this article made my day super disgusting
14th October 2011

I was just about ready to unleash a barrage of insults...when I realized there\'s some degree of truth in this. I\'m Filipino, and I\'ve been living here for 21 years, and I just have to say that there\'s something terribly wrong with this city. The traffic is always horrible, trash always clogs up the gutters, and the people have no discipline at all. One would even wonder if those running it have ever even heard of urban planning. I\'m just not ready to agree with that last paragraph of yours. I still think it could \"emerge from the mire it has sunk.\" I mean Singapore used to be in a pretty horrible state too, and look where it is now.
14th October 2011

People leave for so many reasons.. Most of them is to escape poverty. But in these past years, people leaving not because they are poor but because the quality of life is going from bad to worse for middle class filipinos. I was one of those who decided to leave. It was joke before.. that we wish that Bin Ladden was in our country that America/UN would have to invade/ colonize us.Then we would have the chance to rebuild. Start over again. We can chose the kind of government that is right for us. We have too much freedom... Lee Kwan Yu said that the Philippines is a country of forgiving people.. He was too kind. But his words resounded to me like a sledge hammer. \"We are gullible.. \" and you know what? we are poor as well. (a deadly combination). I shed a tear when I flew out. Its not because I\'ll be missing my family. but it felt like I was giving up on my country. People blame the government for its problems.. why not start blaming the people who placed them there
14th October 2011

I read an excerpt of your travel blog from a Filipino website. Funny, I am proud to be Filipino. I work and research on poverty and underdevelopment of provinces all over the archipelago. I agree with what you define here. My choice not to work and live in Manila/Metro Manila is something I do not regret. Funny that you may be more well traveled than most Filipinos of their nation than your critics. The beauty of thE Philippines I\'ve always believed is in the places of undiscovered potential and unlimited dreams. Manila is as unappetizing to me as my first stinky tofu. I first stepped out of Roxas Boulevard in my old college days. I\'ve heard great reviews etc. My parents took us there. My brother and I spend approximately 5 minutes on the bricked pathway and declared it was time to go home. We hopped into our vehicle turned on the air con and refused to move out and explore. It stunk. It was dirty and overcrowded. When you get used to pristine shoreline and wind, you feel suddenly congested with Manila air. I had the misfortune also of visiting the area for work. Aside from an architectural personal photo of the Binondo Church I vowed I will not go to Manila for leisure unless someone paid me.
14th October 2011

I read an excerpt of your travel blog from a Filipino website. Funny, I am proud to be Filipino. I work and research on poverty and underdevelopment of provinces all over the archipelago. I agree with what you define here. My choice not to work and live in Manila/Metro Manila is something I do not regret. Funny that you may be more well traveled than most Filipinos of their nation. The beauty of the Philippines I've always believed is in the places of undiscovered potential and unlimited dreams. Manila is as unappetizing to me as my first stinky tofu. I first stepped out of Roxas Boulevard in my old college days. I've heard great reviews etc. My parents took us there. My brother and I spent approximately 5 minutes on the bricked pathway and declared it was time to go home. We hopped into our vehicle turned on the air con and refused to move out and explore. It stunk. It was dirty and overcrowded. When you get used to pristine shoreline and wind, you feel suddenly congested with Manila air. I had the misfortune also of visiting the area for work. Aside from an architectural (personal) photo of the Binondo Church I vowed I will not go to Manila for leisure unless someone paid me.
14th October 2011

FILIPINO
I totally agree with your point in this blog of yours. I know that our airport here in Manila is not that advance. I totally experience all of those negative things you\'re saying. I just want to say that what you\'re saying is true but Manila is a nice place where you can meet civilized people. I\'m not being biased here or anything because I\'m a Filipino... what I\'m just saying is we Filipinos are more than what you\'re saying in this blog. We look ignorant in your perception of the Philippines. I know poverty is everywhere here in the Philippines but please don\'t look down on us. Don\'t generalize the Filipinos. We are a nice and loving people. I suggest that if you want a good stay in a hotel here in the Philippines, don\'t go to a cheap hotel. Go to Shangri-la. I swear, it\'s worth every penny. We Filipinos are educated people. We love tourists, just like you. We welcome them with open hearts. I know changes are not visible in our country but that is not because of the Filipino people; it\'s because of our past government who is very corrupt. Now, we have a different government under Nonoy Aquino. I believe that he can make this country a better one. Please don\'t look down on us. This blog is very negative and it hurts me, honestly. Philippines compared to other asian countries just like the Singapore (just been there last week...) Philippines is nicer. Singapore doesn\'t know what \"TISSUE\" is... and not like the Filipinos, almost everybody here knows how to speak in English. In Singapore, I always ask for direction, they always refuse to answer me because they can\'t understand a single english word I am saying. So please, we are educated people. Don\'t look down on us and tell negative things about us. I understand how you feel, I also feel that way sometimes but I know we Filipinos are more than what you\'re saying. Thank you and have a good day. :)
14th October 2011

Sad but true
I live in Manila, and this is what I have to say: sad, but TRUE. We hope that people from the Government read this and do something about it. But, doubtful. Sadly, corruption has eaten up the funds that should have gone into developing the country and the capital.
14th October 2011

I’m a Filipino who’s live abroad for many years. Our cities certainly pale in comparison to some of our more affluent neighbors, particularly Singapore. It’s regrettable that we’ve suffered from years of corruption and waves of bumbling government officials. But change is in the air with this new administration. At the same time, it’s heartening to see the economic growth and prosperity that a new generation of Filipinos and investors are bringing to bear. As much as I agree with many of your comments, your tone could use a little work. Don’t be surprised if you’re declared persona non grata and declined entry at your next visit by one of our incompetent politicians, though. What’s truly sad is I say that with a completely straight face.
14th October 2011

totally agree
I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said on your article. Philippines won't change or should I say will never change for the better, definitely for the worst. I am a filipino (unfortunately), but I'm not proud to be one.... Don't ask me why, just look at the damn country. Awful isn't it? or maybe disgusting to some but for me I f******g hate this place. Sorry bout the F word, it's my favorite. For all filipinos who says they're proud of what or who they are, THINK TWICE you sore f******g losers.
14th October 2011

plugging getrealphilippines.com and antipinoy.com facebook groups \"get real philippines\" and \"the AP crowd\". find thousands of filipinos who are the true patriots of this country. :)
14th October 2011

I\'m a Filipino. Sad but true. I\'m still crossing my fingers. It could be better than that.
14th October 2011

Fortunately
Manila aint just the airport. And Discovery Suites is not the Philippines. :)
14th October 2011

Hi there. First of all, Let me say that I am a Proud Filipino ok. What you wrote in your blog was very factual and the reality \"Manila\" facing until today... It lacked development, advancement, and discipline compared to its former glory (i believe it was during the 1930\'s) and to its other neighboring countries. Obviously, Manila is not a utopia and I dont think there is such existing city or ever will be... Manila is not a total \"dump\" yes it\'s not really the most exciting part for a tourist to stay and enjoy here in the Phils. but there are still some few attractions that we can be proud of. I am confident on that last statement \'cus i have foreign caucasian friends like you and we\'ve discussed things like this before and they know how to appreciate the littlest of things here. It\'s sad to see my country fall apart by the corruption of gov\'t officials and your blog is a good wake-up call for us, I hope this blog would reach a local news or something... Secondly, you got me here in your comment below: \"I appreciate your support. Obviously some people disagree, tho\' I haven\'t been able to accept any of those comments so far because they have been [insulting illiterate scrawls.] Anyone who has a reasonable - [and polite] - different view I\'m happy to publish on the site.\" You can\'t ask for respect, you have to earn it. At your age, you should know that right? There\'s nothing polite on how you described Manila and it really is insulting (although true in most parts) for us Pinoys. My point? Be a man! You see this coming when you bravely published \"your opinion\" and we saw it alright. Now hear ours. Don\'t sugar coat the comments, You gotta publish it all otherwise it\'ll be bias. After all, this is a BLOG, so it aint politically correct. Haha.So the comments will all be on the same level as your blogs. Cheers!
14th October 2011

Ironic
Hi there. First of all, Let me say that I am a Proud Filipino ok. What you wrote in your blog was very factual and the reality \"Manila\" facing until today... It lacked development, advancement, and discipline compared to its former glory (i believe it was during the 1930\'s) and to its other neighboring countries. Obviously, Manila is not a utopia and I dont think there is such existing city or ever will be... Manila is not a total \"dump\" yes it\'s not really the most exciting part for a tourist to stay and enjoy here in the Phils. but there are still some few attractions that we can be proud of. I am confident on that last statement \'cus i have foreign caucasian friends like you and we\'ve discussed things like this before and they know how to appreciate the littlest of things here. It\'s sad to see my country fall apart by the corruption of gov\'t officials and your blog is a good wake-up call for us, I hope this blog would reach a local news or something... Secondly, you got me here in your comment below: \"I appreciate your support. Obviously some people disagree, tho\' I haven\'t been able to accept any of those comments so far because they have been [insulting illiterate scrawls.] Anyone who has a reasonable - [and polite] - different view I\'m happy to publish on the site.\" You can\'t ask for respect, you have to earn it. At your age, you should know that right? There\'s nothing polite on how you described Manila and it really is insulting (although true in most parts) for us Pinoys. My point? Be a man! You see this coming when you bravely published \"your opinion\" and we saw it alright. Now hear ours. Don\'t sugar coat the comments, You gotta publish it all otherwise it\'ll be bias. After all, this is a BLOG, so it aint politically correct. Haha.So the comments will all be on the same level as your blogs. Cheers!
14th October 2011

One needed slap for the government
I hope our politicians read your post. Sad to say but I totally agree with you (at least for Manila\'s situation). The government has no initiative to address these problems at all. I know some will take your post us an insult but we Filipinos should take these as a challenge to change for the better. I hope you can are still visiting Philippines when that time comes. Cheers!
14th October 2011

Agree
I\'m from the Philippines and now work abroad. To be honest about the article, I terribly agree on everything. I recommend my foreign friends to go to Philippines mainly on the beaches and provinces, BUT I immediately would tell them to avoid going to the capital. I live in Quezon City in Metro Manila, and it\'s just sad how the city is turning into - Nothing. I love my country and it hurts that the government is full of corruption. Sometimes I feel like there\'s nothing to come home to aside from my family.
14th October 2011

I wonder why so many Filipinos, including the supposed-to-be role models of Philippine society reacted so vehemently on this article when everything, if not all mentioned, were true. Manila is not Greenbelt. Greenbelt is utopia and just for show. A good wall to hide what\'s the real Manila. Or, Greater Manila! Even Makati has its share of squatters who were and forever will be defended by the politicians for reasons everybody knows. I do not like that place. And yes, Filipinos are very racists, too. Only when a foreigner writes blogs like these that they would deny it. I\'m quite sure someone has started a hate-page for you in Facebook hahaha.
14th October 2011

i appreciate your honesty. It is quite much of a fact that poverty has never left this country. Economic development sucks more that it supposed to be. It\'s true. Manila has been an overpopulated city, making everything tough for fickle minded and greedy officials to implement rules with a certain amount of funds saying it\'s always inadequate. Manila may be a nightmare in your travel life. \"Philippines has many natural advantages and in fact a talented people who provide services everywhere in the world. But there has been no re-investment in the country, neither by the public sector (hence the terrible airport facilities), nor by private industry. People might build a hotel, but they run it into the ground rather than trying to build a long-term institution. Philippines can be described as an extractive or exploitive economy, not one where people want to build sustainably long term. As I say, the smart one’s all want to leave. \" - So true. Philippines may be a corrupt country but not all Filipinos are. People like us who are trying to make something out of our lives are just taken by the fuckin\' system by whoever instigated it. Awfully disappointing. Yes.
14th October 2011

SO TRUE. AMEN
As usual, Pinoys can\'t stand it when other people say something bad about them or their country because of our humongous pride. What\'s funny though is that the people are all so riled up about something that is UNFORTUNATELY true. We\'ve heard other foreigners say the same thing yet we close our eyes and ears to the criticisms because we refuse to believe it. To the Philippine government: please please please make yourselves useful and don\'t bother with things that aren\'t worth fussing over. Politics is not showbiz.
14th October 2011

I can\'t argue with that because that is the blogger\'s OPINION. Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. He does have a point. Why can\'t the government reconstruct these establishments before building new ones? The NAIA does look the same as before, no changes, no improvement! I\'ve traveled around the world, but I haven\'t seen traffic as bad as the Philippines\'. Traffic is at its worse when there is a police around. What gives??? In Manila, specifically, U-belt area, you see lots of garbage, smoke-belching jeepneys, pedestrians walking on the road, small stalls selling stuff on the side of the road. How can you appreciate Manila if you see this? Btw, I am a Filipina.
14th October 2011

i'm a proud filipina and i hate to admit it, but everything you said is true. however, i hope non-filipinos who read this blog won\'t generalize the philippines as that. manila is such a small part of what makes up the philippines and mostly everywhere else is still beautiful.
14th October 2011

Sad but true.
I am a Filipino and I hate to admit it, but you are correct. I live here in Davao City which I think is one of the better cities to live in this country. I've been to Manila and I know myself I'll never ever live there, even for a month.
14th October 2011

In some ways, I agree with your statement on how the smart ones are the ones that have left... I can't blame them, Manila isn't the most livable & promising city to live in. Then again, it is the BRAVE that are the ones to be applauded. The ones who even after seeing the rest of the world, how the other half lives... still return and choose to stay because they feel a sense of duty to their country. Instead of complaining, they commit themselves to action. However, we don't have enough of these modern-day heroes, especially none in the government, no wonder not much is happening in the way of progress. God save the Philippines... P.S. Asians aren't the most racist in the world, they are just as racist but a little less violent than others. "Everyone is a little bit racist" - Avenue Q
14th October 2011

People are entitled to their own opinion.
I'm a Filipino-Brit and I live in Manila. I know people are entitled to their own opinions and I agree with what you're saying and where you're coming from. I don't think PUBLICLY HUMILIATING the Philippines is very mature of you. I love Manila. It may not be as amazing as how you compare it to Bangkok but there are many cultural differences between the Thai and the Filipinos. Stop being such an ignorant prick and grow up. Yes as you've said, you're a frequent traveller, so what? I'm sure you've realized that every country is different from one another. If you think so lowly of the Philippines then PLEASE do us all a favour, including yourself; don't ever come back here. Throughout the next decade or so, things will change in this country, and you will see it before your eyes and that will all happen in time.
14th October 2011

I'm a Filipina. I'm well, proud of my race. But in your entry, I can say that it's a candid observation of Manila. Thank God, you don't generalize because I live in the countryside all of my life and just go to Manila to work. Philippines is not confined in Manila. Once you get to see other islands, you probably think that it's a shame for a country which has a lot of natural resources to have Manila as its capital city. Ours, is a bipolar country. But I stil have hope for my fellow countrymen. As for the "smart ones" who left, I don't think they're that smart. Smart ones always stay. Remember that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. I'm staying though I can easily hop into other countries. I'm staying because I believe that somehow, somewhere, there's still hope for us. Keep visiting Philippines. Mabuhay ka!
14th October 2011

On Manila.
What you\'ve said about Manila are true. I guess what you failed to mention is how Filipinos are just so defensive whenever someone tries to be honest about their OPINIONS about the bad things going on \'round here. I\'m Filipino, albeit from the provinces (somewhere in Central Luzon and somewhere in Central Visayas) and while I am proud to be one, I am certainly not proud of this disgusting city called Manila. I\'ve been living in Quezon City since 2002 for college and working here as well. No, there\'s nothing to defend or hate your post over. Manila\'s potholes, floods, corrupt government employees, classicism, and utter hypocrisy are nothing to be proud of. What irks me the most is how every time I try to write about this, no matter how politically correctly or politely, or report to some media or office that\'s supposed to be making citizens\' lives better, I get a lot of flak at best and hate mail at worst. My wish is for my fellow Pinoys to actually reflect on whether the increasing number of \"dissing\" actually merits action. WAG PIKON (don\'t be sore losers--closest translation I can think of right now). We\'re so sensitive whenever we feel slighted as a nation but really now, are you proud of our stinking roads? Our cramped trains? Our potbellied policemen who demand for extra money and roll their eyes when we get angry at their indifference and say, \"Geez it\'s just a car collision, nobody died. If you wanna fast-track your police report you should have extra cash on you\" and then suddenly turned all nice and polite when shown an ID of a news network showing I\'m employed there (true story)? Sure, a lot of Filipinos (especially in small towns and provinces) are warm, loving, humble and respectful. There are a lot of good things to say about this country. But just because a foreigner goes on to say the not-so-good things doesn\'t make him a racist. It makes us look pikon. If we don\'t want people dissing us, we should work together to not give them any reason to. Peace.
14th October 2011

True
Yes, true... I just got back from China to Manila yesterday...went to Beijing-Xian-Shanghai...and I couldnt help but compare everything. I wish my country would be the same like the places I\'ve been to. I cant even compare Manila to their province... except the toilets....and the people are warmer and accommodating, still. (For me) here but probably they would be friendlier had it not bec of the language barrier. When I was in their country I also criticizing them in my head and... I was really blunt and Im planning to blog them as well....all the highs and lows...then I checked tumblr and saw a link to your blog. I guess I shd be careful then hehehe but it\'s your personal space and your free to say whatever you want to say and it\'s your truth...not necessarily the same experience to other people but you\'d be blind if you cant see the dirt on the road on your way to your hotel.... corruption and greed by some officials eat the whole nation and I dont know when... the once called small dragon by Asia will finally rise up.... our chinese tourist guides knew Pres. Marcos and how Marcos was idolized by their presidents and their country.... they think people shd be governed by an iron fist to achieve prosperity.... I\'m not surprised if Brits speak and criticize that way. I once worked in your company and your words can really crush sensitive people\'s heart...I guess it\'s your culture and you were brought up that way and you mean no harm. I learned that people have diff culture. Well some could take it...others cant ...they shd not take it personally. I\'ve seen staff in adb shouting and bashing comments and suggestions in the conference room and after that eat together, take pictures and sympathize whenever you have problems.... maybe that\'s just it...just work...nothing personal. I\'m planning to give my comments to my recent trips and I wonder if they would attack me too...they are billions around the world...hahaha... but then again bec of the internet...we\'re all global citizens and we enjoy freedom of speech. I guess we should defend our country not by words but action and do something to improve our nation. Maybe we shd stop being the nation of talkers but be a nation of doers. Sometimes it\'s just so frustrating and we often think of leaving.... sad.
14th October 2011

manila man, you hit the spot!
everything you said was right, im a filipino born in manila, i got out of manila as early as 1997 and transferred to a nearby province two hours away by car, (45 minutes during holy week coz there\'s no traffic). manila has really crumbled down. i really hate going there coz of traffic and the rush of undisciplined people. i was fortunate to visit other countries and that made me see how awful manila has become. i think no amount of articles or comments about the situation here in the philippines will help us. i am already resigned to the eventual collapse of our country. i hope i could also get out of here. p.s. please send plane ticket for 3, hehehe!
14th October 2011

Thanks
Im at awe that someone who lives outside the Philippines is very much expectant of what our country has to offer. if you were just here to do business trips, then i have to say that i think its so harsh to generalize our country as poor and only have rice to offer. very sad. though i have a lot of foreign friends who admire our country. maybe you have looked at my home in your own perspective way, i understand, but i was hurt, knowing that you were working here since 1991, i guess you know the root cause of why our country has been this way. for 28 years, i only had visited 4 provinces within the country and i cant wait to travel around it. beautiful places, rich resources, exotic foods, and friendly people. I THINK YOU MISSED ALL THOSE PARTS. i encourage you to visit every place you can find here, maybe that will change your mind and blog about OTHER PART of our country. sad but true, we also have something to say bad in our country but, nevertheless, i will still choose to stay here because no matter what our situation is, happy, positive people will still come around. :)
14th October 2011

may i ask, if you were a filipino, what would you feel when you read this post? what would be the best attitude in dealing this kind of opinion that offended the whole nation and the citizens? if you were the president of this nation, what would you do in order for it to progress? ... and with this post, are you suggesting that we must follow and imitate those countries in europe and america? are we going to live our lives the same as what they live? are we going to reconstruct everything that is in here, those that did not altered during the past 20 years, since it is already stinky and out-to-date? are we going to turn away with our country, blame them and not be proud of them because it does not fit your standard or the standards of the strangers who penetrated our place? > i am really wondering if this is a great site for travelers. for all i could see, all the things that you saw are the infrastructures in the philippines. of course we cannot match other countries, simply because they are not us, because they are not philippines who would not want to comercialize the whole country... because we still value our nature. if you are the real traveller...and a great blogger, you have to be aware with the place and be aware what are the special things about the place you are visiting in order not to be biased or what... for you cannot compare x to y simply because they have their own uniqueness.The special things that our country can proudly offer to you cannot be found in manila, they are somewhere in the philippines. by the way, if you are referring to the place of Manila and its filthy environment, don\'t overgeneralize that it is the truth of the whole nation, for the truth of some is not the truth to all. we are living our lives here in other island, not filthy but simply. try to explore other parts, and you could see the beauty of the whole place. don\'t just immerse yourself in one part of the whole, duh... it is not the same in your place which is connected by land, so the culture and the environment do not vary a lot. but we are an archipelago, and each island has a beauty and uniqueness and a culture, remember that always so would not generalize thing. > however, you can never ever see the brighter side of our place and i pity you as a traveller. yes, we could not offer you grand hotels, airports, and all the technologies you are proudly you are proud of which are abundant in your land. but we can offer you something, something that is natural in us, something that God has given us that we do not have to alter to make it beautiful, and that is our natural resources, our nature. but since you are not a nature lover as i see it, then sorry, we could not meet your standard. you will just be frustrated and disappointed with Manila. when you are suggesting our country to be commercialized, never ever go back here coz we are not going to sacrifice what is best in us in order to follow your \"bright idea from your motherland\". i am living in an island and i am living happily and contentedly - a feeling which you and your brothers could never understand, never!!!! i will continue to raise my head up high and say \"i am PINOY\" and im proud of it. (P.S. if you will not post this, then you are a coward.... well, you are really a coward who could not publish comments which could not - once again- meet your standard. if i were you Sir, try to live life without too much standards, your mind seems to be so negative and hateful, and i can see that.) hahahahaha, lolz!
14th October 2011

i agree
As harsh as it may sound to most Filipinos, however hard I try to frantically search for exaggerations and half truth points from your blog to bash you back with, I must agree, yours is a brutally accurate observation of the true condition of the glory that was once Manila. People should stop being so sensitive about how outsiders judge their home negatively, instead look around and see why visitors are being left with such impressions of our city, maybe then we\'ll understand that WE have done this to ourselves and our land, and until such time that we realize and do something about it, there will blogs such as this and much more..
14th October 2011

What you wrote probably hurt for most Filipinos who read it. I wish you didn\'t use words that are too harsh. Unfortunately, what you said is true. Comparing the Philippine economy to those like Singapore, one can definitely say the Philippines is not improving at all. I hope with the increasing popularity of your blog post, people, especially the government, can do something about our country. Manila does need to be better. Thanks for the honesty. We needed that.
14th October 2011

funny
The country is spiralling down the third world drain to the slimy sewers of economy. and what do we do? We just pull up a chair and watch it happen, all the time being sensitive to spectators who at full sight starts expressing their sadness, awe and disbelief that what was once a glorious city and people, has somehow managed to reduce itself to this. Its Hilarious I guess thats just how it is to some of us. as that somewhat famous saying goes..\"Nobody shits in my yard but me\". oh and btw, Cant agree more to your blog.. cheers!
14th October 2011

i cannot be an onionskin to the truth
we shouldn\'t deny to ourselves (filipinos) the reality of his statements in his blog. most of us left the country because it offers nothing (except for few lucky ones). thank you for this blog. the government should really adhere to this. its gone way overboard. this \"demise\" is really their fault because of neglect and corruption and the citizens\' lack of discipline and consideration.
14th October 2011

truth
i was born and live here in manila.. you're right.. i hate to say these, but manila are getting worser.. worser because of greed politicians here.. worser because of over populated.. worser because of lack discipline.. man thank you for letting others to know the real manila... it's not too late isn't it?
14th October 2011

I am not going to thank you for your comments, as the others did. I\'m sorry you had such a bad experience, but to say that you\'ve given up and see our country as \'disappearing\' is an insult to our country. Your kind of thinking is the reason why Filipinos leave--not enough want to stay and help change everything that you\'ve been complaining about. I\'m more angry by the Filipinos that are agreeing with you--they should be ashamed of themselves. What are they doing to change things? They leave. Which is why people like you complain.
14th October 2011