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Manila for Beginners: 15 Helpful Tips!
Where else would you see road signs that threaten death, as in “Bawal tumawid. May namatay na dito” or “Walang tawiran. Nakamamatay”?
By: staff  |   Published on: Sep 12, 2012 - 7:00am


( Pockmarked by decay and distress, many say it's hard to love Manila. But once you do, once its chaos becomes its charm, and its madness becomes its magic, you know it's true love that you have for the city, baby! People are warm and kind and happy. And while we keep on complaining about the glare of the sun, we know it's part and parcel of what makes this city so loveable.

Like any other place in the world, there are things about Manila that you’re not likely to find in any guidebook. To give newbies an easier time and help locals rediscover the city, here's a list of things to expect when you find yourself on its crazy streets:


People shouting on the street is normal.
Especially on busy streets where there is what looks to be a jeep or a bus stop or where people are hailing cabs. Do not panic when you hear people suddenly shouting at your ears. "Kasya pa dalawa! Kasya pa dalawa!" Or "Sa ilalim ang daan!" Or "Maluwag pa dito!" That is not Tourette’s, mind. And that's not gibberish, either. They are barkers trying to fill up a jeep or a bus, or hailing a cab for a waiting passenger. Hide your surprise or your fear and walk away. Or better yet, laugh it out—that's what locals do.


Cab drivers expect tips.
The flag-down rate for cabs is P40. From Ortigas to Makati, you can expect to shell out about P85 pesos, which in Manila, really means two things: P90 if you have a fifty and two twenties on you. Or P100 if you don’t. It’s pretty much understood that taxi fares are rounded off to the nearest ten or twenty. Drivers call it tipping, passengers call it convenience—it is rather difficult to fish for change, isn’t it? Despite this...


... Be ready with some change.
You’ve just handed the cashier a 500-peso bill to pay for a P110.65 purchase and she makes a face, then asks if you have smaller bills. Or 10 pesos and 65 centavos. Is it because they’re too tired to count out your change? Maybe it’s something they learn in training: a conspiracy to irritate customers they don’t like (in other words, everyone).



Traffic—heavy traffic—is an everyday occurence.
You will probably experience it less than five minutes after you've left the airport. With little care for traffic rules and tiny roads—some say traffic rules really are just traffic suggestions— we sometimes wonder how we manage to get anywhere without being involved in a five-car pileup every single time we're on the road. Traffic stretches for miles on the highway, cars bumper to bumper with the occasional street vendor and morotcycle in between. Forget using main roads on rush hour, you're better off getting squeezed into the crevices of the MRT and possibly getting your eyes scratched out. Hence, a strengthened sense of Filipino Time.

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  • haha
    the article is so true that i dont find it amusing. the sht we all have to deal with, every fcking day.

    who needs hell when you have it on this life?
    Sep 15 2012 @ 11:13am     Reply  
  • chesk
    yes, the girls in the 1st and 2nd cars of the mrt are barbaric!
    Sep 15 2012 @ 10:49am     Reply  
  • manilagurl
    Nicely done.

    But don't forget the evangelists preaching in the buses, or beggars handing out envelopes to unsuspecting commuters inside jeepneys. And elderly women loitering outside shopping malls asking for fare money (why would they leave their houses in the first place?)

    Ooh, and the endless lines. Lines while waiting for the train, the fx, the jeepney, the tricycle.... Lines at the cash registers of the many 7-elevens and Ministops. Lines while waiting to get your passport, driver's license, healthcard, NBI, Police, and Barangay clearances. Lines while waiting to GET in line. Ah yes, why do Filipinos prefer to move at a snail's pace and waste precious time?
    Sep 14 2012 @ 03:25pm     Reply  
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