Death by one-thousand cuts (or, 10 reasons why Manila is a trash-tier metropolis)
As you may have read in my post from a few months ago, Paradiso Filipino, there are a lot of reasons to love the Philippines.
Manila sucks though. It sucks so, so very bad.
Here’s why. Strap in.
- It’s the most expensive cheap city in the world
How can a cheap city be expensive? Let me tell you. If you are white, everyone sees you as a walking bag of money like those old cartoons where the monocled dude walks around with a big sack of cash with a big dollar sign on it. Literally people see you as not a human being, but as an ATM that functions of bullshit instead of, like, bank stuff. Seriously. Want to know how I knew my girlfriend was a keeper on our first date? She paid. After wayyyy too many dates with wayyyy too many girls, she was the first girl who ever so much as offered to pay. It was only like three bucks, but it showed me she was interested in me as a human person. Literally, most of the girls I dated before my girlfriend never even brought money. Like, they left their house without even preparing to be able to offer to pay for a single damn thing. Half of them didn’t even bring cab fare to get home, I shit you not.
2. Petty crime is a real problem.
Have you ever been accidentally short-changed at a supermarket? Like, they give you a couple bucks too little? Has that ever happened to you twice in the same day? That happened to me last week. Two service workers, in a row, thought they could steal from me just because I’m white. Now, I have respect for service workers, and I always treat them with the utmost courtesy (as it’s my belief to always be courteous, especially to people in service roles). However, these teenage punks who think they can take money out of my pocket… Where the fuck do they get off? I mean, if it was an accident, I understand. But twice in a row, plus many other instances throughout the past few months… It’s rediculous. I have to constantly count my change, calculate my totals, and do all sorts of unnecessary math (at which I suck) just to make sure I’m not being swindled. The other day a food delivery driver stole 400 pesos from me ($8 USD) by falsifying my food delivery order and blaming it on the restaurant. That same day, someone tried to steal my girlfriend’s purse as she was coming to see me. People here are generally quite amiable, but it feels like half of them will rob you blind given half a chance.
3. Noxious smog
The air here is borderline non-breathable. It’s seriously bad. I say this as someone who has visited Beijing, one of the most notoriously smoggy cities in the world. The smog here in Manila is comparable to Beijing, if not worse. You will get lightheaded just by walking down the street. It’s seriously terrible. The Philippines is a beautiful tropical country, and it is famous for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But Manila is a shithole, literally. Manila Bay is literally so full of shit that you will die if you swim in it, and the odor radiates from the sewers at night and fills the entire downtown area.
4. Annoying pedestrians
If you walk down the street in various downtown areas of Manila, you will be accosted by countless people. There will be transvestites soliciting “massages”. There will be filthy children who will grab your arms and beg for money. There will be biological woman roaming around in pairs looking to lure you to a hotel and steal your wallet. The trannies on Tinder are even worse. They’ll straight up lie to you, make you promise to pay their cab fare, and then show up with multiple people at your house to try and pressure you into giving them money. Oh, and a bunch of old guys will try and sell you viagra, no matter your age. Because all white people want to buy dick pills, I guess? Thankfully, most of these ingrates have the courtesy to back the fuck off when my girlfriend is present. Maybe they assume she’s one of them, because their worldview doesn’t allow a white person and a filipina to have a normal relationship that doesn’t involve exploitation of one sort or another.
5. Poverty and excess
As in many other capital cities of poor countries, Manila suffers from the clash between wealth and poverty in close proximity. There are countless homeless living in the shadows of massive luxury apartment buildings. There are multiple armed guards on every street, and the malls are guarded by men with rifles and shotguns. The toll this takes on your conscience is not to be taken lightly. The sheer scale of the poverty here takes a toll on the heart. I do not enjoy ignoring children who need help, but here I find that there is no other choice. I pass out drinks to the ones who hold open doors, as this makes me feel that I am at least doing something to help.
6. Scummy landlords
Renting a place to live here is pretty fucking scummy. Every landlord will take advantage of you. As a white person, you will be charged 2-3 times the rate of a Filipino. They will charge you extra for cleaning, and make you pay additional fees for electricity. The idiot woman who is currently hosting me had the nerve to ask me to pay for cockroach spray to remove the rampant infestation which was present upon my arrival. I’ve had to refill the electricity meter myself due to her negligence, and I sat waiting for her for three hours upon my initial arrival. Landlords here, like the population at large, do not see us foreigners as people. They see us as objects to be used. I hate this feeling more than anything I’ve experienced here.
7. Nobody fucking speaks English
OK, so this ordinarily wouldn’t be a gripe. For example, in Japan, I knew going into it that nobody would speak English. However, all sources I’ve seen have claimed that Filipinos mostly all speak English. The level of English they speak, however, seems to be a lot weaker than I had been lead to believe. Despite having been educated from a young age to speak English, the actual level of English these people possess is perhaps a 1st or 2nd grade child’s level. They’re fluent, but it can be difficult to reach an understanding. My girlfriend, being a classy educated type, speaks perfect English, but her level of comprehension is exceedingly rare.
8. Too many old white dudes
OK, this is kind of reaching, but I wanted to get ten things for this list. But whatever. There are a shit-load of old balding white guys walking around trolling for pussy. Seriously. They’re everywhere. They give white people a bad name. If you’re gonna come here looking for sex, have the decency to not be old and fat and bald. OK, that’s a bit harsh, but seriously. Stop it.
9. Massage parlors that offer really shitty massages
I went to a massage parlor, because I have chronic back pain and I wanted some relief. After an hour of one of the shittiest massages of my life, this chick has the nerve to grab my dick and ask me for twenty bucks. Seriously? For fucks sake. There is literally a sign outside that says, “clean massage only”, but apparently these people have no respect for the written word. Which brings me to my final gripe,
10. No goddam courtesy
People here are still in the early stages of developing as a society. They all talk and text during movies at the theater. They don’t hold doors open for each other. They don’t know how to form a single-file line. They don’t know how to drive or how to obey traffic laws. They don’t know how to offer to fucking pay when they know the guy is going to pay for everything anyway, just to make him feel better about it. Like seriously, reach for your goddamn purse. Just once. Christ.
People in Manila are some of the loudest, most obnoxious, filthiest, scummiest people I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. But despite all this bullshit, there are some really great people here. Yeah, the food sucks (talked about that in the previous post, so it didn’t make the list here), and the culture and language are uninteresting… But at least the girls are cute, right? Fuckin’ A.
And if you think I’m being overly harsh… I am. But fuck you it’s my blog and I’ll write whatever the fuck I want.