Travel writer Paul Theroux once wrote that the best and most interesting time to visit a country was during times of unrest and revolution. It’s difficult to imagine that Sophie had this in mind when she decided to visit Manila but she is here now during a time when the country is in the midst of a democratic revolution.
Rodrigo Duterte, known for operating “death squads” to curb crime, joking about the gang rape of tourists and antagonizing world leaders as mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines, was just sworn in as the country’s duly elected president.
Yes he is a controversial selection and his methods are cruel and brutal but they have been successful in a country that is plagued by poverty, crime, overcrowded cities, and mass pollution. As a result of Duterte’s controversial crackdown on crime in Davao City, it is now considered one of the world’s safest cities.
The Philippines is also one of the most naturally beautiful countries on earth. The archipelago of about 7,500 islands with beautiful beaches, rugged mountain terrains, and everything in between is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world.
Sophie won’t be experiencing much of the country’s natural beauty as she is staying in this densely populated city with pockets of beauty. But as a true traveler, she will enjoy both the inconveniences as well as the cosmopolitan nature of such a diverse place. Sophie learned that traveling by foot is the best way to get around and her long legs make it easier than most. She learned quickly that public transportation is inefficient. Her LUC8K leather bags attract a lot of attention, but not always the flattering kind. Sophie is more than capable of taking care of herself though and any would-be robber learns quickly not to mess with her or her bags.
As always Sophie finds lots of wonderful things to do
She happily discovered that Filipino cuisine is among the most underrated in the world with an exceptional amount of variety. One of her favorite places to visit is the Seaside Market along Macapagal Boulevard where she can select her fresh fish and have it cooked on site. One thing Sophie learned is that overfishing and water pollution are problems and the government has been working for some time with coastal communities in finding solutions. Sophie is a vegetarian by nature but she is tempted by the local fish, beef, chicken, and pork dishes that are served everywhere.
She marveled at the gigantic painting of dying gladiators called, “Spoliarium”, by Filipino artist Juan Luna, at the National Museum. She loves hunting for bargains at the massive Greenhills Shopping Center (where her LUC8K bags again came in handy) and ended each day viewing the beautiful Manila Bay sunset over buckets of beer at the Mall of Asia.
Everywhere she went people were friendly, particularly children who adore her colorful skin and her equally colorful leather LUC8K bags. It was a hectic time in The Philippines but Sophie leaves with a lot of wonderful memories.
Read about Sophie’s adventure in Singapore, the land of opportunity