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Two months in the Philippines

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Two months in the Philippines

Postby Dudevondudenstein » Fri May 31, 2013 5:40 am

This was my first time traveling abroad March 19th- May 17th. I spent one week in Manila, one week in Cebu and the rest of my time was in a city called Panabo city near Davao. I did not stay in Davao but I did go there about once or twice a week by bus to go to the mall. It cost about 60 PHP ($1.50) one way. The girl I had been talking to on Cebuanas met me at the airport in Manila, this really made things easy for me as she did most of the talking in taxi’s, etc. She also went back to the airport with me when I was leaving to see me off.

Manila
I stayed at two different hotels during my time in Manila one was the Guijo Suites Makati and the other was the Eurotel Makati. The Guijo was the better hotel with much better service but the Eurotel had a much better location with a lower price right beside the Walter Mart.

My first impression of Manila was how bad the traffic is. It is not bad because the volume of cars, that seems like nothing compared to a place like Los Angeles. It is due to inadequate infrastructure and the style of driving there, people cutting each other off, constantly changing lanes causing everyone to stop etc.

The second thing that stood out to me was the beggars. You don’t really have adults asking for money a lot of the time they just seemed to be sitting beside the road or under on ramps for the freeway. The children will follow you around with their hand out until you give them money or someone chases them off. My fiancé and I had children coming up to us wanting money in front of the Starbucks in Makati. This was new to me as I am from a town of about 3,000 people in West Virginia, we don’t have that back home.

We didn’t have any trouble finding things to do in Manila we went to the Greenbelt, Walter Mart, SM South mall, Manila Ocean Park, Yexels Toy Museum and spent a day in the Mall of Asia. Manila really just seems like a great place to do business and go shopping. Not really any places you can just relax.

Cebu City
While in Cebu I stayed in three different hotels the Express Inn, the Crown Regency Towers, and the Paragon Suites. If I had it to do all over again I would have stayed the whole week in the Paragon Suites. Not only did it have the best price, but it seemed like the best value with a larger room than the Express Inn. The Crown Regency Towers was also nice but the room did not have WIFI and the 500 tourists that got off of the buses in the afternoon made it hard to get from my room to the lobby as there were always 50 people waiting for an elevator.

There was virtually no traffic in Cebu City. No waiting in bumper to bumper traffic. The only waits that you really have there is just for the traffic signals. I did not have nearly as many people wanting money from me on the street either but there was something new happening that I did not experience in Manila. People were following me around trying to sell me Viagra.

While in Cebu we visited the Taoist Temple, Magellan’s Cross, Mactan Shrine, Santo Nino Basilica, SM Cebu City, a catholic church I cannot remember the name of and Ayala Center. That is all we really got to see as the rest of the time was spent visiting my fiancés family that lives in the area.

Davao City
I just visited Davao City for day trips to the mall or when I visited the immigration office. I did not get to see much in Davao compared to Cebu or Manila. I never had anyone ask me for money while in Davao and the traffic was not bad at all. Slightly fewer cars than Cebu City and for the most part it was cleaner than both Manila and Cebu but you can still see trash on the street while driving around.

One thing that bothered me most about Davao was the smell… Davao smells like Durian and I did not much care for it. To me it smells like, and taste like onions. I would joke with my fiancé that it was the fruit version of an onion. There were street venders that sold it and would toss the left overs and the water from washing out and it smelled like the fruit along some of the roads. I guess if you like the fruit it might be a good thing.

I was surprised to hear about something called the DDS or the Davao Death Squad and many people saying that the DDS is the reason for the low crime rates in Davao. The DDS is a group that goes around killing criminals, drug dealers etc. While I do not believe it’s as active as it once was it is still very popular with everyone I met in the area including my fiancé and her family that live about 35 min from Davao.

Tagaytay
I only spent one day in Tagaytay but if you ever visit Manila I would say it is well worth the two hour trip by bus to visit this small town that offers beautiful views of Taal Lake. We had lunch at the Days Inn which had some nice views then we went to people’s park also known as the palace in the sky.

Panabo City
This is where I spent most of my time in the Philippines as it is also the home of my fiancé. It is small city that does not offer a whole lot to do. It does have a mall but it has no cinema. I believe the traffic here is actually worse than Davao due to the large numbers of pedicabs but the distances are short so it still doesn’t take long to get around. I never had anyone ask me for money in Panabo and everyone seemed to want to talk to me and ask me questions about where I was from when I would visit the market. One woman selling fruit even gave us a discount on the things we were buying.

Samal Island
This is a small island straight across from Davao that is full of small beach resorts that also have water parks, and restaurants. If you do not want to swim at one of the dirty public beaches near Davao then going to Samal Island is really your only option.

The Food
For the most part the food is nothing to brag about in the Philippines. You can easily eat a meal with tea in the food court at the mall for 100PHP ($2.50) if you do not mind eating fish or chicken and rice. Sometimes I was missing some American style foods and I would try to get something similar at a restaurant or buy the things to cook it at home and it just never tasted the same. I did become a fan of Adobo specifically pork adobo with rice of course. The fruit on the other hand is great. I liked almost all of the fruit (besides durian) I also liked Saba bananas. My fiancé would make something called Bananaque which is a cooked banana with sugar on it. I was also a fan of jackfruit and lanzones.

The People
They are some of the nicest people that I have ever met in my life. From the strangers to my fiancés family I do not think I have ever met people that care so much about how you are doing. Always trying to offer you something to drink, something to eat, getting an electric fan if they think you are hot, and getting a chair if they think you need to sit down. Always asking me if I need anything or if I am okay. They all like to ask what you think of their country. I always stuck to the grandma rule. Tell them that it is good, you like it, and say thank you for whatever they try to do to accommodate you even if you find something unpleasant.

Overview
I got a lot of attention from girls when I would go out without my fiance and when asked I would tell them I was engaged. They all asked if they could meet her I just told them I didn't think so and moved on, but it was nice getting attention that I do not often see back home. If you are a white guy looking for a pretty cheap places to stay and travel while trying to meet an Asian woman then the Philippines is for you. Ladies in the Philippines loved my white skin and pointy nose.

I had a great time in the Philippines and I feel lucky I met my fiancé I cannot imagine her treating me any better and her family is fantastic. I can definitely see myself staying In the Philippines for an extended period of time in the future. I would bypass Manila in favor of Cebu if at all possible.

Here are a few pictures, I am not much for photos sorry.

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Last edited by Dudevondudenstein on Fri May 31, 2013 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dudevondudenstein
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Postby E Irizarry R&B Singer » Fri May 31, 2013 5:59 am

Durian smells like a landfill doesn't it bud?
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Postby Dudevondudenstein » Fri May 31, 2013 6:02 am

Yea.. Before I tried it I was told it smells like hell and taste like heaven. After trying it I think it taste the way it smells. Hahaha
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Postby weiser » Fri May 31, 2013 6:46 am

I love durian. get over the smell and just eat it. Lanzones, mangosteens and jackfruit are delicious and fruits you don't see outside SE Asia.
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Postby xiongmao » Fri May 31, 2013 8:57 am

Wow, great trip report and nice photos!

If I go to the Phillies maybe I'll head for Cebu.

On the fruit thing, there are loads of fruit in China. I hate them all! I especially hate that vile Durian thing. It's very expensive as well - 5 RMB for a bit the size of an iPhone. Actually I liked tangerines but unlike in Europe you can't buy fruit here out of season. And tangerines are out of season now. But I'm not a big fan of fruit unless somebody grinds it up and makes it into juice.

I get some interest from girls when I'm out, but not a whole deal. I guess the language barrier is the main problem, I only really get approached by the English speakers.

Never get hassled by kids here - beggers with kids aren't really tolerated in China. But what you do see are deformed people and people with horrible injuries out begging, it can be really disturbing! It's a reminder that much of Asia is still a 3rd world place, and people still get illnesses that have been all but wiped out back in Europe.

I don't get followed much at all here, but again it's down to the language. Most peddlers only know a dozen words of English - walk 3 paces and they're all out of material to hassle you with!
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Postby E Irizarry R&B Singer » Fri May 31, 2013 1:14 pm

@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!
It's time to expatriate to evade your fate; it's time to expatriate before the barn door permanently closes on "US" sheep.
Debut mixtape "The Skilled Neophyte of RNB (x64)" dropping Spring 2016 - Follow me on Twitter @eirizarryRNB
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Postby ***JP*** » Fri May 31, 2013 1:27 pm

Great trip report and great photos :) More people should get inspired by these good trip reports and go abroad instead of pouting on the sidelines. All the best for you and your fiance :)
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Postby xiongmao » Fri May 31, 2013 2:00 pm

E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


Wow, I forgot to mention this fact.

One disappointment in China is that so few ladies have nice racks. My last gf had one (well two) and they were incredible.

But on the upside the last lady I met had skin that was so soft and smooth it was beyond belief. Kind of (almost) made up for the incredibly complex psychological issues!!! :roll:
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby kai1275 » Fri May 31, 2013 3:48 pm

xiongmao wrote:
E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


Wow, I forgot to mention this fact.

One disappointment in China is that so few ladies have nice racks. My last gf had one (well two) and they were incredible.

But on the upside the last lady I met had skin that was so soft and smooth it was beyond belief. Kind of (almost) made up for the incredibly complex psychological issues!!! :roll:


No way! And you are in Guangzhou too? Naw man...I see huge racks and ass everywhere there! All over the south parts really.
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Postby kai1275 » Fri May 31, 2013 3:49 pm

E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


More reasons not to show my woman's on here. LOL!
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Postby Dudevondudenstein » Fri May 31, 2013 4:10 pm

E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!
\

Hahaha, it is okay. She also knows that this is something she has a lot of filipinas do not. I am rather fond of them myself.

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.
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Postby E Irizarry R&B Singer » Fri May 31, 2013 10:43 pm

kai1275 wrote:
E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


More reasons not to show my woman's on here. LOL!


Dude! Think of it this way: we can look at but cannot feed nor touch the animals.

Same with your woman: we can look but we cannot touch nor feed her now can we???
It's time to expatriate to evade your fate; it's time to expatriate before the barn door permanently closes on "US" sheep.
Debut mixtape "The Skilled Neophyte of RNB (x64)" dropping Spring 2016 - Follow me on Twitter @eirizarryRNB
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Postby kai1275 » Fri May 31, 2013 10:57 pm

E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:
kai1275 wrote:
E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


More reasons not to show my woman's on here. LOL!


Dude! Think of it this way: we can look at but cannot feed nor touch the animals.

Same with your woman: we can look but we cannot touch nor feed her now can we???


Eh, true. lol I don't think she would like it if I did that though.
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Postby Taco » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:22 am

E Irizarry R&B Singer wrote:@Dudevon,

Your wifey has a nice rack, sir. Please do not become mad. At the end of the day, she is still with you. Hahahaha!


There's a few women with big ones but not many, I guess he got lucky. My Filipina neighbor is about the same size.
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Postby Jester » Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:28 am

Dudevondudenstein wrote: I am rather fond of them myself.


Haha good response.

Great trip report, thanks.
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