Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
That's right i'm in Manila now.
First time in Manila and thus far i've been here less than 24 hours.
Some of my superficial initial observations about the general atmosphere.
Manila is definitely visibly poorer than Bangkok. The convenience stores look kind of sad and dirty inside and out while the ones in Thailand are crammed with everything imaginable, well kept, and pretty high tech now with smart passes. I stopped by the SM hypermarket and it just felt depressing inside. The food court was the saddest thing ever.
I scoped out some of the late night food stalls near my street thinking about trying some of the local cuisine. It did not look appetizing (some kind of droopy fish in a bin) and kind of dirty so I dropped that idea fast. I saw a mobile burger cart of some type in front of a 7-11 but it also looked highly unappetizing.
I did a quick trip advisor browse of places to eat and couldn't find that much. The culinary scene seems very sparse and filled with fast food type chains or overpriced subpar foreigner joints. I settled on a burger and wings place near here and it was tasty but so so yet it had 5 star reviews, lol.
Aside from the aborted culinary adventures i've been here less than 24 hours so I haven't seen or really done shit yet. So don't interpret this as me slamming Manila or the PHI or something.
The condo building i'm staying in has a pretty nice gym though. Quality treadmills and full weight sets.
I've been pipelining girls but it seems a lot scamm(ier) than online thai dating. I have separated the legit filipinas from the scam profiles but there are a lot of scamsters, women who are far away, or CMI ("Can't Make It" looks or age wise as the Singaporeans say) spamming me. At least 30% of the profiles i'm getting are bullshit or hundreds of miles away somewhere.
Still, there's a healthy % of candidates online but compared to Bangkok so far..it's not as good IMO. However, this is just my half-assed testing the waters pipelining mind you..I haven't been plowing it hard.
I haven't done any cold approaches or anything yet either.
Talked with Mguy on the phone..very cool dude. Hope to meet him soon.
Keep us posted and keep the observations going. Now is the best time to do it as you start getting used to things after awhile.
You probably found a "burger machine." I don't buy that stuff, if you have a kitchen I advise that you cook. Don't worry about the girls we will find them out and about.
Welcome to Manila!
"So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it."
Like to read?Third World Hero
Like to see?3WorldHero -- Did he really just do that?
I haven't spent much time in Manila, around 10 days in total, but didn't have that impression. Greenbelt and Glorietta look high class "integrated" shopping districts, with designer shops, posh bars and restaurants and some manicured greenery thrown in. Greenbelt even has a nice church.
About the girls I can't tell. They're probably more sophisticated and demanding than those in a smaller city like Davao or the province, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I only have one friend in Metro Manila and she's highly educated and a great person to talk to.
I finally got around to seeing some of the greenbelt, it's decent but you can't really judge Manila just from the poshest little district. The immediate area outside of the area isn't so great though.
The lack of a foodie culture does bother me more than I thought it would too. Most countries i've been to so far in SEA have had a real diverse and good range of food.
I've been chatting with the girls I narrowed down from my list around the manila area and let's just say they have more well developed personalities than Thai girls. Thais tend to be very predictable and culturally narrow in a lot of ways even if some girls are smart. I do agree with Ladislav in this one bit of criticism about Thais..Thais really do tend to want to suck you into their cultural frame/mindset. Filipinas seem much broader in their interests and are just more open to experiences. I like that about Filipinas a lot. However, appearance wise ..Thais still have the edge in this.
So glad you could finally make it to the most talked about country on this forum. Really hope you spend enough time there to get valid impressions and make some good analysis from your POV. You've read the scores of posts on here so in a way, you already know what to expect, good and bad. It will be interesting to see where you find surprises, what's different from your expectations.
There are quite a few posh pockets, some larger than others. So perhaps when the city gets under your skin too much, you can hide out in one of them to recover. But yes, overall, the metro area is a huge sprawling nightmare.
I think you are right about there being quite a range of types, personalities, and interests among the local girls. So perhaps you can find a subset which really clicks well with you. Overall, I find a lot of Filipinos to be polite and engaging people. I feel better about them now than when I first started visiting there.
True, Metro Manila is vast and I'm sure at least 50% of the land area will be next to slum quality of urban development/life. However, if you look at it as a federation of townships, there are so many modern and classy districts, plus more up and coming ones, you won't have to feel like living in an expat golden cage.
You should be checking out Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and Taguig, or Pasig, or Quezon City. I absolutely loved BGC, it looked like a modern version of Makati.
I wouldn't forget that an educated Filipina will speak English as her first or second language, so she will be able to engage in a much more developed kind of conversation and get their message through. When in Davao I spoke to an Unicef representative from Manila, extremely well educated (degree and Masters from UP) and her command of English language, in general and on such a "technical" conversation on social policies and the role of international charities in the Philippines, was absolutely great. An excellent conversation. And yes, the girl had Filipino fiance
Yep, BGC is probably the biggest and most modern posh area I've seen anywhere in Phils. and you can really escape the Metro Manila madness there. It's the least congested and has a big long walking street (High Street). What's in Taguig of interest besides BGC though. And anyway, I think BGC is being rezoned away from Taaguig and into Makati.
Make sure to take a stroll through Rockwell which is quiet and subdued and has a nice boutique mall (Power Plant). It's conveniently located in middle of Makati and is my favorite place to watch movies.
What's in Quezon City besides maybe some clubs, isn't it mostly just a huge sprawl? I didn't find any posh areas there and its kind of far out plus transport is not so easy except for having one MRT stop at edge. The only area I go near there is Trinoma / SM North. Oh, and I think Quezon City borders Tondo on one side.
Ortigas is popular and definitely has some nicer areas popular with moneyed crowd.
Also an area which is being developed is vicinity of Mall of Asia which is worth a visit. If you go to that mall after a work day, you will likely see more attractive girls around and about. It borders the bay and there's a fun area between the bay and mall. I think it's the largest mall in all the Philippines, even bigger than SM North and Trinoma combined.
mguy may take you to Alabang where I think he stays and likes to chat up girls in the Alabang Town Center, lol (see vid he posted). It's an older moneyed district but in a more suburban location. Fortunately, there's a fast tollway you can get right on from parts of Makati (or you cab driver can).
Another escape to consider would be some of the small hotsprings resorts in Laguna to the south. From Gil Puyat LRT, they have busses which go towards SM Calumba and past there is one reasonably priced resort very popular with Koreans. Bus can drop you off right in front and trip only takes 1.5 hours on a weekend each way.
I've met quite a few Filipinos who speak virtually perfect English and even some with a very American accent even though they have never been out of their own country. They write it well too. And so many can understand or pick up on idioms, cultural references, word plays, etc. Of course there are also some who are timid to speak and will say that speaking to you in English gives them 'nose bleed' lol.
I met a Chinese-Filipina on wechat and I showed her to Falcon. We took her on a geeky tour of Bangkok's bookstores. Lmao. Now she's back in Manila and I'm still not sure why she came to Bangkok in the first place. Still, she was nice, spoke fluent English (but little Mandarin) and those Chinese genes made her look hotter than your average Filipina.
What are the 7-11's like? In Thailand, China and Japan they are awesome. But the ones in KL, Malaysia were really shabby. Strange but true.
Thai online dating is hard work as I get loads of interests from girls who live 100's of miles away, plus there are those who never want to meet in real life, ladyboys, and many bar girls posing as legit girls. There's nothing wrong with bar girls, but they're such floozies that the chances of them getting out of bed to go on a date are remote.
I've been doing better with mobile apps like wechat and Skout. Also talking to women in bars (given up with finding wife material here, so might as well have some fun).
My Filipina-Chinese told me Manila is more expensive than Bangkok. I've heard that a lot. Is it true?
Strange, I have never been to Bangkok (only Manila) but from what I have heard and read, it's Manila that is cheaper than Bangkok. And if you look at the stunning number of new residential or mixed-use developments that will be sprouting out in the next 5 to 10 years, I guess Metro Manila will look as shiny, if not shinier, than Bangkok. Of course lots of property speculation on those cushy condos is already underway, and can only get worse.
Have a look at this:
The 7-11's in Manila suck. For a franchise they are surprisingly bad which means the local license firm doesn't have a good handle on things management wise or just don't give a f**k. I'm surprised the international franchise tolerates that steep of a drop in quality.
That's kind of the opposite of my experience. I got lots of solid interest from middle class girls in Bangkok. There were some non english speakers, shack dwellers, girls hundreds of miles away, and bubbleheads too but I got no bar girl/ladyboy types and almost no scams at all. It's probably because i'm asian and the type 1 predatory types (thankfully) don't find me appealing. I think they are going for more obvious marks..ie. middle aged to elderly white guys. 99% of the Thai girls I dated from online were solidly middle class.
Yes, i'd say it's true. In Bangkok there seems to be more options available and the street/market food is cheap and good. It's easy to live cheaply in BKK plus public transportation and infrastructure seems way more efficient. There's just more coverage of Bangkok with the skytrain/MRT routes.
I've also noticed that telecom services in manila are very predatory when it comes to pricing. The prepaid stuff here sucks and your pesos will disappear like a box of cupcakes in front of a fat American girl. The internet also isn't very good where i'm at. It's not spotty or anything but the rates are capped and I think they use packet shaping or bandwidth throttling measures.
I finally ate at the famous Jollibees chain for the first time. The fried chicken tastes alright but they must come from the smallest chickens ever because the pieces were laughably small. I don't see what the fuss is about but it's not expensive or anything to eat there. I will certainly bring a girl here on a date as mguy suggested in one of his posts. The whole franchise is funny though..it reminds me of someone's high school business project where they have to invent a fast food chain.
I also ate some Ziti at Sbarros. Quality and price is on par with the U.S. but meatballs tasted very odd. Hmmmmm.
I definitely want to try a lot of filipino food when I get the opportunity but I draw the line when it comes to fried street food. It's unhealthy as f**k and they reuse that oil just like in Bangkok.
One thing I like about Makati or maybe most of manila is like this is that motorcycles don't ride everywhere on sidewalks and shoot through little alleyways like they do in Bangkok.
Chick update: I have a couple girls i'm set to meet up with. Both look fairly young and are in their low 20's. I'm feeling very low energy though. Maybe I need some testosterone shots. It's actually pretty entertaining talking with filipinas though. Talking with Thai girls tends to be a chore until you get on a real personal level with them. I also don't find Thai sense of humor to be funny at all but filipinas actually have a decent sense of humor.
The chicks here do follow up quite a bit though. I'll get early morning msgs which is cute but it's getting a bit much when I get hit up with 5+ txts before some of these girls go to work and i'm still sleeping.
1. 7s suck in general. But there's a big variance between stores and you will find some not so bad ones and bigger ones in certain areas. A lot depends on the area, clientele, etc.
2. I don't think there is predatory pricing going on with leading cellphone carriers. It's more like an oligopoly or cartel. I think its intentionally complicated to confuse visitors so the pay a lot more than they should. You can sign up for promos for like 25-30 Pesos a day and get unlimited talking within the network, 200 texts to all networks, and a few other goodies thrown in. Some people will get a phone with dual SIM and have a SMART number and Globe number, then sign up for promos on each so they can talk to majority of people unlimited. Others will just agree with all their friends to all use the same network. Another confusing thing they do with SMART is not to let you use standard load for packet WIFI. You have to buy a special card for that but many don't realize that so buy the wrong thing. Finally, watch out for outright leakage. Yes, a lot of numbers will leak load. It happened to me with one of my old numbers and recently happened to someone I know. It means some employee is actually stealing load from the number. The only way to solve is to go to one of the customer service areas, spend some time, probably get a new SIM card with new number, and apply to be reimbursed (not worth the hassle).
3. If you like text attention, you will absolutely love the Philippines. Just ask Will N. Dowd lol? I've heard that it's now the leading country in terms of per capita texting. Some of the more religious ones will even send you passages from the Bible. And most will ask you about whether you've had your breakfast/lunch/dinner, etc. If you don't have time to engage them so reply with a text "I'm busy now", some might just respond, "busy doing what" lol.
4. Around the outside area of Glorietta, they have an outdoor food bizarre (on weekends I think) with some pretty interesting stuff IMO. Some of the smoothie stands are good. There is on floor right below cinemas in Glorietta 4 which can serve them with honey instead of sugar if you like mixed fruit drinks. Will N. Dowd found the best solution for having lots of more healthy food is to get a place with a small kitchen near a supermarket, buy loads of veggies, fruits, and good cuts of meat, and do things yourself. If you are at all into vegan stuff, check out Happy Cow website. I know owner was personally in Manila like a year ago and sampled several places. They are all listed online. If you do pizza, Shakeys is a joke portion wise as Winston has highlighted and Yellow Cab tastes bad to me. For the chains, my favorite there is probably Dominos believe it or not but that's not saying much. Finally, if you wanna find swarmas and a bit of Middle eastern food you can find around the Arab Suk area, Ermita very near Manila Bay Cafe has a couple places with the cheapest I've seen in Phils. and it's open 24/7 I think.
5. The Internet is a big challenge in all of Phils. as discussed before. Best I've had is an unshared PLDT ADSL line with their second slowest package (the faster packages are only available in very limited special areas and go up several hundred percent for just modest target speed improvements) With the one I had there, I was happy most of time. But u don't get that unless u stay in the right kind of condo. I tried packet wifi for a long time too - both Smart and Globe. Globe is a joke. Smart is better but it only works about 70% of the time and often, it's just to slow to do about anything.
Internet/phone in China was dirt cheap. I paid like 200Rmb when I first got there and it seemed to last around 3 months. In Bangkok I am forever having to recharge the phone which means a panic to find a 7-11. 99.9% of the time it has been when I'm about to meet Falcon and I find I can't send him the crucial message.
I haven't found Thai girls clingy at all, apart from ones who are maybe 5's and are desperate for a man.
The Thai love of motorcycling *anywhere* drives me nuts, as if it wasn't bad enough walking to my BTS with the slow walkers, monks, dogs, cats, street food stalls, fat people, perilous holes in the sidewalk, dripping overflows and occasional crazy farangs.
It is my life's ambition to go in a Jolibees. In Bangkok you can get every cuisine in the world, but I've never seen a Filipino restaurant.
I gotta leave here soon as everything I eat is fried.
Compare the number of Thai restaurants in California vs Filipino restaurants...
Finally met up with Mguy. We took off on a bro date of Rockwell, an expat bar in the sleaze district, and a good portion of the greenbelt. He was originally going to bring one of his girls to show us the city but unfortunately that fell through.
First stop was Rockwell which basically looked like a mall in Singapore and a Singaporean suburb. Very high hat type of place with lots of fufu nose upturned upper class girls running around shopping with their personal assistants and stuff. We sat at a pub there and soaked up the atmosphere a bit. Too bad i'm in my no drinking phase. It looked like a nice place to chill. On the way out mguy did a bit of Gopro filming and the shotgun toting security all along the rockwell route stopped us and got a bit paranoid about what we were doing. Security/police presence here is insanely tight. I've never seen it like this anywhere else.
Next stop was the expat bar in the p4p area which was could have been a hyper-dimensional portal to any place in SEA Asia. The bar was a carbon copy of every expat pub ever and the patrons were also identical to everywhere else in SEA. The same short, fat, balding dudes you see in all expat bars. No offense to some of our resident short fat balding dudes though.
At greenbelt it was quite entertaining to sit back and watch mguy work his approach magic on some girls. I've only been in Manila a few days now and personally prefer to get a more comfortable vibe with the people/places going before doing the cold approach thing. Mguy approached pretty much the prettiest girls we saw all night at the greenbelt including a tall door hostess working at an italian restaurant and all of them were friendly. He got one number quite easily from one girl sitting outside but the tall hostess girl was really busy showing customers to tables and the sexy trendy jeans shop sales girl had a boyfriend.
A few random Filipinas Mguy chatted with straight up said they would never date foreigners after Mguy playfully quizzed them a bit on their dating preferences. It was kind of amusing being that Mguy was filipino-american (with a very american accent) and i'm asian-american as well. They never knew hehe.
We saw a few more obvious western foreigners/mongers wandering around. It's sort of cliche the type of girl these guys date literally everywhere in SEA. Dark skin, short, rail skinny, and usually wearing the type of kit (tight jeans w awkward looking heels) that would be SOP with some lower class girls at Pattaya, Bangkok, or here in Manila.
We also ate at a decent buffet with a suckling pig all laid out to be carved. It was a pretty full traditional spread including snails and everything. I have to revise my rather negative opinion of Filipino food a bit though. The dishes I had at this more upscale place was pretty tasty but still had a lot of fat/sugar and most of all oil. I can't say it's healthy but it's tasty. The seafood dishes like the fish were kind of interesting too and not really far from other SEA styles. The filipino food i've had in the past were salt bombs and felt like I was going to go into cardiac arrest but this stuff was good.
All in all a pretty insightful trip. I felt it was more prudent for me to observe this outing just to see mguy's interactions a bit. He's a cool dude though and vibes well as a local. You can tell he has very good natural rapport with the Filipinas for sure.
I also have to say that Mguy's taste in girls is pretty similar to my own in a lot of ways. Only difference is he told me he likes them slightly sluttier with the asian bad girl dyed hair sometimes Whereas i'm not that into it.
edit: I also didn't look at my phone all night and there were like 20+ msgs from online chicks i've been talking to when I got back.
Last edited by Repatriate on Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
I think the problem i'm seeing is that a lot of Filipino dishes seem inherently unhealthy and that turns a lot of people right off. Some of it is a bit like soul food which is an acquired taste. The wide variety of dishes I ate today was tasty but man..I could feel the weight of the meal we had settling in. I imagine if I ate like that every day for a year you would see me in a coffin from clogged arteries not too long after that.
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