Walking the streets of downtown Manila (and yes, it is far much more ghetto than expected, never been to an Asian country quite like this one)... in a country so basketball-crazy as the Philippines, there are street games going on everywhere.
Street ballers in action in Manila
I happen to come during the same time as the world APEC conference, featuring those turds Obama, Putin, and many others. So for the first 5 days of my stay here large parts of the city were totally closed off, and the police presence was enormous.
The police were friendly though, and welcomed me taking their photos.
riot police on alert in Manila
More riot police.... they had the entire waterfront boardwalk closed off for days, which was very inconvenient for us 'little people' but i'm sure the APEC leaders, who had it all to themselves, loved it! Couldn't show them all the homeless people around, could we?
tons and tons of cops everywhere
downtown Manila is unbelievably ghetto. But surprisingly, I didn't get robbed. 🙂
Scenes from Manila... what kind of vehicle is that, you ask?....
These, my friends, are called Jeepneys! And they are all over the Philippines. The monstrous, demonic-looking vehicles are the main means of transport, and are incredibly cheap. You sit in long stools in the back of these highly modified Jeeps.
Another form of transport in Manila? Well they don't have a Metro system, per se, but they do have the LRT elevated railway system, which is the closest thing to the Metro. These trains go on highly elevated tracks through Metro Manila, providing a decent view of the city in the process. And they are cheap, less than 50 cents for a journey.
Here comes an LRT train and i'm about to take it for the first time. One thing about the trains, they have 'women-only' cars, which obviously only women are allowed to enter. Guess there was a lot of harassment before that was enacted.
On the crowded LRT train, going to Central Terminal station.
A Jeepney driver taking a break. Most of the Jeepneys are very colourful and highly modified, remind me of buses in some Latin American countries.
Central Post Office building
Philippine flag flies high above it
This is a very common site throughout Manila... homeless people everywhere, and squatter camps too. Literally almost every block you see people sleeping in the street, it's sad. But i'm sure the Imperialist Prince Obama was shielded from all that when he was here.
These friendly folks thought I was part of the press covering APEC. (um, no thanks). They chatted with me awhile outside the National Press Club.
A nativity scene on the roof of the Chamber of Commerce building... everyone preparing for Christmas in this highly Catholic country...
Another homeless lady sleeps, this one with several pet dogs. The dog glares at me while I take photos, but doesn't bark. Good homeless doggy.
Squatter camps set up alongside the river.
Riverside squatter camps.... I thought this might be a good time to put away my camera, but nobody messed with me.
A tugboat pulling a huge load!
dudes working on the boats
Welcome to Chinatown!
Very crowded in Chinatown... everywhere in this huge megalopolis is very crowded. With a population of over 24 million in the urban area, it's the 4th-most populous urban area in the world!
a poor boy working a sidewalk stall
This dude asked me to take his photo while riding by on a bike.... ok man, there ya go!
At the Santa Cruz Catholic church... my first church tour in this majority Catholic country. Those Spaniards did a good job converting their conquered people, from Latin America to here, all overwhelmingly Catholic!
Many worshipers or people trying to get a respite from the intense heat hanging out in here...
... the search for the World's Creepiest SuperBaby continues...
worshipers inside the church
Another creepy SuperBaby... look at the nose!
street markets down below, from the Recto LRT station
enormously long line to get the LRT ticket
at the busy station
all aboard! good thing the train is air-conditioned!
on board the LRT train in Manila
... next stop, Quezon City!
The elevated tracks run above a few of the major roads, reminds me of the Bangkok skytrain!
part of the Manila skyline, during the Metro ride
Christmas decorations in full force at the Gateway Mall in Quezon City.
Jesus Christ is the Lord... so many Christian symbols all over...
WHOA!!! TACO BELL!!!! The first Taco Bell i've seen in a foreign country since Guatemala. I planned to eat here, but ran out of time. Bummer! But I have found a decent amount of Mexican restaurants and nacho stalls around the Philippines, seems Mexican food is decently popular in this country!
A Jeepney dude at work trying to get passengers.
Jeepney workers in action
... a lot of Jeepneys. And one car.
a little clothing shop on an elevated platform over an intersection
Tagalog is so interesting... there are so many Spanish words in the language, and then there are entire English phrases mixed in! Listening to TV telecasts is very weird, they go on in Tagalog, but there are many recognizable Spanish words, and then they will say an entire phrase or two in perfect American English, then go back to the Asian-Spanish hybrid stuff for awhile. Most interesting language i've ever encountered. Literally everyone in the Philippines also speaks English, most with mostly American accents, so it's a very convenient country to travel!