What keeps me coming back to Metro Manila?

Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2014 by Mr. Tambay

Metro Manila - the capital of the Philippines, not just the geographic capital, but the economic and political capital as well.

Back when I was a kid, like in Elementary days, the first time I heard the word "Manila" was during class, when I first learned that the capital city of my dear country is Manila. The moment I heard it, I got  mad and said to myself "Why not Cebu? Cebu is a nice city!" From there, I started to hate Manila and never wished to go there.

Then the list of reasons why I hate it grew when I was in highschool; from concert venues of famous international artists, to selected barangays visited by these noontime shows, to the fact that the local celebrities live in there and the people of Manila are so lucky to see them on a daily basis. I thought to myself "That's it! I am never going to Manila! Manila is so unfair! They thought that they already dominated the entire country, but guess what? Cebu is better than Manila! Take that!"

Then the unexpected thing happened, and that was my first time to take a first step in Manila soil. It was 2 months after I graduated in college and it was during the JENESYS Programme back in 2012, a programme organized by JICE (Japan International Cooperation Center), powered by the Government of Japan and in coordination with NYC (National Youth Commission) of the Philippines. The programme requires us to be in Manila for a pre-departure activity before we actually leave for Japan. With me was a girl (Geraldine) who's also a first-timer in Manila. By the time we arrived in NAIA Terminal 3, me and Geraldine don't have any idea where to ride a taxi going to Paco, Manila, because another friend of ours is currently in there together with his mom, staying in what I consider a Catholic hotel. We spent almost an our looking for that white taxi stand, and by the time we already saw it, a group of taxi drivers competing each other on who will take us to Paco. We got into one taxi, and by the time the doors were closed, the taxi driver told us that there is a Php 50 charge on top of the meter as airport charge. We knew it was not right, but since we were in a hurry, we didn't mind it. Next thing we knew, he was taking the long route going to our destination by avoiding the Skyway and proceeding towards Baclaran, Roxas Boulevard, passing Manila Bay, and going to Paco, Manila. It was late when we realized that we got ripped off by that stupid driver. Since then, I had hesitations on whether I will go back to Manila.

When I already started to work, I was on training with my colleagues, both from Cebu and Manila. Of course, friendship grew while in the middle of the training, so a little chit-chat went on using a messenger tool that we used in the office. I got very close to a Manila girl, a batchmate of mine, and to my surprise, got fell in love with her. But she was in a relationship that time so I backed off and never showed my interest to her to avoid ruining our friendship. Aside from her, a friendship also started with a guy originally from Obando, but is now based in Eastwood, and a Laguna-Quezon City dude. Given these amazing friends, I decided to visit them over the weekend, before my birthday. I gathered all my Manila-based batchmates and told them the news about my short visit, but only few people confirmed, and it was quite disappointing. I proceeded on my trip anyway to meet the few people who confirmed (and to that girl that I liked back then :3) The day of my flight came, and even before I arrived Manila, I was so pissed off already because of the delay of flights due to traffic congestion in NAIA. Manila strikes again! I arrived in NAIA, and this time, I didn't take the taxi going to Boni. Instead, I took a bus from NAIA going to MRT Taft, then took MRT going to Boni Station. From there, I walked my way towards my friends, who were patiently waiting for me (touched <3). We had a good time chatting and laughing over food and booze, until it's about time for us to part ways. Since that visit, I kept on coming back to Manila.

So to answer the question "What keeps me coming back to Metro Manila?"

It's definitely not the worse traffic that will burn your time and patience. It's not about the pollution that will poison you (of course I am just exaggerating). Not even the dangerous streets full of pickpocketers, burglars and what not (By the way, I almost lost my phones from a pickpocketers when I was on my way to NAIA going home) or the rip off and dishonest taxi drivers circulating around the Metro. What really keeps me coming back is a 7-letter word: FRIENDS

Everytime I go to Manila, I feel like I am in cloud 9 and in 7th heaven. All the crazy stuff I do together with my awesome Manila friends are really memorable. I go there alone with our without occassions and my only main reason is to be with my friends. And by the time I go home, a big chunk of me is loosing because I hate the fact that I am leaving them. They made a great impact to me, and that's why I am always looking forward for my next trip to the capital.

There are some many reasons to hate Manila from a Cebuano perspective: Traffic, high cost of living, pollution, over population, danger in streets, etc. But this one reason why I want to stay in Manila is good enough to outway these negativity integrated in Metro Manila. That is why I am looking forward to stay in there, and considering the possibility of having a family as well. Being with the people who makes you happy is an amazing experience that you don't want to loose. And for that, ma and my friends will continue to make good memories, within or outside Metro Manila.

Fact: That girl that I mentioned, well, we were never a thing, and she is now engaged to her boyfriend. My Manila friends already stepped in the Cebu soil as well.