Been to manila and back in some airplane from hell. The flight was nothing close to silky smooth... it was more like... rocky road.... The most traumatizing flight to date...
Don't get me wrong though... This wasn't my first time to be in the so called "Philippines' Big Apple". I studied for a year in some all girl catholic school when I was eight and went back again after 7 years for a grand family reunion in Bicol. Makati was my only haven in the whole of NCR. I've memorized the twists and turns in glorietta, greenbelt and landmark by heart though I regret to say that I could only afford as much as a frap from starbucks and an hour and a half of free wireless internet in starbucks. Other than that, maybe just a bottle of Vitwater in some convenience store across my brother in law's condo.
Davao is known to be the 3rd largest city in the world and yet, compared to Manila, it is just another big small town where nothing out of the ordinary happens everyday... Not that it's a bad thing. To a typical southerner like me, Manila is a big frightful city. To most of us, Quezon city, Taguig, Makati, and probably the whole NCR is Manila. I have beheld this city in awe and fear, anticipating in vain any surprises that might come my way. To a southerner like me, anything is possible in Manila. The good, the bad, and the worst. I guess I now understand why they all fear for me when I decided to brave this city. Grab the bull by it's horns, so to speak. But the bull is not immobile. If anything, it is threatening and fierce. The only difference is, Manila can sense fear, hesitation and naivete. The bull can't. Eternal vigilance and a little know how in self-defense is your only weapon.
Life there was anything but laidback. Time is money. City life was always in fast forward. Not a minute to spare to even catch your breath until the day ends. Though surprisingly, non-chalance and cool indifference is the fashion here-Something I find rather liberating in the life "up there". Democracy is openly practiced, which I must say is like a double-edged sword- both a boon and a bane.
The sights are exhilirating though. Picturesquely metropolitan, the skyscraper filled urban nirvana was a sight to behold. And it's even more spectacular at night when the lights are on. And the fat free population of demi-gods and goddesses fill this colorful metropolitan dwelling. It was like stumbling upon Olympus with all these ethereal beauties here and there. Made me realize how painfully ordinary I am compared to these urban Aphrodites and Adonises.
Living there is both a dream and a nightmare. A dream as it brings me closer to more opportunities, more space to grow, more obstacles to overcome. A nightmare as it will take away the child in me. The child who has known nothing but a semi charmed life free from the evils and cynicism of metropolitan life. A nightmare as in more than a month from now, I will now be reduced from royalty to a mere commoner... I will be cast out, away from the safety and security of the stronghold I have considered my kingdom for so long.
So far, a week there was exciting, frightful and humbling. I anticipate the life that awaits me there. Why fear something as sinfully beautiful as Manila?