15 millions

15 millions

I am really tired. Is it because somewhere early in the morning or in the middle of the night – anyway – some sucker, or a suckress, knocked on a room door for minutes. Or hammered arround on the floor. No idea what it was, but it woke me up. So I’m not much in a good mood when Lim calls me around 08:00 o’clock to tell me that he’s already in Dau – where I stayed. Actually, we had agreed on 10:00 o’clock, but to sell his parents a better excuse, he took an earlier bus from Tarlac to Dau.

We go to Manila together , where we will take over our apartment for the next two months. How did we find an apartment? With AirBnB. This has various advantages, in contrast to the option to directly contact an owner and for a period of two months the latter isn’t worth it anyway. Only two days ago – after eternal back and forth – we made the reservation.

As Lim will perform an OJT (On the job training), an internship in Manila, we were looking for an apartment near his internship place.

But not only the location was crucial, but also the type and size of the apartment. We are not alone, because his friend Cheyenne, who will also complete her internship in Manila, will live with us. So we needed two bedrooms. The search for something suitable was frustrating and often I was angry and incredibly annoyed by the behavior of Lim’s study colleagues. Initially we were meant to be four or even five, but that changed again and again, as concessions were made, and the next day the opinion was changed abruptly. So I came into contact with concessions and agreements with Filipinos, hehe.

If you do agree on something, it does not necessarily mean that it is respected.

Sure, that is also true for Europe, of course. When I think about my time in Bosnia, hehe. Nevertheless, it was hard for me to get used to these circumstances and I believe I have not quite accepted it, but I’m making progress;)

We arrive in Manila way to early. The hand over is scheduled to take place at 15:00. Or at “3pm”. The stupid American time system. Something soooo dumb. Every time I think that it would be so much easier and much less confusing if one had clear times, as for example 15:00 o’clock instead of 3pm and 3am. If you then see any digital display with 3:00 you do not know whether 03:00 o’clock or 15:00 o’clock is meant. Bläääää. No matter, the main thing is, that the Americans are satisfied, hahaha.

We hang around in a shopping mall until we go to Pasig City, a district in Manila. Manila is made up of 17 different cities, which together form a huge city with about 15 million inhabitants. The Pasig district alone has a population of 617’000 and practically all parts of the city have a larger population than Zürich, hehe. Traffic is the absolute horror. Especially at rush hours. An example: on Monday it took us almost an hour to cover a distance of 5 kilometers on a bus. We would have been faster on foot, hahaha. Unfortunately, Lim will have to go this route on the way to work every day in the next few weeks. Two times a day.

At the entrance gate we are checked by the security and there is a little confusion in the beginning. But then everything goes quite well. Darnell, the owner gets us at the gate and we walk to the apartment. It is located in a large residential complex, which is guarded 24/7. There is a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a small convenience shop, a water station, where you can refill the drinking water for the apartment and much more. The apartment has two bedrooms, one air conditioning in each, a living room, kitchen and a bathroom.

Darnell is very friendly. We get to know that in the last 3 years nobody has lived here. He has had two cleaning staff here on the weekend, since we only booked on Friday to make everything clean and neat. There is actually everything we need. Refrigerator, cooking stove – with gas -, basic kitchen equipment, coffee maker – very important – and a dining table with four chairs. Darnell is cleaning a few things, explaining some things and after a little small talk about the situation of Lim and me, we go to the next shopping mall together to buy some food.

Later, I cook dinner – the first time in my life with a gas stove, hehe. Then we watch TV. Unfortunately we only receive channels in Tagalog, the most used language in the Philippines. The shows that run here are special for me. Casting and talentshows. Then again some comedyshows, in which the same soundeffects are played over and over again. The Filipinos seem to find this so funny. For me it is only stupid, hahaha. But yes, to each his own.

Then comes a TV drama about love and relationships, or the news of the “terrorist” activities on the island of Mindanao or the casino attack in Manila. It is exciting, frustrating and interesting to get closer to everyday life in the Philippines.

My horizon expands and constantly I try to understand and comprehend, surrounded by a strange culture.

Oh yeah, and last evening I went almost crazy. I have tried several times to understand the extent, but I have hardly succeeded. I was in the city. Traveling by public transport, that is by MRT (a kind of subway) and the LRT – a kind of train, on elevated rails, which run above the streets. At 16:30 I started on the way back to our apartment. From the Ermita district. Do you know when I have arrived here? At 20:30. Four hours later! Why so long? Rush hour in Manila. This is unbelievable, I tell you. Extreme. What is happening at the MRT stations is nothing short of crazy. People push themselves into the already completely crowded trains.

Each and every last square inch is filled, until the only parts of the human bodies that can still be moved, are the eyes!

Chickens in cages get more space. This is the most extreme jostle I’ve ever seen. Not even in India did I see such a thing and I’ve traveled a lot with public transport in India. I had to get off at an MRT station. I could not do it anymore. I was barely able to breathe inside the train wagon. So I waited at the Guadalupe station and watched the hustle and bustle. Every few minutes a new train started. Everyone was completely overcrowded. The people who wanted to get off at the station had a great deal of trouble, because those who wanted to get into the train pushed penetratingly into the train as soon as the doors opened. On several occasions I could observe how people pushed in from the outside, without any consideration, and then pulled their limbs together, so that the doors could close at all!

On the streets the same. Hopelessly overfilled. I saw several ambulances, that, with howling sirens, tried to get through the traffic. No rescue lanes are formed. They have great difficulty in pushing through. Inevitably, the question arises in me how many people have already died in this traffic because they could not be taken to the hospital in time?

So this is how it looks like when the working population of a 15 million city is in motion. Simply extreme.

After I have seen more than 8 completely overcrowded trains passing the station, I decide to walk. So I walk from the MRT station Guadalupe to the station Shaw Boulevard, where I see another queue and at this sight immediately decide to continue walking. I walk quickly, I sweat. My workout for today. After 3 kilometers I reach the bus stop, get into a bus, where I can even get a seat and hope for an early departure. At 20:30 I finally reach the entrance to the East Ortigas Mansions where we live. Lim and Cheyenne are already waiting for me and together we go to the shopping mall for dinner. I do not feel like cooking tonight, haha.

Here a look at the map, to show you my 4 hour journey to get home…

So, that’s it again. Thank you for reading and see you soon!

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