Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Philippines

"Attention all passengers, you may now proceed to board the aircraft. Thank you."

I let out a sigh of relief. It had been a long night. Feeling hungry and tired, I slowly bent over from my chair and retrieved my bag. At this point, my body was running strictly off of adrenaline as I was super excited to see the Philippines. After I plopped into my seat and put on my seat belt - clickedy click - I rested my head back and began to relax. Well, at least I ATTEMPTED to relax. As I closed my eyes I caught the last line to the chorus from One Republic's new song "All the right moves" that was being played in the plane.

"...yeah we're going down."

Words that no passenger wants to hear before their plane is about to take off. Good Lord.

Fast forward 3 hours . . .

Stamp!

"Welcome to the Philippines."

That was easy enough, I thought. And with my new freshly stamped 3 week visa in hand, I proceeded down the escalator, glad to have avoided the Immigration Officer adjacent to mine who was yelling and screaming at a young Vietnamese woman attempting to enter the county, and whose voice I could still hear but slowly fading as I descended down the escalator, "I COULD HAVE YOU DEPORTED BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY RIGHT NOW!...."

As I stepped through the automatic electric doors, out from the cool confinements of the air-con airport and into the humid, muggy air of Manila, I noticed something a bit peculiar, something different: Manila's airport was . . . well, quiet. And there wasn't one person who harassed me to take a taxi, tuk tuk, or whatever form of transportation the Philippines offered. NOT ONE PERSON. Strange. I just walked right up to the street and waited for Sheila, who kindly volunteered to pick me up in the ungodly hours of the morning. Thank you, Sheila!

I met Sheila and her friend, Elaine, last November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when my brother and I were still traveling together (miss ya, bro!). We all stayed in the same hostel, called the Red Palm. They even made an appearance in our "Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia" video. Watch below.

Episode 5: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from DaigleBros on Vimeo.


After Sheila and I exchanged hugs, I couldn't seem to wipe the grin off my face as I starred out the window.


"I can't believe I'm in the Philippines," I said to Sheila.

"I can't believe you're here, either!" Sheila responded, as she gave my left shoulder a smack.

The differences between the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia became discernibly apparent as we drove to Sheila's apartment. Motorbikes are replaced with jeepneys, the country's main form of cheap transportation. And all of them are designed with a "Pimp my jeepney" twist, with chromed out wheels, mural paint jobs and colored headlights. Furthermore, the Philippines initially appeared to be more developed than other Southeast Asian countries, but with large pockets of EXTREME poverty (later I would discover that the country is just as impoverished, if not more, than it's neighboring countries); and the level of English which is spoken and understood is far more vast in the Philippines, as the radio disc jockeys spoke English and played one American song after the next.

Tired as I didn't get any sleep the previous night, I layed down on Sheila's couch as she got ready for work. Noticing that I was asleep, Sheila wrongly took a picture of me and posted it on Facebook. What's with women taking pictures of me while I'm asleep? I slept the entire day while Sheila was at work; sleep that was much needed.

Later that night while Sheila was still at work, I joined Sheila's brothers and their friends who were drinking and playing music outside. I was astonished that they knew and sang so many American songs. They were more familiar with American music that I even was. Yes, Filipinos love to sing.

After everyone asked me questions such as, "How did Sheila and I meet?"; "Do I play basketball?"; "Do I think Manny Pacquiao is the greatest boxer?"; and "Do I play any instruments?" Mark, Sheila's eldest brother - who everyone there referred to as 'boss' as they all worked for him and his business - asked me, after pausing from playing the drums and sounding quite intoxicated, "So, what do you think of the Philippines, man? Like, what about right now? What do we look like to you? Do we look like something from National Geographic, man?" Everyone went hysterical, laughing uncontrollably.

Shortly after, while everyone was in the middle of singing a song, I noticed Sheila at the entrance leaning against the gate with her arms folded. She had a certain gleam in her eye as she slowly panned around the room, scoping the scene. Later I found out that she was making sure that her brothers and their friends weren't messing with me.

"Hey, Sheila!" I hollered, now feeling a bit tipsy. Sheila walked over and sat beside me.

"Hey, man," Mark said, getting my attention, "No one will bother you around here."

"Ah, yeah?" I said, curious as to know why.

"Yeah, because my sister is a bully! You'll never have to worry about anyone bothering you while your with my sister."

"A bully?" I thought, in disbelief. "Interesting." That's the last word I would have thought to use when describing Sheila. But what did I know? I mean, I did only hang out with her for two days in Kuala Lumpur. I really didn't know her, KNOW her. But the following days I noticed that, aside from her being an extremely gentle and kind person, she could also stand her ground and put that smack down when necessary. A quality in a woman that I find attractive.

Maybe her brother was on to something?

But don't just take my word for it, take a look at her in action. Watch below. Here's a preview to my next blog . . .

video

-Adam

3 comments:

  1. hahaha!  Now you know, she's really a bully!  This really made me laugh out loud.  Such an entertaining blog ... my kids are now in National Geographic!  Thanks Adam, more power!

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  2. Bully eh? I'm just wondering about the dude in the summer dress, but she seems like she certainly can handle herself!

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  3. @Scott: Yes, she certainly can handle herself. And keep wondering about the dude in the summer dress, as I'm sure that's what he wants you to do. ;-)

    -Adam

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