July 20, 2018

The joy of discovering the Phillipines – Tee

The joy of discovering the Phillipines – Tee

I still can’t get over the fact that they are so similar to Nigerians and Nigeria in a lot of things.

It was a pleasant shock to see countries thousands of miles apart, so similar. It was like déjà vu the moment I stepped into Manila, the Philippines. I had to pinch myself that I wasn’t in Nigeria. The airport construction is the exact replica of the Murtala Muhammed International airport Lagos. The drive from the airport to town is crazy.

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The driving style is similar to Lagos because here they do not obey traffic rules like zebra crossings and the taxi drivers are insane and oh yes they have their own version of Molue which is called Jeepneys( one of the remnants of the American influence during the Second World War. The Jeepneys originated from the American old jeeps. It was used during the war against the Japanese army when they invaded the Philippines. After the Japanese army was defeated and the American army finished their mission they left, leaving millions of jeeps all over the islands).

Before I go any further a brief history of the Philippines from my observation: the Philippines has over 17,000 islands, that’s why it’s pronounced in the plural form, with Manila being its capital and Boracay being one of the most talked about beaches and tourist destinations in the world.
Quick trivia
Manila envelopes get their name from the manila fiber harvested from the abacá plant, which is a relative of the banana. The tough fibers of manila hemp make the envelopes and folders highly durable. The abacá plant is native to the Philippines. This explains the origin of the word “manila,” which comes from the city Manila, the capital of the country. Originally used for rope, the fibers of the abacá plant also make strong fabrics and fishing nets. All manila folders and envelopes are not made of manila fiber anymore. The term now refers to any cheap, unbleached beige folder or envelope”.  http://www.ask.com/business-finance/called-manila-envelopes-afdd5b17c4c0103e
The Phillipines have a great Mexican influence, even though they are considered southeast Asia: they have Mexican names, they sound Spanish, they look Spanish and some times can pass for islanders. They have a strong catholic influence being one of the largest catholic population in the world.
Now, lets get back to the similarities between Nigerians & Filipinos 
1. They are superstitious & very religious. They believe things have to be done a certain way for one to have good health, be healed, curses broken, broken marriages fixed. There are a lot of Palm readers in the market luring clients who want to come and unlock the secrets of their lives but of course I didn’t go, but guess what our own version of  Palm readers are: babalawo.
2. Their market is the exact replica of Balogun but the only difference is that instead of Africans walking all around and foreigners standing out like sore thumbs, you see Asians everywhere conversing in their local dialect and Africans standing out like sore thumbs.
3. Street food is a big thing in Asia. Where they have satay men we have suya men, where they have curry puffs we have puff puff. Our equivalent of street food: mama put
4. On the outskirts of Manila, on your way to Tagatay you will see beautifully made wooden materials from sofas, to wooden beds to home decor. Their wood market is a sight to behold and reminds me of traveling across Nigeria by road and seeing arrays of beautifully crafted wooden products displayed by the side of the road.
5. Weather is the same, it’s tropical. With the exception of natural disasters.
Shopping is amazing. You can’t come to Manila and not go to the Greenbelt shopping district, and did I tell you that it is so cheap? Let’s not forget your luxury brand Louis Vuitton and Hermes.
One thing I admire the Filipinos for is that they are hardworking and have learnt to market their products to tourist, which has created a thriving tourist industry. This explains their tour packages like: slum tours, market tours, food tours, village tours, volcano tours etc.
Nigeria take note: tourism is a million dollar business.

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