As I mentioned in the first part about my impression of Manila, my beginnings here did not go smoothly. It took me a while to leave the eternal comparison of Manila and Prague behind.
I brought along a stupid Czech habit to complain about and frown upon everything. However, this is not common in the Philippines. Here, people tend to look for the brighter side, while the negative, for a change, is not considered at all😄.
My basic command of English didn’t help much either in the beginning. It is surprising how such a trivial thing can cut off a person from people and life in general, not to mention the damage to self-confidence.
There are people who don’t care and talk, even though their grammar is not perfect. Unfortunately, I belonged to a group of people who care too much about everything. The perfectionist, who would rather be silent than making a mistake🤦♀️. I am sure you understand with such approach, one wouldn’t get very far in any country. Over time, I realized that’s not the country’s fault, but the fault is only me, myself. I had no choice but to start working on myself. I could only appraise the country when I changed my approach.
The process was arduous, but it was worth it. After the first few years, I began enjoying my life in the Philippines. I finally saw what’s great in the Philippines and fell in love with it 🥰.
The locals have one huge advantage; they don’t envy. During six years in the Philippines, I have never encountered even the slightest hint of envy. And they have many reasons to be envious of others!
Filipinos wish each other success and they support each other. They don’t care if a colleague has a higher salary, or whether or not the neighbor has a bigger garden. Unlike in the Czech Republic, where success doesn’t meet appreciation!
One of the other things I really enjoy about the local culture is their approach to life. This can be easily demonstrated by an example of a family that lost everything due to a typhoon and subsequent floods. During the broadcast from the flooded area, the family was stuck on the roof of their ruined abode and despite all the bad things they had been through, they were smiling and waving cheerfully at the camera.
They approach everything in a similar way. Even in the worst-case scenario, they find a reason to be grateful for their lives and for their families. They can enjoy little things and live for the moment. This also has disadvantages, but today, it will be only about the good stuff 😊.
I am a person who loves summer, warmth, swimming in a sea, and sunshine. In this regard, the Philippines looks like a great choice, doesn’t it? Even if heat all year round might be boring sometimes, you will get used to it. I enjoy the tropical climate the most when I am somewhere by the sea. The Philippines is one of the TOP destinations mainly due to its breathtaking beaches and amazing underwater life. Personally, I prefer more action-packed entertainment, such as surfboards or bodyboards 🏄♀️.
Additionally, I must mention the waterfalls. That’s something I noticed right away; you will find waterfalls on almost every island. They are usually easily accessible, which has a minor disadvantage that it will almost always be crowded. I’m a little selfish in this, so I’d rather trek for a few hours to a remote waterfall, where I’m sure I will be alone, than squeezing in hordes of people.
Lately, I have begun discovering the beauty of the local hills. My favorite place is Tanay in Rizal province. In about an hour and a half of driving, you can reach a beautiful nature full of hills inviting you for a hike. It is worth getting up and going there before sunrise. Not only you will avoid the traffic, but also you will not go in the worst heat and will have the beautiful morning light to take perfect photos. Tanay has become my favorite place to which I always like to return.
If there was something I love in the Philippines, it would definitely be a young coconut called “Buko”. It is harvested from coconut palms usually after five to eight months of ripening. Coconuts contain refreshing coconut water, which has a slightly sweet taste. They have green skin and contain white, slightly slimy, white flesh. This is the best part of it!
It can be bought in the Czech Republic, but I don’t believe that it will taste as good as in the Philippines 😁. Well, what could be better than having a fresh coconut after surfing?😊
Another good thing I succumbed to here is their mango. It is considered a national fruit of the Philippines and well known all over the world for its softness, yellow color, and great taste. It’s always on my grocery list, whenever I go shopping.
In their cuisine, I fell in love with Inasal chicken. It is a grilled chicken with a special marinade called Inasal. It is a mixture of Calamansi juice, coconut vinegar, pepper, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Calamansi is a small citrus of the size of larger hazelnut and tastes similar to a lime.
The dish is served with rice, soy sauce, Calamansi, and chili peppers. The dish has its irreplaceable authentic taste, which I have not tasted anywhere else. Yumy!!!
I’ve been living in the Philippines for six years already. If you wonder “Wow, that’s a long time”, honestly, I wonder too 😅 I would never expect me to stay here that long. I remember when I said that I would survive here for a maximum of one year and then I will go back. And now? I’m starting my sixth year and I’m more than happy I didn’t give up.
I fall for this country and it will remain in my heart forever. I will leave a piece of me here and it will be hard to pack up and leave one day.