Things to Do Before Visiting Another Country



It's a couple of weeks before I embark on my next adventure in another place. Needless to say, I'm excited, as I always am, when It's time to explore a country I've never been to before.

Nevertheless, one mustn't let excitement get in the way of practicality when preparing for a trip. There are several things I always check, double check and re-check when I take a trip (whether locally or internationally).

No Place Like Manila



Manila Post Office

Wended my way through the streets Manila this morning. Sometimes, it's hard to believe that those worn-out buildings used to house the biggest offices, that Manila used to be the business capital of the Philippines. What perhaps was once the bustling part of the city is now quieter and a little more deserted. Sometimes, it's hard not to resent Makati and her modern, high-rise buildings of minimalist structures. Where are the kalesas? Where are the peddlers, crying out their wares in the streets? These are part of what captures what it means to live in the Philippines.

Photo: Red Chinese Lanterns



Red lanterns hang between the buildings in Ongpin, a remainder
of the recent Chinese New Year celebrations.

A Visit to Ongpin (Chinatown)



It's been some years since I found myself traipsing along the streets of Chinatown. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorite places, partly perhaps, due to the fact that I am half-Chinese. There is just always so much to see. The place is rich with the Chinese culture, and a lot about it reminds me of Hong Kong (which I find myself missing dearly from time to time). Perhaps this is where the major difference between the Chinese and the Filipinos lie. The Filipinos adapt to whatever culture they are in, the Chinese bring a bit of their own for everyone to experience. They say that in every country (and perhaps major city) in the world, there is a Chinatown.