Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ellen's Filipino first impressions:

Warm, humid, friendly people, crazy traffic.

I am staying with Ana Pascual’s family (she is a member of our advance team). She’s the oldest of five kids: Dino, Chantal, Bolo and Eio. Parents are Ruben and Mayang, and then there's Lola, the grandmother, who graciously greeted me this morning. She introduced herself as “the administrator of this little village” that is her home. When my roommate Adam and I sat last night out with the rest of the family in their garden/ patio, we were told that the house only has two rules:

1. We should always simply ask for what we need. They are a straightforward family and don’t take things personally.

2. Everything that Lola (grandma) says, goes.

Riding down the street in a taxi, I am amazed at how much Manila reminds me of Mexico, and parts of Ecuador. Here come my stereotypes of developing countries: they have... children who sell candy in the middle of the street, or even who run through traffic to tap on your windows to beg for money. Lots of KFC. Crazy public transportation where there are 20 people in a van made for seven weaving through the lanes. Extreme poverty right across the alley from extravagant wealth. Obsession with certain parts of American/Western culture: Oprah, fast food, SpongeBob, the GAP. There's more I'm missing, but even in the first 24 hours, this stuff jumps out at me, and brings back so many memories, even though I've never been on this continent before.

No comments: