I pretty much love the Philippines. I arrived early in the morning on Wednesday. I had to be at the Korean Embassy at 9, so I didn't want to go to a motel, spend a lot of money, sleep for a few hours, and wake up groggy (or oversleep and miss my chance at a visa) so I decided to stay up all night. I know, I'm such a college kid.
I met another English teacher in Korea and we stayed up all night at a McDonald's. It was fun. The Korean Embassy was a hot mess. Considering that we are in an English speaking country, one would assume that the workers in the embassy here would speak English well. One would assume wrong.
I checked into my hotel around 11. My hotel was once a very posh 5 star, not it's a little bit sad and seems kind of spooky. But, it's cheap and it has a pool. So, I'm thrilled. I ate lunch at a Filipino chain restaurant and went to bed. I woke up the next morning (18 hours later!) at 6. I watched TV, in English, and then headed out for the day.
My perfect vacation is: unplanned, cheap, educational, a good value, and ritzy. You would think these are non-compatible, but I make it work. I went to a museum which featured a comprehensive history of the Philippines, it's artists, and an entire vault of all the gold found throughout their history. It was very cool and only $6 for about 3 hours of musuemery. I ate lunch at a very upscale restaurant. I ate a 3 course meal for under $10. I attended Catholic mass at a beautiful dome-shaped cathedral in the middle of a lake in the middle of a park. I was nervous about refusing the wine (it is my understanding that non-Catholics may take the bread but not the wine) but they didn't use wine because of the swine flu!)
I watched a movie for $4. I went to a huge bookstore and bought 3 books for $12 (English language books in Korea start at $10 and go up. There are usually 5 different books on sale in English.) I sat in a comfy chair and read an entire book instead of purchasing it. It felt great. I ate ice cream mixed with a Filipino candy bar. I watched TV. I swam in my pool (yes, my pool). It has started to rain since I got back to my hotel. After the rain I will go to the Filipino chain restaurant and eat dinner.
Jollybee's is the McDonald's of my parent's childhood. I've heard them tell stories about it. You can buy a hamburger, a non-obesity-enducing portion of fries, and a cold glass of cola for a dollar. I figured I would buy more to fill me up after I had finished my first serving, but I was surprisingly full. Go figure. Maybe we don't need ginormous servings of food.
I love the English here. It's definitely English, and very understandable, but they write it the way we speak it. Even in newspapers it will say, "...cause I donwannabe ugly nomo..." and things like that. Very funny.
I'm having a wonderful trip and everything is in order for my visa.