Expat: Day 6

Saturday is a little harder thus far. I slept a whopping 9 hours last night, and woke up feeling pretty darn good. However, starting around 6PM, my body has been on an exponential downward spiral. Bummer.

Manila is currently in uproar (or at least the papers make it seem that way). The new president, President Aquino, is using government resources to allow families to make decisions related to freedom of choice - specifically distributing contraceptives to people. For those of you who remember your history, the Philippines was "discovered" by ol' Magellean on his way around the world. As such, the territory became a part of Spain. Well, Spain really didn't want anything to do with the territory, as it wasn't in the right direction of East where spices and trade were coming from, so Ferdinand just gave the island to the Church. Enter hundreds of years of theocracy as the main government, driven by the Catholic Church, and you have today. Why I bring this up is because the lesson that I learned today is that you don't mess with the Church here. Theocracy may not be the main form of government here, but the influence of the Catholic Church still exists. I bring this up because a tour guide was arrested the other day for 'offending religious feelings' - expressing his feelings of the influence of the Catholic church. Long story short, Carlos Celdran called out that the Catholic Church should stay out of politics.

Don't get me wrong. I actually went on one of Carlos Celdran's tour guides of the old city Intramuros. If you didn't have thick skin, Carlos would take a shot at you. He took hits at the US/Japanese/Chinese/Philippine government, and the Catholic/Protestant/Muslim Church. However, he happened to see some clergy walking down the street, shouted out his political statement, and then was imprisoned. Interesting stuff.

In other news, I am happy to report that I have reunited with a long lost love here in Manila. Gyu-don! This wonderful, wonderful Japanese treat is easily available in several restaurants within walking distance of the office. If you have not eaten Gyu-don, you're missing out on life. In a nutshell, it's thin meet, on a bed of rice, with a fantastic sauce. Find some, eat it. Do it, now. I promise, this post will still be here.

The major event of the day (aside from copious amounts of work earlier this morning) was a trip to the Salcedo Market! This is a fantstic local vendor shop full of great foods, some interesting fruits (Fresh Mangosteen, anyone?). The market is about 1.2 miles away, so in all I did a good round trip of walking. Here's a view for everyone!

The rest of my day consisted of me walking around a lot in the various malls in the area. I probably tacked on another .5-.75 miles just walking around within these malls. I'm surprised by the number of high class stores that are open in this area - I'm trying to find out who the market is for these items. A lot of the items sold at these stores represent a month's salary for some people. Blows my mind.

In all, another interesting day. I'd love to get some sleep now, so I'll give that a shot. I'll leave you with a fantastic ad that I saw yesterday. Turns out, Outback (yeah, the steakhouse) now hosts corporate events! They'll serve you food while you're presenting quarterly reports... at least people will have something interesting to pay attention to instead of stacked bar and pie charts.