First Week Back in Manila


It’s midday—not even rush hour and I hold my son’s hand as we briskly walk a few blocks, past bumper-to-bumper traffic, holding our noses from the fumes, and defying the heat of the sun in search for an empty taxi.

I’ve gone to town with Karsten to try to set up Internet for our newly-rented apartment, which is on a different side of the city. Only about four Kilometers away, but it takes 40 minutes to plow through traffic.

After finally hailing one, we get in and sit tight. The driver doesn’t try to negotiate a higher price to our destination. At least one thing has changed since we were last here—for the better.

I subconsciously hold my son close to me, strapping my arm over his lap like a seatbelt. He’s not used to sitting in a moving vehicle without being tied down to a kiddie car seat. We’ve only been back in this country a couple of days. He’s enjoying the change.

“Ma’am, are your doors locked?”  the driver calls back, and turns to check the locks—which I’ve already secured, an old habit.

But I still shift uncomfortably. This isn’t your backstreet or dingy side of town. It’s urban Makati, the busy commercial center of the metro. High rises fill the streets; suited businessmen come and go. And yet…

“Just in case of hold-uppers,” he adds.  “They like to stand on the corner and nab people in traffic.”

“But there’s a lot of guards in this area, no?” I ask.

“Yes, ma’am,” he sighs, “but sometimes they are part of the hold-up, too.”

I hold my son closer.

Welcome back to crazy, chaotic Manila.


2 thoughts on “First Week Back in Manila

  1. Welcome back to the Philippines! I am glad my family and I live in Bacolod City. I lived in Manila before I married my lovely wife and Manila these days is not the Grand Old City of the 80s and early 90s any longer. I lived in Makati on Amorsolo Street, near Makakti Cinema Square. Nowadays, it is too fast for me in Metro Manila. Have lots of fun and be safe!

    ~ Gary ~

  2. Welcome back, Nyx! It took a while for me/us (especially me! haha!) to adjust to life back here in “crazy, chaotic Manila” too, when we got back from Timor, where life is far more simple, the air is much cleaner, and the lifestyle less stressful! I can relate to you, esp. your mommy anxieties, as you adjust again to life here! I sent you a text but don’t know if you got it. 😀 Anyway, hope to connect with you again soon! I’m praying for you and your family! God bless!

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