July 10

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Manila: First Impressions

Friendly people, rice, rain showers, and traffic

The People
I reached the first milestone- one full week in the Philippines. My first impression is how friendly the Pinoys (term used to describe people from the Philippines) have been. Two different taxi drivers offered me part of their breakfast and even people in the most poverty stricken areas have an engaging smile when you meet them.
Below is a picture of a Mom and child (Bernadette and Joel) I met on a field visit with Save the Children.

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Rice

Luckily I really like rice because it is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Very similar to how pizza works at our house in North Carolina. Many of the dishes of the Philippines are made to pour over rice. Fast food is around every corner as well. The iconic spot in the Philippines is Jollibee. Here is a picture of me with their mascot. The bee is like the Ronald McDonald of the Philippines.

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Traffic
Manila traffic is BAD. A few people in the office have 3 hour commutes to and from work. On a Friday I had to return from a field visit in Quezon City at 4pm which is about 15 miles away. It took two and a half hours to make the trip home. Many of the roads are dominated by tricycles (motorcycles with side cars for paying passengers), pedicabs and the most popular form of public transportation- Jeepneys. Jeepneys were originally made from large jeeps left over from WWII. I think some of those are still in use. My blog cover picture shows a Jeepney in the rain.

The Rain

It’s rainy season so the skies usually open up every afternoon with downpours. Last Friday most businesses closed at 2pm due to city wide flooding. Of course traffic is even worse when it rains. Below is a picture of pedicab going against traffic in the rain.

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Stay tuned for my next blog. I will do my best to describe my field visit to one of the areas where Save the Children is making a big difference.
Thanks for reading!

Dean