I am in Manila, and I will leave for the island of Palawan today later. I am starting to look for better lodging for my future trips to Manila. I think the fair price for a single room is from 300 to 600 Pesos in Manila, I am talking about a backpacker price range. The Philippines is full of small scams so security is a huge issue, although safe, the culture is a weasel with the truth. Therefore trying to suss out the best places can be allusive, there are so many variable. I am thinking in the long run I will probably just start to skip Manila as it is losing any interest for me. Too dirty and too crowded, however fun in and expat chase some girls sort of way. By far the country of the Philippines has some of best, friendly, outgoing, and nice girls in Asia.
I am making my big first flight or jump in the Philippines, I have been to Banaue Rice Terraces and in that area, however I have not moved around much. I think it is because there are no backpacker here that move around, I can almost guarantee I will be alone unless I go to the major spots like Palawan or Boracay. The place is a the perfect place for a couple, or with a companion, however by yourself can be a little taxing as all of Asia can be.
By far South America is a lot friendliest and more warm to greet people place, however Asia is very warm as long as they see the money coming, more or less friendship only for sale, while South America or even Europe has places where friends can be found easy with the local. The expats here in Manila are exceptionally friendly and loyal, very helpful, however I have no locals for friends.
Sometimes I think I should log in the number or emails I collect in a countries, these are the friendlier places. I have collected a few in the Philippines from other travelers however zero from the locals. I do not have any local person emails from Thailand, Cambodia, or Vietnam, etc, only a few travelers. The travelers are a higher grade here in the Philippines than the Thailand version.
I guess Manila is a lot dirtier than Thailand, it is amazing how hard it is to walk down a street in this area. I realized I was walking by the Hyatt the other day and was so busy dodging cars I had never noticed the place. The only place the sidewalks are open is where there is a five star hotel.
Nonetheless, I am going to try to find a single room in Manila to stay other than the Friendly, I think closer to the Ermita area is better. Closer to the mall and shopping and the large grocery inside Robisons Mall. My guidebook and any guidebook says that down in Ermita or close to the mall is the Red Light or Seedy area, I think it is maybe, however right in front of the Friendly is the Lady Boy or Gay section of Maleta, I think I would rather have hookers hanging around more than the gays. The lady boys here are numerous in this part, close to the Maleta Pension however down towards the Ermita or Robisons mall is better for shopping. They even have a Pizza Hut down there, actually it sounds bad, but Ermita to me is where the Hyatt is located, so really I am in a better neighborhood, however the guidebook is difficult.
The Guidebook is way to negative on the Philippines however fair to say that the Philippines is 5 times more dangerous than Thailand. However Thailand is one of the safest countries on the planet. South America and the Philippines are about the same, however I am starting to think South America is cleaner.
Some guidebooks writers have this preconceived idea that the five star places are better, I personally would go home and never travel if I had to stay in five star hotel. These places are the most stale, clean, boring, and sterilized environments on the planet. A great place to live while doing business and for me about that, nothing more, sometimes the pools are fun. The Hyatt here is a CASINO... Nothing but a Casino, however this is the Philippines, always wrapped in a Casino or a few nebulous scamming things. Hard to ignore, however this country has so many parts I still believe it probably the best place to visit in Asia.
The government though has got their head up there... They are totally clueless on how to encourage tourist.
I am getting on a place today, the check in weight is 10 Kilos. On the plane here I could have checked 60 Kilos. This is almost a war zone mentality on weight, nothing can be worst than coming off a plane an having to go to an Island. They need to be advertising... "Store your bag in our Hotel."
I need to really concentrate on this aspect of the next backpacker hotel for me to find, there really is no good reason, except to shop in Manila, so I should just hop in and hop out. However I have met some great expats here and this is fun. I normally am only in the under 25 backpacker crowd and they are getting boring, too predictable and really have so few life experiences all they talk is MTV talk or Movies, Music, nothing of substance.
Expats or expatriate in Manila are pounding away trying to bring this country out of the Primitive worlds, however as is all of Asia, still very connected to a lower civilization.
I need a Hotel in Manila for 300 - 600 Pesos, private room, and hopefully a kitchen, storage area, common area with TV. Not too many seedy people and the staff needs to be fun. I am always prioritizing security and number one and conversation as two. The kitchen and TV room makes the conversation. I am really need some clean!
I think it should be within 3 blocks of Robisons Mall and closer to the water.