Friday the 23rd of May 2014
Today is our forth day in Metro Manila and we were ready for some sightseeing. After saying goodbye to our host we left at 6 am to meet with Nino and a friend from last evening, Kim. They took us around in Manila, or according to them, "the real Manila". The distances in this city is still surprising us. After meeting Nino we took a jeepney to Kim's place, which was according to Nino, "not far at all". Marius fell asleep during the trip, so I guess some of us found it a bit further than "not far at all".
Kim and Nino in the jeepney, ready to show us the real Manila
Nino Calalang is a student of the University of the Philippines (UP), and an ISFiT Ambassador. He has applied to ISFiT no more than tree times and been admitted every single time. However something had always prevented him for going. Still, he continues to be and engaged ambassador in Manila. After a Bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University City of Manila (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, PLM), and winning a national writing competition, he stared on a Master's degree in literature at UP. He also know everything worth knowing about Filipino history!
"The real Manila" turned out be full of historical sights and a beautiful and interesting place. The lively marked place Divisoria was full of people and stalls selling everything you need and everything you didn't know that you needed. It was a fascinating place, and Marius befriended a couple of police men (more of that later). Fruit, flowers, kitchen equipment, school equipment, jewelry and even handmade carnival masks filled the stalls. There was also a huge amount of small blue and pink figures that it is tradition to give when you are invited to weddings. And of course the narrow streets were crowded with people.
The breathtaking Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilika of the Black Nazarene, was packed with people attending the Thursday mass. Marius and Kim visited a fortune teller, but couldn't really tell if it was worth the price. I guess we will see that in a couple of decades. The fascination story of Intramuros, build in the late 16th century during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, was also on today's program. Kim and Nino told us about the Philipino national hero José Rizal.
The tour of Manila gave us a broader understanding of the Filipino history and culture. Most notably that the Philippines seems to be a place where differences are appreciated, and in Manila different religions live side by side.
Both Marius and I needed some time in the shadow to cope with the heat. Combined with the humidity we have a constant feeling of walking around soaked in water (well, sweat, of course). Manila is a great city, and we regret that we didn't have more time here. They are friendly here in Manila, and most of them speak good English, so it is quite easy to travel here for us.
Happy tourist getting to know the locals
In the afternoon Nino proved his organzing skills during the visit to the University of the City of Manila (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, PLM) as he managed to gather a group of engaged students.
We organized a workshop with different debate methods such as speed debate and a method for problem solving and project management. We were very impressed with the students who were all a part of a student organization at PLM. They were a dedicated group and it didn't take long before they all had identified several challenges in the that they wanted to improve, and came up with several solutions. The students participated actively in the debates and taught us more about corruption in the Philippines. Also we got to learn about student engagement at PLM. We would like to thank the students at PLM that exchanged their ideas with us today!
Workshop with students at PLM
After the workshop it was time to say goodbye to the students, Kim and Nino.
Next stop: Jakarta, Indonesia.
Next stop: Jakarta, Indonesia.
Photoshoot at Intramuros