Friday, October 24, 2014

Manila: Robinsons Place and Typhoon

Assalamualaikum and Hello.

Manila trip, Day 1, 14 September 2014.

Honestly, Manila was never on my list. Until recently. I just don’t see the rush or on point excitement on going to that city. But something triggered this short trip, which is not a matter of discussion here. This trip was so stiff  like something you pulled out exactly from TripAdvisor. Nevertheless, going to a new place is always an adventure.

So, I arrived in Manila around 1.30pm. It was looking very cloudy at that time. After unpacking, we decided to take a walk around. Nope!!! Wrong move!!! We only managed to go down few blocks as it was very windy and rain started to pour heavily.We went to Robinsons Place which is only a walking distance away. But due to the weather, we decided to take a cab.

(Robinsons Place is a 6th floor mall located in Ermita, Manila.)

I came to know that upon entering any mall, you need to pass a strict security procedure. We passed through the scanner and let our bag opened to be checked by the officer. You know, just like what you have at the airport. You will see this no gun sign or bomb joke is prohibited. Somehow it makes me feel safe and terrify at the same time. I felt safe knowing that everyone has to go through the scanner and terrified that there is a possibility of such threat.

The thing is every time I enter the store people will greet me in Tagalog. I was wearing my hijab and holding my camera bag. I thought it's enough to portray me as a tourist. But after going through 10 stores people still greet and conversed with me in Tagalog. I keep acting clueless and replying  in English, at the same time hinting the person with my discomfort facial expression that I don’t understand them. They still continued in their language, to a point I have to stop them and let them know I'm unable to follow the conversation. This is such a cute language harassment.

There is this one good looking boy telling me that the store provided a service where you could pay the shoes using installment, because the shoes are so pricey. And yes surprisingly I could quite understand him. He explained a lot. I didn't bother to tell him that I'm Malaysian and just play along with the situation. After going around, I decided to hold my map in my hand hoping that it's enough to show that I'm not local. Maybe the fact that my grandparents from my mother side are from Phillipines. Did that explain everything? Mum has limited Tagalog, she even barely understand it. Let’s just say she lost it. Hahaha. Well hashtag #myfilipinorootsfindingitswayinmanila seems right.

We didn't spent a lot of time in the mall. Around 5 pm we decided to go. Going out of the mall…….there…..a typhoon was hitting. The wind was so strong. Very strong. My hijab was all over my face, I  need to hold it otherwise there's a big chance my hijab will fly off. Here's the funny side of the story, me and my mum were panicking like crazy, thinking that we need to go back to the hotel as fast as possible. We never experienced such bad weather. But looking around, people still go to the mall and looking all relax. Some even laughing.

We managed to go back to the hotel safely. We turned on the television and watched some local news. The Luis typhoon attacked hard and there was flood everywhere. Fortunately Manila was not in the red-light area. I could hear the strong wind hitting the sliding windows. It keep making sounds because of the shaking.

Oh yeahh, I need to mention this, our hotel provided a lot of TV channels. I'm talking about 70 channels here (yes, I counted them) and it is not even close to a 5-stars hotel. Since we cannot go out, I spend the rest of my night watching Jimmy Fallon show.

This is only the begining of the typhoon. it was getting worsen and only stopped at dawn.

The next day when we had a little conversation with the cab driver, he said something like this "ohhh manila is fine mam, no typhoon, it is in the other area". I was like "seriously", so if last night was not typhoon, what is it then, angin sepoi-sepoi bahasa. No wonder people looked fine enough. For people who live in Malaysia, with a calm weather all year long, semalam dah cukup disaster. Allah has mercy on us.

To be continued.

p/s: I went through the weather forecast few weeks before I departed and the pilot did announced the typhoon (will strike manila at 8 pm). So I'm aware of it. I just didn't expect it would be that early and bad.

No comments: