Fun interactions in Manila

Normally I am pretty oblivious to the reactions of others.  I simply don’t care what anyone thinks if, say for example, I’m holding Scott’s hand somewhere or show a quick PDA.

In Manila, I seem to be almost hyper aware of reactions.

  • At the office where I am working, I got on an elevator.  A relatively petite woman gets on after and just stares at me.  Alright, I am a good foot or so taller than everyone here.  Still, I’ve not been stared at like that in.. a long time?
  • On my first trip here, I went to the gym and got what I call the cruise of death, it was that intense.  I admit, it kind of weirded me out a bit.
  • Security on the corner saying, “Hi Sir” when I least expect it.
  • When walking into the stores and malls, the number of “Hi Sir”s that I get but I’m aware that no one else seems to get it if they look like a local.  I also feel like I’m getting special treatment.

I am sure there are others as well.

The latter of all of these really somewhat irks me.  Just because I look a certain way, I don’t feel I should get any different treatment from anyone else.  I understand, to a degree why – I’m not saying it’s right.

My favourite interactions so far have been around going into a high end shopping mall like Greenbelt, or even Glorietta, walking into a store – whether name brand or independent, and starting to haggle the price for something.

For example, walking into Oakley at Greenbelt, and the guy starts haggling with me for a backpack that I wasn’t about to buy.  CA$200 is a little too steep and I’m not about to pay that for a backpack.

I always though haggling was just tacky or left for contracts that people negotiate.  Set the price, be fair, and people will buy.  But hey, if you’re going to talk lower prices and such, I’m game to play, especially if I have a net connection and a calculator.

Walking into an electronics shop in Glorietta and looking at a relatively higher-end Android Wear watch, and haggling for well under what it’s being sold for in Canada – That’s fun!

All in all, I do like it here.

One thought on “Fun interactions in Manila

  1. Nice piece – Im always aware of these things too when travelling – two incidents come to mind.

    1) When in Israel – I was walking through Liberty Bell Park holding my husbands hand. All of a sudden an orthodox jew came running towards us screaming in Hebrew. as he approached he hit my hand. He was upset that I was smoking a cigarette on Shabat and not upset that I was holding Alex’s hand.

    2) When in Kuala Lumpur, I was working with my customer who were opening a contact centre in the Petronas Towers. I arranged to meet Alex outside to go for lunch during my break. Alex was waiting outside the entrance, and when he saw me he came up and kissed me. We then heard a guy shouting and noticed him running towards us. Alex got scared – I stood still. He approached and hugged me. He started to talk, but of course I didnt understand. A lady then approached us and told us that the guy was happy because he just found out his son was gay, he saw us and hoped that his son would be as happy as me and my husband one day. I must admit – I broke out in tears and hugged him back!

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