14 Things That Shocked My Canadian Friend About Manila

Having been in and out of the Philippines for six years now, I was psyched when my Canadian friend Phoebe said she was coming to visit me for a week in Manila this summer. Phoebe is a country girl who isn’t fond of big cities, so I felt responsible to get good ol’ Metro Manila to win her over. And, it did.

Many things surprised Phoebe’s fresh eyes about Manila. Here’s just a handful of things that made my Canadian friend feel she was definitely in the Philippines.

14 Things That Shocked My Canadian Friend About Manila


14. That asking food chain employees “how are you?” is surprising

While it’s just second nature for Phoebs to do so, employees at chain businesses would be shocked but also be totally excited when she would ask them how they were doing. Like they’d never been asked that before.

13. The entire cinema roars with laughter every time a joke is made in a movie

Pitch Perfect 2 was hilarious, but not as much as Phoebs, who was too busy enjoying the hysterical laughter that united a theatre full of strangers.

pitch perf(parade.com)

12. That Anne Curtis is everywhere

“Is that her again? Is that her again?! Oh, there’s Anne again!” From karaoke machines to luggage, there’s an Anne-ad for that!


11. The “female-only” MRT cars

“This would not fly in Canada,” Phoebe said regarding the front cars of the MRT-LRT reserved for women, PWDs, and the elderly. Her thoughts on the issue might have changed once I took her on the co-ed cars, though…

kri aquino - mrt

10. More road confusion, but less road rage

Canadian drivers are a hot-headed breed, but Phoebs was witness to an entire family on one motorcycle almost getting squashed by my friend’s car, to which his reaction was simply a muted and patient “tssk.”

Traffic sa EDSA (2)(Related: Top Ideas on How We Can Fix the Traffic Situation in Manila)

9. “Diet” means cutting the rice

“But rice is healthy! It’s not fattening!!!” … Try eating it more than three times a day.

JessIntramuros-1(We love Binondo!!!)

8. Public transportation is a riot

One of the main highlights of Phoebe’s trip was riding in a sidecar from Binondo to Tondo (I know, I know, delikado). While I was hiding my nervousness, she was having the time of her life.

This guy!

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