Friday, September 30, 2011

Postcards from Manila...Malate

Transitioning from Makati to Malate wasn’t easy. For 2 days you are a part of the chaos the city is, but yet sheltered from it spending days in air conditioned conference rooms and within the walls of a 5-star the hotel.
Malate, a friend told me was the ‘party area’. The first sight of Malate was of narrow streets, ablaze with neon lights, buildings and shanties mixing into one another, and of course a general sense of chaos with both traffic and throngs of people. Each neon light advertises a place to eat or drink or both and every second place is a karaoke bar (the Filipinos love their karaoke)– although, some places leave you wondering what else is on offer. Boys with punk hairstyles and piercing, calling me in with a click of their tongue was not at all reassuring. Arriving at night threw me off balance I confess, and (in a very lame way) the Starbucks outside my pension was reassuring. The scene wasn’t very different from others I have see.. it, could have been Pali market of Mumbai famous for Hawaian shack or Toto’s, or even Goa close to Baga beach, and I wondered if this unsure was how outsiders felt with their first visit to India.. Next night I was more prepared and found myself having a nice evening in Café Havana. And also, the boys were simply ‘marketing’ the food places and didn’t really mean harm.

Malate used to be a red light area in the past and now is yes, one of the party hangouts in Manila. It also offers cheap accommodation for backpackers – all listed in lonely planet.

At Malate

Streets of Malate

Cafe Havana

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