Just call me ‘Sir’ — The Philippines
Got to bag it up
Kuala Lumpur’s airport was shrouded in a dark cloud dumping rain in thick torrents, visibility was minimal but I watched through a window as the ground staff first took shelter under airplane-wings then quickly created make-shift ‘man-doms’ by cutting arm-holes out of see-through bin bags in order to provide some protection from the heavy downpour.
The weather did not delay the plane taking off, I awoke to a breakfast of spicy prawns with rice then slept again until touching down in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport, reputedly one of the worst and most disorganised airports in the world.
The city of Manilla looks about as big as London from the sky although you cannot see most of it for the thick smog that its enveloped in. There are literally two cloud layers here; the normal cloud then a blue space then; the lower cloud of pure pollution. At ground level visibility is only about 1 mile and the sky all around is a deep car-exhaust gray.
Surprising Filipino Fact No. 1:
Everybody calls everybody else “Sir” all of the time. “Hello sir! Welcome to our restaurant sir! How poisonous would you like your food sir? Oh, ‘just distasteful sir?’ I will have to check with the cook if it is possible sir…
I chose to avoid staying in the over-crowed, over-polluted and reputedly dangerous, capital city of Manila to hurry on to the island of Bohol to see its hundreds of chocolate hills (Sit down! They’re not real chocolate!) and the Tarsier Monkey Conservation Zone. Here I intended to enter into, and hopefully win, the ultimate staring contest of all time with one of the most dangerous and confrontational mammals on the planet… the deadly Tarsier Monkey. And everybody was going to call me “Sir” as I did so. And I mean EVERYBODY.