Monday, May 26, 2008

Escaping Manila?

When friends from abroad ask where they should go if they're visiting the Philippines, a good majority of us would probably advise them to spend as much time outside Manila as they could.

That way they can escape the traffic and noise and pollution and be treated to fresh air, world class beaches, historic churches and architecture, and of course, traditional Filipino hospitality.

That way, too, they will probably leave with a far better impression and would be more likely to return and recommend the country to their other friends.

But check out Carlos Celdran's latest post on his blog. He talks about how it breaks his spirit to see "how far Manila has to go in changing people's negative perceptions." And how everyone should realize that "Old Manila is the true yardstick that the world measures our culture..." Otherwise, "we should just prepare for the world to think of us as blighted and unworthy of more than a 48 hour glance."

Right or wrong, he raises an important point to think about - especially because it has far ranging implications about how we view our collective history and culture.

Finally, two points about Carlos - be sure to join his tours. If you don't have the time, make time - it's well worth it. And second, someone should really nominate this guy for the TOYM. For all the unique service he's providing not just to Manila but to the country as a whole, he's as deserving of the recognition as anyone out there.

* "The Walking Man" by Palma Tayona. Pen and Ink on Paper (2008).

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