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Philippines Essay

775 words - 4 pages

Introduction to the Philippines
Separated from its Southeast Asian neighbours by the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines has always been a little different. As the only Asian nation colonized by the Spanish, this lush archipelago of dazzling beaches, year-round sun and warm, turquoise waters remains predominantly Roman Catholic, and culturally – a blend of Islamic, Malay, Spanish and American influences – it ofen feels light years away from the mainland, with a string of elegant colonial towns that have more in common with Latin America than the rest of Asia. It’s an enticing mix: all over the archipelago you’ll discover tantalizing food, friendly people and exurberant festivals. And the ...view middle of the document...

Even the politics in Asia’s first democracy is rich in showmanship and pizzazz. From Ferdinand Marcos to the “housewife President” Cory Aquino to current paparazzi favourite Ninoy Aquino, the country’s leaders have never been short on charisma. But despite impressive economic gains in the last twenty years, all have conspicuously failed to rid the country of its grinding poverty, visible everywhere you go in shanty towns and rickety barangay, and brutally exposed by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Ordinary people somehow remain stoical in the face of these problems, infectiously optimisti and upbeat. This deter ination to enjoy life is a national characteristic, encapsulated in the common Tagalog phrase bahala na- “what will be will be”.

Getting Around
If you like big cities you’ll love Manila: it’s a high-speed, frenetic place, where you can eat, drink and shop 24 hours a day and where the Filipino heritage of native, Spanish, Chinese and American cultures is at is most mixed up. Like many capital cities, Manila bears little resemblance to the rest of the country- something to remember if this is your first taste of the Philippines. With twelve million residents, much of its chronically overcrowded, polluted and suffers from appalling traffic jams, yet in between the chaos lie tranquil gate-guarder “subdiivisions” that...

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