Italian Goes Local

 

 

When I decided to move to the Philippines, I had eight Canadian friends visit me during my couple of years. That was eight different times I had to show off the Philippines. It was easy. I was an avid scuba diver then. So we went to different dive sites and islands. In my first visit back to the Philippines, I extended what was supposed to be a three month trip to eight months. I fell in love with the country. I travelled all over from Zamboanga, Davao, Cebu, Palawan, Boracay all the way up to Luzon. Though I haven’t seen Batanes yet, I felt I had seen more of the Philippines than an average Manila girl did.

I’ve been here long enough to consider myself a real local. So now when we get foreign visitors, sometimes my husband and I find ourselves at a loss for places to show them. We have been so jaded. Manila is not exactly the easiest city to love. So when I saw photos of my friend’s visiting-Italian-friend (Antonio) enjoying the things we’ve already forgotten, I got nostalgic about why I moved to Manila in the first place. It’s about the people and the many layers of things to do and see. It’s about local food and our culture of hanging out with food and drinks. It’s our very animated spirit. These are the things that make us endearing to visitors. We make up for whatever we lack in services and architecture.

Antonio was originally from Italy, but he’s been working in Bangkok for a few years. And according to him, he’s “been working but not quite living.” He says in the years he’s been in Bangkok, he’s barely experienced anything. So he decided to take off a few weeks to discover and eat his way through Asia — the sort of thing we did after university, except Antonio already has a job and he’s not your typical backpacker.

Antonio’s travels (which, coincidentally is the name of his social media accounts) focuses around Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. I’m sharing with you some of the highlights of his Manila trip where he met new friends. These like-minded foodie people showed Antonio some of Manila’s best restaurants to taste and try real local food.

 

A jeepney ride

Every visitor must see and ride a Filipino jeepney. It is quite a cultural experience.

 

The colourful streets of Metro Manila.

The colourful streets of Metro Manila.

 

Like Antonio, I found it both amusing and disturbing to see people's laundry hanging out windows.

Laundry-drying, more fun in the Philippines.

 

In the Philippines, night food markets do really well. It's just a lot more comfortable when the sun is down.

Night food markets do really well here because of our tropical climate. It’s just a lot more comfortable when the sun is down.

 

Mercato, or any food bazaar or market, is alive with many choices. It is here where new food concepts are usually tested.

Mercato, or any food bazaar or market, is alive with many choices. It is here where new food concepts are usually tested.

 

The new Pinoy lechon - crispy pork belly roll at Mercato.

The new Pinoy lechon – crispy pork belly roll at Mercato.

 

Buko juice.

Buko juice.

 

This is a fascinating and truly Filipino activity - Arnis! Antonio tried arnis in Luneta.

This is a fascinating and truly Filipino activity – Arnis! Antonio tried arnis in Luneta.

 

Can't get any more Pinoy than chicken adobo. Here, Goto Monster creates their own dry version.

Can’t get any more Pinoy than chicken adobo. Here, Goto Monster creates their own dry version.

 

Antonio at Goto Monster

Antonio at Goto Monster

 

Antonio with his new friends in Manila at White Moon Bar, Manila Bay.

Antonio with his new friends in Manila at White Moon Bar, Manila Bay.

 

Our famous Manila Bay sunset.

I am a sunset snob because of our famous Manila Bay sunset.

 

The biggest bone I've ever seen in soup. The half-Ilonggo in me is salivating. I love Kansi.

The biggest bone I’ve ever seen in soup. The half-Ilonggo in me is salivating. I love Kansi.

 

Now I know where to go when I crave for Kansi.

Now I know where to go when I crave for Kansi.

 

It's always good to find a pocket of stillness in the chaotic city of Metro Manila.

It’s always good to find a pocket of stillness in the chaotic city of Metro Manila.

 

Follow Antonio Travels in Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Check out Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta through the eyes of Antonio. #italiangoeslocal

 

 

Leave a comment

  • Elna Smith

    Amazing! I have to start following this guy on social media. :) Never heard of him. Thanks for sharing Daphne. Reading this post really does make me feel very nostalgic. I miss the Philippines especially the people and the food. Oh, and the beautiful sunset! I do love watching the sun set…it used to be my favourite pastime. :) When I was working at a hotel in the bay area I had to stay at the hotel most weekdays (I was in charge of the Japan market and had to stay around the hotel 24/7 in case of emergency e.g. when a Japanese guest gets sick and needs interpreter) and my room has the best view of the bay area and watching the sun set was quite relaxing for me after a long day. Anyways, I am more of a country girl (I grew up in a beautiful coastal town in Samar after all 😉 and though I lived in Makati for a few years before I moved to London I always spent my weekends either in Batangas, Laguna or Cavite. Now I could no longer imagine myself living in Makati or Metro Manila for that matter.) The traffic is getting worst and every time I visit Manila I hated sitting in the traffic. It wasn’t that bad when I was in college…..I remember every Monday morning it only took us 1 hour drive from home to my school (Alabang to Diliman) and my brother would always drop me off at my dormitory, and he’d drive back to work-Makati or wherever he needs to go. I stayed at the dormitory during weekdays and on a Friday afternoon, I’d sometimes take the bus home and the maximum travel time was only an hour an a half to at least a couple of hours from Diliman to Alabang. And I used to complain sitting on the bus for 2 hours when no one is able to come pick me up from school. :) Anyways, those were the days….I always prefer a quiet and slow-paced life. And yes, I do miss home a lot…now am dreaming about going back to my hometown. 😉

    • Anonymous

      I think you’re due for a visit. Come home. And when you do, let’s spend more than afternoon tea together. You have to meet my 3 girls.

      • Elna Smith

        Lord willing, I’ll be there in November. Can’t wait to see you again and meet your girls.

      • Elna Smith

        Lord willing, we’ll be there in Nov-Dec. Can’t wait to see you again and meet your girls.