There are some things you just DO NOT tell Mama. Once they send you on your way outside the nest, you’re supposed to act or fool them into thinking that you actually have your head screwed on straight with your sh*t together.
Little preface before I give you the true run down on “learning the hard way.” Jokes on you if you don’t know me because this will only give most of my friends a small chuckle compared to most of my life lessons. But, when I was initially telling people I was headed to Manila, instead of many congratulations I was receiving more prayers for my well-being. Rightfully so, I suppose, knowing my prestigious record of plausible and responsible decision making outcomes.
Simply to say, there is an element of safety risk here that requires a slight sense of surrounding awareness but nothing too Compton that keeps you runnin’. Most people here are well aware, wear your purses in front of you while walking, never travel alone, windows up in the vehicle at all times to avoid being robbed, and most importantly, DO NOT take taxis unless you absolutely have to. That last one was repeatedly announced to us as imports since we’re those token targets for being ripped off. So naturally, I may have tested my luck once or twice in that regard. Mind you, I did try an uber first whether that counts for much.
Within the first few weeks getting to know the area around my condo I was attempting to get home but failed to get an uber in this nasty traffic filled city. So instead, I did what I thought was hailing a taxi. Guy stops, I ask him "how much to SM Residence" then jump in without an answer.
He seemed a bit confused but it didn't seem to cause alarm. I asked where his meter was, no meter, still no red flag. Then he asked me, what is SM Residence, and so I attempted to direct him towards that way; seriously Taylor?! Still no red flag alert going off... Minutes later, I get a text from my friends I just left asking if I'd gotten a ride safely. I quickly replied Yes, but just to be safe I asked, "taxis are those cars that have the yellow stickers on the front of the windshield right?" I get a call from the same friend. "Taxis have the typical taxi light on top of the car. What yellow sticker are you talking about?" SHIT!!!!!!!!!
RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG, so nice of you to join us. It's finally going off. Yes, definite red flag alert. This is because as I continued to drive towards what was hopefully my condo I realized I was sitting in the car with a random dude that agreed to drive me home. He clearly had no associate to being a taxi driver, and now he knows where I live. Greaaaat.
Thankfully, I stayed on the phone with my friend acting as if she was a local. Threw down some sense of knowledge pretending I knew my way around so there was no funny business from this guy. Upon arrival, I laughingly hand over some cash to this ballsy or maybe just kind little Filipino man and get the hell out of the car. The End.
Oh, but wait. There’s more. You would think that would be it, lesson learned, brain screwed back on. But as most people get more comfortable in a new place they tend to also get more comfortable with the precautions they're always supposed to take.
Prior and upon arrival in Manila, I was also warned, "do not drink water that is not bottled, boiled or otherwise verified that it's good to drink." But of course, drinking water is a natural daily habit that we don't think twice about when thirsty. To that note, I had a bit of a brain fart when I needed that sip of water, and most definitely had to learn the hard way. We went out to an island called El Nido. Probably by far the prettiest spots around the Philippines.
On the second day we did a full day trip out on a boat touring all the smaller islands and secret lagoons surrounding the area. But due to a long night of galavanting and an overindulgence in alcohol the night before, we had to rush to the tour the next morning; hungover, dehydrated, and with what felt like sea sickness before it had even begun. In other words, we never brought any bottled water with us on the boat tour.
Well, the trip was absolutely amazing minus the fact that we were drinking water out of a big plastic jug the men on our trip provided, which was in itself screaming not to be drank out of. But when push comes to shove, and you're stuck on a boat in the sun for 9 hours, you tend to overlook the sketchiness of the water you’re drinking.
Fast forward a few days plus a full week on the toilet, and I land myself smack in an ER for 7 hours walking away with a bacterial infection due to drinking bad water. Now if that's not a "where's mama" moment I do not know what is.
So all pictures in this post are the glitter and glam from my trip to El Nido, so that godforbid mama doesn’t actually read this and only looks at pictures. And I can continue to believe that she continues to think I am a responsible adult and this is an article about how much fun I’m having out here in the Philippines!!!!