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Hello, where am I?

March 23, 2010

I may have grown up in Manila, but every time I visit my home of 18 years I feel slightly lost. In a country where politicians can and do frequently rename streets, highways, avenues and the like, it was confusing enough knowing what was what when I lived there. Throw in the fact that everything seems to have at least one alternate name and that that same name will probably be shared with another building/street/park and you’re starting to get the picture. Nowadays when I visit, however, it’s not just the street names that throw me… it’s the perpetually new cityscape.

Over the last decade, innumerable new highways, buildings and even villages (suburbs) have been popping up like wild mushrooms on steroids while many of the existing are redressed, renamed, if not torn down and rebuilt completely. Skyways cross over flyways that cross over highways while the streets below curl and unfurl like 3D ampersands that get you nowhere fast. It’s all a bit overwhelming. The city that I called home is a fading memory and remnants of it are sadly disappearing all the time. I’m all for the new and yes, there have been some amazing new developments, but with each building they knock down to build something new and each street they rename to honour someone who has pleased some politician… well, with them goes a bit more of Manila and her history. Sigh. It’s a bit like coming home only to discover that your parents have repainted the walls of your childhood room which, as it turns out, is the least disheartening part as it’s also now their home gym.

In any case, I was meant to be writing a restaurant review, so why don’t I put the lamenting on hold and get to that?


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