3 Things I liked and disliked about living in Metro Manila

It’s been more than a year since I left my old corporate job, to pursue a career in the academe. That decision may have surprised some, but I am confident on the path I’ve chosen.

I love the simple life in the province; which my friends would say suits me. But personally, there are times when I can’t help but miss some aspects of life in the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

However, most of the time, I am just grateful to have fully committed to returning home.

The community quarantine may have some effects on my sentimentality. So to use my abundance of time, I reflected upon them and write.

Three things which I surely missed:

1. The opportunities for lifestyle events

I enjoyed my weekends when I was living in Mandaluyong and Pasig, particularly its accessibility to other cities.

One of the adulting skills I learned during that time was planning. Since events are always happening in and around the metro, I had to carefully select events with closer proximity.

Gigs, concerts, seminars, and sales are normal occurrences, so preparing my guilt-free spending budget was crucial.

There are a lot of ways to look for events in Manila; but the two which I commonly used were Facebook Local and Everbrite – some events are paid, while some are free.

Out of all the happenings in Metro Manila, the events I surely missed are the annual Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) and Philippine Readers and Writers Festival (PRWF).

The discussions and talks on those events were instrumental in my pursuit to read and write more.

2. The variety of food choices

When it comes to food, there are so many places to choose from – there may even be restaurants to represent different countries.

The ramen places which offer authentic and sometimes overpriced Japanese noodles, the eat-all-you-can restaurants where we often go to during team-building activities, Korean and Pinoy versions of samgyeopsal, Chinese cuisine in Binondo and even the streetfoods certainly bring back mouth-watering memories.

3. Running and hiking events

I am an outdoor person; so running and hiking events are things that I want to do again soon.

Communities are abundant for runners and hikers around Metro Manila and the event’s organizers are as abundant.

The beauty of these events is it tests not only the body but also the limit of the human heart.

Providing a sense of community and camaraderie with one another, and a moment of shared pain and glory.

Though there are things that I missed, these reasons make me thankful to have left the city:

1. Traffic and commute times

This is a no-brainer. For anyone working or have worked in Manila, many will put traffic on top of their list as the worst thing about living in the city.

My daily travel time to work used to be 2 to 2.5 hours (each way) from Mandaluyong to Eastwood (QC) on a normal day. However, the travel time adds at least an hour during payday Fridays, rainy days, and when accidents happen (which is quite often).

The funny thing is, if I walk to work (which I did several times), it will only take about an hour (I am a fast walker). The reasons not to do so are pollution, coming in office drenched in sweat, and the occasional risk of hold-ups.

There was also a growing bike-to-work community when I left. However, the risk of accidents may outweigh the benefits – thanks to the reckless drivers of jeeps, taxis, and buses.

I remember a conference I attended. The speaker was from South Korea, and what he pointed out was memorable.

He said that the government should make public transportation (trains, buses, etc) so efficient, to a point where using your car to work is impractical – and people will laugh at you.

2. The fast pace living

Oh, the hustle and bustle of city life. A city that never sleeps – thanks to the BPO industry.

It’s not hard to notice that people are moving with great haste everywhere you go. They are living so fast they no longer have time to appreciate the surrounding beauty.

People worked hard during the weekdays and play hard on the weekends. Not the lifestyle that fits me.

I also used to work in McKinley Hill in Taguig, and not until I resigned, before I finally noticed the elegance of the place – maybe because I was often working the night shift.

3. The high cost of living

Fifty pesos does not account to much in Metro Manila, it can’t even buy you a decent snack. But here in the province, my usual pocket money is P50, and surprisingly, it is more than enough. A big part of it is my proximity to work, which is less than 10mins walk away.

The price of primary needs is also far in comparison. From housing, transportation, wet and dry goods. Almost everything is cheaper here.

That is why even with a reduced salary, my lifestyle did not deviate much from when I was still in Manila.

The secret is to know and understand the difference between wants and needs. Once it is settled, things will be a lot easier.

Final thought:

Every decision has its own set of pros and cons. So, we must be discerning to identify them. Some aspects will weigh more than others, and some may even put you in a dilemma.

But rest assured, if we put our trust in God’s plan and purpose, everything will just fall perfectly into place.

He said it in His Word, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I don’t know where I am heading and what needs to be, but I know and have faith that I am where I should be.

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