First day of work ko ngayon galing sa bakasyon. Hirap bumalik sa "work" mode. Hangover pa rin after weeks of shopping, pamamasyal at masasarap na pagkain sa atin. Pero bago ko makalimutan ang lahat let me just enumerate some of my impressions about the Philippines during our 3 weeks stay after being away from our country for nearly 6 years.
- I observed significant improvements in Metro Manila traffic. The traffic flow along EDSA was noticeably much better compared to what it was in 2000.
- The impact of the LRT and MRT systems to mass transport was dramatic. The roads and flyovers all over Manila also made a huge difference.
- Travel along the North Expresseway was a joy and a breeze. From Balintawak (wala na rin ang amoy ng palengke doon at ang mga nagtitinda hindi na nagooverflow sa EDSA) to San Fernando, kuha na in half an hour. Medyo mahal nga lang ang toll.
- MMDA and its traffic enforcers seem to be doing a good job. Public jeeps and buses are loading and unloading in designated areas much better. The commuters and pedestrians also seemed to be more disciplined.
- Malls and shopping centers are everywhere! Naubusan na nga kami ng time para pasyalan lahat. Ang gaganda ng mga malls sa atin. World class talaga! Even those I've seen in LA, Sydney and Gold Coast, are no match to our malls. And the best part is mas mura sa atin!
- Food in the Philippines are tastier. Sabi ng anak ko mas malasa daw ang mga pagkain natin. Masarap pa rin ang Jollibee Chicken Joy at Champ.
- People everywhere seems to be friendlier, more polite and more helpful. Everywhere you go, at the airport, in malls and restaurants, you’re greeted “good morning sir/mam”. Sa provincial buses, mas mabait at matulungin ang mga driver at mga konduktor.
- I noticed Pinays are slimmer, sexier and more beautiful compared to what I recalled the last time I was in the country 6 years ago. Lots of women are skinny, but some of the men have big tummies.
- Brand new cars are everywhere. Much more compared here in NZ, where people generally are content with second hand Japanese and European cars.
- Huge two/three storey houses have sprouted everywhere. In Manila and even in the provinces you immediately noticed these new dwellings with colored tile roofs and manicured gardens.
- It seems that only people in Manila and those belonging to a certain class in society are aware of or care about the goings on in the national government. For most people, especially those in the provinces, they seem indifferent. Tuloy lang sila sa mga everyday na gawain nila.
Overall, I was very pleased with what I’ve seen in the Philippines, that it made me want to come back again soon. I wasn't that pleased and impressed when I was home in 2000. There is improvement everywhere, despite the bunglings of politicians. It only shows how resilient a people we are and that there is hope for us as a people. Kung naging mahusay pa ang national government natin lalo pa sana tayong maunlad ngayon. Sa susunod na balik ko sa Pinas, siguro (sana) mahusay na.