Another day, another drama, another chapter in my love/hate relationship with my Philippine passport. What started out as a great deal from the US to Ireland is giving me more of a headache than I could have ever imagined, and made me wish in part that I wasn’t going to Ireland (or other visa countries) […]
We never know where we end up in life. Sometimes you wander into a bar looking for a drink. Sometimes you stumble into a country on the other side of the world. The two events are different, but not unrelated. I grew up in Europe (Slovakia, to be more precise), lived most of my adult life in the United States, and, last year, married a Filipina. That’s not a trajectory that I could have predicted when I threw rocks into ditches as a 9-year old in Slovakia.
I’ve visited the Philippines a few times now as a westernized adult, and it is quite an interesting place. It is marketed as a tropical paradise to those with money, a view that is reinforced by looking at its 7,000 islands and marveling at the natural splendor. It has also been marked in the American consciousness as a piece of tropical hell, due to its important role in World War II’s Pacific Asian Theatre, as well as being the site of Francis Ford Coppola’s mad masterpiece Apocalypse Now. Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is neither paradise nor tropical hell: it’s a dense, huge metropolis with a proud and friendly populace. And so this piece brings me to my overall impression of Manila and general observations.