A friend of mine is in a 5-week program in Manila studying TESOL in preparation to teach English elsewhere in the world. She recently wrote some of her thoughts about the culture there, and I wanted to post them here to give you an idea of what I experienced in Manila:
I’ve had the opportunity to learn a bit about the Philippines (well Manila at least.) … To show how ignorant I was, I had NO IDEA that the world’s 2nd/3rd/ and 4th largest malls are all within a few minutes of each other here! While I thought I was heading to an impoverished 3rd world nation (and parts of it are) -it is extremely developed! I’m still in awe at the ability to have strong, running electricity and water ALL DAY AND NIGHT for over 22 million people!!! WOW!! How can an island figure out how to do that, but we’re extremely lucky to get 8 hours of constant electricity and regular running water where I work! Hahaahaaa.
I’m struck with the ironies of this nation. HUGE billboards of nearly-naked men and women (underwear advertisements and such) -right next to HUGE billboards proclaiming “Jesus Saves!”. Extremely fancy offices and homes on one side of the street and miles of slum/squatter housing on the other side of the street. Tons of poverty-stricken persons along the streets, yet Starbucks and McDonalds on nearly every corner. A ‘Mega-mall’ with a ‘Mega Christian Church’ on the top level and a ‘Mega Islamic group’ on the bottom level.
Although I truly was struck in awe when I attended the Mega church. To see so many Filipino people with outstretched hands raised high in praise songs to Jesus -over 4 thousand in one meeting…and 5 meetings! For Easter there was not a single empty chair, so the 1,000 person ‘overflow’ room was also filled. That adds up to over 25,000 Filipinos praising God on Easter Sunday!!!! (That’s just one church!). The message was dynamic and the presence so overwhelming that it brought me to tears….as I was couldn’t help but dream and hope one day such a thing could exist in other countries!!! WHAT A GLORIOUS SITE TO BEHOLD!!!!!!!!!