Where can I let my guard down in Manila?
It was nearly a month ago now, that I had the pleasure of going back to Manila. This was my fourth time there and the last time I visited the Philippines was a little over one year ago. I went there to take pictures of the Aeta tribe; the black Filipinos.
I also learned quite a bit about the fledgling nation of Ambazonia from a Cameroonian expat who had taken up residence in Manila. I found the man from Ambazonia, quite by accident. You see, like many travelers, I was wandering around Manila, rather aimlessly. I didn’t know where to go.
Out of all the possible directions I could have wandered off into, I wasn’t sure which one would actually take me somewhere. As I was walking, over a year ago, I remember looking for a place where I could get my bearings. Out of all the different scenes in this sprawling and semi-chaotic city, I was looking for the place that I could call a central point of reference and then branch out from there.
I was looking for the scene where I could talk to some local people and get the skinny on the town and then decide what I might do next. In short, I was looking for us!
I had done a bit of investigating before I went to the Philippines. I’d learned on the Facebook page Brothas and Sistas of the Philippines that I could get my haircut at Nando’s barbershop. They were even gracious enough to give me the address of the shop.
I found Us, there, in the Makati district of Manila. Makati, on one end, is full of skyscrapers and office buildings. It is the more affluent and business oriented area of Manila. Walking further down, this all gives way to a club and bar district that is lively all times of day and night.
To go a bit further down, you’ll find an area where foreign people from all over the world feel comfortable. Some just want to be close to the night life. Aside from that, expats from Cameroon tend to congregate in this area.
These guys are looking pretty tough over there. Besides the barbershop, I noticed one or two bar/restaurants. Patrons can enjoy drinks there and also enjoy authentic Cameroonian food.
This is all in a very relaxed, more chilled part of Manila and the Philippines is always warm. They’ve got great music. It’s easy to enjoy yourself there. This time, after about 1 year, I knew exactly where to go when I hit Manila.
I had the pleasure of talking to the people at the shop and even meeting the owner’s wife. I also got a haircut at Nando’s. When I got up from the chair my waves were spinning.
This literally never happened to me at a barbershop in Asia. It is very hard to find. The barber left me looking proper. I got a quality haircut that would rival American standards.
Before I actually did an interview with Nando’s staff, I conducted an interview with Kareem Jackson about his life, having moved to Manila. This is an interview I’m sure all black Americans should watch. He expressed to me that he’s never felt safer and more welcomed than he has in the Philippines.
My second interview was with Dominic Melvine. He is a young man from French-Cameroon. I’d met him my first go round in Manila. Up to now, he has lived in the Philippines for just over a year.
His daily routine keeps him quite busy. He is involved in several projects that he will share with us later. Overall, he is grateful for the opportunities he has received while living in Manila. Stay tuned for more exciting stories from this part of the world.