This was my first trip to Manila in the Philippines. I arrived at the airport not knowing quite what to expect of this Asian country. The streets were hot & noisy, there was lots of traffic & people all over the roads. Everything looked so fast paced & disorganised. How different it all was from the ordered streets of Hong Kong which was just a 2 hours flight away.
An hour later I was in Makati city centre knocking at a friend of a friends door. I had made contact with this unknown person via Face book at the French airport before my flight to the Philippines. Without knowing me she had invited me in to her house for lunch.
The door opened & I was greeted by a roomful of smiles. This is Manila, it is full of wonderfully warm hearted people. From my first hour in the city to my very last hour in the city I was lavished with generous goodwill. In fact I’d go so far to say that the people in Manila are the friendliest people I’ve ever met.
My 1st night was spent hanging out watching a large group of teenagers who gather every Saturday night in the streets of Bonifacio to dance. These kids are really talented, there were Break Dancers, Hip Hoppers, Skateboarders, & some hard core Krumpers. They were all gathered together, dancing to their different style yet sharing the same speaker. The appointed DJ seemed to successfully juggle the ipods of everybody to mix hours of great music. They rocked it late in to the night until the owner of the restaurant asked them kindly to go home as he wanted to turn off his electricity outlet.
The music stopped, the kids thanked the owner of the restaurant for letting them use his electricity & they left still dancing as they made their way home.
Makati is hip in an unpretentious way, everybody speaks English yet it has so far been preserved from the invading expats scene. The modern city is amazingly vibrant & ablaze thanks to the booming economy in the Philippines. I have never seen so many new skyscrapers, everywhere you look there are buildings being constructed & shops opening.
After two days in the city I was so eager to teach Yoga at the newest studio of Bliss Yoga. I arrived 30 minutes in advance & was surprised to find t 6 students already relaxing on their Yoga mats. The Yoga room was quietly full 10 minutes before the class started. The ambiance was calm yet buzzing with energy. I taught a 75 minute Vinyasa to a mixed crowd. I started out rather seriously , then reverted to my playful style of Yoga as I realised how good spirited everyone was at Bliss Yoga studio. We laughed a lot, sweated alot & I genuinely had a blissful time at this gem of a Yoga studio. After the class so many people came up to me to introduce themselves, hug and kiss me.
I joyfully floated out of the Yoga studio on a cloud of love & mutual gratitude to walk the night streets of Makati in search of new friends to discover.
Thank you Makati, thank you Bliss Yoga. I will return in a few months time once I’m living in Hong Kong.