I’m staying with a friend in Bacolod City on the Philippine island of Negros. I’ve been to Negros a few years ago but it was a different part of the island. I’ll be here for a few weeks and hope to get out and explore some new places, although it’s starting out pretty wet here at the moment.
It’s said that back in the early part of the 20th century Manila was a hip and happening place, one of the more progressive cities in SE Asia. And then the war came, and the place has never really recovered since then. There are pockets of wealth and Western gentrification as well as a few places of cultural interest, but much of the city remains sadly downtrodden and blighted. It’s often hard to tell one neighborhood from another. The bleakness of much of the city, however, combined with the hustle and bustle of the mass of humanity here, can actually provide some interesting-ness. It’s just too bad the city never was able to live up to its original promise.