Chinatown of Manila
“Welcome to the jungle,” said a young man wearing a sly smile.
A very delightful welcome it was, and ‘jungle’ is the only accurate term for it. I was anything but prepared for the exuberant folks working (and shopping) at the markets in Chinatown.
It started with one person goofing off, making a joke behind my back, as I was snapping pics. I decided to hone in on at him with my camera— he ducked and I retorted, “hey, you make a joke about me, I take a picture of you! We both win, yeah?” People around us burst into laughter and heckled the poor guy as he blushed.
After that, it was like a rumor mill. In the sea of people, I could see heads turning towards us, and as I waited for Xiker to catch up, people up ahead were already looking for us, gesturing towards us, and were ready for us as we passed. Most were shy and content to just watch, but a few brave folks jumped to pose in front of our cameras, and plenty of laughs abounded whenever someone did.
“Welcome to the Philippines!”
“Thank you so much for coming!”
We kept hearing those words again and again, and I wanted to say, no, thank YOU for welcoming us!
But all I could do was smile and bask in the world these people live in.