Christmas is coming up and we meet in time for the beginning of Advent in the Philippine capital Manila. Already at the airport welcomes us a golden angel in front of a decorated Christmas tree. The steps of the little Malaysian girl in front of us slow down. look here, Mama! Prompt the mother pulls out the phone and takes a picture of a child and angels. Scenes, as we know only too well from around the world. Outside us schwallt warm humid, stickige, by exhaust gases against smelly air. We're back in the smog. Welcome back! A short time later we know why: tightly packed clog black sooty jeepneys, the main means of transportation in Manila, big cars (SUV) buses and the routes through the town. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries are in the fray little scooter on the road. In return, a solitary cyclist with masked face fights quickly past the droning traffic. Respect! Pass us by construction sites and chic new buildings for luxury apartments with pool directly at the Airport. Manila, a juggernaut? What is behind the description? We are curious.
At first glance, the city is primarily a: bunt, or rather versatile, from black to white, and more. Manila is not an evolved city, but is a conglomeration of several individual cities. With its ca. 11 My. Inhabitants, it is one of the largest in the world. Accordingly different are the Neighborhood. A center does not exist. While small on one side parts are with high-rise buildings, expensive apartments and shopping malls, live about half of the people living in slums. Manila came as a city historically hardly to rest and was mainly influenced by the Spanish colonial era and the subsequent American occupation. Ultimately love to Christianity and fast food can be clearly seen in the first meters.
Many people go through the streets with a smile, sing loudly with passion to the oldies on the radio or spice up loving their jeepneys with wild and colorful ornaments blinking lights on. „In God we trust“ or „God is love“ is a common label on the companion. The Christian-Catholic faith is omnipresent. Even in our accommodation a Maria image hangs above the bed, and on the opposite wall a little plain cross.
But there is also the other side of Manila, which is hard to miss. At almost every corner sits someone – times huddled on the bare concrete floor of the walkway, times with an open hand, usually with a sad or challenging views, speaks volumes. Was tun? Manila is unlike other major cities in Southeast Asia. It is full of homeless people and of all ages. Homeless are everywhere, like a think. But so many and so many children? The street is the playground, Place to sleep, Location - or is simply a place to survive. Scenes like this we see abound. A young woman stands with open blouse in front of our hotel on the street and breast feeding her newborn. An elderly, Western man comes up to you. Sustainable she looks him in the eye. He passes. Two little boys with filthy face come running towards us with outstretched hands and energetically call „coin, coin mam“. No, I say sad. But my intent children not support comes vigorously in this city begging to falter. As the locals deal with it? They do not respond and go without looking past. Instead, they wonder when I give an old man in front of a cafe a coin. Where is the Christian charity?
The state, however, has taken up the Agenda, always just before important events "clean up" its streets, such as the visit of the Pope, the American president or only recently in mid-November for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Homeless are transported against their will in institutions and need to live in poor conditions there temporarily. The street children are not to be found on the street, according to journalists during these periods. It is for their good. But there are also protests, we read in the newspapers. It is now no longer on the streets to feel. While there are numerous reports, make that children in the intoxication of adhesive are their daily lives on the road more bearable, find now the Advent season both Filipinos and tourists in the consumer frenzy of Shopping Center again. And then: the people have here evidently fear of terror, or it is the government, anxiety stokes? Almost every small shop a security guard stands with a large gun. It's such a Security states almost like at the airport: Each bag will be searched before entering the subway or the department store, However, only gross negligence with a single glance. Paris says hello, we think sad. With all the hustle and bustle, there are small moments of peace, when a little girl suddenly stops in front of the center of the Christmas tree twinkling fairy lights and nothing continues, except to observe and marvel. Will there also be amazed at Christmas, or it has been all the lights already used? Should not only a candle to be lit?
Full of thoughts we stroll, as the locals, along the waterfront and look dreamily towards the sun, as it goes down slowly over the oily shining sea. We have kindled no candle. Ours is in the backpack, which has served us as an emergency light with so few blackouts already good services.
Back to the roots, also remember instead consume, could be a new or. his old attachment for the holiday season, which is not easy to implement, both on the street of Manila as well as in the rest of the world.