Divisoria, Binondo, Ongpin and Intramuros in One Day

After speaking with Kaya FC Teammate Armand Del Rosario about future Fan Club apparel, gifts and giveaways he invited me to join his associate on a visit to Divisoria to collect price quotes from multiple distributors. Since, I have not been down to the area better know as the Chinatown of Manila, I decided it would be a wonderful experience to not only check out factory pricing for my own brand Cynonyc Clothing Company (Coming Soon) but to also experience the life, culture and energy of a place close to my heart. Growing up in Chinatown New York City, I have always been fascinated with other localized towns and cities that share a common tradition, language, and culture. Venturing off to the ethnic neighborhoods found in New York is truly an invigorating experience that is so close and easy to do. So, when this opportunity came up to hop over to the next city, I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to check it out.

Not knowing what to expect, I met Sheena at the office to begin our journey into the depths of manila. My first very direct lesson of the day, was to make sure I did not carry valuables out in the open and that I had to cleverly conceal all that I owned. Secondly, I were to never use my phone in the open and I was informed that Tweeting, Status Updates and Texting came with the very reliable price of losing my phone. So, with this preconceived danger that was instilled in me, I was a bit confused and anxious to see what kind of place we were about to go to.

After the very thorough briefing of the types of crimes that could happen to me I was informed that a direct cab to our location was impossible on any given day, let alone a Friday late-afternoon. So, together Sheena and I embarked on a Bus ride to the LRT. Once out, we started our merchant hunt for competitive price quotes on the merchandise we were looking for.  Being that our merchants were scattered across several areas we then had to travel to our destinations.

All in all, our travels took us all over the area and it felt something like this: Bus to the LRT…Train to Recto and saw some crazy illegal documentation duplications… Trike ride on and off the side walks to Divisoria with more merchant chats… Then a Jeepney to Binondo that took 20 min to move one block… After getting dizzy and light headed from the population we decided to just walk… Once to Binondo the traffic of all sorts came to life… In your face and inescapable was the amount of congestion at full force: human traffic, trike traffic, peddy cab traffic, car traffic, jeep traffic, Kalesa traffic, and even cart traffic.

The afternoon ended with a Kalesa ride through Ongpin and around Intramuos all the way to SM mall where the only taxi cabs were available. Yes, the Kalesa actually went on the highway to SM. To cap it all off, and for future reference to all, rainy Friday night cab lines are usually 100 people deep with about 2 cabs loading. I took the train back and bumper to bumper cabbed it home from there.

This trip was so incredibly overwhelming that I can only comment on the traveling aspect before I get into explaining all the wonderful and exciting new things I saw and learned. I have to attribute this extreme experience to the exceptionally well versed and knowledgeable Sheena, who took me on a wild trip in such an incredibly short amount of time. Within 6 hours, I was time lapsed through the depths of Manila, speeding through in slow motion yet living through the eyes and steps of the everyday hustle. I was able to feel the energy and the vibrant culture. And although I was unable to fully live it, I was certainly glad to have had the opportunity to  simply see it. Thanks again Sheena for the informative journey through the area!

More to come on what I saw, felt, learned and encountered. For now, I shall ‘break’ at this moment for my first installment of “Lexton Moy’s Chinatown to Chinatown.” Stay tuned for much more on this day and future trips to the intensely dense core of Manila. I’ll leave you with my signature “Thumbs-Up” on my first Kalesa ride.

“Triking” to Payatas

For my very first trip out to visit the new location of the Drop in center for the Fair Play for All Foundation, I had quite the travel experience. Day started with a short cab ride to the Ayala MRT Station, followed by a crowed rush-hour ride to North Ave. Once I was off the train, I jumped into another cab to St. Peter’s Church on Commonwealth Ave, where I met up with FFA’s Co-Founder Naomi Tomlinson. We then hopped into a Jeepney that took us to another Jeepney before reaching our destination. For a new commuter, that single leg, one way journey might have been a bit overwhelming, but for a daily experienced commuter, that is not much at all. In fact my taxi rides could have easily been substituted with Jeepneys without a problem.

So, after a long day of cleaning and preparing the house for initial renovations and remodeling, it was time to wash up. We jumped on a fully loaded Trike and road to the next town over to shower up and head to lunch. By “Fully-Loaded” I meant the Trike was filled with Five passengers plus the driver. Barely hanging off the back of this trike with a large bag flying off to the side, I held on with a tight grip pressed up against the driver. Though I almost bounced off, it wasn’t until later that I understood why we were in the best seats on a trike.

After cleaning up, it was time to get back and have some food. Way into the afternoon now and hungry as ever, we began our trek back home, or should I say, “trike” back home. This time we had the awesome opportunity to sit in the side car. It wasn’t until that moment I realized how tiny the space actually was in there. We packed 3 adults in the little egg crate cart and proceeded on the bumpy ride. This was just one of the highlights of the day and it was quite the experience to have traveled out to Payatas to lend a helping hand to a very special organization, all the meanwhile, getting to really experience the city and the country’s culture.

Couldn’t ask for more from a wonderful day to Payatas. Yes, the return journey include: 1 trike, 2 jeepneys, 1 train, and 1 taxi. The only thing I didn’t get to try that day was a Boat and a Bus ride. Perhaps next time I will get those in as well. Until then, stay tuned for more travel stories.

First Jeepney Ride in Manila!

My First Jeepney ride in the Philippines was a special experience. It was during a light afternoon on a quite route. We had the luxury of the entire space and only traveled a short distance. Quite the contrary of the realities of true Jeepney traveling.  We even had the chance to snap a quick picture. SMILE!

Now, my second Jeepney ride was extremely different.  After getting on what I thought was a simple ride in an empty Jeepney soon turned very nerve racking. After entering a completely vacant Jeepney, it pulled over some ways ahead and was abruptly boarded by a huge group of workers. I found myself quickly pushed to the front of Jeepney, where I pressed up against the driver. The next thing I knew, I was collecting money and handing it to the driver. As my very limited Tagalog was put to the test, I scurried to exchange money and frantically repeated broken Filipino numbers. As the sweat began to drip down my face, I tried not to drop any coins. At that point, overwhelmed and a bit confused, I couldn’t wait to get to my destination.  As the Jeepney pulled over near our stop, I tried not falling over as I stumbled through the narrow passage way over feet, bags and children. After hopping off the back, an immense feeling of relief fell over me, and I needed a few seconds to collect myself.

I made it out alive and better yet, I had a chance to practice my Tagalog Numbers under fire. I only hope everyone got their correct change back!