Manila : Love it or hate it
Manila doesn't have the best reputation. People who visit the city question it's safety and complain there isn't the cuisine, culture or architecture of other Southeast Asian cities. Their airport is poorly managed, infrastructure is old, and though it was one a beautiful city, most tourists try to stay in the safe havens surrounding the Greenbelts in Makati or Fort Bonifacio where lifestyle shops and restaurants protect you from the "real Manila." And while these critics could be right about some elements, few ever take a moment to understand what really made the city the way it is now.
In Carlos Celdran's TEDx Talk at TEDxVictoriaHarbour in May 2012, he shared a million insights squeezed into the 18-minute format. It was a talk on history, revolution, poverty, community and opportunities presented by the former visual artist turned tour guide. And what amazed me was that despite having been to the Philippines 20 odd times for work and pleasure, I still found the talk to be hilarious, educational, eye opening and at times emotional. It's hard to explain if you haven't been there before. It seems to be a destination people love or hate. All I know is that I want to go back, and I want to take one of his tours.
If you've ever visited the Philippines or are ever thinking about going, or if you've ever passed judgement on the country, I beg you to watch this talk, and be sure to find Carlos the next time you're in Manila!