First of all, I think that it is the saddest place on earth. Okay, not the saddest - but it was the place where I felt the saddest. The first time I had to stay there for a significant length of time, I found myself on my own - literally on my own. I found myself eating alone and going to places alone. I discovered that I like being alone when I chose to and not when it is enforced on me. The latter sucks.
One time, I got caught up in the rain and I had to walked through thigh-high flooded streets to reach my aunt's house. That was a 4-hour walk from Recto to Quezon Avenue. I wonder whatever happened to that girl I walked with that night. I have forgotten her name and her face.
I got robbed there several times. I found my bags slashed three times! One time, I sat with a man on the jeep and I was so stupid I didn't even notice that he was trying to slash my bag. My friends couldn't say anything in fear that he'd stabbed me with the knife that he was holding. I was probably lucky that night.
I had my necklace snatched from my neck. Okay, he wasn't successful because I was too quick for him and I was probably stupid for using that necklace anyway. I was going home that day - going home to Naga and I put on the necklace. Stupid. For months after that, I walked with my bag clutched in front of me - and I was in Naga already!
The last time that I had to stay in Manila for a month was in 2007, Bar Exams. It was not that bad. Probably because I had people with me all the time, so I never really felt alone. Also, we were always ensconced in our condo unit studying 24/7. I think we were on the 19th floor - and you'd hardly hear the sounds below on that level. It was only when I looked out the balcony and see the skyscrapers from a distance that I'd be reminded that I was in Manila.
I felt the same way when I stayed abroad. I think there is no place that would make me feel at home like Naga does. Now, I am going to Manila for an opportunity to go abroad - and that sucks. But one has to do what one has to do. I just wish I did not have to go to Manila for this.