dagupan city & manila - Where's Byrne?

dagupan city & manila

24.11.2011 – 30.11.2011 Sunny 30 °C

Another week spent in Dagupan was pretty uneventful, mostly spent topping up our suntans. Oh, and it was my Dads birthday so we threw him a party, oh, and his wifes mum died two-hours before it was due to start…

As you would expect it was an odd atmosphere doubling up a 63rd birthday party with a wake. I wasn’t sure how to act; whether it was OK to get drunk and party or not. I decided against it and went out for one beer, paying my respects to the deceased they had set up laying on a bamboo bed with a sheet covered over her.

Four-days later with the evenings spent hosting well wishers that come to pay their respects (and play cards and get drunk) the funeral was arranged. This was my first funeral and was not what I was expecting. We had a ten-minute walk behind the funeral car to the church where a ceremony took place in Tagalog and some holy water got thrown about which was followed by another twenty-minute walk to the cemetery behind the car where there was a further ceremony with the casket open and a piece of glass laid over the top so people could say their final goodbyes without touching. Three-hours in total it was all over and some of the women were upset but nothing on the scale I thought. I was expecting tears all the way but they prefer to celebrate their life and not mourn their death. Good thinking, I suppose.

That afternoon I got dragged to see the fourth installment of the Twilight saga (awful). Roll on Manila…

01.12.2011 – 04.12.2011 Sunny 28 °C

A five-hour bus ride away, Manila awaited us, we were heading there to meet my mate Ram and his girlfriend Karen the following day, who were coming out to meet us for a two-week holiday. After enquiring in two guesthouses and being asked how many hours we would like the room for (isn’t twenty-four hours normal?), we decided to head to The Mall of Asia (abbreviated MOA) until late and then get a hotel room for twelve-hours as it worked out a lot cheaper. MOA is huge and a must see if you are in Manila. While we were there we had an email from Thailand James who was in the Philippines for a week, to say he was planning to check in at the Friendly Guesthouse in Malate the following day as he’d heard good reviews. We thought we’d check it out to first and give him the heads up. It turns out the Friendly Guesthouse wasn’t so friendly. They had dorm beds available for 325P or a double room for 950P (£14). We took the double room for the night but I knew we wouldn’t be staying there more than the one night. We had a balcony outside our room which we could see perfect shadows of Filipinos who nipped out for a cigarette projected on to our back wall, the aircon sounded like a group of rats were having a party in it, the wall sockets had notices next to them saying ‘do not charge any electrical items due to fire hazards’ and you had to walk through reception to get to the bathroom. For £14 a night, no thanks.

Next day we checked into the Adriatico Pensione Inn down the road from Friendly’s for the same price but with free breakfast chucked in. The room had a double bed and a TV and that was it but had a cosy atmosphere and was a pleasant stay. We headed out to hang around Makati for the day, the financial district of Manila, very swanky but probably the most expensive part of the Philippines, and wait for Ram and Karen. Also joining us for one night only was Thailand James. After battling their way through the Makati rush hour traffic we finally met up and the drinking began, starting in Makati and making our way to Malate where we were staying. My recollection is but a San Miguel haze but I do remember little kids trying to rob mine and Ram’s pockets on the way home at about 7am. Little shits. Malate is definitely where the action is for the backpacker though with loads of bars and drink deals available, not to mention strip clubs.

The next day the LA Galaxy were in town playing a Filipino XI in an exhibition match. I had mentioned it to Ram and our birds and all were keen but as I only woke up at 4pm I wasn’t sure if we were still planning on going, until Ram knocked at the door and told me to shake a leg. We got to the front of the stadium where they were selling tickets for 2000P (£28) each, but after a bit of bartering we got them down to 1500P (£20). Bargain. We then joined one of the biggest queues I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how many spectators the stadium held but they were all in one line snaking around the stadium, queueing for the one entrance. After waiting it out in Starbucks like the cool dudes we are, the queue had disappeared and so we entered the stadium. Not the best match I’ve ever been to but there was a good atmosphere and much like in Malaysia when we saw Chelsea play a Malaysian XI, the locals seem to clap every incident. It was all quite nice until just before half-time I had a bit of stomach ache, common after a night on the beer for me so I thought nothing of it until I let out a little fart. Something wasn’t quite right. It felt a bit wet but nothing too serious so I thought I’d hang it out and not miss the match, I either had the choice of waiting until we got back to the hotel or a Portaloo anyway. A few minutes after that I decided to lean against the railings at the back of the stadium as it was all standing and my legs were aching. As I moved my left leg something fell from my rectal area down my left short. Sheer panic pulsated through me wave by wave. I leaned up against the fence and took a look at the back of my left calf and on it sat a perfectly round blob of chocolate coloured poo. I returned to my upright stance and stared out blankly and the pure panic continued to pulsate through me with every heartbeat. ‘What the fuck am I going to do?’ I thought. B turned around and smiled at me and I just falsely smiled back feeling that my face must have been as red as a tomato, when I saw a free magazine on the floor that had been given out upon entrance. I grabbed it, folded it over and wiped the excrement from my calf – surprisingly not leaving much of a mark, I folded it over again and stuffed it behind a banner tied to the railing. Thank God for that I was thinking. Whilst congratulating myself on managing to resolve that situation with no-one finding out, I looked down and the magazine was by my foot with a massive piece of crap on the front cover. It had fallen from behind the banner and unfolded itself. I bent down and pretended to scratch my foot, picked it up and folded it in half once more and posted it between two railings to my right, away from B, Ram and Karen. I really didn’t want them to know. I could feel that I was still in trouble and needed the toilet but I couldn’t walk for fear of something else falling out so I decided to wait until the end and sneak out in the crowds.

The second half kicked off and all was as well as it could be when a Filipino guy sitting next to me decided to have a read of the free magazine covered in shit. He opened it up, stared at it for a few seconds before he must have realised what it was and folded it back up and placing it back between the two railings. He then shuffled a foot or so away from it but not before looking at me with what I felt were knowing eyes. Rather a stranger than your girlfriend and your two mates realising right? A little further into the match it was starting to dawn on me how bad the situation was and my legs were beginning to shake where I was unable to change my position. I realised I was going to need B’s help at the very least if I was to get away with this so I decided to call her over and break the embarrassing news. This was going to take our relationship to a new level. ‘I’ve shit myself’, I whispered. ‘What?’, she said. I repeated it. A blank expression covered her face as she didn’t know if I was being serious or not, unfortunately I was deadly serious. A few seconds or so passed and she then realised I wasn’t joking and started laughing, luckily. ‘What am I gonna do?’. ‘Can you walk?’, she asked, to which I replied ‘No’. Cue more laughter, I’m glad someone was finding it funny. I then told her about the magazine and not to go near it and asked her if I smelt. With comedy timing a fuck off blue-bottle started buzzing around my shorts. ‘I’m fucking attracting flies!’. B offered to walk behind me on the way out to cover any possible mark on my shorts, which was nice of her when Ram and Karen came and stood next to me. After a couple of minutes Ram asked me ‘Is that you?’. ‘Is what me?’ knowing full well what he was talking about. I realised I wasn’t going to get away with it so I decided to tell him. He asked again. I whispered to him ‘I’ve shit myself’. ‘What?’ he said, I said again as in a déjà vu from earlier. He asked me if I was serious, I nodded and he broke out into uncontrollable laughter but not before telling Karen, the bastard. Ram said ‘Just go to the Portaloo and use your boxers to clean yourself up’. ‘I can’t’, I said. ‘Why not?’. ‘Because I’m going commando’. As I’ve travelled around I have been gradually losing boxer shorts, you put five in to wash and four come back etc. I left England with seven, I was now down to two and they were both dirty so had no choice.

With the three of them around me laughing so hard, I found myself laughing with them until again, something else dropped down my shorts. I asked B if there were any marks on my shorts and in a repeat from earlier B pointed out that there was a huge lump on my left calf, again. Ram and Karen saw this too which made them laugh even more. I spotted a flyer laying on the ground and used it to scrape the crap off my leg. It did cross my mind that someone was going to have to clear up human poo from where I was standing later that evening, but I had more pressing issues. It was the end of the match and time for the acid test, I had to walk out from the back of a packed football stadium and find a Portaloo, risking other possible plops. It wasn’t as bad as I thought because what I didn’t know at the time was the stuff had already dried on my arse and legs, which in a very weird way, was a result. I spotted a Portaloo and Karen ran off to get me some napkins, bless her. I then spent twenty-minutes in a 3×3 space with no light trying to clear myself up. I have never wanted a shower so much in my life. I didn’t need the toilet anymore, I’d already been. New entry in the top five most embarrassing things that have happened to me. I still am unable to comprehend what happened.

No photo’s I’m afraid…

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