Thursday, August 7, 2008

Manila - Week 7 Update (Opening Night & Misc)

OK, I apologize in advance for how long this is going to be. I really should write more often so they're not so long, but hey, YOU find time to sit at a computer everyday when there's so much to do in a whole other country! :)

Just a few quick catch-you-ups: we opened last Friday and have had fabulous response; reviews are great, blogs are even better, and audience response is unbelievable. I had my first experience in dealing with the paparazzi - kinda' fun, but more strange and awkward than anything else. I met Imelda Marcos. Yes, THE Imelda Marcos. Unfortunately didn't have the presence of mind to memorialize the moment with a photo; really gotta' just start taking that camera EVERYWHERE! Have done 2 appearances on what I think is the Filipino equivalent of "The Today Show" or "Good Morning, America". Surprisingly fun. Have met quite a few people now, and if I could know that I'd work as much here as I do in NYC, I could quite easily move to Manila just because of how much I adore everyone I meet and am working with.

So that's where I'm at now. We've got a few weeks left in Manila, opening week is done and press stuff should get lighter, so I'm looking forward to getting out and about now. I'm going to hike a volcano on Monday - promise to take pics - and hope to make it to one of the other islands, Boracay, before we leave. It's kind of expensive, but everyone I talk to says the beaches are just amazing; white sand and crystal clear waters.

Hotel life suits me (I'd always suspected!) - but I am getting a little tired of room service now. I've got much more time now to get out and about for food, though, so I'm looking forward to being a little more adventurous with my choices. A lot of people in the cast have gotten sick already (stomach issues, vomiting, etc.) and there have been a lot of food poisoning claims. So far, I've managed to avoid any problems whatsoever and I hope to keep it that way! Balut is still on my list of things to try, though . . .

I continue losing more than I win at poker, but the company is so pleasant I just don't care. It's getting quite popular among the cast, too; we started with a handful of people that's maxed out at about 15 people, I think. We're running out of chairs and room for everybody in one hotel room!

I finally went out a few nights ago. I've had a few drinks in the lobby bar but haven't really had a night out anywhere since I've been here (other than for dinner - not for fun, really). I hate to generalize a whole people, but it's been my experience that Filipinos have this tendency that I've come to truly appreciate: they seem to recognize what's best about something and then just put it all together in one place with the best of several other (sometimes unrelated) things. This is true of their architecture and interior design (you can clearly see Spanish, Chinese, and Muslim influences, often all in the same building!), their music (the lobby lounge singer and her jazz trio one night went from the standard "Fly Me to the Moon" directly into a version of "Umbrella" that actually improved on Rihanna's, in my opinion), and also true apparently of their bars. There's a LOT of karaoke and videoke bars around (not sure what the difference is, I'm not big into any kind of 'oke), but we all went out to play some pool at this place called "Elbow Room" and discovered it had karaoke/videoke, billiards, a bar, a DJ, and a dance floor - a one-stop party place. Totally loved it, and hope to go back, or at least to that mall.

Everything is in a mall here, I've found. You could be driving for half a mile past nothing but palm trees, then come across this mass of concrete with many, MANY little stores, restaurants, clubs, etc. all clustered together like they're afraid of open spaces. Manila also has the 3rd largest mall in Asia - the Mall of Asia. I hate malls, and have avoided it thus far, but since malls are where everything IS, I'm sure that won't last much longer. I want to see "Dark Knight" on IMAX, so it might even be as soon as next Tuesday! :) Besides the IMAX screen and hundreds of stores tempting my money away from me, I guess the Mall of Asia also has an ice-skating rink. Anything with an ice-skating rink can't be ALL bad, right? :)

So that's it for now. Magandang umaga (good morning) and bye for now, dear friends.

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