My first day in Manila was an interesting one. I caught a train. Now, I thought I’d been on a crowded train before, but I was wrong – very wrong. Now, I have been on a crowded train. I caught a train in Manila from Upper Becutan to Vito Cruz and I have never had such a workout, forcing back the hordes of Filipinos trying to crush the air out of my lungs. For these people this is a daily experience but for me it was unbelievable. When it came time to get out, I had a flashback to the days I played Front Row forward in Rugby Union and I had to get out of a ruck – except it was easier to get out of the ruck! I had to force my way past smiling people – with many of them calling out “push” and laughing and saying “only in the Philippines”. Even though I was face to face and pushing as hard as a 100kg man can push, no one got even the slightest bit upset. How happy are these people?
I also caught a number of Jeepneys and Tricycles. 8 peso for a standard Jeepney or tricycle ride (about A$0.20c). Jeepneys can carry up to 20 people, unless the driver thinks he can squash a couple more on board and the typical ride takes 10-15 minutes. They are like a local private bus service, doing the same circuit over and over again. Tricycles are motor bikes decked out to take 7 people and they also charge 8 pesos but when I get on (6′ and 100kgs) they can only take 6 and I have to pay for 2 seats!