Two weeks ago, I landed in Manila.
“Please ma’am, I am very good tour guide,” he texted me.
Two days prior, he man made eye contact with me as I wandered lost around Intramuros—the historical enclave of Manila, Philippines filled with stories of War War II and colonial influences. Having just arrived to my hotel after a 16 hour flight, I felt dizzy with the humid bright light. The hotel front desk demanded payment for my stay and I reluctantly went outside in search of an ATM. Around and around the cobblestone streets, I walked passing locals, tending to grilling sisig and selling prepaid phone cards. Exhaustion dug at me as I walked around the block and the man on a pedicab yelled out, “Tour?! I show you Intramuros.”
I waved him off, “I am looking for an ATM.”
Insistent, he followed me, “I do a great tour!”
I walked back to the hotel and went inside to negotiate, “I have to an appointment at the Mall of Asia at 4 pm. Can I pay later?”
“Ok, I give you until 9 pm,” she said.
With relief, I turned and went back outside. The man was still there and waved his hands in the air, repeating, “Intramuros intramuros!”
“Can you take me to the Mall of Asia?” I asked.