It’s 3AM; I must be in Manila

She says baby
It’s 3 am I must be lonely
When she says baby
Well I can’t help but be scared of it all sometimes
Says the rain’s gonna wash away I believe it
― MATCHBOX 20

I was talking to a colleague yesterday and we were discussing the best time for a conference call next week. After some negotiation she threw out 3am. After a quick glance at my calender, I blurted out, “3AM is the PERFECT time for our conference call!”. We both paused for a moment, and then burst into laughter. “Did you just say that 3am was the perfect time for a conference call?”, she questioned between almost tearful snickers. WTF? Yes, I did. Yes, I must be in Manila.

I’ve been awake at 3am everyday this week. I’ve also been awake every noon and every 8pm. I take power naps periodically. I must be in Manila.

Since I’ve been here I’ve…oh hell, I don’t know what I’ve been doing. It’s been non-stop catching up with old friends, working nights, napping, working days, running, drinking lots and lots of freaking Starbucks, bailing out of taxis, watching stupid TV, drinking wine and rum at 9am, eating as much People’s Palace Thai as is practical, practicing some holistic healing, and well…just living the life of Manila.

I miss it here. I am also certain the country wants to kill me.

Some of my best friends live here. I may not see or talk to them on a regular basis, but once I am here it is like being in a piece of home. I adore the people here that I inevitably have to leave behind. But as much as I love being here, I also dread it. I don’t nap enough, I don’t know when I am supposed to eat, I drink vodka to sleep, and then too much caffeine to exist. I run to balance, but I dodge cars and jeepneys and horrific air quality to survive. I miss Target and Jason and Iona and all my beloved friends and family. I miss tall people and my DVR. I long for straight hair. I miss anonymity. I miss watching the Today Show on the day it was filmed and not 2 days later. But I also love fresh mangoes every day, and tarot readings, and Lapu Lapu, and calamansi, and omelets and wine at Apartment 1B at 8am on a Tuesday, and good customer service, and my Secret Friend. Therein lies my cultural quandary. My Philippine predicament. My Manila malady.

I will leave Manila tomorrow and head to Cebu. Now Cebu REALLY wants to kill me. That’s entirely a different story, and one that will get itself told. In the meantime, what will I be doing at 3am? I will be awake of course. I must be in Manila.