10 Things Ilonggos Experience When Working in Manila for the First Time

Let’s face it.  Moving to Metro Manila to find work is probably one of the many big decisions probinsyanos nation wide make.  Whether for personal growth, financial opportunity, or a family move, it’s a decision that brings with it all whole lot of fun, tears and stories of struggle.

But of course, this being Hungry Ilonggo, we compiled some 10 true to life realisations that some of us Ilonggos have had as we have left our beautiful city of Iloilo to find our selves in the Nation’s Capital.
1. Your 2 KM Commute takes more or less an hour.

This is your official welcome to Manila Parade.. except that it’s not moving.  We’ve complained how bad it gets in front of SM City Iloilo when 3 lanes try to make a U-Turn for the mall. Or how bad it gets during Dinagyang.  But nothing beats Manila Traffic where your short jeep ride seems to be an hour long EVERYDAY.   You’ve probably spent a good 3-4 hours of every single day of your hardworking professional life on the road.  By now, you’ve probably mastered leaving at least 2 hours before your office time in, or having your client on speed dial because that thing called traffic isn’t moving.

2. Explaining to your officemates that you come from Iloilo not Ilocos.

Come on guys. Know the difference! Just because it sounds the same doesn’t mean it’s from the same place.  Ilocos is all the way up north of Metro Manila whereas Iloilo is like an hour away via airplane. Ilocanos=People from Ilocos, Ilonggos= People from Iloilo. Oh and just in case you’re wondering, people from the Negros side, or Bacolod are called “Negrense”.

3. Can’t believe how ridiculously expensive Seafood is in Manila.

Still can’t. Once you’ve been used to those delicious things called Fresh Talaba or Oysters at 50 Pesos for a full plate (at least 10 pieces) . Or Fresh Fish with it’s Ulo(head) in Sinigang and body grilled for a measly 150-200 pesos, you gotta ask yourself why economics have to be so mean. Especially when you’re missing that seaside feel at Villa while your standing in the middle of Greenbelt or High Street.

And yes guys, Baked Talaba Exists in Iloilo for as low as 70-80 pesos for at least a good 7-10 pieces.

4. Get poked fun for pronouncing -gle ending words with a strong -gol.

Seriously I admit not being so conscious about this until someone really pointed this out. But as the Ilonggo tongue takes on English words such as Triangle, Jungle, Tricycle, we do tend to pronounce it as Triang-Gol, Jung-Gol, Trisi-Kol.  Whereas Metro Manila pronunciations sound like Triang-Gel, Jung-Gel, Trisi-Kel.

Don’t worry guys, you’ll eventually lose the accent as you get to interact more and assimilate. But you should be proud of your roots!

5. Realising that Fort Bonifacio does not actually look like a Fort.

Dude when you say Fort, there has to be some freakin wall around it right? I mean when we say Fort San Pedro, we’re thinking this walled place looking actually looking like a military outpost.  But that’s pretty much in the past.  Fort Bonifacio now is the face of Metro Manila’s development and progress.

6. Getting shocked faces explaining that Boracay is only a bus ride away.

What would be 4 hours of your Manila Day, you would’ve reached Boracay by now and enjoying the beauty of its people and white sands.  Iloilo to Boracay would be the equivalent of a weekend get away to Batangas.

7. Higher Salary doesn’t mean higher savings.

You’re living alone, commuting,  paying for rent, doing your own laundry.  Manila’s cost of living is pretty high.  Soon enough you realise you miss your mom’s cooking and having your own roof over your head. You realise how good you had it all this years and you finally learn the meaning of “adulting”.

8. People are too busy surviving Manila to GAF about making chismis about you.

The thing is when you pretty much come from a small city, chances are, people pretty much know you or your relatives.  And this has probably placed some certain pressures on you with your actions or behavior.  You love Manila because people are too busy surviving to even remotely pass on the latest gossip about you. It’s like your friend was on her way to share your latest conquest with her friend but forgot all about it because she got stuck in 2 hours of traffic.

9. Explaining that Dinagyang Festival is just as crazy fun as the Sinulog Festival.

Usually the Sinulog get’s all the special hype as it happens during the same month as Dinagyang. Well because Cebu was indeed ahead of all the development outside Metro Manila. Good news though party goers, Iloilo City is just as fun and crazy.  Every person that has decided to choose Iloilo instead as their party destination has never regretted it. They usually find out about what it means to be called the “City of Love”.

10. No one knows you. No expectations. 

Here in Manila you are free to chart your own destination.  Say goodbye to all those pressures of trying to please your neighbours or your relatives.  Here you get to make your mistakes, learn from them, come out a better individual, all away from the prying eyes of people that have been watching you grow up.  Whether it’s love, work or making friends, in Manila you will definitely find your own definitions.


We got a kick putting this one together! So which one could you relate to? Or do you have your own?  Leave your own experience in the comment box!

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