Caloocan Travel Guide

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Kabayan Hotel Monumento

Kabayan Hotel Monumento

Caloocan City is one of the 14 municipalities within Metro Manila, and located on the northern part.

I spent 6 months in Caloocan September '06 - March '07.  I found it to be over-populated (as are most Metro Manila area cities), polluted in every way (ditto), and very poor.

No parks, no decent libraries (books in bookstores are as expensive as in the USA), simply crossing the street on foot is putting your life at risk.

Recreation consists of children playing in the street, blaring noise (sometimes 24/7), from horns, motorcycles and the Third World's all time favorite, Kareoke.

There is no privacy, even in an apartment you may rent.  The neighbors will walk past and stare in your windows to see what you are doing and what you have inside. 

Living is relatively cheap; rent, food, clothing, beer, cigarettes, transportation; because most people are so poor, the costs must remain low.  Quality follows the cost of most things, as anyplace else.  Most all products, if not imported from the west, come from SEAsia and are cheaply made and usually have little if any warranty because you will be lucky to get it home without it's breaking.

Most anyplace you go in Caloocan is crowded and you must be constantly watching for pickpocket/snatching attempts.  You can identify where the jeepney and trike drivers hang out by the smell of urine.  Urinating on a wall or sidewalk next to the street is common.

The people I met were all very friendly and helpful.  One of the first questions I would usually get was "Why would you want to come to Caloocan?"  My plan was to see if I could live in the Philippines on my retirement income, and to learn the transportation system, how to use the ATMs and where they were, what kinds of foods were available and some of the language.  I did all this within a month and was ready to leave.  My only drawback was I did not know anyone in the provinces to visit.  Hotels and resorts are not cheap, especially if you look like a white foreigner, as I do.

There are two prices wherever you go for the local native Filipino and one for the foreigner.  In Filipinos eyes "all foreigners are rich".  It is not unusual to be charged 3 times the local rate if you are deemed a foreigner.

I felt like I could live anywhere for 6 months, and it was true.  But it would take a lot  for me to return and stay anywhere in the Manila Metro area for 6 months.  I'd be much more comfortable in a trailer home in Arkansas watching tv than Caloocan.

I make friends easily and made several while there.  I miss them, but I do not miss the filth and air/water/noise pollution.

But even though it's this bad, there are other things which I'm sure will interest you in Caloocan. People are very courteous and polite. Not all people there are full of hatred. There are nice sights, nice buildings, nice natives, excellent food and best of all, great culture.


June 24, 2007 change by giorgio

July 01, 2005 change by libay

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