A Night Out Partying in Manila

I finally met my cousin Jeng (short for Jenny) the day after Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). We were covered in mud and spent the entire day cleaning our houses. She mentioned when things start to get settled we should all go out to experience the night life. I was all for it, but at the time wasn’t sure when the chaos was all going to be over. The flood sewer out front was still knee deep and the house wasn’t going to clean itself.

In exactly 2 weeks after Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana), Jeff and I moved to a condo in Taguig. We have the famous Bonifacio High Street out front and it’s a big step up from what we were thrown at the first 2 weeks in the Philippines.

It was a warm Saturday night and was perfect for a night out in Manila. I wasn’t sure what to throw on to go out because from our personal observations, many Filipino women dressed conservatively and were covered up compared to women in the America. We are known as the “wild ones,” but I never thought about it any further. My cousins Jeng and Loulai picked us up in a nice air-conditioned silver sedan. Byron, Jeng’s boyfriend, was driving the car.

Outside Cubao Expo
Outside Cubao Expo

Our first stop was Cubao Expo, a small community tailored to urban art, rock bands, tattoos, clothing, vegans, and of course dreads. I have never seen so many Filipinos sport dreads and it was cool. I could even picture my dad being a part of this crowd back in the day with his long hair and San Miguel Beer. We walked in and pretty much everywhere you enter in the Philippines there will always be a guard or a gated door. I immediately felt like I was back in Hawaii. Everyone was dressed laid back, dancing to the live bands, bars everywhere, overall people were just kicking back enjoying the nice night.

After walking around checking out the scene, we walked into a cafe bar that had a live band upstairs. The music sounded like Jazz and Reggae, so I wanted to check it out. It was super crowded, so we stayed downstairs to have a few San Miguels and of course Jeff was hungry. We ate Sinigang and a few tasty Chicken Kabobs. We finally got upstairs and the place was packed with tables and people standing around. It was pretty cool to see people hanging out, eating sisig, bbq, and having a San Miguel while listening to the reggae band. I’ve always associated my parents, aunts, and uncles with Filipino food and never young kids eating Filipino food and drinking San Miguel. As funny as it sounds, this was an eye opener and all new to me. I was finally beginning to enjoy listening to Tagalog songs and liking San Miguel. Did I mention all the reggae songs were in Tagalog? It was way cool! It sounded very similar to my favorite Hawaiian bands like Natural Vibs and Three Plus.

After a few songs we headed out to check out another scene in Makati. Club Bureau was the next destination and known as one of the higher ends clubs. Most night clubs offer free drinks with your cover fee which was 500 pesos a person (about $10 US). The drinks were strong and I couldn’t handle it, but Loulai was definitely a soldier. A majority of the crowd were foreigners or local Artistas, so it felt like back at home. The music was mostly techno and pop, so Jeff and I were hoping they’d play some Hip Hop here and there.

Overall the night was a success and a great end to the day. Thanks to Jeng, Byron and Loulai for taking us out.


Live Band at Blackbeard’s Seafood Grill in Taguig


Live Band at Cubao Expo

Outside Cubao Expo
Live Band at Cubao Expo
Outside Cubao ExpoLoulai, Jeng, Me, Jeff, and Byron taking the photo, Outside by the Live Band
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