Sunday, August 28, 2016

Security in Makati

I can't speak for the rest of the Philippines, since I've only been to the area near Manila, but there is some serious security in Makati, and other places in Metro Manila. There are private security guards all over the place. They are on the corners in the streets, at the doors of the establishments they are guarding, and even running crowds through metal detectors in some cases. Sometimes they carry very large and powerful guns.

There are metal detectors to enter the subway, and also at the entrance of many malls. But the guards manning them don't seem to take the same methodically rigorous approach that you might see at the airport (not that airport searches are the gold standard, but they seem to have certain protocols that the searchers try to adhere to...still, I made it through the last two airport searches that I went through having forgotten that I had a bottle of water in my carry-on, and nobody confiscated it either time). They seem more like they are going through the motions. The searches they conduct at most of the metal detectors in Metro Manila seem kind of half-hearted.

Also, you can't just walk down any street in Makati. There are wide swaths of neighborhoods that are like gated communities, only there are no gates; there are only guards that will not permit you to enter at all the entry points. Then there are also streets for blocks on end that are completely closed off by physical gates and fences like the kinds you might see around paid attractions like amusement parks or outdoor concert venues. And then there are also long barrier fences that fence off poorer neighborhoods from major arterials.  I've been frustrated many a time in trying to just walk from one place to another. You can't just look at Google Maps and follow the streets to try to get somewhere.

Even the hostel I am staying at has a lot of security. There are lots of security guards all over the place at the hostel.  I've noticed they have guest books at the door, so they must know who is staying there and who has checked out. But there is a rooftop bar that is open to the public, so outsiders are allowed to come in to patronize the bar. One thing that is really a bit different and maybe even weird is that all the employees, or at least many of them, seem to know my name. When I'm walking around in the hostel, I'll often be greeted with "Hello, Stuart." Today I was walking around town, and I ran into a couple of hostel employees who greeted me by name.

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