a fountain at the side of Central World Mall

The photograph was taken last year. A temple or a mall photograph would be a bit too predictable I guess. I didn’t go to Patpong which may be predictable as well anyway. It’s my favorite shot off the set. It’s beside the mall though, and a pretty new one then – Central World.

I’m not changing the blog into ‘around metro bangkok’, at least not yet. Today just happens to be CDP’s theme day, and this month’s theme is your city’s sister city. Manila and Bangkok are sister cities. But this relationship isn’t exclusive. Manila has 20+ of other sister cities, Bangkok too has some, and tons of other cities hop into this one large and complicated Venn diagram of sororities. I’m not the only one doing this. Learn a thing or two about sister cities! And explore the world, a handful of cityblogs at a time. And the generic text:

Today is ‘Theme Day’ for the City Daily Photo folks; there are 147 other ‘sister cities’ taking part in September’s Theme Day. Click here to view thumbnails of all participants.

There are 17 independent cities in Metro Manila. Manila alone has a handful of sister cities. Choosing one for CDP’s September 2008 CDP may be a bit difficult but I chose Bangkok off the long list for several reasons. There are cities within Metro Manila that have other Metro Manila cities as sister cities (example, QC and Marikina).  I have considered this because this would allow me to both post a photograph of a true sister city and a photograph of something that is still within Metro Manila (which is what this blog is all about). But this is a rare opportunity to post a photo of another place, might as well grab it.

So I’m leaping islands and skip other Philippine cities as well that are in partnership with a Metro Manila city or two. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit any other overseas sister city (make it country) except for Bangkok. So with that it’s a no brainer. I’m posting a Bangkok photo.

My Bangkok experience was tons of fun. On the surface it feels just like Manila, the infrastructure, the scorching heat of the sun, the chaotic urban charm. It’s like I’m exploring some part of my own city I’ve never seen yet. Shopping seems just as fun- from bargaining in the streets to chic Siam Square. There’s a historic tourist district, a Chinatown, the River. If a touristy photograph of Manila typically comes with an old Catholic church in the background, the Bangkok version will come with a wat or temple.

But Bangkok seems more tourist oriented. The sights to see and the not-so off the beaten path things have been clearly mapped out already. Tourism is a part of everyday life, of the urban culture, of the economy. I think the tourists even make up a sizeable market group to be considered when business folks plan to generate products and services over there.

Manila, on the other hand, seems apathetic to a stranger willing to explore her streets. It isn’t even doing any sort of campaign (contrast that to Bangkok and other neighbors Singapore and Kuala Lumpur), it seems like choosing to discover Manila instead (and not jump in to Northern Luzon or the Visayas immediately) is in itself doing an off-the-beaten-path.

There are some more sisterhood going on within Metro Manila. More info on this later. But the thing is, all of them, because of geography, had great shared history, had generally taken similar forms, and had more or less influenced each other’s growth are siblings, albeit unnoficial.

This is another thank god for wikipedia moment. Here’s a list of Metro Manila’s Sister Cities:

Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines (Marikina)
Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Philippines (Marikina, Parañaque)
Bangkok, Thailand (Manila)
Beijing, China (Manila)
Borongan, Eastern Samar, Philippines (Makati)
Brampton, Canada (Marikina)
Bucheon, South Korea (Valenzuela)
Busan, South Korea (Manila)
Calamba, Laguna, Philippines (Caloocan)
Caracas, Venezuela (Quezon City)
Cartagena, Colombia (Manila)
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines (Marikina)
Chiba, Japan (Quezon City)
Cluj-Napoca, Romania (Makati)
Daly City, California, USA (Quezon City)
Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines (Marikina)
Dubai, UAE (Mandaluyong)
General Santos, South Cotabato, Philippines (Marikina, Quezon City)
Guangzhou, China (Manila)
Haifa, Israel (Manila)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Manila)
Iloilo City, Iloilo (Makati, Quezon City)
Incheon, South Korea (Manila)
Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA (Quezon City)
Las Piñas, Metro Manila, Philippines (Parañaque)
Liuzhou, China (Muntinlupa)
Los Angeles, California, USA (Makati)
Madrid, Spain (Manila)
Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines (Muntinlupa, Pasig, Quezon City)
Masbate, Masbate, Philippines (Marikina)
Maui County, Hawaii, USA (Manila)
Montreal, Canada (Manila)
Moscow, Russia (Manila)
Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines (Marikina)
New Delhi, India (Manila)
New Westminster, Canada (Quezon City)
Osaka, Japan (Manila)
Panama City, Panama (Manila)
Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines (Las Piñas)
Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines (Marikina)
Piteşti, Romania (Muntinlupa)
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines (Marikina)
Ramapo, New York, USA (Makati)
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines (Marikina)
Sacramento, California, USA (Manila)
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Quezon City)
San Francisco, California, USA (Manila)
Santa Barbara, California, Philippines (San Juan)
Shanghai, China (Manila)
Silay, Negros Occidental, Philippines (Mandaluyong)
Singapore (Marikina)
Staffanstorp, Sweden (Muntinlupa)
Taipei, Taiwan (Manila, Quezon City)
Takasaki, Japan (Muntinlupa)
Tangub, Misamis Occidental, Philippines (Parañaque)
Union City, California, USA (Pasay)
Vladivostok, Russia (Makati)
Winnipeg, Canada (Manila)
Yokohama, Japan (Manila)

just some notes:
Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Pateros and Taguig do not have sister cities.
Marikina is the Metro Manila city with the most (3) sister cities within Metro Manila.
Philippine cities Iloilo City, Bacolod and General Santos have (2) Metro Manila sister cities.
Taipei in Taiwan is the international city with most (2) Metro Manila sister cities.
USA has 9 cities tied up to a sister city in Metro Manila. Canada, China and Japan have 4. South Korea has 3.
The US State with most (6) Metro Manila sister cities is California. Several non Metro Manila Philippine cities are also linked to California cities.
Excluding themselves, Metro Manila cities have 12 other sister cities in the Philippines. Sister municipalities are not included.
Marikina is the only Metro Manila city with sister cities from the other 2 big metro areas in the Philippines – Metro Cebu (Cebu City) and Metro Davao (Davao).
It has also established sisterhood with other major cities in the Philippines.
Aside from Manila (who’s a sister to HCMC and Bangkok), Only Marikina has an ASEAN (and a capital) sister city (Singapore).

I’m sleepy. And it’s 7am exactly.