After some more napping on the plane we were pleased to be touching down in the Philippines. We had been told that we would be able to extend our visas at the airport, but no matter how nicely we asked, the man at passport control wasn’t very forthcoming. He stamped our passports with a 21 day visa and told us we would have to get it done elsewhere.
Enquiring at the ticket office the lady told us that if we wanted to catch a bus we would have to run for it. We couldn't catch a bus without money to pay so we had to find a cash point. We kept trying the cash point, but it didn't want to give us any money. The ticket lady wasn’t helping matters by standing over us tapping her foot trying to rush us along. The security guard was also unhelpful, all he was interested in was asking me lots of questions about where we were from. I told him we were from the UK, “ah the US Ma'am” was his reply as he continued to talk about America. At last the cash point gave us some money and we made a dash
for the bus dragging our bags behind us.
After a two hour bus journey we arrived in Pasay. It was busy and dusty and overrun with tricycle and taxi drivers. They were all claiming to offer us the best rate, but there rates were all different. After being pursued by a number of drivers we decided that their best rate seemed a little pricey for our liking. We walked a little further away and finally negotiated a price with an honest driver to take us to Malate.
We arrived outside our chosen hotel to find a sign saying accommodation for single people and married couples only. We decided to give it a go anyway. Their rules must have been relaxed somewhat since putting the sign up as we were soon being shown to our room.
It was a basic white walled room with an uncomfortable looking bed and a plaque of Jesus and Mary on the wall. I’ve never been in a nunnery before, but this is what I imagine the rooms to look like. This was the most our money would buy us in Manila as cheap accommodation is hard to come by. It was neat
and tidy with a security guard with a gun on the front gate so we were happy to stay.
That evening we found a good Chinese restaurant for dinner where we were the only customers. There were more staff than tables so while one person served us the rest of the team sat around looking bored, doodling on napkins and staring at us for something to do. The food was really good, but the staring was a little uncomfortable so we didn’t hand around for long.
We walked back to our hotel and fell into bed at the very late time of 6:30 – oh what party animals we are!
We had a bit of a sleep marathon and didn’t wake up for 16 ½ hours. We were fully recovered from our long days travelling and ready for some breakfast. I ordered toast, but Andy was feeling much braver and ordered the Filipino breakfast. He was excited when it arrived, but that didn’t last for long. The bread was sweet, which is never a surprise in Asia, but what was a surprise was that it wasn’t as sweet as the sausage – for a man who loves
the sausage this came as a bitter disappointment.
We had a long day ahead trying to make onward travel plans. Our hope was to go to Coron on the ferry and then after diving to catch the next ferry to El Nido. We walked through the city for what seemed like hours before we finally reached the mall where the ferry ticket office was located. The air conditioning inside was most welcome. After wandering around and fighting our way through the crowds of people watching a karaoke show we finally found the travel agents. We enquired about tickets and they told us to go to the Weston Union shop - this seemed a strange place to go for a ferry ticket when we were stood at the counter of a shop called the ticket office. We found the office, but were told that the ferry was already full and that there was only one per week – back to the drawing board.
By the time we got back to our hotel it was already dinner time. We decided the drawing board would be much more productive with a few beers. We found a roadside bar with plastic chairs
and were told it worked out cheaper to order a bucket of beer. Our bucket arrived with six beers on ice and a bottle opener chained to the bucket for the pricey sum of 180 peso (£2.60).
After a good chat we decided to find a flight to Coron and work out the rest when we got there. We had heard there were local boats that ran between Coron and El Nido, but we had heard a couple of stories of sinkings and people floating in the sea for hours before being rescued. Oh well its all part of the adventure! Back at the hotel we managed to find some flights, but unless we wanted to pay over the odds we would have to wait for a few days. The idea of spending a few more days in Manila was not a pleasant one so we started looking through the guide book for something to do – well I looked through the book for something to do. I had to send Andy for an early night due to man flu!
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