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December 15th 2018
Published: December 19th 2018
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When planning this trip most advice was to avoid Manila, it being a highly populated, traffic jam dominated city with not much appeal. However I figured if we can find some fun here then the rest of the trip will be enlightened by the experience.

The first hour after landing sitting in a snail like queue waiting for a cab followed by another hour snaking our way through traffic certainly didn’t seem that much fun. Shelley made the taxi queue enjoyable by trying to work out exactly how many cabs were needed by trying to group the people ahead of us in the queue who would be sharing a taxi. She almost lost the plot when she found out their was a priority line that allowed pregnant, senior, or disabled people into the front. Next trip we are bringing walking sticks!

The cab ride itself went via the Sky Way express way which gave us an elevated view of the inner city of Makati which is where we had our hotel booked. Makati is basically the CBD and closeby was Greenbelt Mall, a shopping centre, where the affluent spend their days and nights.

Greenbelt is actually about 5 shopping complexes built around a lake. It comes complete with a church performing services each evening and lots of dining choices. Security guards at each shop are a few seriously armed fellas carrying semi-automatic pistols and pump action shotguns. That would a little strange in Merivale I suspect. An obvious sign of a wealth gap. The next day we hoped around a few local sites getting taxis via an app called Grab that is the Uber equivalent in Singapore and in The Philippines. Works well but we found that it is just as quick to stand on the side of the road and hail a cab.

We visited the closest museum which gave a great diadrama overview of The Philippines history from its earliest settlement via migration down from the north, through coloninisation via the Spanish and the American and finally the achievement of nationhood. There was also a fantastic display of the importance of gold with exhibits of priceless pieces from over the centuries.

We visited the US War Cemetry where 32,000 graves are placed and then visited Market Market, a slightly more normal shopping complex.

We finished the day with dinner back at Greenbelt thinking that if that’s the worst that The Philippines can throw at us this trip is going to be lots of fun. Tomorrow’s challenge, get to the airport in time for our 10.30am flight to Cebu through Monday morning rush hour in a city of 12 Million.

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