Crazy Phillippine Road
This was a couple minutes walk from our Hostel. We tried to find a restaurant but all we found was this bridge and people selling fish on it !
The Phillippines are a bizzare mix of English, American and Japanese influences. Initially we had worried a little that we wouldn't be understood in Manila as the language would be completley different, but how wrong we were, it took us about 12 hours to realise that nearly everone speaks English and not only that but all signs, newspapers, radio, cinema, shops pretty much everything is in English.
So it really wasn't much of a culture shock as they have embraced American culture wholeheartedly, and we felt pretty comfortable straight away. That is at least with the language, the city itself is another story.
We only stopped off at Manila because we had to, to fly to Palau, so we only had two full days there before getting on a plane again. This was more than enough for me, Grae liked Manila alot more than I did, but I think the fact that the local beer costs about 40p might have helped.
I found Manila to be sprawling and dirty in places, old and beautiful in others and modern and tall in the buisness district. The dirty area was... yes you've guessed it - where our hostel was. It
was very close to the airport on a main road, and we at least had our own room with a shower and air con, that actually worked for a change, all that for 7GBP per night, so I cant complain too much. The street we were on was a real eye opener, when we first arrived our cab pulled into a very narrow street, we thought he was taking a short cut as the road was lined with huge families playing in the street, chickens in cages, a massive mess of cables for electricty over our heads, scabby dogs walking around and scabby kids for that matter. You could see right into peoples livingrooms - or what looked like the only room where about 7 people lived, in that room and on the street we were trying to navigate down. At one point on the right of us was a very small paddling pool with about 6 very small kids playing in it. It was a real shock to see the poverty they are living in, but to be honest, no one seemed sad, everyone was laughing and running around playing, I guess they make the most of what they
War Memorial Plaque in Manila
This was the plaque that we thought was unusual as the language used is quite emotive.
have and to me that seemed like family. Our hostel was on the end of this road and the corner of the main road that runs parallel to the sea.
On the next day we decided to go and explore Manila and took a taxi into the old part. We started off in the sweltering heat, when your not sure if you are sweating or if the water in the air around you is condensing on you, it was that muggy, so it wasn't long before we stopped for a drink and bite to eat for breakfast. Again we set off but it was too hot and then this bloke offered us a tour of all the important sites on his horse and cart, so we obliged and it cost us 400 pescos, which is about 5.50gbp, he took us around for about an hour and in the end we decided to stop as we felt really sorry for the horse having to lug us around. We paid him extra and asked if he could give the horse a treat on us, I would like to niave and believe he did. The tour was pretty basic and I didn't
Residential Phillippine Road
This was another very busy road we went down in a taxi, it started out fairly wide as you can see but by the end it was very narrow and filled with people living in it.
take too much of it in to be honest, but it was really a tour of the fort that was around Manila built around 15th Centuary I think and then used by the Japanese and Americans during WW2. The fort wall is riddled with bullit holes and there are large machine guns that have just been left where they were last used.
There was one memorial we saw that was dedicated to all the civillian people that died during the 2nd WW, I took a picture of the plaque as Grae pointed out it is very rare for a public memorial about the war to be so explicit when desciribing what it is all about. The picture is on here for you to read anyway.
That was pretty much the lot of our tour, the guide was super nice but didn't really know his stuff and we were too hot and bothered to question him too much. So after we ended the tour we decided to go to the buisness distic and see what the modern part of Manila was like. Well it was shiny, tall, glass, clean and big, and the words I would use to best
descibe it, but there wasn't that much to do there so we just had a quick look, found a loo - Starbucks and then headed to The Mall of Asia to have lunch & dinner and generally hide out there so we didn't have to go back to our horrible hostel.
The Mall of Asia is a massive man made complex which juts out over the sea. The whiole area is probably the size of Hammersmith ! or a small Devon Village. It is crazy, most of it is a shopping centre and on the top floor is the cinemas, IMAX, Bowling Alley, heaps of restaurants and lots of people milling about. Then there is the harbour area except there are no boats, just a long promenade with lots more restaurants. The area is so westernised we easily spent the rest of the day and evening there, we even went to the cinema. However it is not very interesting culturally so I wont go into detail.
The next day we were due to fly out to Palau at 9pm, so we had most of the day to kill, and I am a little ashamed to say we spent
the whole day at the Mall of Asia, a good few hours were on the internet though catching up on the blog and email, and before we knew it, it was time to go. I was inwardly screaming yipee to myself. I'm not sure how Grae feels about Manila, he seemed to like it more than me. I was mainly happy that we were heading to Palau, the bit of our trip that I have been looking forward to the most.
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