The mountains of Nepal seem a long way away now. It’s been a frantic few days since we’ve been in The Philippines and these amazing islands are quickly becoming our favourite destination so far.
After saying goodbye to Nepal we were just about ready to leave the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and get back to some chilled out beaches. We had a pretty non eventful night in Kuala Lumpur where we spent the night in an airport hotel where the highlight of the evening was a keyboard band kicking out classics from Phil Collins and the late Whitney Houston.
The following day we flew to Manila and having been in the country less than an hour we’d already managed to get fleeced. The taxi driver from the airport pulled up and announced the fare was ‘only 830 pesos’ proudly displaying his meter which he’d obviously tinkered with somehow. We hadn’t really got our heads round the currency yet but I knew this was in the region of $20 so I said that was too much. We paid 500 but later found out that the real price should have been more like 200! Live and learn.
As it turned out the hostel, Our Melting Pot, was offering a free city tour starting at 2pm that afternoon so we signed up and spent the rest of the day taking in the sights of Manila including Intramunos the ancient walled city, Manila Park before ending the evening with a drink overlooking Manila Bay. Here is The Philippines first national hero Lapu Lapu who killed the Portuguese explorer Magellan;
We also came across a load of kids getting ready for the Flores de Mayo festival;
The boys just go crazy but for the girls it’s a much prettier occasion;
We also took our first ride in a Jeepney, kind of like the Filipino answer to a bus network but a lot more colourful. All old Jeep’s left over by the Americans after the war and then adapted by the Filipinos;
Much more elegant are the horse drawn carriages waiting to take you round the walled city of Intramuros;
That night was the final game of the season so we took our seats at Heckle & Jeckle bar to watch the match. After a stressful game we finished with 3 points securing yet another season finishing above sp*rs and champions league next season. I was a happy man!
The next day there was another trip, this time going to a Volcano in the middle of Lake Taal about 2 hours north of Manila. Despite hardly having had time to breath since we’d arrived, we signed up and didn’t regret it. After a short boat journey across the lake we arrived at the Volcano which we then climbed to get a good view of the crater. Neither of us had ever been up a volcano before so it was quite exciting.
The walk to the top, piece of cake after Everest!
View from the top:
Debbie at the top:
Then it was back to Manila where we headed off to get his and hers haircuts before going to Green Belt Mall for dinner. This appears to be the main form of entertainment in Manila, huge malls with everything from restaurants and shops to rivers etc. It was nice to get some really good food again after eating vegetarian for the past 3 weeks so I got stuck into a plate of Orange Soda Sticky Baby Back Ribs whilst Debbie had a Dory & Crab Thermidor at an American style Diner called Mr Jones.
That was our whistle stop tour of Manila over with and the following day it was off to tropical paradise on the island of Bohol or as Debbie affectionately referred to it, the island of Blow Hole. Bye Bye Manila!