How little can you know about a flight you booked for yourself? Well, aside from not know which day it’s on, you could also not really know where it’s going. That’s what we managed. Our flight to the Philippines landed at a different airport to where we expected. Clark Airport is quite far north of Manila, so the plan was to head straight up to the Cordillera region. In reality we landed at Manila Airport, marginally south of the city.
Pleased to not be immediately getting on an overnight bus, we found a hotel (with air-con in a basic room – bliss!) and agreed to stay a couple of nights. I’m starting to fatigue from the pace we’ve been adventuring at, so the idea of taking our time on Luzon (the island Manila sits on) was welcomed. Also, I’ve been sick in Manila. I guess it had to happen at some point.
Manila is crazy. Maybe not Bangkok–Crazy, but the American influences really stand out. Teamed with its Spanish heritage it’s a crazy blend of East meets West. From the decorated Jeepneys left over by the American army, to the Spanish fortress (Intramuros), to the hawkers everywhere, not to mention a good dose of the Asian obsession with karaoke (and KFC). With a place selling beers for 33 pesos (just under 50p) next door we were quite comfortable!
We spent our time exploring at a leisurely pace. There wasn’t anything we were desperate to see so we saw the fort, sat in a few parks, accidentally ended up away from the tourist facade looking for the Vietnamese embassy (which incidentally is shut on weekends), picked up some angry looking bites and ate a lot of dim sum.