30.10.2012 - 01.11.2012
We arrived safely in Manila on Tuesday and have spent the last couple of days exploring the city and recovering from jet lag. We were totally wrecked and though we did make it out of the guest house on Tuesday evening it all seems a bit hazy!
Revived, after a good 12 hours kip, on Wednesday we headed out to explore. Manila is a crazy city, it feels massive and we've hardly scratched the surface. The traffic and pollution is terrible which combined with a lack of pavements and crossings makes walking anywhere a bit of an adrenaline rush, you need your wits about you! In absence of our wits we took a cab to the Intramuros, which is the old walled city of Manila originally built by the Spanish colonists. It was impressive, but a lot of the modern city has still encroached on the area so it is difficult to imagine the glories of its past. Also the area was almost completely destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945 and is only partially reconstructed. There were some rather random exhibits among the ruined walls and fort, including this storm trooper/space man modern sculpture.
Afterwards we headed to the city's main park, Rizal park, to people watch and take in a huge, bizarre relief map of the Philipinnes in a massive fish pond. I really wanted a weatherman to appear and start doing a weather forecast by leaping across the floating islands. Then on to the city's National Gallery, some good stuff especially by an artist called Luna. However the main attraction was all the Philippine visitors who took photos of literally every painting, sometimes their friends and family posed in front, sometimes just the picture. Jo and I were bemused.
We've been staying in an area of the city called Malate, which really comes alive at night, all the streets teeming with food stalls, hawkers, prostitutes and wide boys. We've found a great little bar for people watching, the waiter is a showman, using every inducement to lure passerbys into his establishment and then dancing a crazy gleeful dance of he succeeds or his favourite tune, "gangman style" is played!
Well we've had enough of the city for now and get a flight to the island of Palawan this afternoon for some sea and sand. More from there x x