Well, that's me. Slightly rumpled and winded, after disembarking from the plane. I will post more about it, later..
To be continued...
As promised, here's Part 1 of the journey :)
For a year, I didn’t do any wandering at all. Out of Malaysia, I mean. So, when my friend suggested that we go for a foreign holiday, I didn’t hesitate. Our pick were, China? Hong Kong? Jakarta? Manila? In the end we settled for Manila.
A week before the impending departure, my friend called. She’s sick like a dog and she didn’t think that she’d be able to go. I was like, whaaaat?!! Gosh, wrong timing! So, what am I gonna do? Shall I cancel the trip or proceed? She said, since everything is paid for, it’ll be such a waste if I don’t go. You see, we were supposed to be going with several others, her colleagues. That leaves me like an oddity. I don’t know anyone in the group. Awkward, much?
So, a day before departure, my friend called again. She.Won’t. Be. Able. To. Make. It! I was resigned to the fact that I’d be flying and meeting with strangers by my own. On Sept 24th, the whole group met at the airport. Thank god, they turned to be okay and friendly.
We landed at Clark airport around 04:15pm in the afternoon, with a little incident during the immigration clearance. One of our people is sharing a name (the exact first and surname) with another passenger in the same flight! Huh, fancy that! The poor guy was grilled almost half an hour by the officers in the immigration and he was all by himself! We tried to help him but the other officers ushered us outside. By the time we managed to board our tour bus, it was already close to 05.00pm in the afternoon. Disregarding the small mishap, it didn’t hamper our tourist spirits. Besides, the weather was fine. From Clark to Manila, we traveled in a fairly straight highway. No twists and turns, only one clean straight line. Clark is a flatland, once a US Army base, now turned into an agricultural town. You can see sugar cane fields and occasionally paddy fields along the route. Far in the distance, Mt. Pinatubo is looming over, asleep for now but who knows when it’s going to stir up after more than a decade of deep slumber?
|Outside Clark's Airport|
Entering Manila’s outskirts, here, the interesting part begins. Why interesting? In a manner of speaking, Manila is a huge metropolitan, divided in the way of standard of living, lifestyles and economic status. It comprises of 16 cities in total with almost 20mil population. Other part of the metropolitan namely Makati City, the financial district of Manila is urbanized. Its landscape is dotted by highrise and sleek buildings, while other parts are dominated by working/middle class, the poor and homeless with rusty, decades old and rundown buildings. I think it has some similarities with Jakarta. The more interesting fact is the traffic / road condition. Two lanes can become four lanes. You rarely see a police traffic, to man the congested traffic. If you’re a driver, be prepared to go by your instincts and judgement. Lorries, van, jeepneys, tri-cycles, buses, oil tanker trucks, cars, container trailers are jostling together in the city roads! No RULES, but you have to trust your driver! I was holding my scream/breath the whole time, and boy, the jaw-clenching journey finally ended after checking-in into our budget hotel, Gran Prix Hotel & Suites Manila located at Marbini St, Ermita.
There’s one thing that I like about Manila that reminds me of Hong Kong: Billboards! They are everywhere, in sizes. Erected and posted all over the cities, with pictures of gorgeous women/men plastered all over! Empty billboards with giant structures of steel and metals are also dominating the cities' skyline. No matter what sort of merchandises you’re advertising with, be it canned food, properties, cosmetics, and basically everything under the sun, they must be accompanied with pictures of sexy/gorgeous people! I saw a big picture of that Pinoy famous actor, Jericho Rosales, holding a relatively small can of tuna. I also saw a giant billboard of several buffed, glistening skin and topless men, modelling corn beef! Well, I admit, they looked delicious and guaranteed to set the hearts of housewives aflutter and send them to supermarkets in frenzies!
|There's Mr. Jericho Rosales, with his tuna can :P|
|Bruno Mars stares right atcha..|
to be continued in Part 2...