We have another amazing trip planned, taking the family on a short stopover in Manila, then California USA for over a week and another week in Vancouver Canada.
It was not a great start to the holiday. We knew we were leaving after midnight and had planned for that, however our flight to Manila was delayed by an hour (that’s nothing compared to what we would experience later!). When it is after midnight, an hour feels a lot longer. The kids were very good though.
We all had not enough sleep, arriving in Manila from Bali at 6am. Everyone we met were very friendly. As we were lagging through immigration (as expected dragging the near sleeping children), we saw a man grab our luggage off the carousel. There was no concern though, he put them all on a trolley ready and waiting for us. Getting away from the airport was easy too. The taxi coupon system was very simple, friendly and efficient, not at all what we expected from past experiences travelling through Asia.
At the Makabata hotel in Malate, the staff were young but very friendly. It is a skill training hotel supporting local youth, so we were prepared to cut them a little slack. What we did not realise when booking was that there were lots of stairs, and no lift, which is going to be hard for Jetson, and hard for Rob carrying all the luggage up and down five flights of stairs.
We confused the staff a little as we had booked for the previous night but arrived the following morning, but it was fine. We had only been at the hotel for an hour, but it was time for breakfast, a simple choice of sausage and eggs, pancakes, sandwich, cereal.
As everyone rested, Rob walked to the nearby hypermarket to buy some supplies. We are staying in an interesting area, he saw lots of local eateries, interesting things to try. The hotel is located in a poor neighbourhood, lots of action seems to be happening around, but it doesn’t feel unsafe. We have read many warnings about the Philippines, so we will make sure we take precautions and stay safe. Manila has over 11 million people, a lot of them very poor and living in slum conditions, so it is not surprising that some people get desperate.
Despite everyone feeling quite tired, we were ready for some touristy things, to make the most of our two days here. We took a taxi to the Children’s Museum (Museo Pambata). We had read mixed reports about it, it was better than we expected. There were many themed rooms which kept the kids busy for a couple of hours.
We had lunch across the road at ChowKing, a chain Chinese fast food restaurant. There was a large choice of fatty foods, the highlight was chocolate filled steam buns, gooey goodness.
We stopped at the old Malate church to have a look, the inside was bigger and nicer than the outside indicates. It is located near the seaside, with a large fountain in a busy square. We passed here the next day in the evening and the fountain was beautifully lit up. Walked up to the main circle from which the kids and Clare rode a pedicab home while Rob walked (he could not fit in). It was such an interesting walk through local markets and roadside eateries that Clare returned there to check it out.
We had an early night trying to catch up on some sleep. We have another day exploring Manila before the long flight to the USA tomorrow night.