This is our second day of our stopover in Manila as part of our journey to North America. We all had a long solid sleep, and nearly caught up on the previous night’s lack of sleep on the plane.
We first went to the hypermarket around the corner which was a fantastic store. A necessary start to any trip is to stock up on supplies, but also having a look around the supermarket seeing the different food available is also an interesting part of travelling to any new country. We were able to get some shoes for the boys and a few other items. As we left and passed the large Harrison Mall, and the kids spotted an indoor playground. As we had planned a fairly adult-centred day out, we thought the kids would appreciate some kid time to start the day. We did not consider was that the half an hour of racing around a playground would tire them out for the rest of the day.
We caught a taxi to St Augustin Church, a very old church in the old part of town, and unusually much more impressive inside. We were in the touristy part of the intramuros, and there were multiple lunch options nearby. We settled on Barnabas restaurant for a buffet, and were entertained by mariachi singers, experiencing some of the Spanish history of Manila. From the restaurant we walked to part off the old fort wall which impressed the kids with talk of old time castles. There is a fascinating history to this country that we were not aware of.
At the corner of the old fort wall intramuros was the Baluarte de San Diego, an excavated part of the original fort from 1500s. From it were views of the impressive golf course that rings the old part of the city.
We had planned to walk the short distance to the famous Ritzel Park, but a season downpour caught us by surprise and we were stuck at the battalion waiting for the rain to stop. Eventually we got the staff to call us a horse and cart to take us. The poor horse had to take us through the flooded streets. We got to the park but were then holed up on a so-called cafe at the park still waiting for the rain to clear. We expected the rain to clear, but it did not for quite a while. This changed our plans to visit the kids play area on the corner of the park, we just had time to have dinner at a local fast food restaurant Jollibel, a local version of McDonald’s.
To get back to our hotel in Malate we took a famous Filipino jeepney. It was much smaller inside then we thought, and the fumes from the exhaust filled the cabin, but a great local experience that the kids loved.
We were exhausted from a full day out, and had a long haul flight ahead of us (so we thought). We struggled to find a taxi to the airport that would fit all of us and our luggage – our family is growing too quick. It was a 10.30pm scheduled flight, which was initially delayed by half an hour, then an hour, then cancelled altogether! After a bit of confusion about what was going on, we were shuffled onto buses (thankfully families with young children getting priority) and to a hotel, finally getting to bed at 2pm.
This put Clare into a panic, as we had planned to arrive in San Francisco in time for her to start her online exam. We would now be travelling through a large part of the exam time. Clare sent an email requesting extension, and thankfully a positive reply came a few hours later.
When we woke at our temporary hotel we looked out the window to surprisingly see that we were just around the corner from our previous hotel, overlooking Harrison’s Plaza shopping mall.
The one good thing about the cancelled flight was a buffet breakfast, which we always enjoy, however today it was a bit rushed as we had to get on the bus to take us back to the airport. Again through the multiple scanners, security is high here. Our rescheduled flight was just over 13 hours after the original schedule.