Visa problems and robbery.

Manila Travel Blog

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Cool jeepney

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Benjie (Philippines), Rich (Philippines), Isobel (Canada), Mark (New Zealand), Sam (England), Chris (England)

Arriving into Manila airport at 6am, having not slept in a day, our mood went from bad to worse, when we realised the horrible old man at the Philippines Embassy in Bangkok had only given Julia a 21 day visa. We had paid for 59 days and it was only in the small print at the bottom, where it said 21, the rest of the visa was identical to mine. We dropped our bags at Friendly's Guesthouse and spent the rest of the morning trying to sort out the visa situation. We were passed amongst offices, spread out across Manila, with each person agreeing it was unfair and that we should get a free extension.

Hanging out with the Old Bill in Fort Santiago
Eventually we found the correct place and we wrote a letter to be passed on to the person in charge of such issues. We were under the impression that they would email us when to return and it would be cleared up for us, instead they chose to send us no correspondence, which means another $40 to extend the visa, very nice!

We had already encountered several street children in our first few hours in the city, but as we walked back to the hotel, we got our first bad experience with them. 3 of them crowded around Julia begging for money, then one tried to open the bag around her waist, whilst another was trying to unzip the rucksack on her back, which was thankfully padlocked. I grabbed one of them and pulled him off, at which point he pretended he was going to start crying. The second i let go of him and we started walking off, they started throwing rocks at us and swearing.

Manila cathedral
Julia had also seen one of them sniffing glue, so it was a pretty horrible start to our time in the Philippines.

Not wanting to get bad imprinted impressions, we decided that we would put it down to experience and copncentrated on the really interesting things that we were experiencing. For starters the jeepneys are the coolest form of transport on the planet, with each driver going to exceptional lengths to jazzing up their rides! Also the majority of people we were meeting were amazingly helpful and friendly and we were also shocked that pretty much everyone spoke some English. After an afternoon nap, the World semed a better place!

We were planning on getting an early night, but Friendly's Guesthouse is the wrong place to look for this! Its extremely sociable atmosphere, led by the owner Benjie handing out free wine at every given opportunity, led to us meeting some great people.

Malate district, viewed from our hostel balcony
There was the crazy Filipino Rich, who emigrated to Canada at 5, who was traveling with his girlfriend Isobel, wacky English guy Chris, Kiwi Mark and a host of other cool people. We ended up drinking in the hostel till 2, frequenting the bar ovr the street until 3.30 and then going to watch Champions League football until 6am! It ended up been a crazy ending to a crazy day!

The following day we visited the streets of Intramuros, taking in Manila Cathedral and San Augustin Church, where we were lucky enough to witness a beautiful wedding ceremony and relax in the tranquil gardens at the back of the Church museum. After this, we walked up to Fort Santiago where we spent some time in the interesting Rizal Museum and clowning around in the surrounding gardens that skirt the Pasig River. We walked back to the hostel through Rizal Park, which was a pretty getaway from the bustling city. That evening was spent enjoying a few more beers with the people in the hostel, before a relatively early 1am finish.

Deats says:
No worries, id recommend contacting the Travbuddies there, i met some on my last visit to Manila and had a lot of fun!
Posted on: Aug 16, 2008
tallone says:
Thanks for the heads up about the street children. I am going to Manila for the fist time in 3 weeks.
Posted on: Aug 16, 2008
Deats says:
Keep your backpack locked and your wallet safely tucked away, they will gather round you and its not pleasant, but if you are expecting it, then you are one step ahead :)
Posted on: Nov 21, 2007
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Cool jeepney
Cool jeepney
Hanging out with the Old Bill in F…
Hanging out with the Old Bill in …
Manila cathedral
Manila cathedral
Malate district, viewed from our h…
Malate district, viewed from our …
San Augustin Cathedral
San Augustin Cathedral
Julia in Intramuros
Julia in Intramuros
Some dinosaurs escaped from the zoo
Some dinosaurs escaped from the zoo
Rizal Park - monument to the falle…
Rizal Park - monument to the fall…
The garden of San Augustin Cathedr…
The garden of San Augustin Cathed…
Julia and I in a garden at the bac…
Julia and I in a garden at the ba…
San Augustin Cathedral
San Augustin Cathedral
A wedding in San Augustin Cathedral
A wedding in San Augustin Cathedral
Manila cathedral
Manila cathedral
Manila cathedral
Manila cathedral
Pasig river viewed from Fort Santi…
Pasig river viewed from Fort Sant…
The grounds of Fort Santiago
The grounds of Fort Santiago
The grounds of Fort Santiago at su…
The grounds of Fort Santiago at s…
The grounds of Fort Santiago
The grounds of Fort Santiago
Jolly, spiffingly, super!
Jolly, spiffingly, super!
Manila Hostels review
Run by the fun, fabulous and friendly Filipino Benjie, this place is a must visit on any stop in Manila. Scrap plans for going to the tourist attracti… read entire review
Manila
photo by: Deats