Manila mayhem

Manila Travel Blog

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I start the morning to try to go to the Coconut Palace a nice little cottage which Imelda Marcos had built for the visit of the pope. The first cab I found to take me there said he did not know the area and said he would not drive out to the area even though I told him I would guide him the entire way. I never really learned to understand the cabdrivers in this part of the world. I find another cab and he will take me there no problem and I get there unfortunately the place only allows guided tours and there will not be one until ten hence I will have to hang around this area for another ½ hour or so.

 

Finally ten o’clock arrives and we can get into the palace - it is only a very small group of us with just me and a British couple so we do not crowd the guide too badly. We get in and get the full tour of the first flour with all the different rooms with lots of bed linen made out of coconut.

Morning at Manila Bay
The heavy use of coconut in the construction of the palace is a main reason it got to known as the Coconut Palace.

 

The palace was constructed for the sole use of John Paul during his visit and Imelda had used $37 million to build it - I suppose she had some leftover shoe shopping money and had to spend them on something else. Unfortunately for her the pope thought here construction of such an expensive palace for his visit in a poor country like the Philippines was a waste of money and he did not want to stay there and stayed somewhere else instead. The grand opening of the palace had to take place though so Imelda got some second rate celebrities to come and spend some time during the opening of the palace.

 

After the visit to the palace I started to wonder back to the center of the town to go and see what was around this part of town.

Entrance to the Coconut Palace
I walk through Rizal park which is actually one of the few really nice spots I ever found in Manila - the shop-a-holics will claim Manila is the place to go though. But if you don’t spend all of your time in a oversized shopping mall there is not much to speak of.

 

In the park they got there chessplayers corner and I had to try my luck - which were probably hard hit by the fact I have not really kept my chess up to date lately - hence I lost badly. While being closely watched by the local crowd of semiprofessional chess players.

 

When leaving the park I went to the National Museum of the Philippines which is the best museum in all of the Philippines.

Dinning room
I think this will actually tell you more about the quality of the other museums in the country than the National Museum. The only thing they really have to speak of is a lot of things on display about an old Spanish galleon which were sunk in 1500 something. They also got some displays of the peoples of the Philippines but as a museum of a major country it is not really impressive and can’t quite measure up to the big museums in the rest of the world.

 

I thought I would follow up on the museum by going to yet another historic sight in Manila the big fortress in Intremuderes. It was the old fort which used to protect the city of Manila and also the place where the revolutionary hero Rizal were held capture by the Spanish before he were executed. His footsteps is all over the museum to let people know how he made his last walk from his prison cell to the main park - now Rizal park - where he was executed.

 

The fortress got your usual old guns to keep the spectator amused by the armory and the giant walls surrounding the area.

Table made of coconut in the Coconut Palace

 

I thought my last stop should be a visit to Chinatown of Manila and it was only just a short walk across the river from the fortress. Hence I decided to walk it. Unfortunately there is more than one bridge crossing the river and somehow I manage to take the wrong one and instead of getting directly to Chinatown I got to somewhere else. The place I got to was a somewhat dodgy part of town with really low quality slum houses. And it was clearly not a place on the tourist map of Manila. I was the only tourist the people in the area had seen for a long time I thing.

 

The area was populated by poor people and it did not really look like a place which saw a lot of police patrols.

Tiny bedroom in the Coconut Palace
I did not know anything about the area and in other big towns you got more or less lawless districts within a town where anything could happen. Hence I felt a bit wary about the security situation in this area and I wanted to get out of there fast. This made me feel a little big guilty because everybody was actually really friendly and everybody kept shouting hey Joe at me as greetings. Well I got out of the area and got to see Chinatown. It is a nice little part of town with some Chinese influence but that is more or less it and the attraction of the area is somewhat limited in my opinion.

 

The very last stop in Manila had to be Roxas avenue once again for the time around sunset to see the famous Manila Bay sunset. Then it was back to the Kabayan to spend the last night in town before heading home. I really should do something but could not pull myself together to either go out or go to bed - I guess it is a little bit of end of travel blues.

 

And in the end I know I did it - I really did it.

Beds with linen made of Coconut
I went five weeks in the Philippines without going to a karaoke joint. And they said it could not be done!!!

 

strangemystic says:
I did read your Philippines blog entirely, and I quite enjoyed it.
I had to laugh at some points, especially when you were "complaining" about the too much rain; or your relationship with rice (in my country people also eat rice for breakfast, traditionally).
I wondered if I should not change my position about rain in Europe. Because for me, Europe, especially Northern Europe is quite rainy. I just remember cities like Brussels, or the like, where I had rain non stop.
Overall I liked your style of writing, somewhat matter-of-factly, and also wondered if this should be Danish humour, in case you intended to be funny. Cheers
Posted on: Jun 05, 2009
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Morning at Manila Bay
Morning at Manila Bay
Entrance to the Coconut Palace
Entrance to the Coconut Palace
Dinning room
Dinning room
Table made of coconut in the Cocon…
Table made of coconut in the Coco…
Tiny bedroom in the Coconut Palace
Tiny bedroom in the Coconut Palace
Beds with linen made of Coconut
Beds with linen made of Coconut
Swimming pool at the palace
Swimming pool at the palace
The popes bathroom - so why do the…
The popes bathroom - so why do th…
The popes balcony
The popes balcony
The stairs up to the rooms
The stairs up to the rooms
Swimmingpool at the palace
Swimmingpool at the palace
Guard at he entrace to the palace
Guard at he entrace to the palace
The garden of the palace
The garden of the palace
Manila Bay
Manila Bay
Rizal park
Rizal park
Rizal park
Rizal park
just jeepneys
just jeepneys
Guns at the Rizal fort
Guns at the Rizal fort
Chinatown entrance
Chinatown entrance
Guarding the entrance to the oldes…
Guarding the entrance to the olde…
3,784 km (2,351 miles) traveled
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Manila
photo by: Deats