Manila Travel Blog› entry 42 of 42 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.