How to Spend a Few Days Budget in a Handful of Minutes....

Manila Travel Blog

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I got up really early to get to the airport and subsequently arrived really early back in Manila.  I found my way over to Malate, but I really wanted to see a bit more of Manila.  I quite liked the sound of Intramuros, so I decided to walk up there as it was close.  Happily strolling along Manila Bay, a guy approached me and was being friendly enough.  I was immediately suspect, and thought “Here we go again, what I am being sold now?”  W spoke for a little while whilst I continued to walk in the right direction, but this just happened to be the way he was going as well.  He was actually off to the rifle range as he is a security guard.  He asked if I’d like to join him, but the thought of being a lone traveller, going to an out of the way place where live ammunition was didn’t really appeal to me.  I declined the offer, but it didn’t take much convincing to swing that no to a yes when my eyes lit up at the sound of the word ‘Uzi’. 


I was crapping myself walking in, but I just thought what the hell, I’m doing nothing better with the day.  I knew I was being a bit naive and gutsy, but I did have an itch that needed scratching.  I’ve never shot serious weapons before now, and I really did want to feel like a real man. 


They handed me a 45 calibre pistol and quite like the feel of it, but whilst shooting it, I got a bit bored and wanted more power.  They didn’t have the requested AK-47, but they did bring out an Uzi for me to desecrate a target with.  My aiming was surprisingly quite good with the pistol, but with the Uzi, it was a free for all smattering of bullets in random directions.

  I was forewarned of the price per bullet, but after rattling off a magazine, I had a thirst for it and asked for another.  I really should have known better, and I knew I was shooting away a couple of days budget, but that kind of sense is an afterthought in a similar vain to “I wish I hadn’t drunk so much last night” or “I should have used a condom”, but I was in my element and enjoying the moment far too much. 


After peppering the target to confetti, I had had enough and waited for the bill.  Now reality hit home!  Luckily for me I had had some doubts before going into the place and subsequently hid the bulk of my money in inner pockets unnoticed.  I showed them my cardless wallet with a reasonable amount of money in it and offered them that.  They weren’t exactly over-joyed, but it was certainly more of a realistic amount to pay than what was asked for.  They accepted the compromise, but told me if I wished to shoot some more tomorrow, I had to bring more money.  There was every possibility I would come back of course, but the brain took control and I felt like a child does when a parent takes away the favourite toy for being naughty.  Ah, that reminds me, I must ask Mum for my Lego back.


Now a fully grown adult and a real man in the world, I carried on to Intramuros and found Fort Santiago.  The fort was built in 1571 to protect the entrance to the Pasig River.  The Japanese used it as a POW camp between 1942 and 1945 and so this place has its fair share of history. 


Inside the compound you can find the Rizal Shrine.  Rizal is an incredibly important man in Philippino history.  I’m sure there are a million and one people who know his story better than me, but from what I gathered he was writer who worked for Philippino Independence from the Spanish.  His final footsteps begin from his prison cell with the fort to his place of execution close by.  Unfortunately, most of the feet beyond the first hundred yards or so are all but worn out and no longer visible.  Rizal is a very well celebrated man, and copies of his ‘Last Farewell’ can be read in several different languages within the shrine itself.


My next stop was at the Cathedral of Manila Intramuros and I was impressed by this structure.

  It’s actually a citadel, and is built in a similar fashion to the ones you may find in Rome.  The building has had its own fair share of misfortune though.  This is actually the 6th replacement building after earthquakes, fires, typhoons, and war had destroyed its forerunners. 


I gave up on the history lesson after this; it was hot and I didn’t really fancy looking at the other buildings of relevance in this part of the city.  No, instead I went back to the hostel and sent some messages out to JeAr, Sarj and Bobby (another Tber) to see what they were up to that night.


Sarj wasn’t feeling too great, but JeAr had plans to go out for a meal in Green Belt Makati to meet yet another Tber.  He is like Mr Manila when it comes to TravBuddy hahaha.  Bobby was up for a few drinks as well, and would meet us after he had finished work (this actually would be like a one-for-one substitution as JeAr had to start work at around the same time).  I set off down the brilliantly named Harrison Street, and flagged over a cab.  The traffic was horrendous though, but I did get there and found JeAr easily enough.  Daniel (an Italian Tber) wasn’t long behind me, and we all ordered some Philippino food and drinks.  Bobby made it out just after we’d finished eating, and so we made our way down to the bars.  It was kind of a hi and goodbye for JeAr, but I told him I was coming back to Manila for a few days after North Luzon, so I would catch up with him then.  We actually quite hopeful he might make it to Banaue for a weekend as well as he really wanted to go and hadn’t made it just yet.


Well, the thing with Bobby is he is almost a surrogate Brit!  He seems to know a heck of a lot about the random things involved in being British.  Somehow he knows and really likes one of our most popular radio presenters, Scott Mills, and knows all about British sports such as football (ok, so everyone knows football and footballers, but it isn’t very big in the Phils; certainly not a patch on basketball) and cricket!  He’s also got the British knack of liking a beer to a tee haha, and what only supposed to be a quiet night for us both (he had work the following morning and I was off to Baguio) ended up with drinking far more than planned.

  Daniel was good company as well, but he had things on the next day as well, so after a few drinks, he retired for the evening. 


It was around 2:30am when I actually rolled in and a fair bit worse for wear as well.  I could only hope that my hangover to come wouldn’t leave me sleeping in too late. 

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photo by: Deats