A night in Manila

Manila Travel Blog

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8 hours of traveling; inclusive of flying and spending time catching up with sleep in airports and plane, we finally landed in Clark International Airport, situated 2 hours away from the buzzing busyness of Manila city.

By then, we were already clouded with extreme (ok, I was exaggerating a little) tiredness. The thought of another 2 hours bus ride into the city and an extra effort to look for a place to crash for the night was well... let's just say, not too appealing when you've been up very early in the day and spent practically the whole day either flying or rotting in the airport.

Ok, first thing first, upon landing, I needed a toilet break. I'm not going to spend another 2 hours in the bus holding my pee. I only read about public toilets in Philippines not providing toilet paper but little did I expect them to not provide the lock to the door as well.


I had to pee with my hands stretched out to grasp whatever remains of the lock to keep someone from accidentally opening the door.

Took a deep breath and mutter to myself, Manila here I come.

Boarded the 6pm bus from Clark to Manila (300 peso each), we were the only passengers. The journey felt like eternity. Here's what I learn about driving in Manila while we were stuck in the jam into the city.

1) All drivers here are PRO. If you can drive here, you can drive anywhere in the world. I think that applies to driving in Vietnam too.

2) Signal lights for turning are overrated. They don't need them. All you need is COURAGE. Always dare to push the limits and move forward. Others will eventually let you cut in front.

3) Regardless of how packed it is, they rarely honk each other. I think it's mutual understanding between the drivers that if you cut in front of people, you have to let people cut you back. Fair and square.

4) They can drive SO CLOSE to each other and yet not a scratch on the car.

5) The jam is so bad you find vendors walking on the streets trying to sell you newspaper, drinks and snacks. They should start selling potties so everyone can be stuck in the jam and still be happy about it (no toilet emergency ma!)

6) Carpooling is the IN thing. The most awesome sight had to be the jeepneys. A jeepney can carry possibly at least 50% more of its allowed number of passengers at a time. Simply impressive how people can "stack" themselves inside.

Enough bitching on the traffic conditions. After what seemed like eternity being stuck in the bus, forced to watch some Filipino gameshow and news, we finally descended in Pasay (pronounced as Pasa-i) bus station. From there, we took a cab to Ermita, where supposedly cheaper and more budget hotels/hostels can be found. Little did we know it is also the famous red light district in Manila *wink* haha

We crashed into the first place we found, not wanting the hassle to look for cheaper place. It can't be that bad if it's recommended by Lonely Planet, right?

At least it's air conditioned and it had a tv

to compensate for the small cramped room @_@

As if the room is not small enough, we still had to share it with other occupants. Later on, we found a cockroach making a run across the tiny little room. How blissful -_-"

Ok, the most important part of the entry, FOOD! (PSSTT! ZEEK! This is for you since you're in Manila now )

We walked along the dark shaddy piss smelling streets of Ermita looking for a decent place to dine. There were too many of them, none of which we really fancy. In the end, we resorted to asking a Starbucks security officer where we can find local food.

He directed us here.

Aristocrat, a little too pricey but definitely worth the experience.

We had

seafood tanghoon (glass noddle) soup. Not too bad but not too great either. In a way, it made us missed Tomyam.

Machado - tender beef meat with fried potatoes cooked in special sauce with a little hint of spiciness. Can't remember exactly how the sauce tasted, all I remembered was that it's AWESOME DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED!

Kare kare - famous Philippine stew. Made from peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe.

Best eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste)

Didn't like Kare kare as much as Machado but if you are feeling adventurous enough to try this special Tagalog dish, it's indeed an experience. Try it, check it off your list and move on.

Last but not least, I'm saving the best for last.

MUST ORDER, MUST TRY, MUST DRINK, MUST ORDER AGAIN, MUST ORDER AGAIN AND AGAIN from Aristocrat. Their special Aristocrat Ice Lemon Tea.

It's ice blended, thick with the right ratio of both tea and lime, not too sweet, a heaven sent thirst quenching solution after a long hard day

It's so so so so goood! I know! How can ice lemon tea taste so good, you'd ask. Try this and you'll know.

With this, I conclude my story on our first night in Manila. No we didn't get to see the "girlie" bars nor go clubbing wild with the Filipinos. We had a plane to catch in the morning, like VERY early in the morning the next day.

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photo by: Deats