Manila Quick Trip
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It was a sudden business trip and I could not secure bookings on Singapore Airlines fromJakartatoManila, hence, had to settle with midnight flight with PAL (Philippines Airlines). I must admit that once the plane took off and almost 30 minutes into the journey, most of my apprehensions about PAL were gone. The flight was very well managed and comfortable, inspite of a thick cloud cover. Food quality was also OK. A few irritating things were 1) The plane was Airbus 320 for a 4 hour flight, so a little cramped with narrow leg space 2) On flight entertainment was not personal, one screen for 3 rows and what is showed that night was not interesting 3) PAL doesn’t serve any whiskey or Vodka or a good quality wine on board, just some local Phil wines and beer.
Immigration, Luggage and Peso
Landed at 6 AM. Immigration and luggage were easy, thoughManilaInternationalAirportorNinoyAquinoAirportis still very primitive. I was carrying some Indonesian Rupiyah as didn’t have much time to collect $. Tried to exchange IDR to Peso, but the rate offered was extremely low, hence decided to withdraw using my Visa Debit Card. I have learnt over the years that using your Visa Card to withdraw money from any local bank ATM is a better way to use local currency than bringing in dollars and exchanging at the counters. Reason- 1) You get the best exchange rates 2) The exchange fee is quite nominal.
Taxi, hotel and the first glimpse of Manila
Just got out of the airport door and took a voucher for the yellow taxis parked outside.
The check in at the hotel was not so cool. I had already informed of an early checkin and even paid 505 extra charge, but still my room was not ready and I had to wait for almost 90 minutes. They offered free breakfast as compensation, but I was still not so happy about it.
This are the oldUSjeeps left over by theUSarmy from World War II and now most of them, with a little re-furbishment and modification, are being run on the roads as Public Transport. Check out the pics for a glimpse of one. I did not ride one of them, but sounds very interesting.
The Night and the days and the City
After a grueling day at the office, the night took off with a few friends and of-course, the first spot we hit was the in-famous P-Bourgos road. I will call it a very un-professional mini version ofBangkokor Pattaya, but many people like it there. Let me not talk anymore about it here.
There are quite a few malls in theMakatiCityand they are quite big, offering almost all International and Local Brands in clothing and food.
I spend most of my time at Café Havana in Mall Green Belt II. The place is nice, there is live music, many girls, quite a few lady boys and open air. It was nice sitting there, enjoying our drinks and chatting away.
On day 2, one of my colleagues gifted me a nicely packaged local coconut wine called Lambanog.
The night was then spend in the laps of Lambanog, very tasty drink with a solid kick. Next morning I had to fly back. This is the best I could cover in this very short visit, but I would definitely like to return back and the famous and beautifulBoracayIslandsare on my must do list.