Back in Manila

Trip Start May 11, 2010
Trip End Aug 01, 2010

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Flag of Philippines  , Manila,
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hello all! well it's been a while, so now trying to catch up with the blog...

I left Pandan Island early in the morning to catch the 8am air-con bus, which actually didn't leave until 10am - but on the plus side, this allowed me to get to know a couple of locals who were running a sort of eatery by the bus stop. They wanted to hear all about what my life back
home is like, so I told them about Finland which included a demo of our national sport (which one of the locals referred to as "ice-cockey") with a broom as a stick and an empty egg shell as the puck. Had a yummy soft sweet rice cake for breakfast for the grand total of about 10
English pence - the price was definitely right!

When the bus finally arrived, I was honoured to be allocated a VIP seat right behind the driver, next to a lovely elderly lady called Excel. The bus had barely departed when Excel was already rummaging her bag for a couple of steaming hot sweetcorn cobs, offering me one for my second breakfast. The locals really are incredibly generous, I have lost the count on how many times complete strangers I've sat next to in a bus or a boat have offered to share their lunch/snacks with me.

The journey to Manila included a few hours in a boat from Mindoro island to Luzon, the island where Manila is on. A super cute little girl was sat in front of me and just couldn't stop staring at me - see the pics!

Had a couple of fun days in Manila with Hanne, which included a visit to a local basketball match. Basketball is the national sport here and the ambience at the match was just incredible! Instead of their home towns, the local teams are named after their sponsors - so the teams we saw included "San Miguel Beermen" (San Miguel is the #1 beer in the country), Santa Lucia Realtors (real estate agents) and "Rain or Shine" (paint company). Added spice  to the match was that whenever there was a interval or a short time-out, the court was taken over by whichever game the organisers had thought of to stop the spectators from getting bored - this included bingo, sumo basketball, tug-of-war (koydenveto), shooting t-shirts into the audience and blindfolded basketball to name a few.

On Monday Hanne and I went around Intramuros, Manila's old town to get a feel for the city's history - it was interesting to get a better idea of the country's past but sadly most of the old buildings etc were destroyed in the second World War. We struggled to find a taxi on the way back and had to ask  4 different drivers before we finally found one willing to take us home; the reasons for refusing our custom included that the driver was going for lunch, our destination is too far and that the traffic is too heavy. Manila taxi drivers seem to be a different breed of people from the rest of the Philippinos who are a super friendly, easygoing nation.
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