Thrilla in Manila

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Sunday, April 30, 2006

After an uneventful flight to the Philippines, we emerged from our plane to see ... absolutely nothing. Part of the budget air travel experience is not always the plum choice of airport location (yeauh JetBlue to Long Beach!), and Clark Air Base, formerly run by the US Military and 70km north of Manila, was certainly no O'Hare. No problem, we just boarded the 4-hour bus to the heart of the capitol (though it sure looked closer on Encarta Maps!), laughing with a couple Chinese ladies on the way.
Casey and Lisa had made all the arrangements and we directed our taxi from the bus station to Adriatico Street and the Malate Pensionne. As we were unloading our bags from the trunk I felt a pair of hands reach around and cover my eyes from behind and I know Ryan's just aren't that delicate. I spun around to lay a fat one on thankfully-not-Ryan, we quickly got settled, and were out for dinner and drinks: Ryan, Lisa, Casey, me, and their JET friend Mark. We had a great night, one of the highlights was hanging out in a small park in the center of town with some cold drinks in the hot hot heat and playing for hours with the cutest little kids ever in the muggy night until all the chasing, tickling, laughing, and being used as a jungle gym/swing set took their toll and we were wiped.
Knowing we'd be sightseeing Manila when we got back, we returned to prep for our flight the next morning down to Cebu and the tropical Visayas!

Moral of the story: This post is really only so I could put up photos of those kids.
Oh and also it seems not widely discussed but the Philippines is the greatest travel destination ever: it's affordable, everyone knows English, and there are no other tourists around! We were musing earlier what is the place that is great now that in 30 years people will be saying "Man, I was there in 2006, you know, before it got all touristy and spoiled like Thailand" and I think we found our answer.
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