Relaxing in Manila

Trip Start Oct 08, 2008
Trip End Dec 09, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Note: I have finally been able to upload some photos into past blog entries. Check them out!
We left Bangkok in November 11, flying Royal Brunei Airlines to the Philippines. It was a roundabout trip with a stopover in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. This Muslim country is on the island of Sarawak, has a population of less than 400,000, and because of oil resources is one of the richest countries in Asia. Had we planned better, it would have been a learning experience to spend a few days here.
During the past week we have been staying with our friend Dale in Manila. He has a large apartment in a highrise in Makati City. Makati is the business and financial district and generally better off than other areas We are close to tens of world class restaurants and lots of shopping. Of particular note is the huge Greenbelt shopping complex, about a 10 minute walk from the apartment. There are numerous exclusive shops there with the latest fashions and accessories. Totally out of our league but interesting to walk around in . Traffic around here is congested, chaotic and we can't seem to figure out the traffic lights, so crossing the street is suicidal each time. The "Jeepney" in the photo is main means of public transportation here, there are no local buses or an organized transit system. The Jeepneys are strange looking vehicles that travel a more or less the same route and you can stop them anywhere and get on or off. People spend hours commuting on them sitting (if you are lucky) on crowded bench seats. But it's been nice not having to pack up every morning and travel for hours. It's also darned nice to be able to communicate everywhere in English, read and understand signs, menus and ingredients of snack foods. Dale has a gas barbeque on the balcony and it's been a pleasant task to be able to cook some of our own meals. These of course have been greatly enhanced by Dale's wine selections.
In a day or so we are off to the tourist town of Tagaytay, and will report from there.
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