Trip Start Apr 26, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Philippines  ,
Thursday, May 12, 2005

We arrived in Manila Mid- afternoon really excited about our Island Hopping Adventure & after finding out where we were staying we headed off through the pollution, traffic & noise that sums up Manila. On the way into the hotel our car was checked for bombs as the Abu Masuff terrorists have been targetting a few tourist spots. Army check points are a regular feature here but you are more likely to get hurt by a falling cocconut than a terrorist.

The hotel we were staying iis located adjacent tothe old walled city of Manila and next to the port where huge freighters were moored. The Manila Hotel was built in 1912 & is a beautiful colonial Style building with a massive opulent entrance hall our room was lovely on the 8th Floor, with a huge bed & latticed shutters. We are slightly ashamed to admit that we indulged ourselves lounging on the pristine crisp cotton sheets with a gin & tonic (after a hot shower of course!) whilst watching a crappy movie.

We contemplated heading into Manila but instead had a fantastic Filipino experience at the hotel. As in all good hotels, one really should dress for dinner, & Phil was turned away from the Japanese restaurant because he wasn't wearing long trousers! After a huge sushi meal we spent the rest of the evening in the Lounge Bar drinking cocktails & watching a brilliant Filipino band who appeared to be stuck in the'80's. They were extremely talented though and did some impressive takes on The Bee gees , with a phenomenal turn by a lady who belted out amazing versions of Shirley Bassey.

The following morning arrived far too early for our hangovers hopping on board the Coco Beach minibus to the port of Batangas City some 2 hrs drive South of Manila. A very painful introduction to Filipino driving followed which explains why this country has such a massive Catholic population. Phil aver considered converting as he was stuck in the horror seat at the front of the bus as onr driver played chicken with the colourful jeepneys whilst driving at 90 miles an hour. Note: Do not do this trip with a hangover!

Hangovers subsided at the port, drinking coke and watching the children jumping in and out the water.

We were taken over to Coco beach on a typical phillipino boat, with outriggers. It appears that many filipino's from Manila cannot swim. The second they get on any boat a riot happens as everyone fights for a life jacket. Whenever we saw well off filipinos swimming in the sea they still did it with life jackets on - weird.
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