Tropical Ice Skating

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
Trip End Oct 06, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Monday, March 5, 2012

Having seen most of the sites of Manila a couple of years ago, we are just planning on using the city as a hub to connect to parts of the country we hadn't yet seen. Unfortunately we've now dropped one of those destinations, Palawan, because apparently there's a lengthy waiting list to see it's big claim to fame: the mile long Puerto Princesa Underground River (since it recently made that cheesy list of Top 7 Natural Wonders of the World, tick-in-the-box tourists have been flooding in). The earliest date we could get was toward the end of April and although it's highly likely that we could just show up and find a spot- the other issues created by the List are much higher prices and an almost comical shortening of the boat ride down the river. Not worth the effort- maybe we'll do that Log Ride at Canada's Wonderland if/when we get 'home', and just pretend.

The other sights are still on the radar so we'll endure the chaos that Manila can dish out. There's a common expression that suggests that the best thing to do in Manila is to get out of Manila but I kind of like the place. Most of the buildings and infrastructure are well beyond their Best-Before date, and the whole city could use a really good power wash but it's populated by Filipinos who have to be on any credible listing of the nicest people ever.

And besides, there just aren't many places in SE Asia where you can go ice skating!! We were wandering through the Mall of Asia (which has to be one of the biggest malls in all of Asia) and we stumbled across an Olympic sized ice rink that had skates for rent. Now these skates had seen a lot of use, probably hadn't been sharpened since they were purchased, and they were figure skates (not my choice Sam!) complete with picks including the one at the bottom of the blade whose sole purpose (as far as I could tell) is to trip up anybody who skates like a hockey player. Fortunately they weren't white but a relatively macho blue colour so we had to give it a whirl. As I towed her around the rink, DH learned that skating is not like riding a bike and you do forget (Filipino school kids should never be skating figure 8's around a relatively stationary All-Canadian girl), and I learned that showing off is the surest way to forget that there's a pick on the bottom of your skates that's designed to trip. It was good fun- there was a mural of snow capped mountains in the background and periodically 'snow' would fall on the rink from above (it was actually bubble bath foam that created a bit of a slippery mess on the ice but it's certainly a crowd pleaser!).

After turning in the ice skate version of bowling shoes, the only thing to do was to go around the corner and rent the real things. Neither of us have bowled in years but after skating in the tropics, bowling seemed to be an appropriate next step.

While waiting for planes, buses, vans, we had a lot of fun in Manila: we saw a fireworks competition between Finland and Portugal that had to be one of the best ever, we had dinner with a friend from home (she was here on business but we preferred to think that she had traveled all this way just to see us), and since our hotel seemed to be a gathering point of heavy set older Western dudes and young Filipino ladies, DH was able to develop of kinds of imaginary evil scenarios that kept her thoroughly entertained.
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Carol on

Young Fillipino angels could have actually been T girls! If you don't understand that you can ask Russ when you come to visit!

May on

She DID go all the way to Manila to see you!

May on

Actually, she had to chase the 2 of you down. LOL.

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