September 9 – 19, 2011
METRO MANILA: Philippines
Thrilla In Manila, 2011 Style
We hardly call ourselves “city slickers” but good ol’ Manila never fails to educate and entertain.
1- FOOD. IS. EVERYWHERE.
- *Xocolat is really a shop that sells endorphins in cups. Memories of those Russian cookies dipped in Aztec chocolate (spicy Mexican-style hot cocoa) still sends our taste buds reeling.
- *The Midnight Mercato may be a tad tricky to find (notably if you get dropped off in some random part of Bonifacio Global City and you have no idea where the freak you are so you walk for almost an hour), but once you get there, you’d wish you starved yourself for a month just to get the taste everything.
-How bout some ‘sosyal’ taho?-
- *Little Tokyo tucks you away in its little Zen garden right in the bustle that is Makati. Plus, just around the complex there are a couple of Nippon groceries to find the most obscure Japanese ingredients.
-In the morning there’s not much diners. It’s all yers.-
-Dessert: Red beans and green tea crushed ice.-
- *MochiKo. The first time to ever try a mochi could never be a more beautiful experience.
- *Amber’s pichi-pichi. Cheese sprinkled pichi-pichi that melts in your mouth.
- *Tsokolate eh after a hard day’s walk around countless malls resets the ‘dreary city factor’.
- *Happy Lemon boggles the mind with its uncommon selection of cheese-salt coco drink thinggies.
2 – Simply being inside a mall/bazaar/market is overwhelming. The strong urge to gurgle out “HOLY COW, that was a crapload of stuff and I only have carry-on luggage!” stays for days.
- On a tight budget? And traveling with a female who has a bad shopping habit? Avoid those saucy places like Greenbelt by all means possible. We kid. Or are we. Dun dun dunnn
3 – Dogs like Darma never fail to help Belle rise above her long-standing fear of anything that barks.
4 – Commuting anywhere and everywhere will almost always be the most exercise you will probably do for as long as you can remember. If you’re new in town, don’t run away from the jeepney conductor who seemingly wants to kiss you… because he is just saying MOA. Mall of Asia. *I crack myself up.
5 – It’s perfectly alright to be paranoid. You will not be labelled borderline insane if you clutch tightly at your friend’s arm with your eyes darting this way and that as you’re about to go into a sketchy graffiti-splattered alleyway just to hear good music in one of the coolest hangouts in Makati. That’s just its exterior facade.
6 – There IS fresh air to be had in the big city (contrary to what people say)… you just need to know where to look… or breathe. It is especially helpful if you’re on the roof deck of the nearest skyscraper.
7 – Finally getting the chance to visit the dearly departed no matter how far becomes a deeply cherished moment in time.
-The beautiful Manila Memorial Park.-
8 – Those quirky guesthouses add spice to every trip. And savings to the budget.
-Jake lurking. Looks like a scene for some creepy 70’s tagalog scary movie.-
9 – Manila is the land where some plans are laid to rest. Take it from us who were supposed to visit Enchanted Kingdom again but made the entire city our own amusement park instead.
10 – Lost your way around the city and ended up on the wrong side of a ginormous highway which screams out warning signs of “Bawal tumawid. May namatay na dito.”? It’s surprisingly fun walking for almost an hour on a deserted pedestrian lane with people staring at you from the comforts of their air-conditioned vehicles as you look for a spot to cross the road.
11 – Brushing up on one’s Tagalog speaking skills always pays off. Now, Belle doesn’t have to either stay mute or sound like a weird lawyer with the constant use of “Maaari” and “Jina-judge.”
-I really truly suck at it.-
12 – There will always be a warm bed waiting for you at an old friend’s home regardless of which city you may end up in.
13 – Foreign streets and landscape push an aspiring independent art photographer‘s creative buttons a notch higher. That’s a crapload of adjectives right there.
-Jazz in our pants.-
14 – Jake almost had a close encounter with his real life doppelganger who was surprisingly performing a gig in a neighboring bar. Lourd de Veyra, if you can read this, you’d have been shocked too. In a cool way. The coolest way possible.
15 – Pet lovers, rejoice! Cuteness overload in Tiendesitas. Look out for a certain butterscotch colored Scottish fold kitty which reaches out a paw for you to touch if you happen to drop by its cage. Yes, kitty, we will ignore the fact that we are your human slaves as you come with a price tag of almost 30K.
16 – Mini reunions over beer with new found ex-bestfriends and siblings beats homesickness every time. This goes the same with mini feuds with your travel buddies borne out of claustrophobia from each other.
17 – You will never get bored from the onslaught of live music selections if you are musically inclined. There are ‘tugsh2x’ empires for the clubber crowds as well as ‘wob-wob’ bars for dubstep maniacs, indie hangouts for unsigned artists and hipsters, urban music bars for modern yuppies, solid rock havens for those who want it loud… and then there’s the red light district belting out Brian McKnight. We have yet to find punk shows though.
18 – Green choices are pretty apparent in Metro Manila, starting with sustainable pocket gardens and parks down to the implementation of the anti-smoking campaign in most establishments. The health and wellness movement has finally clawed its way into the Filipinos’ lifestyle. Now, where are those sneaky vegetarian places…
19 – Roadtrip! Next time! We can only go North or South in Cebu. But with the pangea that is Luzon, we can opt for North, South, East AND West. And if you’re not careful enough, you’ll end up on a bus going to Baguio instead of Baclaran. Fun stuff.
20 – Seeing Parkway Drive! No, not the band *cry*, but the street near Greenbelt.
21 – Despite the hugeness of Metro Manila, the irony of life is that one almost always bumps into someone from back home. And not necessarily someone you would like, too. It’s hilarious like a barrel of monkeys!
21! The magic number. Those said, we’ve topped off the coolest trip (so far) by missing our flight back. Cheers to airport floors, cheap convenience store fast food, last minute ticket purchases, and handfuls of panic. Ahhh… that was the life.
Watch a short photo/video compilation of the trip HERE! CLICK HERE! just in case you missed it.