16 September 2010

Bidding Farewell to Manila

It wouldn't feel good if I didn't blog about my last day in Manila. Our flight back to KK would be sometime around 4 pm. But then, just bear in mind that the journey to Clark Airport alone would take 2 hours or so and the traffic in Manila is just so unpredictable. Putting all the things into consideration, we decided that we’d take the bus that departs from the SM Mega Mall at 12pm (we asked when we first came to Manila).

SO, we still had at least a few hours to kill in the morning. I did take a little walk around the Makati Avenue, hoping that I’d bump into some massage parlor that opens early. I didn’t find any. Instead, I bumped into this beautiful little church.
I later learnt that it was errrr, somehow, a combination of two names - ST. Peter and ST. Paul Church.
Despite the deficit in size as compared to most other churches that I went to, the interior was nothing lack of the beauty.
You know we can never see such a beautiful church like this back in Malaysia. Not that I know.
The church faces down to a beautiful patio.  
It was hard to believe how the whole area was once a cemetery. o.O
It has now become the venue for a daily morning aerobic exercise for the veterans in the Makati local community. And it isn’t just an ordinary aerobic exercise. They have JESUS to lead them! Wohooooo! *look closely
Of course I was kidding. The leader was actually a man who had jeans for a sportswear. LOL
I was actually enjoying myself looking at them dancing to an upbeat Wonder Girls' Nobody. Watch this very brief clip of them that I had recorded and you’ll know why I was dancing on my feet as well. It was very hard not to be. LOL
The church is actually part of the St. Paul College of Makati whose management is run by nuns and religious people.
Just outside of the gate is this plague dedicated to all unborn children. You know how Catholic is very much against abortion. 
It is only wise that people use rubber or any mean of safe sex. Otherwise, you’d see more and more of this.  
So, back at the hostel, it was time to say good bye to Our Melting Pot and its keepers. We’ve only been there for 4 nights and we already grew fond of each other.
The ladies were actually holding their tears when we bade farewell to them. It really is so easy to get emotionally connected with the people in Manila.  
You know how I insisted that you mentioned SM MEGA Mall to the taxi and here’s the reason. When we mentioned to the building janitors that we wanted to go to SM Mall, they were baffled. They actually ‘suggested’ one place but the distance didn’t seem to make sense to us since we already took a taxi from there to the hostel when we first arrived. It couldn't be THAT far. No no.
It was the best decision to get back to the hostel keeper and asked. She KNEW instantly and she even recalled how one of her guests went to the wrong SM Mall and ended up missing her flight. Phew. She was so nice to go down to foyer to hail a taxi for us and even negotiated on the fare. “I’m sorry, 100 pesos is the best I can negotiate for” she said as she bade us farewell one more time.   
There are like dozens of SM Malls in Manila but there’s only one SM Mega Mall. It is where you’re heading to when you want to catch the bus to Clark Airport. 
Still had at least an hour to kill, I went inside the SM Mega Mall to do what I could do with my last few hundred pesos.  
I was sooooooo glad that I didn’t spend all my pesos at the SM Mega Mall although I was so tempted to and you’ll know why later.
Getting on the bus later, it was time to really really say good bye to the city of Metro Manila.  
It was amazing to see how the people of Manila live in shanty towns of wooden shacks and put full trust into each other in the entire neighborhood not to start a fire. You know how disastrous it would be if somebody went careless by starting up a fire - accidently or not. Fuhh!
They built these wooden boxes in just about space available even under the flyovers and crossover bridges. 
The journey to the Clark Airport didn’t feel as long as it did when we first arrived. I noticed how Philippines is gifted with a wide spread of flat land so perfect for agricultural activities. I couldn’t even see any hills within my visual range. 
Finally arriving at the Clark Airport, I was amused how they’d do a passport check at the entrance of the terminal. The Philippines really knows how to provide as many jobs as possible to its people.  
It was an additional lining-up task to another one at the check-in counter later. 
I was glad that they allowed us to check in our umbrellas unwrapped. They suddenly became one of the most treasured purchases in our whole stay in Manila. LOL. 
SO, here’s the reason why you should never spend your pesos to the last penny in Manila. 
It was my very first encounter of a terminal fee actually. I really thought it was all included in the ticket purchase. It wasn’t really a Zero Fare after all. Erkkk. Air Asia had fooled me. Hehe. 
I had come to realize how fridge magnets were not easy to find in Manila. IN fact we didn’t see any souvenir shop that sells any. Luckily there was one at the Clark Airport. 
But you gotta force yourself to be content with the very limitted choices available. Now I know why I've seen exactly the same fridge magnet owned by at least two different friends of mine. LOL
Clark Airport is probably not the best airport that anyone can ever find. For one thing there’s not much food available there so it is just wise that you tapao your food from the city.  
I did buy this(inside the terminal) so that I wouldn’t pass out before I board the flight. It was probably the most edible-looking food that I found around. 
I had to stop after a few bites. It just smelled so………… pig! Ewwwww. LOL
Then it is just so hot inside the departure lounge you tend to wonder if the infamous corruption in Manila had really taken its toll even to its aviation industry. Luckily I had this folding fan I bought from a breast-feeding woman at the Quaipo Market
And to complete its eligibility to be nominated the worse airport in the region is this.
There are just so many flies so ready to make a body contact with you and believe me, they wouldn’t go away. They’d come back as soon as they go away every time you shoo them away.
SO, Manila has been another treasured travelling experience for me. Being so close to Sabah at least geographically, I really thought I knew everything about Manila. How wrong I was. I went there experiencing the least expected. 
Manila is probably one of the most under-rated cities in South East Asia. And yet I knew quite so many people who decided to migrate there.
Fresh from there myself, I don’t blame them. Manila has its own beauty. For me most of it lies in its people. They are so expressive, at least emotionally. The HARD LIFE has taught them to always speak their hearts out.  
Thai people are the most polite but they are not the friendliest. The friendliest people are definitely the Filipinos and probably the most helpful. I gotta give that to them. 
I have experienced the city so I’ve already set my mind for the other side of it on my next trip to this wonderful island country.
I’m sure they are more things to discover. ;-)

The visited:
-Makati Avenue
-The Rizal Park
-Marina Bay
-The Walled CIty of Intramuros (San Agustin Musuem, Casa Manila, Manila Cathderal)
-Fort Santiago
-Mall of Asia
-Manila's China Town & Binondo Church
-Divisoria Market
-Quaipo Church/Quaipo Market
-The Green Belt
-The Robinson's
The not visited:
-Cock-fighting arena (missed it. It only opens on Sundays!)
-The Coconut Palace (under renovation - close for public)
-The Basilica of San Sebastian, Manila - The Metal Church (time restriction)


chegu carol said...

I dont remember anything about terminal fee...tu airport tax kaitu?
anyways, ya you are right about the fridge magnet...i dont even have one with me for remembrance.

Kelvin said...

Oh my, the KPOP poison is spreading everywhere~

JIPP said...

Carol: Yupp, airport tax. Heran jg. Never paid anything like it before.
Kelvin: KPOP? errr, let me figure that one out. Hehe.

aud said...

The airport tax is not included in the airticket - just like in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and certainly some other places you will need to reserve enough local currency for this airport tax/airport fee as your very last expense! :)

I've been to Manila 3 times and still the haven't covered all the places I want to go. A return visit? For sure, one day :)

JIPP said...

I don't know but I actually never paid for the airport tax in any of my returning flights before Manila. Probably they were included in all the purchases expect the one to Manila. I gotta make sure next time. Being denied of a boarding it the last thing I want to go thru. Hehe.
Wow, 3 times. But then, now I'm not suprised. Me too wanna go back there. :-)

Anonymous said...

hi, i really love reading your blog. Coron (palawan) is a super nice place in the whole wide world indeed! :)I recommend the place next time you visit the Philippines. God Bless

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