Apr 10, 2007
Apr 27, 2007
After a Wonderful visit to Palawan, I find myself back in Manila for 2 nights before my return to the Good Ole USA. Wish I would have scheduled another night at El Nido to reduce my exposure to Manila, but I was nervous about being back in time to catch my flight back home. I did inquire, and there was a room available, but no seat on the plane. So I kept with the original plan that allowed me an extra day in Manila just for insurance. Next visit to the Philippines, I will be much better at mimizing my time in Manila and maximizing my time out in the REAL Philippines. Not too much interesting to take pictures here, so I haven't. Just a Big City, with Big City problems. This time I opted to stay at the Hotel Intercontinental, in the suburb of Makati. This is the seat of the Philippine Government, central business and financial district, and closer to the airport. It is much cleaner than where I stayed my 2 previous stays in the city. More modern with newer buildings, shopping malls, but less drifter and homeless evident. With that said, there is still much poverty visible in any direction just adjacent to the hotel and similar chaotic traffic situation. Spent my two days wandering around, hanging around the hotel pool and doing some shopping. Picked-up a traditional Philippine Barong shirt. This is regarded as the all-around wear of Filipino men and is considered the "informal" version of the Barong Tagalong which is worn for special occassions and other celebrations. It is also considered as the unofficial uniform worn in Philippine schools and offices. Arranged for the hotel car to take me to the airport on the 27th and was surprised when a fairly new silver Mercedes Benz pulled-up to the curb. Norman, the hotel driver that had taken me a few places during my stay, made sure to arrange me a first-class ride to the airport. Never had a $5.00 tip go so far, before! Amazing to have access to this level of VIP treatment at a cost less than the Super Shuttle trip I would take to home from the airport. Enroute to the airport, I was treated to the first precipitation I had seen since my arrival into the Philippines. Felt kinda nice for a bit, but then turned things VERY humid. Bittersweet drive to the airport. Anxious to go home, but sad to be leaving. When Norman asked me if I was going to return, I replied ABSOUTELY! The Long journey home begins.....