Salamat Po to the Sze Family!!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
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Trip End Sep 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
Subic Bay Yacht Club

Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

We arrived in Manila City at 4:00am on Nov.26, arrived at the Nichols Airport Hotel at  5:00am, spent the morning sleeping, woke at 10:00am and waited for our friend to arrive to show us what Manila has to offer! Anyone that knows me, knows that 5 hours of restless sleep is definately not enough for me! haha. But we made it through.

My classmate from Taiwan was kind enough to offer to show us around the Philippines for a few days! He picked us up at the hotel and we started our morning off with breakfast. Jay was courageous and guessed at an item on the menu....Bangus....turned out to be fish! But darn good fish...fried nicely, flavorful, with the perfect crunch on the outside! It was really delicious. I, in my awesome mood, played it safe with a sandwich. Our day was spent touring the city, stopping at some great markets, and eating and eating, and eating. We went to Tiendesitas...a heaven of market shopping and ate some local noodles...delicious! We also had some small white balls that tasted like banana bread! After that, we did some more touring around the shopping districts, walked around the suburbs near the business district, and found a fantastically large (5 story) book store...we needed some beach books! We ate dinner with a moutain view. Pig ears and bone marrow??? who would've thought we'd like it!

Our friend invited us to stay at his family's home as we wanted to get up early to head to Subic in the morning. Wow! You would never guess that we were in the Philippines. His house was a beautiful mansion in a gated community, on a mountain, with a view like no other! Not really "backpacker" style accomodation, but we didn't complain...haha! It was nice to have the comforts of home with maids to cook for us!

We headed off to Subic in the morning with Stephen and his younger brother Stewart. Their mom is so nice that she booked us a room for the night at the Subic Bay Yacht Club. It was a great time. We went to a Zoo...suppose to be a Tiger Safari...but I think they forgot to put the Tigers in the fields...lol. Ate some more food...calamansi juice is one of our favorites now! We found a little carnival after dinner and enjoyed the fear that Stephen showed on the roller coaster....as the guy sent us around again for a free turn! It was one of the fastest, yet smallest, scariest roller coasters we have been on....nevermind that Jay couldn't stop looking at how "wrong" the welding was and the hook up of our cart!!! Sometimes I wish he wasn't in Quality Control! Dinner was served on the beach at Pier One....a quaint little beach restaurant/bar with live music. They even gave us a free souvenir hat...that we liked so much that it may still be at Stephen's house...hidden in his cd rack....lol.

The next day in Subic, we tried to play frisbee on the beach, but the wind won, so we just explored a little. We drove out to Clark...the American base. It's amazing how much poverty we can ignore. The American base on one side of the road with it's prestine scenary and golf course, and kids carrying water back home in buckets, wearing rags for clothing....right across the street. Unbelievable how we can just ignore it. We returned to Quezon City for the evening. Oh...did I mention the bats the size of eagles that fly in swarms of thousands in the middle of the day???!!! Gross!!! Spencer (the middle brother) took us for a walk around the "village" of mansions before Stephen took us to Green Hills for dinner.  I was complaining about never being hungry to try the desserts, so we decided to eat dessert first! Halo Halo...coconut and banana ice drink with other scrumptiolicious things in it!!!! Yummy!! There was a night market there that was insanely busy!!! We couldn't even walk....you could only push...lol. Stephen has never seen anywhere so busy before...probably because of the Christmas season. We didn't last long before finding a cheap restaurant and eating some so-so fast food.

On the 29th, Stephen and his friend Claire took us to Taygaytay, with intentions on trekking in the Taal Volcano. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and it started to rain. We went to plan B: eat as many different Philippine snacks as possible and stuff ourselves full!!!....lol. The Buko Pie is phenomenal...Buko is Coconut. Nothing like coconut pie in Canada! We had an excellent view of the volcano and got some great shots in. When we returned to Manila, Stephen and Claire went to a movie in the afternoon while Jay and I explored the Mall of Asia (massive) and walked along Manila Bay watching the sunset, taking in the festivities, and trying not to be groped by the girl-guys wanting us to eat at their restaurants! Since when does being harassed by girl-guys make you want to eat at a restaurant???!!! Can't figure out the tactics on that one!

The morning of the 30th was spent re-organizing our packs. In the afternoon, we went to the American Memorial park....absolutely beautiful. They must put thousands worth of fertilizer on the grass everyday!! Then we went to Intramuros....the historical Spanish Walled City. It was incredibly interesting (and I don't care for history). There is a dungeon which is closed now for safety reasons. They found over 600 skulls down there. Of course, since it is closed, we slipped the guard 100 pesos and got locked in the dungeon for our own personal tour. We had to be quiet since the police were right above us! It was very interesting...of course...we have to do everything that we are not allowed to do! They have horses (which are half the size of Canadian horses) with carts that you can hire for an hour tour if you want. We passed. After that, Stephen joined us at the Nichols Airport Hotel Roof Bar for dinner before saying goodbye. Stephen and his family are the nicest people we have ever met!! Genuinely nice and caring!

After a taxi, a plane, a crazy van ride from Kalibo to Caticlan, a boat to Boracay, and a weird buggy thing to the hotel, we are now in Boracay....arrived just in time for the beautiful sunset on the soft, sand beach. What a place....
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