Trip Start Nov 25, 2009
15Trip End May 31, 2010
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The next morning we flew to Manila. Covered in a thick cloud of smog that you can see from the air as you arrive, Manila is a hectic and buzzing city. With an unusual combination of Asian culture, Spanish architecture and a love of all things American it makes for an interesting place. There's also a passion for karaoke which blares out from most small bars and houses, it's everywhere and vocal skills are not required! With 14million people living there the streets are always bustling and the roads are wild, as our white knuckle taxi ride into town demonstrated
Once dropped off in the centre it was time to find somewhere to stay. Our first experience of walking up and down the streets, packed up and in search of a hostel. Luckily it didn't take too long and we were soon checked in and off to check out the city. We walked around Ermita and Malate where the streets were lined with roadside barbecues and fruit stalls as jeepneys drive up and down constantly honking the horn as children run in between them. The people are so friendly and polite, every time we walked past we were greeted with a 'yes ma'am' or a 'hello sir'!
During the day we visited the old town, the area Intramunros, which is the old Spanish capital. With plenty of churches and cathedrals to see, as well as the fiesta going on in the streets, it was an interesting place. By night it was time to enjoy a few San Miguel Lights, at 40p it would be rude not to! Checking out the bars, there was everything from roadside shacks, to all night clubs and even one bar 'The Hobbit House' where all the staff were really hobbit sized. A city that really doesn't stop, there's very few tourists about to cater for but the streets were still busy at 5am.
After a few hectic city days it was time to head to the beach and we flew down to Kalibo
Once there we spent a week chilling out at the beach. One of the busiest and more touristy areas in The Philippines, but with one of the worlds top 10 beaches you can see why. After a great week tanning by day and tanduay (the local rum) by night we were ready to head back to the city.This time heading south to Cebu where the flight not only included a quiz but also karaoke!
We spent a couple of days seeing Cebu's highlights before heading back to the beach. This time our destination was the undeveloped island of Malapascua. With a beach to rival Boracay but without all the tourist development it was a nice change from what we had already seen. Although the nearest cash machine was 2 hours away by boat and motorbike which was a bit of an inconvenience! We stayed in a small bamboo hut, one of a row of four that was owned by a family that we got to know well during our stay. Again, everyone was so friendly we got to know many of the locals who worked on the beach or in the small village behind. We spent Saturday night at the local disco-the most anticipated event on the island, the whole village goes
After four nights here it was time to head to Clark for our flight to Malaysia. A long boat-bus-taxi-plane-taxi journey we finally arrived after more than 12 hours on the move. We were both really looking forward to our time in The Philippines as it's slightly off the beaten track and far fewer travellers head over here than other parts of Asia. It's certainly lived up to expectations as we've seen some beautiful places and met some fantastic people, just one thing lets it down..the food! Not like the rest of Asia, there's no real local cuisine, no flavour or spice, just alot of bland, bland rice. Roll on Kuala Lumpur where we can get stuck into a spicy Malaysian curry!