Warm Manila Night

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
1
38
Trip End Jan 09, 2013


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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Monday, December 3, 2012

Wet Tiger
What a wet send-off from Singapore! The skies literally poured like an open tap. Check-in at terminal 2 Changi Airport was uber slow. By the time I got my boarding pass, it was 30 minutes before the gate closed. To make matters worse, Tiger Airways decided to change the departure gate to the other side of the airport without any announcement.

I was only metres to the original gate when people started running in the opposite direction! 15 minutes to take-off, Tiger Airways announced their gate change. What?? I just wasted 10 minutes running on travellators!! I got to the plane on time but obviously Tiger had to delay their flight to accommodate for late passengers! Tsk Tsk!
 
Visa Extension
My pet peeve in flying has always been crying children. Not the ones who genuinely cry but the ones who cry for attention. Thankfully this flight had none of the both. Ninoy Aquino International Airport was easy to navigate. The customs gave me 21 days free visa despite my request for the extended 59 days. It took another 2600 php and 30 minutes to sort out my revised visa and off I went in a metered taxi to Malate. Taxi driver was in a chatty mood. He started pointing and naming out all these flashy neon-lit nightclubs and girlie bars along the road. Sometimes even repeating the names as if I was keeping a mental note. All I wanted was to get to my guesthouse in Malate... 
 
Chill-Out Guesthouse
300 php later, we found Chill-Out Guesthouse in a quiet end of Remedios Street. It was so new, they did not even have a signboard or display a unit number. I had to alight my taxi and approach an artist (he was painting a wall mural - at 10pm!) before he pointed to a staircase leading up to the reception. Room was fan and common bathroom for 700 php per night. My room (and the other single fan rooms) was literally a hole in the wall. Windowless. Stuffy. But the corridor was breezy and the place was not seedy unlike the immediate streets adjoining the Remedios roundabout. Handed over my laundry and hit the streets for first wander.
 
Seedy Street
At 11pm, I found Malate alittle bit confronting. Countless homeless families were camping out in shops' corridors and public parks with nothing more than a cupboard box to sleep on. Along Remedios Street, bars and clubs lit the night. I had a few invites for 'ladies' and 'stripshow'. Most of the laneways were not lit but I felt safe even in a seedy district. Beside an expensive 24 hours buffet restaurant, I managed to find myself a chinese themed fast food chain Chow King and had a kids sized serve of wanton noodle soup. Most street folks had already turned in, so I headed back to room for the night.
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