Thursday, 8 May 2014

Philippines. Manila all filler, no thriller.

You will find yourself in Manila whether you like it or not if you travel to the Philippines. All roads lead to Manila. We have seen the capital three time in less than a month. The first impressions of Manila were all good. The customs guys were cool about the bullet keyring and the man inside the currency exchange kiosk said that I looked like Kurt Cobain. Nice compliment, but a lie. Leaving the airport with poverty under the cover of darkness. I found myself surrounded by all these stretched super shiny Jeeps. Manila's most popular form of public transport. The Jeepney.

Moving hotels to be closer to the centre of Manila. Which does not exist. We found out that there is no centre. Its split up into many provinces. The poverty was for the first time visible. Deserted buildings, crumbling roads and paths. A rusty old ferris wheel inside a long forgotten theme park. Disabled adults and very young children begging from cars when the lights hit red. We have not seen this level of poverty for a long time.

First time round we happened to be in Manila at Easter. Catherine had told me that the country is over 90% Christian. Over the Easter holiday everything was closed. Everything apart from a seedy old dive bar called G-Point and Mcdonalds. The pub brewed its own IPA. Four different drafts. I tried them all. Lunch was not so good. Mcfries and a Mcapple pie.

On our second and third brief visits we saw a different side. High rise buildings and expensive looking hotels. Manila remains a mystery to me. I do not know why anyone would want to come here. Manila has its own version of the London Eye. I think this must be a joke as there is nothing to see.

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