East Rembo

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  • Day117

    Day 117: Shopping in Manila

    October 10, 2016 on the Philippines ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    Lucky we checked last night, as our main plan for today was to head for a couple of the large museums nearby. But they're both closed on Mondays! Doh. So we decided instead to see how some of the 1% live, and headed over to an area called Bonifacio Global City. This is a large new development on the site of a huge old army barracks. It's home to skyscrapers, large companies, and a couple of fancy shopping malls.

    It was very strange, since the 40 minute taxi ride (12 kilometres, thanks Manila traffic) there was through the usual crumbling concrete dodgy parts of the city. But then we turned a single corner, and we were suddenly in Singapore! Large wide footpaths, no beggars, no trash, just well-dressed people going about their workday and lots of security guards with assault rifles and shotguns.

    The large shopping area is known as the Bonifacio High Street - lots of shops along a central strip of parkland with some sculptures, benches and so on. It was nice without being super upmarket - chains like Cotton On, GAP, American Outfitters and a few others, rather than Prada or Luis Vuitton. We wandered up and down a few times in and out of the shops - Shandos bought some sunglasses, while I bought a couple of t-shirts. Finally I'd found somewhere that stocks shirts large enough for me! Big thanks to the Pinoy diet of mostly fried chicken and grease for keeping the locals well above average size for Asia.

    We had lunch at a fancy burger restaurant that was ironically cheaper than most of the meals we'd had in Boracay. I had an Amsterdam burger which had a perfectly cooked patty along with gruyere cheese, saurkraut, pastrami and some salad. Delicious.

    A little more shopping after lunch where Shandos bought a new necklace and earrings combo, and we visited a dessert bar for a bacon & maple syrup ice-cream with brioche, candied popcorn and fairy floss. A little extravagant but nice. Followed up with some craft beers (first ones in ages) at an unfortunately named fried chicken restaurant called "Fowl Bread".

    Also had a quick look at the huge shopping centre at one end of the high street called MarketMarket!, but it was absolutely heaving with people and the shops weren't as nice as those outside. By now it was mid-afternoon and rain looked imminent, so we managed to dredge up a wifi signal (it's annoyingly rare here, and I haven't bought a SIM card) and grabbed an Uber. Another 40 minute trip and we were back at the hotel.

    Hung around relaxing for a little while before an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I'm still a bit apprehensive about heading out at night here, since everywhere just seems so skeezy. Shandos remains unconcerned. The TV in the restaurant had the news on, and it was constant updates about drug war casualties, complete with "corpse-in-the-street" footage. More than a little off-putting! Philippines is currently in the midst of a drug war, the new President has said he wants to kill as many drug pushers and users as possible, and will personally veto any charges against police who kill drug-related suspects. He's also encouraged private citizens to kill drug criminals, which seems to have resulted in people killing whoever and then putting a cardboard sign on them saying "drug user". Like that old Chris Rock sketch about the police killing black people indiscriminately and then sprinkling crack on their corpses. Frightening, though we haven't seen any evidence of it directly - as usual it's mostly just aimed at poor areas.
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East Rembo