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11 travelers at this place:

  • Day16

    Streets of Manila

    December 7, 2016 on the Philippines ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Cars, pedestrians, scooters, bikes with side cars. All moving as one symbiotic unit. Horns and whistles.. hollars and hellos. Something happening in every single nook and cranny. Like if the space isnt used it will just disappear.

    All moving with haste and purpose. Frenetic and metered... Tolerant but not unaware of the thin layer of permanent sweat covering everything. Like so much dust shining.. sunbeams through the slats of an old barn. And power. Power running every which way... Masterfully stolen by modern day circus Robin hoods.Read more

  • Day52

    Mabuhay Manila!

    October 19, 2017 on the Philippines ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    We had become somewhat part of the furniture by the time our 12 hour stay at Vancouver airport had ended. We had planned to go to the on-site aquarium but this turned out to be merely the official shop for the city aquarium - a crushing discovery. With no budget to shop with we retired to the ‘observation deck’ - a big windowed area overlooking the runways. Reading about the Instrument Landing System that Sharlene was so keen to find in Toronto quickly grew old, so we resigned ourselves to a long read of our books.

    So Philippine Airlines; after reading some reviews online, the polite and friendly cabin crew are apparently the saving grace of the airline, however this was not our experience. A young hostess pottered down the aisle serving meals from the trolley and glanced over to me with an expectant look. Appearing confused, she then actually asked me what meal I wanted and abruptly handed over an odd concoction of beef stew and pasta. Although the offer of water throughout the flight was virtually non-existent (I think twice in the first 11 hours), the films on offer were unexpectedly decent, and we crammed in as many as we could before our inevitable deaths from thirst. A Philippino lady next to Hugo asked us about our trip and warned us to ‘be careful’ when in Manila - the broadness of her warning made it sound very ominous. Mabuhay! Thirteen hours after take off we came in to land at Manila airport, although the extra 2 hours flight time hadn't gone unnoticed by the passengers. With no explanation, or even announcement by the pilot, as to the extended flight, we joined a queue in arrivals of people with only 30 minutes to board their connecting flight, or worse still, who had missed their onward flight.

    After a very disorganised and confusing passage through border security, we made it to the equally chaotic arrivals hall and sought the advice of a very unenthusiastic guy at the information booth. The police directed us to a taxi and Hugo demanded to know the price of a drive into to the city. The driver ignored the question, chatting away as we got into the taxi. On the third attempt at the question (a little more emphatically this time) we were passed a card that quoted $45 and suspicion immediately arose. Having already set off, we said we wanted to get out as we were not willing to pay that much, to which he replied something along the lines of 'oh you want cheap taxi’ and ushered us out at the petrol station, without demanding payment thankfully. We then swapped into a vehicle offering the trip at the more reasonable price of 200 pesos - about 4 dollars. We joined a traffic jam and conversed a little before a young boy of no more than 8 years repeatedly knocked on my window. The taxi driver told us not to give any money and leaned over to lock my door, before handing over a few coins of his own. As we passed a few hotels he informed us that Trump would be staying in one of them in November. Poor city. We disembarked at Manila Bay and walked to the rather unpleasant smelling harbour. Shortly afterwards the heavens opened and we decided to take cover in an unassuming cafe. We were handed menus and failed to identify any of the unfamiliar dishes, looking to the young waiter to tell us what each contained. We opted for some sort of pork dish and a local seafood speciality, still unsure what to expect. The pork was yum but the seafood was probably an acquired taste. Refuelled, but with no further knowledge of any sights to see, we decided to walk the hour trip to the mall. Of course we hadn't accounted for the unbearable heat. As we sweated through the streets, it became apparent that there were only three occupations for Filipino men, namely labourer, taxi driver or security guard. Security/police were at the entrance to almost every building and on every street corner. Besides two police, we watched a guy hop on a motorbike and shove an object down his pants. We looked at each other in alarm and horror to confirm what we had just seen. He had concealed a pistol! We skirted into an air conditioned convenience store and cautiously sat to have a drink and consider what had just happened. We hastily marched to the mall and went air-conditioning hopping between shops. This included a B&Q style shop with a staff member singing live karaoke over the shop speakers and a disproportionate number of staff (at least 2 per aisle) milling about with nothing to do. Hugo found himself drawn to a stand selling only mozzarella cheese sticks, temporarily died and went to cheese heaven. We did a spot of clothes shopping in Uniqlo and then negotiated a taxi back to the airport. We commented how similar it was to India - ramshackle vehicles including the 'jeepney’; a kind of brightly decorated tin bus crammed with people, and few road rules to govern them. Local street vendors lined the roads with their string vests rolled up to their chests and shanty towns made from corrugated tin popped up periodically.

    Our wait in the airport was a slightly frustrating affair akin to being herded like cattle into the next pen. After clearing security and settling down at the gate, we were told that we would have to vacate the seating area as they would be setting up a security zone. We were ushered to the edge of the room while they put up the cordons and then had to queue to go through a security check (again) to get back to the same seats we had been lounging on for the last hour. We also had to abandon our water bottles and finish our meals (that we had bought in security!) One guy behind us had just bought a can of coke, only to find himself chugging it to get back in. Never have I had to show my passport to get to the toilet (which was outside the new security zone). We were just happy to get on the plane without a third security check.

    Although a fleeting visit, we were somewhat glad that was all it was. Not somewhere we will return to anytime soon, although I'm sure the more rural areas and beaches are worthy of a visit!
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  • Day122

    Day 122: Conference Day 1

    October 15, 2016 on the Philippines ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    First day of the conference today. After a quick Jollibee's breakfast we headed over fairly for the start of formalities - keynote speeches from both the CEO of TBEX and another well-known blogger (who I'd been chatting too at the Wednesday night drinks, funnily enough!).

    As there were several seminal/presentation-type things on at the same time, Shandos and I agreed to split up and cover as many interesting ones as possible. So today I went to sessions about making compelling video content, social media research and using drones for videography, while Shandos went to the ones that interested her.

    Later in the day were some speed networking sessions which I didn't partake in (I'm not a real blogger, you see), so I just hung around outside the room getting to know other people. We were starting to form a decent sized group by this point which was nice! Everyone is fairly unpretentious and welcoming - different from the cliquey behaviour you get in Sydney all the time.

    Tonight's party was back over in Makati City at Raffles, and was put on by Travel Massive (a community of online travel bloggers that Shandos has been part of for a while). Although it originally wasn't supposed to be, suddenly it was an official Conference Event which meant we were chauffered there in 25 seater minibuses with a police escort clearing traffic for us - we got there a bit quicker than the other night!!

    It was also pouring rain at this point due to an incoming typhoon. It wasn't expected to be a serious one, but you never know what the weather's going to do in this part of the world. Anyway we got to the party quite quickly, paid our 800 peso ($25 AUD) for "Happy Three Hours" and got stuck into the Singapore Slings. Chatted to lots of people here as we were both far more comfortable with the whole socialising business - surprisingly it takes time to get used to other people when you've spent months only talking to your spouse!

    Stayed out a bit late again, home by 11:30pm, but it was a great party and lots of fun. Definitely better value than Raffles in Singapore where we paid $28 AUD for a single drink!!
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  • Day123

    Day 123: Conference Day 2

    October 16, 2016 on the Philippines ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    Tired and hung over today, but it's the last day of the conference so we have to make it count. Back on the shuttle bus (this time accompanied by a Kiwi PhD living in Nepal who I'd been chatting to the night before), and arrived at the conference later than yesterday but still in time for the opening speeches.

    First we heard from a VP at Agoda who talked about his visions and plans for the future, followed by the Philippines Secretary of Tourism to welcome us. She was supposed to speak on Saturday but apparently wasn't well.

    Today's sessions for me were: writing expert hotel reviews (not just the junk you see on TripAdvisor), how to use Snapchat, and a super interesting and inspiring one about Hyperlapse videos which sort of blew my mind. What are Hyperlapse videos? You'll have to wait and find out!

    In between we also had a lunch session done Filipino style - we all ate standing, with our hands, using banana leaves as plates. Difficult, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Some tasty stuff there, but as I may have said before - there's a reason you've likely never encountered a Filipino restaurant.

    More speed networking which I sat out and just hung around chatted, before the closing keynote from Patricia Schultz, author of "1000 Places to See Before You Die". It was interesting, though she had a slight tendency to ramble a bit. And with that - TBEX was over! Only remaining order of business - the closing party!

    The party was at Chaos Nightclub in "City of Dreams" - a large entertainment development attached to the Crown Casino (even over here we can't get away from friggin Packer). Took a while to get in since all 500+ attendees showed up at once, but once in we got stuck into the food & beverages provided. It was done in an Oktoberfest theme, with lots of German food (bratwurst, saurkraut, pretzels, schweinhaxen etc), and gigantic steins of German beer. They also had a couple of live bands playing which added to the atmosphere.

    Loads of fun dancing, drinking and eating and just generally making merry with all of our new friends. But alas all good things must come to an end, and eventually we were getting back into a shuttle bus around 11pm and heading for the hotel. Although my conference is over, Shandos is going on a FAM trip (media trip) and needs to be at a hotel near the airport at 6:30am tomorrow morning.

    Yes - I'll be flying solo for a week!
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  • Day157

    Leaving on a jet plane..well sea plane!

    February 8, 2016 on the Philippines ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We took a tiny 9 seater sea plane! It came right to the hotel to pick us up and flew us back to the port in Manilla. The views were amazing, although the turbulence for the last 20mins wasnt that fun!

  • Day122

    Coron die 2.

    March 13, 2017 on the Philippines ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Ich verbrachte die letzten 12 Tage so wie man sie besser wahrscheinlich nicht verbringen hätte können.
    wir zelteten an Menschenleeren Stränden, machten Motorrad Touren zur anderen Seite der Insel, bestiegen Berge, fuhren mit dem Boot raus um paradiesische Lagunen und Stränden zu besuchen und mit schwärmen von Fischen und Schildkröten zu Schnorcheln, und natürlich unterstützte ich ihn auch bei seinem Projekt. Was heißt wir säuberten 2 mal Strände von Müll, wir weihten wieder die Kids die dort lebten ein und nahmen ein paar Freunde oder Gäste mit. Außerdem hat Charlie mittlerweile seine festen bars und Restaurants wo er Plastik Müll abholt und bei sich im Haus trennen lässt. Ja genau, lässt. Er wohnt mit 3 anderen zusammen, einem Mädel, seinem Bruder und einem kind. Außerdem helfen noch 2 andere die dafür essen bekommen. Der Müll wird getrennt, das Plastik anschließend geschreddert und in Plastik Flaschen gestopft, daraus entstehen Prikkets woraus dann mal ein resort entstehen soll in spätestens einem Jahr.
    Da glücklicherweise zu meiner Zeit Charlie's Geschäftspartner (sein boss der in das alles investiert) nicht da war, hatten wir viel Zeit für uns und die Insel.
    Also hatte ich viel Zeit in das typische Leben einer philippinischen Familie reinzuschnuppern, Kinder hat hier in meinem Alter meistens schon jeder mehrfach, auch wenn sie dann nur bei den Schwestern, Omas oder Tanten wohnen. Arbeiten ist sowieso eine Moral für sich, da meistens einer das ganze Haus durchfüttert, da der Zusammenhalt sehr stark ist gleicht es sich aber durch zB den Haushalt schmeißen und kochen wieder aus. Gekocht wird noch traditionell im Freien mit offenem Feuer. Zu meinem Nachteil kommt die Tierhaltung hier, da die Welpen keinerlei Erziehung genießen wird überall hingemacht, zwei mal sogar in unser Bett (oder besser gesagt Matratze), und Ameisen gehören leider zum Alltag wie die Hühner die Tag und Nacht den Wecker spielen. Aber im großen und ganzen bin ich froh und dankbar über die Erfahrung mal wieder gemerkt zu haben mit wie wenig Menschen auskommen und trotzdem glücklich sind und wie ich diese Art von leben eigentlich bevorzuge, und natürlich über das Dach über dem Kopf für umme.
    Da ich jetzt 4 Tage in Manila hab weil das blöde Boot nur 2 mal die Woche von Coron wegfährt habe ich Kontakt zu einer deutschen aufgenommen die ein Projekt hat indem sie arme Kinder unterrichtet. In den Philippinen kostet es die Eltern was wenn ihre Kinder zur Schule gehen, da sich das vor allem in Großstädten nicht alle leisten können hört sich das für mich sehr interessant an und ich hoffe ich kann meinen Beitrag dort leisten.
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