Manila (Philippines)

We spent the weekend in Manila visiting Barbie’s brother and his family.  We really enjoyed our stay and it was great to see and hang out with Mary Grace, Lamont, Rae and Makai.  As a kid, I remember vividly the classic Ali/Frazier fight and was always intrigued by the city of Manila.  Just like the fight, our stay was a Thrilla in Manila.

When we arrived in Manila, Lamont and Mary Grace had all sorts of stuff planned to keep us entertained.  When we were asked what we wanted to do, our answer was a resounding, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  During long term travel, it is very important to pick your spots and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  I have realized there is so much to gain by shifting gears and just slowing down.  Learning the art of ‘simply being’ has been one of the many valuable things I have learned from this journey.  If this means sitting on a outdoor street corner cafe sipping on a coconut watching the way locals interact on a daily basis or laying in bed till noon watching dog/cat videos on YouTube, so be it.

Continuous travel like we are doing takes a lot out of you, and in between exploring and constantly being on the move checking out new sights, you must take the time to recharge…….and there’s no shame in that.  It’s important to take some time, chill out, relax, and simply watch the world go by.  Too many people overlook the simple things while traveling, and through simple things, much can be learned.  So we bagged all the planned activities and had a blast just hanging out with Rae and Makai, simply eating, laughing and goofing around in the comforts of their huge condo overlooking the city of Manila.

The upscale residential condo development where they live is located in a highly urbanized, well planned area called Fort Bonifacio. (aka The Fort or Bonifacio Global City).  This is really a new city that has been purpose-built.  I really had no idea prior to visiting that Manila had such an upscale area to reside in.  It sort of reminded me of our time spent in Singapore with its many modern high rises, upscale malls, trendy restaurants (with every possible world food) and pedestrian friendly outdoor shopping areas.  If you are a tourist, it is really not the ‘real’ Manila you would expect.  However, It was a welcome oasis from the chaos and noise of metro Manila.

Keep in mind, this is just a very small section of Manila and when you venture outside this sanitized ‘bubble’, the gritty city life of Manila becomes clearly apparent.  It was good to see a prosperous Philippines of the future revealed here in The Fort.  I would expect the area to expand as growth in the Philippines continues.

Now that our time in the big city of Manila is complete, we are off to explore some of the renowned outlying islands here in the Philippines.  Unfortunately, given the time constraint of our 30 day visas, no way can we cover all the ‘must see’ places in this country.  I guess a repeat visit is in order sometime in the future.  Not a bad problem to have.

Restaurants – Todd English Food Hall, The Siller Compound, Italiani’s, Elias by Crisostomo.

(Broke out the Lomitol prescription held in reserve for emergency situations….Enough said.)

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