So after working hard for a good 6 months, I decided to take a nice loong vacation. I went to the Philippines for 2 weeks. The places I went to — Manila, Boracay, and Cebu.
I flew Cebu Pacific Air. Their prices are cheap, but I wasn’t a fan. You would think on an international flight, you would get a free beverage and some food. But you don’t. You have to pay for them. Also the baggage allowance is very minimal. Had I known, I would have packed a lot lighter. My carry-on suitcase is heavy in itself. I have a Swiss Army Roller Carry-on. It’s a lifetime warranty, and it’s been through a lot and it has yet to fail me. So my bag weighed a good 13 kgs. The carry-on allowance was 7kgs. So I had to check-in my bag. I hate checking my bag. For international flights you pay 400 php (philippine pesos) for your check in bag. And the weight limit is 14 kgs. So phew I just made it. But little did I know, for domestic flights (going from Manila to Boracay, and Boracay to Cebu) the check-in limit is 10 kgs! For every 1 kg over you have to pay more. For me, I always carry-on my bag, so I just had to pay luggage fees every time! So I had to pay baggage fees 4 times. I was not happy. And to top it off, Philippines, why don’t you add your terminal fees to the flight ticket. So we had to additional terminal fees. At each airport it was different. Some airports it was 400 php, and some places it was 550 php. To top it off in Boracay you had to pay extra for a tricycle to get you from the plane to the boat! And then you have to pay for the boat! Can’t they just add it all into the flight charges. I mean c’mon! It’s line after line!
Anyways, I wasn’t too impressed with Manila. I looked at Trip Advisor and The Lonely PLanet Guides for things to do, and I did some of the things on my list, but it just wasn’t all that great.
So this blog post will be about things that were actually done in Manila. After the first 2 days, I was kind of over Manila and took 2 day trips outside of Manila.
The first few pictures are from Rizal Park.
Japanese Garden (which is in Rizal Park. I think it cost 10 pesos to get into (so 25 cents?). It wasn’t worth it. Everything was just dead. Maybe it’s nicer at another time of the year.
Chinese Garden. This garden is supposed to be where couples come. Also 10 pesos, and also, not worth it. (I think I’m just hating on Manila in general ;p )
I thought this hotel looked cool. I didn’t stay here, I stayed at a place called City Garden Suites in an area in Manila called Ermita. It was alright. There was a free breakfast buffet every morning (and the menu changed daily). And it was pretty close to everything. And the staff was very friendly.
This is from one side of Manila Bay. I walked all the way to the other side where you start to see those buildings on the right side. Why? Because I wanted to get to a place suggested on Lonely Planet called Coconut Palace.
So Manila Bay was another thing on my list of things to do. The research that I did said that it’s a nice place to watch the sunset and to watch street performers at sunset. Okay, so I was there in the afternoon and not sunset but I didn’t feel like coming back at sunset because I wasn’t impressed by it.
Finally made it to the other side. You see all those buildings in the distance, that’s where I started from.
Finally made it to Coconut Palace.
Only to find out, you can’t go inside!!!!!!! Why? Apparently some government official lives there so it hasn’t been open to the public to tour in years! WTF? And I checked the online site for Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor.. I was very disappointed.
Anyways, to finish this day off, the first day was a complete fail. I was not impressed Manila! Not impressed at all!