Friday, June 10, 2011

Travelogue 1.3: Manila, Philippines. Day 1.

You guys do know that I suffer from a severe wanderlust, don't you? And all thanks to a great friend of mine, Khairie (I think you guys know him already, he's the famous 1/2 of the team Malaysia in The Amazing Race Asia s4, who have won a trip to a place which I personally think is Heaven on Earth; Boracay, Philippines), invited me to join him for this trip. I'll write about Boracay soon but as for now, because the both of us, have a deep profound need to wander about the places on Earth, we decided to stop by Manila for a few days before Boracay. And I've never regretted our decision one bit. Many of you guys might think that Philippines is a really dangerous country, or that it is really poor and dirty, well, think again. Manila in fact, was very much like Kuala Lumpur and the people here are so much more courteous, I honestly wouldn't mind migrating here if there is a chance. So here's day one in Manila, Philippines, the Pinoy style.

23 May 2011
1015: KLIA-God knows where over the Pacific Ocean-Manila, Philippines.
It was a 3 hour 45 mins flight with MAS to Philippines from KL and believe me when I say that I'll never get bored of looking out of the window towards a vast-never ending blue skies that I adore so much. If I am to be given a chance to travel around the world either through the skies or the seas, I'll choose the skies in a heart beat. There is simply something about the skies which makes me feel so liberated and never more alive. And this time, to my joy, I actually witness a rainbow from thousands of feet above. Never really seen this before, haven't you? I have and I literally jumped up from my seat to look for my camera to catch such beautiful view, but I didn't catch it in time. It faded away in the matter of seconds. But here, again, as a tradition, my picture of the skies.

The skies of the Isles of Philippines.

1530: Mandaluyong-Makati
We checked into GoHotels at Mandaluyong, only about 15 minutes away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila. Its a pretty good budget hotel that provides the essential clean sheets and hot water. Its strategically located just a few minutes walk from the local LRT station. And believe me, its pretty much important that you do stay near the train stations cause it makes travelling so much easier and cheaper. I've traveled most places in Manila only by trains and occasionally cabs. Yes, believe me, Manila's transit system is very efficient, compared to KL's. I'll show you a picture of the transit lines so you'll understand where I've been to better. 

Manila Rapid Transit Map 2003 © UrbanRail.Net

GoHotels is located just right in front of Boni LRT station. We took the MRT over to Ayala station where Makati is. Makati, is one of the most dense Metropolitan areas in the world. Actually, to be honest, the whole of Manila is pretty dense. It's always packed with Pinoys from all over no matter where I go or where I look. My first thought about Makati was how much similar it was to our very own Bukit Bintang, KL. And this is why:

Makati is a great place for shopping if you are looking for the latest fashion by branded names from all over the world. They have most of what we have in Malaysia from Debenhams to Channel and whatevernots. And great news is, it is comparatively cheaper compared to the ones in Malaysia. So shopaholics, do visit Manila with an empty bag. I know I went crazy. oh and people, if you have yet to know, I'm actually collecting Hard Rock T-shirts from all over the world. And if you are peeps, make sure you head on over to get the one from Makati. *smileyfaceee*

I did get to try the famous Pinoy delicacy that my friends were telling me about, the Balut. Well, its basically an unborn chick that is cooked in two different ways. Either by deep frying or steam. Yes, disgusting, I know. So here's how it went for me.

I guess, my expression gave it all up didn't it? But honestly, it was okay-lah. It actually tasted like egg with soft-bone chicken. Nothing too exotic or anything but believe me, when you break the egg into half, looking at the dead chick, that would be enough to make everything taste terrible. And also, I did stumble upon a type of cookie that they have in one of the shopping malls. It tasted alittle like our tausar pneah (in Hokkien). It was ok, but please don't ask me what is it made of exactly.

1749: Makati- Malate
Going over to Malate was a bit of a trouble for us. We were supposed to go to EDSA train station and walk alittle. But we took the wrong train thanks to the rude lady over the counter. I don't blame her actually. With such dense population in Manila, dispensing those tickets must be really tiring.... who am I kidding? But anyways, I did get to catch a few of my favorite shots from the streets of Manila, so I'm all good.

We even tried out some Pinoy satay that we found by the streets. It is slightly smaller than the normal satays that we have back here, but it sure do look good doesn't it? But honestly, it wasn't to me nor Khairie's liking. I don't know what meat was it made up of, but it definitely isn't what I have tasted before.

Pinoy peanuts. They have it everywhere. Its roasted with different spices to give it a different flavor. I can't tell you how it taste like though. Wasn't up to trying anymore after the satay.

Anyways, I haven't told you about Malate haven't I? Malate is supposedly the red eye district area of Manila. Its where the hottest clubs and pubs are supposed to be. They do have alot of good restaurants and bistros over there. They even have a really good vintage-40's set up for Starbucks which I really liked. But unfortunately, it was a Monday when I was there. So yeah, I guess, it could have been more happening than what I've seen and experienced.  

With the vast variety of choices to chose from, we decided its best to ask the locals to recommend us what they think its best for them, Pinoy style. They told us to go over to Super Six Bar and Grill. True enough, the food did not disappoint us. They had a wide variety of food to choose from; chicken up to seafood. We ordered the deep-fried chicken with stir-fried mixed vegetable.

2314: Malate-Mandaluyong
Happy with the dinner that we had, we decided to call it a night. But the LRT/MRT closes pretty early in Manila. Their last train was, if I'm not wrong, 10.30pm. So we decided to give their traditional transportation a try, the Jeepnee.

 This picture was taken a few days after but I decided it was the best picture for a Jeepnee. 
Credits goes to Khairie.

This guy, is a guy that we met on the jeepnee. He was very helpful in telling us what Manila has to offer and definitely was very friendly. He even told us about his life's story and how he make a living out of being a waiter from Philippines to Malaysia and back to Philippines. I love this picture very much and I think, it somewhat captured his life story. A great way to end my first night in a foreign country.

To the many faces, many lives, many stories that I've crossed path with at the speed of a train.-melaniehwa.


Kian Fai said...

wow so you get to taste the Balut :P

Well my friend say is nice, and from you expression, I dun think I wanna try it any more :P

Anyway your photo is cool yah. :)

Xiaoluan said...

Jealous!!! >.<"""

melaniehwa said...

yeahhhhh. it wasssss okk larr. like egg. but really, once u see the black feathers, total turn off.

thanks! =)

melaniehwa said...

@ xiaoluan: hahaa.. if you get a chance, do go to Manila. I really liked that place. The people is really nice there with great food and nice beautiful places to visit!

thenomadGourmand said...

your pics tells the same story whn i was there.
Dirty, busy & hardship. Hhmm.. i would nd atr trip to chg my mind ;p

Love tht pic with the bicycle

melaniehwa said...

@the nomad Gourmand:

yeahh. busy, dirty and hardship are the right words to sum Philippines up. But i love seeing how though through hardships, they strive to survive with whats most important, family, love and happiness. The basic things that most of us, tend to forget.

Thankss! =)

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