It started from an online conversation between me and Bu Susan, my Filipino ex-boss who now lives in Manila, about visiting her there and island hopping on Philippines’ many islands. One of the many was the Batanes province, at the very north of Philippines. I googled it up, and swore to God I had to go there before I die!
And so I went :D
But lemme blabber about the time I had in Manila first.
DAY 1 – Manila (Sofitel Hotel, Mall of Asia)
What? All the way from Jakarta to Manila only to visit the mall? Hahahaha… in fact we did, on the first day! Am I a mall rat, you’d probably wonder. Well, not exactly. But MOA (Mall Of Asia) is said to be the biggest mall in South East Asia.
Not that it mattered much to me.
But it is located quite near to Sofitel Hotel where I was staying.
Well, not that it mattered much either.
So what was the reason? Honestly I forgot, but it ended up to be a quite interesting day at the mall. These are why:
We saw a movie, Thor 3D at the Movie Time, MOA. Oh wow, a movie at the cinema! Hahaha.. It was quite exciting for us due to the fact that many box office Hollywood movies couldn’t be played at any cinema in Indonesia for some stupid tax reason. I didn’t care much for Thor anyway, but I’ve been growing this curiosity about cinemas in foreign countries, and neither Kungfu Panda 2 nor Pirates of Caribbean 4 were playing yet.
The movie cost us 300 p (that’s Philippines peso) each, including popcorn.
The movie itself, well, I liked the first 2/3 of it.
The cinema? Hm, for that kind of money we could watch a movie at a better cinema in Jakarta, and a much much much better cinema in Siam Paragon, Bangkok.
The sea view..!
when waiting for the movie schedule, we sat at this half round shaped plaza and I noticed that the sea is just across the mall. I thought that was cool. Though the day was hoooottt!!!
Uhm.. out of curiosity (again) I did something
out of the rules that have been imposed on me all along I’ve promised not to do. But it’s been one of my necessities when traveling especially to somewhere new and foreign, to have a taste of their special delicacy. And in Manila, it is lechon (lechon paksiw). Google it up to find out what it is. And turns out, I didn’t like it much.
A portion of lechon paksiw, rice, and a portion of veggies cost me 180p.
Being a spender that I am, how could I resist a sign that says “further reduction”? It was widely written on a TopShop store. Though it’s a brand easily found at Jakarta malls, still we got in. And I got out with a new pair of shoes and Boyo with a thought to buy some clothes later. And these items I’m talking about weren’t on sale. The further reduction turned out to be only for a little section which goods weren’t so good.
But hey! I love the shoes!
The next day I wore them strutting the city a whole day and boy, were they comfy!
I wanted to swim, but the pool seemed too crowded with kids playing and screaming.
Aaaak, nevermind. Sunset came and boy, was it gorgeous.
Dinner at MOA Baywalk…!
Finally Bu Susan could reach me by calling to the hotel (I bought the wrong local mobile number, the one that couldn’t make a call to other providers’ numbers, making me fail to reach Bu Susan’s number). Then we made a plan for that night, yay!
Bu Susan and her husband Pak Jonjo (it’s so cute calling this native Philippino couple by Indonesian salutation, “Bu” which means “ma’am” and “Pak” which means “sir”) picked us up at 7:30 and took us to the Baywalk of MOA. It’s a row of restaurants at the back of the gigantic mall, bordered with the Manila Bay.
We had dinner at …. um, I forgot the name of the restaurant. Dishes of prawns with red salted eggs, veggies, and lechon were served on our table, with coconut drinks and mango juice. Yum!
Drive around the city…
Going out with our lovely hosts Bu Susan and Pak Jonjo felt like we were on a Saturday night family stroll with mom and dad :D
We were then taken to places like the Qurino Grandstand,
apparently an important place for presidency events and many others,...
...and then shown the oldest hotel called the Manila Hotel
(the picture was taken the next day from Intramuros),...
...and driven by the main avenues of the city.
The globe in front of MOA lights up so pretty at night!
Man, was I sleepy. It took me no time to transport right into the z-land right after we got back to the room. Zzzz… and ended the Day 1.