Sunday, February 26, 2012

Arriving in Manila

Back in October I spotted crazy cheap one-way tickets from Seoul to Manila. They were two dollars before taxes, and with taxes they were only about forty-five bucks. Catie and I snatched them up thinking even if we didn't end up having the right time for vacation in February, it wouldn't have been that great of a waste. Luckily, our vacations lined up and after some further planning we decided to go to the Philippines for four days before continuing our adventures in SE Asia.
I have a good friend in Manila that I met through BH. His father owns some chicken factories so we like to joke that he is the chicken prince. Part of being the chicken prince is apparently having a private driver, so Catie and I were picked up by the prince at the airport and brought to his brilliant apartment after a traditional Filipino meal.
Sour soup and oh so delicious sisig
Although Filipino food does not top my list of favorite ethnic cuisines, I love the sourness found in a lot of the foods and calamansi has to be my favorite citrus fruit. In the Philippines, they tend to use the unripe and green calamansi, which tastes like a slightly sweeter lemon. I love it on everything!
After dropping our bags off at the princes' palace, we continued our journey to Intramuros, the old Spanish town which I visited back in 2010. Intramuros means the area within the walls surrounding the historic center of Manila where, in comparison to other European colonies, all sorts of ethnic groups lived and worked. The weather was amazing, and after the brutality of a Seoul February it was just a pleasure to wander through the beautiful park near Fort Santiago, which was used as a prison for that Filipino national hero Jose Rizal. Part of Fort Santiago is a museum dedicated to the life and works of Rizal who was both an activist and writer. To the left, you can see Catie and Ace walking in the last footsteps of Rizal toward his execution in December of 1896.
Intramuros is also the location of a bunch of historic churches and some pretty great architecture. Although I had been to this part of Manila before, it was great to explore it once again.
Catie with a cannon in Fort Santiago

San Agustin Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

The adventure around Intramuros over, we hopped into the private car and went for some pineapple-infused chicken at our friends place. Delicious. The evening was a little lackluster with a visit to the Mall of Asia (gigantic but a mall is a mall) and a fractured view of a huge firework event: Korea vs Malta. The show was alright, but in order to get a good view you had to pay a heavy price for front-row seats at a nice restaurant in the mall. Being cheap travelers, we watched it from a more obstructed angle. By this time, Catie and I were exhausted and headed home to some warm beds and a great sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Love the private car. You're so freaking fabulous!