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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On Vacation: Hello, Manila!

We left Sydney on a rainy Thursday, had a stopover at Darwin (still in the continent of Australia) in the middle of the night and woke up on Friday morning seeing Manila come alive. Manila's beautiful in the dark from above. The city's full of lights; it's like a a pond full of tea lights. It was a great welcome after two years of being away from our first home.

Here are a few snippets of the first few days we've been here. 

We traveled via Australia's budget airline, Jetstar, so we arrived at NAIA 1. It was 5ish in the morning and our flight had the airport to ourselves. Going thru immigration, claiming our suitcases and customs was a breeze. 
We checked-in at the Remington Hotel at Resorts World Manila to rest there for two days. The Husband and I didn't have any plans of going anywhere except Metro Manila but we'd like to make sure we get to relax in the city. Checking in at a hotel upon arrival revived us and helped in letting the idea that we are on holiday sink in. 
In the two days that we were at Resorts World Manila, we were able to have delicious meals at Shakey's, Crisostomo and TWG; watch John Lloyd and Sarah's movie "It Takes a Man and a Woman"; and watch "The King and I" (the musical). We also had a bit of fun playing in the casinos.
We've been having wonderful gatronomical indulgences since we came here. Manila is slowly becoming a food mecca with many restaurants offering good quality food and getting more creative in presenting Filipino food. 
Manila Life. I'm trying my best to get used to life in Manila and not to compare it too much to the old Manila that I used to love and know. Manila is home and I will love this city no matter what happens. While the new things fascinates me, I can't help but say that Manila has changed so so much. 

Manila Heat. It is summer here and the temps average between 32-25 degree Celsius. We are not bothered by the heat as it is similar to the heat in Sydney when we have heatwaves. However, the humidity is thick and heavy and the air is polluted which we find quite a challenge. 

Manila Streets. The streets in Manila will never bore you. I'm fascinated by how the traffic works here  and how everyone just makes do with whatever space they can find on the highway. The bikey people terrifies me the most as they sneak up on you on both sides. I call the Pedestrian Lanes here "artwork" because no one honours them.
Manila Food. While we are never homesick for Filipino food in Sydney, there are still some things we don't have there. Also, we're discovering more new food offerings here so we buy one or two just to try. 

Manila Shopping. Manila is a shopping haven. They have so many brands here now and we're very much enjoying buying Summer clothes here.
Manila Rejuvenates. The first three days we've been here I made sure to spend time at the spa for a body massage, a nail spa to pamper my hands, feet and nails, and a hair salon to have my scalp massaged, hair spa and hair cut. When in Manila, make sure you do these! Services for beauty and relaxation are pretty much affordable and you have a lot of salons and spas to choose from. 
Manila Reunites. What makes our vacation always memorable are the special people we spend time with. Our family and friends are always worth coming home for. As early as now, let me say thank you to the warmth and time they have given us.  In our travel, they are our greatest blessings.

The Husband and I have been sharing our travel experiences via our instagram account. Follow us there if you want to see Manila in a different light (Husband's account: @keemps17 and mine: @ibyang). I also share some photos in my tumblr account Postcards on Air. You can also follow me at twitter @ibyang.