Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The capital city of The Philippines, along with her residents (Manilenos), display an abundance of Latin flair. Manila is a city that was ravaged by WW2, second only in total damages to Warsaw, Poland. Looking around though, that's all in the past, as the city's many skyscrapers do so proudly exclaim. Widely considered as one of South East Asia's most cosmopolitan cities, Manila is bursting at the seams with possibilities.

The first thing most visitors will take away from it, is the unashamedly friendliness of the people. Expect big smiles, happy faces and excited waving - all from strangers. I must have been welcomed to Manila six or seven times, all within the first few hours of my arrival. This is the kind of place where a smile goes a long long way. Looking like Jesus even vaguely will get you grins and giggles galore. So don't get a haircut, don't shave and you will reap the benefits.

The streets are crowded in parts, and particularly in Pasay, the traffic is more than just daunting - it's a nightmare. Somehow though, in the midst of all this chaos and craziness, it just makes sense. If you feel the need to escape the confusion though, Rizal Park is located close by in the city centre. It's a popular picnic spot for families and lovebirds alike. There are lush green landscapes, water fountains of outrageous proportions and an abundance of outdoor aerobic classes. Don't be surprised if you get asked to join in! Why not? There are worse ways to spend your time than getting fit with gorgeous Filipino girls ;)

Near the park, you can see the shrine built for the national hero, Jose Rizal, of whom the aforementioned park was named after. Jose Rizal was among other things, a freedom fighter, scholar and renowned poet. Some of his more popular poems are on display in his shrine, which can be found in Fort Domingo, Intramuros. The site of his assassination is located in Rizal Park and flanked by armed guards 24/7.

This is the oldest part of town, with the wall that surrounds the district being built in the 16th century. Amazingly, it is still intact today, even after the battering Manila got during WW2. The area is perfect for wandering around and getting lost in. If it's too hot for such luxuries though, be sure to hail a pedi-cab. You can get a tour of all the hotspots for the bargain rate of 150 PHP, without even bargaining! Highlights include; Fort Domingo, Manila Cathedral and other historical churches. There are also a few restaurants in this part of town serving up authentic Spanish fare.

Your pedi-cab driver may have a few suggestions of his own too.
"Do you like guns, big guns?" he asks me excitedly, in an accent akin to Tony Montana.
"Sure do!" I reply, trying but failing to match his enthusiasm. All around the world - boys will be boys.
He proceeds to take me on a tour of all the guns, cannons and artillery that remain to this day. He pedals with a feverish excitement, that wasn't there only moments earlier. Clearly he is bored with churches, but the  infatuation with firepower remains.


  1. Not quite sure how a female does the 'Jesus' look - but it sounds like a winner!!

    Happy travels!!

  2. cant wait to see your other upcoming blogs on this wonderful country! sooo much to see and do :)