A few blog posts ago I wrote about why I’ve decided to start my year from Taiwan. While I am in this part of the world, I have decided to make the most of my closer proximity to other Asian countries. After a quick look on Skyscanner we narrowed it down to two places, Shanghai, China or Manila in The Philippines. With Chinese New Year, being just around the corner, I was all for going to China, that was until I compared the temperatures. Shanghai was coming in at a freezing 5°C while Manila was boasting temperatures of 27°C. Manila won hands down, I’ve never been good with the cold. So decision made and a small weekend bag packed, I caught a 2 hour flight over to Manila to spend 4 nights, 5 days in the capital of The Philippines.
We arrived in the early hours of the morning. The time we got to the hotel it was around 5am.. We decided to stay up as breakfast was at 6.30am (I’ve never been one to pass on breakfast). I opted for the Filipino breakfast, which went down a treat, even though I wouldn’t normally have rice and beef for breakfast. I loved that the hotel restaurant was on the roof… so we dined al fresco.
I have never seen so many different modes of transport compared to what I saw whilst in Manila. Directly outside the hotel, there was a choice of the hotel taxi or these motorbike tricycles.
I love street art… Thank you William Brown for capturing this picture of me.
A jeepney… (I’ll explain later!)
My five days in Manila, included me being there on a Friday, so I decided to head towards the city’s, “Muslim Town” and check out The Golden Mosque for Friday prayers. While I was there, these ladies asked if we could take a picture together.
It’s funny how when you travel to new places, everything seems interesting, even the simplest of things…. I am trying my best to keep that same “traveller mode” mentality wherever I go. It’s so easy to overlook and stop appreciating the things that you see the most often.
On one of the days, we headed into the old part of Manila and took a tour with one of the local tour guides. Our tour guide took us from place-to-place on his BMX tricycle. Our first stop was at the 16th Century military base, Fort Santiago..
Thank you again to William Brown for capturing this picture of me.
Halfway through our tour we took a bit of a break and hung out at the basketball court with some of the local boys..
It was cool watching the guys play basketball barefoot but I have to admit, I’ve never really been one for sports.. I was more interested in photographing the street art… still it was fun.
Thanks to Instagram, I crossed paths with Canadian writer, Beka Shane Denter, who is currently based in Makati, the part of Manila that I was staying in. She kindly gave me a list of places to check out while I was in town. One of the places was this lovely restaurant called, Blackbird. I had the fish curry and rice, it looked and tasted great I would definitely recommend!
Another one of Beka’s suggestions was cafe/bakery, Wildflour. It didn’t disappoint, we had the most amazing chocolate cake. (Photo credit: William Brown)
For Chinese New Year, we headed to China Town…
This my friends is a jeepney… This was one of our regular modes of transport. It’s definitely an experience. Once inside you can barely see out of the glassless windows.. If you are tall you have to slouch otherwise your head is jammed against the ceiling. Everyone piles on, even when you think that it is full, more people get in. If you’re towards the back end of the bus, you simply pass your fare to one of the other passengers, who passes it along until to reaches the driver.
When we told people that were going to Manila for a few days, the conversation usually ended the same way, “You’re not staying in Manila though are you?” “You should catch a plane to XYX island, it’s really cheap”. Everyone said the same thing, don’t stay in Manila, try to head to the beach or an island. We had a great time in Manila, but on the last day, we decided to try our luck at finding a beach. The thing about Manila is that to get to a decent beach you have to travel at least 3-4 hours which usually involves a long drive and a ferry ride or catching a plane. We opted for the former, but then had to change our plans a little… (that’s another story). We ended up at Anguila Beach in Batangas. It was really overcast and it rained a couple of times… but it was a nice day and it was nice change od scenery from the city…
Beach side karaoke machine…
Whilst waiting for the rain to pass, under the shelter of the trees, I decided to take these pictures…
Thank you Mr Brown for photographing me on the beach…
Even on an overcast day, the sky was still beautiful… I look forward to returning to The Philippines to check out more of their famous beaches.
Photography: Tanya Weekes
Location: Makati, Manila, The Philippines
Hotel: The Suez Serviced Studios
Airline: Air Asia