Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Manila Day 3

Update: I am told again by LR that there's lots to see and do in Intramuros--art shops, Spanish cafes, little churches, gardens, handicraft shops etc. I believe her. Too bad we got caught in a storm.

Woke up to a dark drizzly morning. A friend had sent me a message: MUST go to Intramuros. Checked guide book which recommended Fort Santiago in Intramuros too. Took a 1/2 hour taxi ride to Intramuros, the old capital of The Philippines. Paid the entrance fee of P200/RM15/US$4, and heavy rain started to pour right after we entered. Sheltered in one of the souvenir shops. Guy lent us umbrellas. Walked into the rain and wind. Wind flipped umbrella upwards, then back, totally drenching me so I ditched the umbrella. La la la ella ella eh eh eh ella.

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Wind 'walked' me along. It was funny. We laughed and giggled for no reason, Hub shook head. Unspoken words were: why did we wake up at 7 am, come out here, in the rain and wind, to see a lousy old fort?

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A few cannons, small stretches of walls and a nondescript fort. Nothing you can't get in Malacca. That LR, I'm going to get her for this.

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I found this on the ground. Flavor was pleasant, like soursop. Saw them in the supermarkets. too. Had fuzzy skin just like peaches.

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Checked out the Manila Cathedral. Nice stained glass and sombre atmosphere. Miss that and the Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Too much babababadededebaba in charismatic churches sometimes. Headed back to Manila. This doesn't happen in Makati but anywhere outside of the posh district: people knocking on your taxi window when the lights are red, trying to sell you things.

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The poor little girl was standing in the rain, knocking on Yi's window. She indicated P10 but Yi gave her P20/RM1.50/US$0.40 and in return got 5 beautiful strands of jasmine buds, some of which we gave our cabbie to hang.

Fell asleep. Tap on shoulder. Looked out, saw this:

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And this:

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And some boys playing happily in the flood but camera shutter lagged. Don't know how long we were stuck in the flooded road, but from the time I woke up until we got into Makati (where the road suddenly turned dry) was 15 to 20 minutes. I got anxious. What if we had to wade through the water? I bet Yi'll enjoy it (and me too) but I'd die worrying about the diseases I'd get. But lucky for us, not a single car stalled in the flood. What engines do they use?

Took 1 1/2 hours to get back to Makati because of the flood and traffic. Decided to head for Clark at noon although our flight was at 6 pm. Just in case the flood got worse you see.

Airline counter not opened. No taxis in Clark, only private-owned cars. Guy wanted P315/RM23 /US$7.50 for a 10 minute ride to the nearest mall. Robber. Clark and surrounding very green and beautiful. Wondered why people rush to Manila when they can live in Clark. Saw many old white men with teenage Filipino girls. Cabbie said Clark is a favorite destination for Italians and Australians because there are 100 bars with 4000 bar girls, poor and hungry. "You've got what I want, I've got what you need." Is that exploitation or is that a ticket to a better life?

Mall food again. Picked Gerry's Grill because Hub wanted meat. Ordered enough for 5, lots of pesos left.

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Gerry's crispy pata/pork knuckle is what made the chain restaurant famous. I found it disappointing-- sticky and chewy and not at all crispy. We bagged the leftovers and brought it home for Wey who ate all the skin and licked the bones. P415/RM31/US$8.

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Inihaw na pusit is grilled cuttlefish P305/RM23/US$6. I had to eat most of this because the others disliked the sugary taste. This is a complaint most non-Filipinos make about Filipino food--the addition of sugar to most savory dishes.

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Inahaw na liempo P135/RM13.50/US$3.60 was just grilled pork belly with no special flavor. Again, a bit too sweetish for us. I ate a bowl of rice with the liempo because of the chili lime dip--so like what we get at home.

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Bangus ala pobre P220/RM16/US$4 was the dish we most enjoyed. The bangus/milkfish was tender, fresh, flavorful and sweet. How do they remove the millions of bones?

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Okay so it's chain restaurant desserts but we loved it. Leche flan P56/RM4/US$1.10 and buko pandan P35/RM2.60/US$0.60

Overall, Gerry's food was not bad when we were eating it but when we were done, we felt a little uncomfortable because it truly was a very greasy meal. Yi said that if we had eaten at Gerry's instead of Mangan on the first day, we would've had a better impression of Filipino food. I agree but then you can't go wrong with grilled food, ya?

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Chicharon, crispy pork rinds , is a very popular snack. They eat chicharon with a vinegar and chili dip which was quite okay especially if you like the flavor of pork fat. I didn't find it very tasty and in fact after 3 pieces, my mouth and throat were parched, leaving me gasping for water. The home-made chicharons in clear plastic are way better than the fancy packaged ones because their rinds are fluffy-crisp while those packaged for the supermarkets are hard.

Flight back was terrible because of turbulence. I was strapped to my seat and gripped the armrests for the duration of the 1 1/2 hour flight. Hub slept like a baby all the way home.

Next day, papers said Manila was shut down (public holiday declared) at 8 am the last day we were there (when we were prancing in the fort) because of Typhoon Isang which whipped the northern part of The Philippines. We went through a storm and didn't know it. And that's all folks, on my Manila trip.

Note: We should've got a local guide. I think that makes a lot of difference especially food-wise. Then again a guide wouldn't be able to change the weather. And therein lies the sad fact about the beautiful islands of The Philippines: They are plagued by typhoons, earthquakes, bad management and corrupted politicians. But who am I to say that when we have our share of unnatural disasters too.

9 comments:

Johnathan Oh said...

Hmmm, sounds like a pretty bad trip. Feel sorry for you. I guess a trip to Singapore would beat that anytime of the year aye? When is your next trip? Didn't catch up (First date? HAHAHA!) the other time when you are here.

worldwindows said...

Gerry's Grill have some good Filipino menu when ate there a few months ago. Can't go wrong if it is grilled?

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad about your holiday. If you go to any big city without character, it's all the same and if you come to KL, it's just shopping and food and nothing else to discover and do. The weather is hot the air is bad.The taxis are not metered the toilerts are dirty the

Shan said...

Ohhh Backfat! Drool.

Sorry to hear about your trip. Am sure you'd have a better eating holiday in say Bangkok for example?

Lianne said...

the rain is such a dampen to a trip not to mention bad eating experience on the first day! like you, i cannot take coconut oil smell in food .. yucks. strange that i have not read this in any other blog ... but good tip! will try and avoid Phillipines in the future ... does not look too promising. but how come you did not try spanish food there? i suppose it should be pretty alright since they were once colonise by them. besides, spanish food is really, really yummy .. if they do it like how they do in spain :-)

terri@adailyobsession said...

johnathan: but but but singapore is sooo boring...

will def meet up if i go :)

worldwindows: righto

anon: u know, u r right. kl would be just as bad for shopping n sightseeing but i think the food would make up for all tt!

i realize now tt most tourists end up eating chain restaurant food if they do the local malls, n tt;s really sad. oly hk is diff. in hk, malls have good restaurants n food courts n fusion chain restaurants aren't so prevalent. the day will come when we won't have individual restaurants; every restaurant will be a chain restaurant owned by some big company :((((

shan: oh yes, tt's the diff between bangkok n manila. bangkok HAS GREAT FOOD!

lianne: i love the rain for cooling down the place but it's no fun if you r a tourist, ya. i think most ppl like my hub aren't particular about flavors...me very 'ba bei', can't help it. i did want to try spanish food but my girl n hub stubbornly refused bc they think spanish=philippino, which is not true. some dishes are adapted frm spanish recipes but true filipino cuisine is very much 'native'.

Lianne said...

oh my .. you have to tell your hub and Yi that true spanish food is really, really good. too bad they are not as popular as the other european counterpart.

terri@adailyobsession said...

lianne: :) they didn't say they dislike spanish food. they just didn't want any more surprises.i do know much about spanish food but i like what i've tasted so far. paella tortillas olives n serrano ham.oh n their wines.

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