Sunday, 27 December 2015

Philippines pt. 1 - The Journey and Manila

31st October, it was finally the day I flew off to paradise; the Philippines.
Prior to this, it required a ton of preparation. A lot of it was organised by my relatives and my mum, kudos to them. So all I needed to do was make sure I had everything packed and ready. Luckily, I live pretty near to Heathrow airport so it only took us a good fifteen minutes to drive there. Our flight was at 8 pm but seeing as this was my first holiday without my parents, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to check in and go through all the necessary security checks. So I left at around 4! Let me tell you that was the best decision I've ever made. 
Upon arriving to Heathrow, the 'digital' way to check-in wouldn't work. There was something wrong with the system which then required us to check in the manual (normal) way. Not long after I queued up to check in, a bunch of other people joined the queue. Actually there was a bit of conflict whilst we were there, someone missed their flight due to how long it took to queue and the failure of the electronics. Learning lesson for everyone, always check-in early enough to avoid rush and panic. Soon after we had plenty of time to roam around the airport and even eat. So whilst waiting Eric and I stayed at 'Eat' to watch a bit of Prison Break (Bringing an iPad or tablet with downloaded film comes in so handy at times like this), and just browsed around whatever shops were there. 


The first flight was from London Heathrow to Beijing via Air China, now this was a very long 10 hour flight. So I braced myself because I absolutely despised being on a plane. Overall, I managed to bag the window seat! (woo) and I slept almost the whole way through, I can't stand the feeling of flying. It was a different story for Eric, he found it difficult to find a comfortable position which left him with no choice but to entertain himself. As for the food, I opted for some 'porridge' which I realised was actually congee. It was a little too salty for my liking. For lunch, I had duck noodles and it came with bread, coleslaw (not a big fan so I just left it) and chocolate cake. Overall it wasn't too bad. On the other hand, I was pretty disappointed with the lack of entertainment. Call me picky, but the variety of films or programs they had was limited and didn't particularly appeal to me. When we did arrive in Beijing I was so impressed by how polished and big it was. We had a 6 hour stopover here thus, so much time to kill. We ate at a random, average Chinese restaurant. I was baffled when i saw that they even had pizza hut there! but I was determined not to visit any restaurants that we already had back in the UK. For the rest of the six hour wait, we lounged in the luxury seating area where I slept for the remaining time until boarding the second flight to Manila...


12:55 am, touchdown in NAIA, Manila. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, the humidity hit us like a ton of bricks; considering as Beijing was very cold. 
It was ridiculously early so we managed to find my cousins who picked us up to stay at this lavish hotel - The Remington Hotel. Which I greatly thank my uncle for! They had such a good air conditioning system which was needed, as we were tired and the heat wasn't helping. I was so glad to finally be able to sleep on a bed.Overlooking the hotel was also the airport terminal that we landed. 
The next morning, we had brunch at Maxims restaurant in Resorts World. Yes there was jet lag hence the lack of pictures and yes the food was divine, a buffet of filipino food? I couldn't ask for anything more. 
Day one of Philippines consisted of adjusting our body clocks and the the Mall of Asia. By the time we got there, it was pretty late. In all honesty you would probably need a few days to get through the entire mall, as it was very big. It was just the beginning of our holiday so we didn't particularly want to splash out our money just yet. Some shops I recognised, others not so much. Bearing in mind how much cheaper it is here (there's no difference between prices in regular shops in the UK, such as Zara, compared to Philippines. I'm referring to the shops I'd never heard of) and wanting to take advantage,  I was building a list in my head of what I wanted to buy at the end of the holiday.
A few years back when I went to Philippines with my family, we visited the bay opposite MOA. It was like a mini funfair. There were food stalls, karaoke, rides and all sorts!
One of my favourite things about Philippines is the big Christmas hype. It starts in November all the way up to February. You can see how much of a big deal it is by the impressive decorations! According to my cousin, all of the Malls there actually host a competition as to who could decorate their mall the best. MOA is a clear winner for me. A short stop at Eastwood, a 'mini beverly hills'. It's just your ordinary regular mall, but it was nice to see a variety of restaurants.




Day two in Manila was a touristy day for all of us (including my cousins). It was a spontaneous trip as we spent the previous day pondering where we could go. We drove to Fort Santiago (at least an hour drive) We stopped over at Jollibee so Eric could try it out, Jollibee is by far one of my favourite things about Philippines. This fast food chain runs all the way to America, but it's one of those childhood things you love. I will always pick Jollibee over McDonalds! 
Fort Santiago is a significant historical place in Manila. It dates all the way back to the Spanish Colonial Period and World War II. A well known Philippine hero, Jose Rizal was imprisoned in Fort Santiago right before he was executed (by the Spanish colonial government). The reason being, his crimes of rebellion. This was shortly after anti-colonial revolution broke out, which was apparently greatly influenced by his writing; later on however it led to Philippine Independence. This place itself, portrays his life inside fort Santiago and it even includes a museum which tells you about his life. For more information, check it out here (which is also my source).








A statue portraying Jose Rizal himself.
This is where the prisoners were kept.
The security guards who maintain Fort Santiago (I was intrigued by their uniform!)



The footsteps mimic Jose Rizal's walk towards his execution.










After Fort Santiago, we were taken to a BBQ place called 'Ontiveros - Ihaw Ihaw'. Translated in english it means grill, so literally 'grill grill'. I absolutely loved it! it was so delicious. You had all sorts of uncooked meat on a stick, in bunches on the table, and you got to choose what meat you wanted, they would then cook it for you. Of course, we had regular rice (as Filipinos love to have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner). It worked out to be very cheap. Around £10 for 4 people! What a bargain. We had two big full plates of this meat too, we struggled to finish it all in the end.
That concludes the first two days we spent in Manila. 
Our last 2 days in Philippines was also spent in Manila. On that very last day we took the opportunity to return to MOA. We bought a few souvenirs and roamed around, we also returned to 'Ihaw Ihaw' for one last time. Oh I do miss it, the BBQ in the Philippines just seems to be so much better.

On the next post I will finally be blogging about Palawan! Look out for it. Thanks for reading lovelies!

Yours truly,
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2 comments

  1. The Phillipines look so beautiful and also tropical because of the palms and haha ♥ It must be so nice there!! And the food looks just very delicious ♥_♥

    Mindy
    mymychen.blogspot.com

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  2. I've been waiting for the blog post for a while! I'm so glad you had a great time in Philippines. I was just telling my boyfriend about how amazing Philippines looks - you see, the two times that I went there - I went only to see my family because of my grandma having poor health at the time so we were mostly confined in the house talking to her and looking after her rather than exploring so I didn't really go out to see much. I thought that what I saw past my window and from the various SM malls we went to - that, that was it. But after looking through your instagram and this blog post - boy was I wrong! I'll have to note these places down and go to them when I have the chance in the future!

    I love the security guards uniform! Looks very Mexican :P Ah, filipino food is always the best food :") I love the mall of Asia, although I only saw one part of it because like you said, it's a few days to get through the whole place! It's honestly my fave place because tbh, that was the only place I went to that I liked! :P I didn't know of all the great other stuff so thank you for sharing :"")

    Lots of love,
    Pauline
    http://pawlean.com

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