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Manila

Written on: Monday March 31st, 2008

A journal entry from: Southeast Asian Adventures!

After a red eye flight to Manila, we headed to the 'backpacker' area, which doesn't really exist. There isn't a backpacking scene in Manila, and housing is expensive and not nearly as nice as Thailand or Cambodia. However, Manila is still an interesting, although a huge and sprawling city. It can really by summed up in a few phrases: a city of traffic jams, karaoke and friendly people.

Our first night in the city we went to Bedrock bar, where Filipino cover bands perform. The bands were surprisingly good, covering top 40 songs. Drinks weren't cheap, but luckily we met Ibraham, a Singaporean business man who loves to party and bought us drinks all night. It was a great first night out in the city.

Sight-seeing in Manila is a slow process, as the city is spread out and taxis are necessary to get around (and it's slow going in all the traffic!) We spent a few hours in China Town and saw the beautiful Santa Cruz church and Binondo church with a statue of bleeding Christ inside. We spent an afternoon wandering around in Rizal Park, home to monuments of every Filipino independence hero imaginable. The monument of Dr. Jose Rizal, poet, medical doctor and advocate of independence, is the most memorable sight. Dr. Rizal was executed by the Spanish colonial authorities for inciting revolution and his remains are protected here by armed guards. (Come to think of it, everything here is guarded by men with guns - hotels, Starbucks, 7-11...). There is also a huge statue of Chief Lapu-Lapu, one of the first Filipinos to resist Spanish colonization.

Alan and I spent a fair amount of time at the Immigration office, waiting to extend our visas, which is a costly process. With a fun nightlife, friendly people and great seafood, Manila is a fun, but hectic and slightly expensive city.