Friday, February 14, 2014

Globetrotting - globe·trot·ting Part 2: Philippines

When I was growing up in the Philippines, traffic was natural. It was something you just had to deal with on a daily basis. 2 hours in traffic was considered awesome! Heck it was speedy if it only took this long to travel 10 kms. Some of my happiest memories was because of traffic (like having a picnic with friends and family in the back of the van whilst waiting it out). But that was over 20 years ago... now traffic is just a nuisance - a waste of time, energy and horrible for the environment. Disorderly and chaotic I hated every moment of it. On the plus side, it did give us more quality family time, whether you wanted it or not :)

Right by Binondo church before you enter Ongping (photo below of what's around the corner)

Doesn't look that bad from this angle? We were stuck on this stretch of road for 20 mins to move a total of 400 meters.
Because we moved from the Philippines at such a young age (my brother and I were both under 10 yrs old), I don't remember much of the sites or history of the country. I couldn't help but feel slightly embarrassed about that fact so we asked my cousins to take us around to get to know Manila. First stop - Intramuros.

Main gate of Fort Santiago

The finals moments of José Rizal's life (the national hero of the Philippines). He was imprisoned in  Fort Santiago.

The old theatre

Completely random golf course on the old moat surrounding Intramuros

Creative and awesome way of using all available space
After Intramuros we headed to Ongpin (the world's older Chinatown) to grab a bite to eat and check out the Chinese New Year preparations. In retrospect... I should have taken more photos of the area... when will I ever learn?

Wires. Obsessed withe the jumble of wires everywhere!
Screw driving, we're walking. Those vehicles on the left side are not parked cars my friend.

We weren't present for Chinese New Year in Manila but take a look at this video to get a glimpse of what it would have been like.

The next day we went to Rizal Park or Luneta Park. I've only been to Luneta Park once as a child and I thought it was the most spectacular place ever! It was for a school field trip where we walked around visited the Chinese Garden. Ever since then, I've longed to go back and see if it was truly that magical.

As children we didn't get out of the house much and was not allowed to play with the local kids, much so gallivanting in public without the supervision of nannies, my grandmother and my parents. The usual excuse was: "it's too dangerous to go outside." and that was that. What can I say... my parents were overly concerned and protective.

Was it as magical as expected? The park was everything I have hoped for but sadly the Chinese Garden was not well maintained and left me feeling cheated with all the big talk I've told my hubster about it. Ah well. I was still thrilled to visit LUNETA!!!

Next up - the hubster and balut and the Hong Kong chapter.

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