We arrived to a very hot and busy Manila in February, in the beginning of the Corona Pandemic. It’s a busy city with of a population of about 13 million people. We started our Philippine trip with a couple of days in the capital, a city of contrasts. Large skyscrapers in Makati, enormous fancy shopping malls, and extremely poor areas such as the Smokey Mountains and simple housings in the cemeteries. We found the traffic being really busy and it took much longer than we thought to get around to the different areas. We travelled by taxies and in the end of our stay we even got on a jeepney, Manilas public transportation, a mix between a jeep and a bus. A real adventure.
We stayed at the Henry Hotel https://manila.thehenryhotel.com . A charming hotel in colonial style not so far from the airport in the area of Pasay City. We enjoyed the interior style, the restaurant and the pool in the garden.
Vaccination drive in Pasay Cemetery. Fantastic work by the volunteer organization Pasay Pups https://www.pasaypups.org . Their founder Ashley showed us around and letting us be a part for the day. They are helping dogs, cats and families that are living in the cemetery in severe poverty. Many cemeteries in Manila are populated by families with no other place to live.
We visited some different shopping areas. Mall of Asia with Kultura Filipino and many fun pen and stationery stores, Dapitan Arcade where we found beautiful wooden kitchen items and finally the Divisoria Market.
Our first Jeepney ride! We got help by a friendly local to get on the right one. The passagers, that are tucked in, side by side, face to face, on the long sides, helped each other passing money and change to the driver.
We had dinner at the roof top restaurant Firefly in Makati, overlooking the Manila skyline in the sunset. Beautiful, but a bit scary on the 32nd floor. Meeting the people living in the cemetery and then sitting in a fancy restaurant on top of a skyscrape the same day. Harsh contrasts that were difficult to absorb at the time and still are.
We spent a couple of days in Manila before and after traveling to some other Philippine islands. We had great days!