Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Firehouse Cook goes to Manila, Philippines

Well, this firehouse cook just came back from the beautiful island country of the Philippines. I went for a medical checkup so unfortunately I was not able to travel outside Metro Manila. But it was still another great traveling experience. I did manage to take a few photos of the city life.

The trip started in Guam, where I live. Took of on Philippine Airlines from Guam's A.B. Won Pat International Airport. After about a 4 hour flight, we arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines. This is a relatively short flight for me considering it takes about 12 1/2 hours to fly to California from Guam, and this doesn't count the layover in Hawaii.

I won't give anyone a history lesson of the Philippines. You can Google that if you like. But I was in the Philippines for about one week. I was driven around by a hired driver ($35/day). I had a driver that was recommended to me. Its what he does so he has to behave himself as his reputation and livelihood depends on it.

My driver took me to the Market Market Super Mall in the Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City area adjacent to Manila. This is a 5 story mall with each floor splintering off into 4 different wings, all full of every kind of store that you can think of. The place is huge. Here are a couple of links for Market Market:!_Market!  

Market Market Mall

The next day we went over to the Ayala Shopping Center, Makati. I thought Market Market was big, this was even bigger. This is a higher end shopping mall. All the designers have their outlets here. But there are many other great shops also.

This shopping center consists of at least 8 different shopping areas. I could only manage to walk through about 2 of them before I said, "No Mas, No Mas!!!" You would be hard pressed to walk through this shopping complex in one day. Here is a web link to the Ayala Center:

The following day was the most interesting. I went to the street bazaar in Chinatown. A typical, crowded, exciting shopping area where you can find great deals, interesting eats and all this time you better be holding onto your wallet or purse and camera. Believe me this adds to the shopping experience. I found my wife a Marc Jacobs purse, brand new mind you, for 650 pesos, which is about $15.75 U.S. Now whether it is authentic, I don't know, but the quality is just like the real thing. Anyway, you can find just about anything you want at this street bazaar. Here is a pic of the crowd and this is just one street of the bazaar. There are many others and also in-building shops. It is a maize of shopping opportunities:

Chinatown Street Bazaar

After the shopping experience of Chinatown, my driver then recommended that we go over to the Mall of Asia for the last item on my list (actually my wife's list).

Now the Mall of Asia used to be the largest shopping mall in the world until another was built, also somewhere in Asia, according to my driver. Now, I could not believe that there were larger shopping malls than the others that I had visited, but sure enough seeing is believing. The Mall of Asia is so big, I couldn't even see the other end from where we were standing. To describe this megatropolis of shopping ecstasy as huge or gigantic does not come close to doing this mall justice. Here are a few links for the Mall of Asia. It truly is an amazing shopping mall:

I wasn't about to kid myself. I was already tired from the Chinatown adventure so we just went to the shop that I needed to go to, bought what I was looking for, walked around for about 20 minutes and left.

It was a full day for me. Some of you shopaholics out there would probably just be warming up. But not me. By this time it was around 3:30pm. After running around in the heat of tropical Manila all day, I was drained, finished, through and ready for some R & R in the air con.

Here are just a few more photos:

Leaving Guam. Looking down on Tumon Bay.

Flying over the countryside in the Philippines going towards Manila.

Closing in on Manila.

Outskirts of Manila.

Part of the Manila skyline.

A little blurry but this shows just one of the types of neighborhoods in the Manila area.

Driving to the hospital without lanes. It is jungle rules and a lot of use of your horn. It was quite an adventure. That is a "Jeepney". Jeepneys are like mini privately owned buses. They are modified jeeps. They can be quite colorful.

This is an outside male urinal. First time I have ever seen one. The gentleman using this urinal just parked his car at the curb and did his business. It gives "Park and Ride" a whole new meaning.

Approaching Global City, location of St. Lukes Hospital

Front of St. Luke's Hopital. It goes up to 16 floors.

Nighttime in Manila.

Daytime view outside my window.

Spanish Church circa 1500s

One of the smaller high rise buildings.

These are some of the shorter high rise buildings that I saw.

All the chain restaurants are located all over the place as well as great local cuisine.

 Reyes Barbecue Chicken Brest, Red Rice, and Papaya-gingered Salad. The dipping sauce is a combination molasses, soy and ginger.

 Butterscotch Bananas. These bananas are a type of Palau topped with brown sugar and butter, then baked until the top is caramelized. A fairly light but delicious dessert.

 Jack Black's Huevos Rancheros from Heaven & Eggs Restaurant, Ayala Center. This dish is explained in the menu below. I had my doubts when I was served, but it really works and I enjoyed the meal. Served with freshly squeezed orange juice.

H & E's Menu (partial).

Chicken and Pork Spare Ribs Adobo plate from Cafe' Via Mare', Global City. The ribs and chicken are cooked separately in a soy, vinegar, fresh ginger marinade, then served with the dipping sauce, soy based.

As it was, I didn't really get a chance to get out and search for more local cuisine due to my hectic medical check up schedule, but I plan on going back in July and my wife and I plan on doing some traveling.........and of course some eating.

Sorry about the links, my link button wasn't working for me today. Probably operator error.

Until next time....

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