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Mount Pinatubo, PhilippinesOkay, another admission, I’ve cheated with the photo. Who knew this blog would turn into a confessional? I couldn’t find a decent picture of Manila in my album, possibly because I didn’t see anything in Manila particularly attractive to photograph.  Now before everyone sends in their photos of Manila’s delights, I am sure there are wonderful parts of the city, I just didn’t see them. Then again I was only Manila for one day, the rest of my time in the Philippines was spent elsewhere. So, that’s why I’ve chosen a photo taken at Mt Pinatubo, which, in my defense is fairly near Manila. I did want to go to Tagaytay and Lake Taal, south of the city, but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule. It’s definitely on the list for next time.


Jeremy and Lalita, the hero and heroine in Singapore Fling, only spend a couple of days in Manila, and that at the office and in meetings. Although, there is one scene at the hotel involving a red dress… and leopard print shoes… Oh, excuse me, where was I? Oh, yes, Manila.


So, what can I say about the capital city? Traffic.  Even though there are only three lanes marked on the road, it’s not unusual to see cars, vans, busses, jeepneys, mopeds, etc. five or six abreast. And I’m sure the pedestrian crossings are simply there so the ambulance only has to go to one spot to pick up bodies as driver’s completely disregard anyone who dares try to cross the busy streets. 


Another hint about visiting Manilaunless you are desperate to visit European stores or have a wad of cash to spend you can give the Mall of Asia a miss. I don’t see the point going all the way to the Philippines to shop at Marks & Spencer or Dorothy Perkins, especially as the prices are the same as in London.


A final note about visiting the Philippines, although I am sure to come back to this wonderful country in later posts, regards bringing money into the country. By law, as of 2012 anyway, you are only allowed to bring in PhP 10,000 in cash, which when converted to GBP or Canadian $ is not very much money at all. You’ll have to find some way to change it when in the country.


I had a fabulous time in the Philippines, especially visiting the 2,000 year old rice terraces in the Banaue region of northern Luzon. I am still trying to figure out how I can incorporate this fascinating setting into a future story. Even if I can’t, I’ll be sure to blog more about some of the places I visited during my two weeks in this land of 7,000 islands.


Where to next? Mumbai!