Manila and Tagaytay

A week ago, Chris, Christine, and I took the flight from Cebu to Manila. We stayed at Crossroads Hostel in the Mandaluyong district of Manila for two nights. It was the best rated hostel on, but there was nothing to do in Mandaluyong except for a big shopping mall. We changed to the Airport Hostel in the Pasay district since it's closer to Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where we would all depart.

We spent Friday exploring some sights in downtown Manila, such as Rizal Park, Intramuros, Fort Santiago, and Chinatown, which is the oldest Chinatown in the world. The next day, we took a long bus ride to Tagaytay, then a trike to Talisay, to see the Taal Volcano. We had lunch at a resort that had a great view of the volcano. Afterward, we decided to hike 12 km (~7.5 miles) uphill to Tagaytay from Talisay. I only made it to about 1/4 of the way and decided to hitch a ride on the side of a makeshift motorcycle into Tagaytay. I was surprised that both Chris and Christine were able to hike back. We had our last meal together at a McDonald's in Tagaytay before riding the bus back to Pasay.

On Sunday morning, Christine left for Taipei. In the afternoon, Chris left for Bangkok. The Turtles of Cebu has disbanded and I was left alone with the most dangerous thing in the world, my mind. To keep it occupied I walked to the Makati district yesterday morning to do some exploring. It was about an hour from the hostel in Pasay. I sprained my ankle while walking on the sidewalk about 5 minutes into the walk. I ended up continuing to Makati anyway.

I didn't do much in Makati since it's mostly tall office buildings. I had a burger, fries, and a shake at Shake Shack then I went to the mall. I wanted to buy a new backpack if I were to continue traveling in Asia since mine will most likely break. The repair on my current backpack is coming apart again. But I did lessen the load by half a pound when I sold my Kindle Paperwhite to Chris before he left for Bangkok. Anyway, I didn't see a backpack I wanted at The North Face store and there weren't specialty backpack stores in the Philippines, such as Patagonia, Cotopaxi, and Osprey. I will hold off on buying a new backpack since I'm still not sure where I would go after returning to Taiwan. I might just head back to the States.

Today, my flight to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, is at 4:25 PM. I plan on going to Taipei from the south of Taiwan while visiting a few cities.

In the future I don't think I want to retire in the Philippines because there is a lack of vegetables in the Filipino diet. I've tried many Filipino foods, such as sisig, adobo, and others, but it's always some kind of meat. It would be very hard for a vegan or a vegetarian to survive in the Philippines. But the dried mangos is the best here. There are also a lot of beggars, many of them are children who would come up to you directly asking for change. I've also seen, on more than one occasion, people littering. As a consequence, there are a lot of trash on the streets and people just don't care. There are fewer mopeds in the Philippines than in Vietnam. To make up for that, there are more trikes, jeepneys, and motorcycles with makeshift sidecars. Bicycling in the Philippines and Vietnam is not a good idea due to the traffic and the lack of infrastructure. On the positive side, English is widely spoken in the Philippines and the Filipino people, and Asians in general, have been very kind to foreigners. I'm not sure if I'm considered a full foreigner since I look Asian, but Chris, being Polish, had no issues. Overall, I like the Philippines, but there's more work for the government to do, such as clean up the streets, reduce pollution, etc. I hope to visit the Philippines again in the future and wish all the best for the Filipino people!

It's hard to find vegetable dishes in the Philippines. They are more common in good restaurants.

Street near the Airport Hostel

Street vendors

Buses, cars, motorcycles, jeepneys near the Taft Ave transit center

Christmas tree at the mall

Some delicious Filipino food

Street scene

Rizal Park

Jose Rizal Monument

Chinese garden in Rizal Park

Martyrdom of Jose Rizal

Caught a wedding at San Agustin Church

Inside the Manila Cathedral

The altar at the Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral at night

Fort Santiago

Jose Rizal monument inside the fort

A Lego version of the jeepney

Manila at night

The dungeons of Fort Santiago

Chinatown gate

Chinatown light and its wires

At Talisay, looking at the Taal Volcano on the right

View from the hike to Tagaytay from Talisay

This man gave me a ride up the hill to Tagaytay for 100 PHP

Street scene on the street of the hostel

Walking toward Makati

Another street scene

Notice the trash on the side

Some office buildings in Makati

Took the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) back to Pasay


  1. I have a lot of dear Filipina friends who live in the US and they are very prosperous, kind and intelligent which is why I'm always so bewildered when I used to go to the Philippines for work. I never liked traveling there because I didn't care for the food and everything always looked so run down and unkempt. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the government which has never made the people a priority there.

    1. My ex-manager is Filipina. One of the kindest people I've met. Yes, I think the Filipino government needs to do more work to clean up the trash and import/grow more vegetables. I bet most women there are diabetic or suffer from weight related illnesses. The men tend to be thinner. Maybe because they work in labor intensive jobs.


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