Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quick Tour of Manila--January 2015

Since my January 19th Philippines Air flight from Manila to Cebu was not leaving until 9 PM, I decided to focus on visiting just the Intramuros area and Rizal Park.
The Intramuros area has remnants of the walled city and cobbled streets originally built by the Spanish conquerers. As I visited the Manila Catheral I could still see signs and pennants that remained that advertised Pope Francis' visit to Manila where he spoke to millions over at Rizal Park.

I then went over to Ft. Santiago where there was a fascinating museum that chronicaled the history of the Philippines with special emphasis on the role that Dr. Joes Rizal played in the Philippine Revolution that freed them from Spanish rule. The holding cell for Dr. Rizal before he was executed December 30, 1896 was a part of the museum as well as a detailed timeline that described his activities leading up to his arrest and subsequent execution by firing squad in what is now commonly called Rizal Park.

The Memorare-Manila 1945 is a memorial to the over 100,000 innocent men, women, and children who died during the World War II battle between the Japanese and Allies that basically destroyed all of Manila as well.

I ended up my quick tour of Manila by walking through Rizal Park that just the day before was filled with over 2.5 million people who endured the rain to witness Pope Francis. It was now virtually empty and most of the liter had been removed. The focal point of the park is the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal---the father of the Philippine Revolution---and his remains are now buried below after originally being placed in an unmarked grave.

I then backtracked to the domestic airport for my flight to Cebu using the light rail, jeepney, and taxi. This time not only were the jeepneys were colorful but also this tatooed driver near my jeepney.

My 9 PM flight to Cebu ended up leaving at 10:30 and since the plane was almost empty, they moved most of us passengers to the back of the plane for proper weight and balance. My airfare was just $40 for this hour and 10 minute flight---they must have lost money on this particular flight.

Upon arrival, I negotiated with the taxi driver for a 300 peso----$6.75 USD---ride to my downtown hotel. Fortunately the Gran Tierra Hotel was easy to find with the maps I gave to this driver. I am glad the meter was not running since I felt he was driving on back roads there. Good thing I will be staying here for two nights before traveling south to Argao.

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