Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Manila Day 1

I'm a little OC when it comes to planning so I really armed myself with step by step things to do but what really happened was far from my plans. We just went with the flow.

We have an early flight bound to Manila. We arrived around 8 AM. In my plan, we're supposed to do the city tour directly but we were so tired that as soon as we reach FGH, we slept and woke up around 11 AM just in time for lunch. Our stomach was growling that we opt to eat at the nearest possible venue - Robinson's Manila, a walk away from FGH.

1 Lunch at Robinson's Manila

After our not so satisfying lunch, we then consult our map for our next target. Unfortunately, we don't know where we are that we had to ask Manong guard for directions. We rode jeepney to Luneta park.

2 Luneta Park

3 Intramuros

We don't know how to get there. Then a Kalesa passed by. The Manong Kuchero was shouting "Intramuros". After asking the fare which we thought Php 50 for all of us, we agreed. The Manong Kuchero was so cordial and nice. He even told histories of the place. When we rode off, we were surprised that when we handed him Php 50, he said Php 250 in all saying Php 50 for each. Waaaaaa! With a heavy heart, we paid him Php 250.  The ride was not worth it considering we were cramped in that Kalesa and it's like a stone-throw away from Luneta.

Lesson learned: Ask and negotiate clearly.


Intramuros was jam-packed when we arrived. The entrance fee was PHP 75. We were given a booklet with the map of the place and a numbered sites to visit. I never thought that Intramuros was that big. I was in awe.

4 Manila Cathedral (Not sure! We just pass this on our way to the jeepney stop for Ocean Park!)

5 Quirino Grandstand

Just across Luneta Park. We were wondering why we didn't go there first before Intramuros.

6 Ocean Park: Oceanarium

Finally, Ocean Park at the back of Quirino Grandstand. It was late and we're on tight budget so we only bought the Oceanarium ticket for PHP 400.


6 Ocean Park: Dancing Jellies

Migo got intrigued with the Dancing Jellies that he urged me to come see them for PHP 150 entrance. Being a supportive girlfriend, I reluctantly agreed. I don't like jellies that much.

We went home very tired at around 6 PM. We slept then had dinner at a nearby restaurant. Actually, FGH is situated at what some called the red light district. The street was fully alive at night.

7 Dinner at Bistro Remedios

8 Roxas Boulevard

We were so full we decided to walk our fullness away.

9 Plaza

On our way back, we decided to take another route back to the pension house. There we met I-don't-know him but we still have our picture taken. Haha! We also bought cup noodles and some stuff at 7 Eleven.

10 Dreamland

Before we retired that night, we had our group calculation of expenses. We were aghast of the total amount we spent that day so we agreed to be more thrift the next day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Silver Birthday in Manila

I thought it's cool to celebrate my silver birthday on travel so thru AirPhilExpress' Php 100sale, I and 3 of my friends book a flight to Manila last May, dates between my birthday from August 19 to August 22, 2011.Being a first timer, I am both excited and anxious. I don't really want to go there without basic info so I researched a lot about the places we plan to visit and stay (Manila, Metro Manila, Malate and Laguna).

What I prepared:
1. Maps of the place
2. Transportation
3. Accommodation
4. Itinerary

Before the date of departure to Manila, I printed maps of the City of Manila, Malate and Laguna from Google maps. We brought laptop also for the same purpose.

Deciding where to stay was difficult. I have lots of considerations. I need the place to be safe, accessible and cheap. Thru Google, I bump into Ivan Henares' post about backpackers accommodation in Manila. Reading the post and comments, my mind is closing in on a Malate area pension house.

We stayed at Friendly's Guest House. It was not the first choice actually, Malate Pensione was. I have no regrets though for changing since FGH caters most of our needs also. We might try MP on our next travel to Manila soon.

How to reach FGH at NAIA Terminal 3:
3 options:
a. Fixed Rate Taxi (Php 530)
b. Metered Yellow Taxi (Php 70 flagdown, Php 4 per km, the same in Cebu's airport yellow taxi)
c. Bus

We picked the 2nd option because of our things. I would have wanted to try the Bus but majority of my companions choose taxi. I seat in front and hand the taxi driver the printed map of Malate bearing the address of FGH. The taxi driver was quite nice. I was a little disappointed for not being able to chat with him much,  uncomfortable speaking Tagalog. It was funny because he mistake me for a Korean. Toinks! Total meter upon reaching FGH was Php 320. We gave the exact amount. He offered his number to us in case we'd like to text him for taxi on our departure.

FGH Landmarks:
If you see the following, this means your already near (walking distance):
1. Just around the corner: Robinson's Place Manila
2. Straight-Aheads: The Pan Pacific Hotel, Hotel 1632,Upstage(beside FGH), Cafe Adriatico
3. The other sides: Malate Church, Remedios Circle

What to expect:
1. The elevator was quite small. I think it can only accommodate at most 6 of "our-size" persons.
2. Friendly staffs. =)
3. Occupies 3rd, 4th and rooftop. Front desk is at 4th floor so go there first on your arrival.
4. The room was quite small. If you want luxurious room, don't be here. Beware of bedbugs also. We book 2 rooms 309 (Triple accomodation. Php 1200 per night for 3 person) and 317(Double-decker. Php 900 per night for 2 person). 309 was nice but 317 has bedbugs. Just ask the staff to change to other rooms if you're unlucky enough to picked a bed buggy room :D The girls were lucky for staying at 309 :D
5. It has common sala, terrace and kitchen at the rooftop.
6. You can cook your food at the common kitchen. Utensils are available. Just be kind enough to look after your mess. We saw one who cooks pasta. Free tea and coffee. For us, we bought cup noodles. We just boiled water plus free coffee, our brunch was cheap but life saving :D
7. Beer, soda and bottled water are not allowed at rooftop since they sell these. The price is just a little higher outside though so it's OK. If you really want to have your own drinks, you can have it in your room.
8. Most guest are foreigners. On our stay, we didn't see any other Filipinos. We saw Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Australian and British. We knew their nationalities from their conversations :D We never speak to them. LOL! Never worry because we had no harassment experience there. =)
9. Located at a red light district so pretty busy, especially at night. Be very wary every time. Don't bring too many stuffs while walking. Hold on to your purses as much as possible. Lucky for us, we didn't encounter any tough times there. =)
10. FGH is nice. I'll gladly recommend it.

Day 1 (Jill's Day) - It's Jill's first time in Manila too. We had lunch at Robinson's Place Manila. Visited Luneta Park, Intramuros and Ocean Park. We were so exhausted around 7 PM that we decided to rest until 10 PM. We had dinner at Bistro Remedios, walking distance only. Then walk around Roxas Blvd until Malate Church. Took another way to familiarize the place. Bought cup noodles at 7 Eleven. I noticed 7 Elevens are pretty abundant there, almost every 3 corners, Starbucks also. Slept almost 3 AM :D

Day 2 (My Silver Birthday) - Had brunch at Roof top around 10 AM. Send off Raffy to Domestic Airport by 11 AM thru taxi. Total fare is Php 152.00. From airport, took a jeep to MRT, fare Php 8. Then took LRT to Gil Puyat station(fare Php 15) where buses to Laguna are stationed. Enchanted Kingdom til 7 PM. We planned to dine at MOA. Due to traffic, a friend suggested we took off at Dela Rosa, Makati instead and have our dinner there. We planned to visit Makati the day before but because of exhaustion exchanged it to a dinner at Bistro Remedios and walk at Roxas Blvd. We rode off at Dela Rosa, went CR then surprised to have Migo holding a cake (Thanks Migo and Jojo! LOL!). We met a friend at Makati Ayala (Gurla! Love the gift!). Decided to had dinner at Mercato at The Fort, Global City, Taguig. Slept at around 3 AM again :P

Day 3 (Mass) - On a friend's offer, we had an early FGH checkout. He offered to let us stay at his brother's condo on the last day of our stay in Manila. We were exhilarated since we can save Php 400 each :D He was also our guide for the day! Yahoo! Our plan was to visit Chinatown, Divisoria and Quiapo. It rained when we reached Makati City at around 1 PM so we discard our plan went to Green Hills instead. We met another friend at Robinson's Galleria. Had chika until 3 PM. Decided to attend mass at Edsa Shrine. Left for Green Hills for shopping at around 6 PM. Shopping until 8 PM. Had dinner at Wendy's, MOA. Was at Jojo's condo by 11 PM. Slept until 1:30 AM while others watched 49 days.

Day 4 (Bye Bye Manila)- At Airport by 2:30 AM. Ready for boarding at 3 AM. Departure to Cebu is at 4:15 AM. Due to rain, we took off a little late. Arrived Cebu at around 6:45 AM. I was so exhausted that my head ached. My plan not to take a day off failed.

I learned a lot on this trip. I will surely make detailed blog for each day. I hope I could document everything well =)

Money Matters:
Day 1
200 Airport Fee Mactan Airport
107 (320/3 pax)Taxi: From NAIA to FGH
400 (1200 per night/3 pax) FGH Room Good for 3! Double decker!
99 Lunch at Max, Robinson's Manila
8 Jeep from Robinson's Manila to Luneta
50 Kalesa Ride from Luneta to Intramuros
75 Intramuros Entrance Fee
20 Drinks at Intramuros
8 Jeep from Intramuros to Luneta
400 Oceanarium Entrance at Ocean Park
105 Snacks
150 Dancing Jellies Entrance at Ocean Park
30 (150/5 pax) Taxi from Ocean park to FGH
300 (1546/5 pax) Yummy dinner at Bistro Remedios just a walk away from FGH
118.50 Groceries for our breakfast (Noodles, Water and Etc.)
Total: PHP 2070.50

Day 2
  30 Taxi from FGH to NAIA
8 Jeep from NAIA to MRT
15 To Gil Puyat
57 Bus Fare to Walter Mart, Laguna
89 Lunch
8.25 Tricycle to Enchanted Kingdom
500  Enchanted Kingdom Entrance
80 Ekstreme Ride
199 Space Shuttle Picture
98 Pizza Snacks
11.25 Tricycle to Target Mall
57 Bus to Manila
100 Dinner at Mercato, Centrale

43 (175/4 pax) Taxi from Fort, Taguig to FGH

Total: PHP 1295.50

Day 3

   21 FGH to Makati (85/4 pax)

  19 Makati to Edsa Shrine Bus Fare

104 Lunch

    8 Robinson's Galleria to Green Hills

  25 FX from Green Hills to Mega Mall

  23 Bus from Mega Mall to MOA

  26 (130/5 pax) Taxi from MOA to Makati

  50 Snacks

265 Krispy Kreme Pasalubong

Total: PHP 541

Day 4

  37.5 To NAIA from Makati (150/4)

200  Terminal Fee

  60 Coffee

  35 Water

Total: PHP 332.50


Day 1 Total: PHP 2070.50 (accommodation included)

Day 2 Total: PHP 1295.50
                      PHP 385.00 (accomodation)
Day 3 Total: PHP   541.00 (no accomodation, stayed at Jojo's)
Day 4 Total: PHP   332.50
Grand Total: PHP 4624.50