Friday, August 31, 2018

A short Trip to Manila

We visited Metro Manila last month to attend HP Prime Summer Camp. Manila is the capital of Philippine that actually interconnects to 16 other cities, which are collectively referred as Metro Manila. 

Metro Manila is a mega city with approximate 24 millions of inhabitants. It is crowded with busy streets and roads that always packed with all types of vehicles. Shopping malls, hotels, and churches can be found around the city. According to a Grab driver, the streets are now safer and cleaner now in Metro Manila, but the slum is still a big issue to be handled.

We stayed in Holiday Inn Gallery at Ortigas Center, Pasig. Several shopping malls are located nearby- Robinson Gallery, SM Megamall, The Podium, St. Francis Square, and Greenhills Shopping Center. There is a MRT station there as well.

We went to Robinson Gallery almost every day. It is attached to our hotel (actually in the same building). Robinson Gallery is small (upper left) but Robinson Supermarket (upper right) offers many local products with very competitive price (lower right). We saw durian in the market. It was labelled as "native fruit". Interesting.

These products are really cheap at Robinson Supermarket.

Megamall is located around 10 minutes away from our hotel by foot (upper left). It is many times bigger than Robinson Gallery (upper right). Supermarkets, departmental stores, restaurants, fast food outlets, brand shops, souvenirs shops and many more are available. Kultura is a good place for us to get some local products and souvenirs (lower right).

There are various choices of food available in Megamall- fast food (upper left), food court with local delicacies (upper right) and restaurants (lower right). One of the buffet restaurant provided live unplugged performance with no extra charge.

Greenhills Shopping Center is our favourite. This two-storey mall is like a huge indoor air-conditioned marketplace (upper right). Clothes, foot wears, glasses, leather wares, watches, decoration items, souvenirs, toys, IT gadgets, hand phones, cameras, accessories, and many more are available at very attractive prices.

V Mall is attached to Greenhills Shopping Center. The mall is full with Vivo and Stephen Curry posters and advertisements.

The last day of our training, the organizer from Saint Pedro Poveda College organized a short trip to Intramuros. Heavy rain spoil our tour plan to take a long walk on the city wall. However, we did have a chance to walk around the UNESCO Heritage Site- San Agustin Church. There are many places nearby Intramuros worth a visit, including Rizal Monument Park, Fort Santiago, and several museums which can be reached by foot. We walked around Intramuros for one hour with umbrella.

San Agustin Church is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The current church was completed in 1607. It was the third church built on the same site (the previous two was destroyed in 1574 and 1583). It is the oldest church in Philippines. We could see many cars there due to an ongoing wedding event there.

The church is not elaborately decorated on the outside (upper left). The giant "Goliath" door of the worship hall (upper right). The worship hall is beautifully decorated with the chandeliers imported from Paris (lower right). The church area is big, with the wall extends far beyond the church building. 

We visited a few colonial era buildings, with strong European style and influence. Unfortunately, most of these buildings within the city were destroyed by wars.

 The "Presidents' Gallery" is located beside the church. 

According to our friend, we could walk around Intramuros by following the Intramuros wall. However, heavy rain spoiled our plan. We could see some of the places around the city was flooded. We saw a few locals fishing at the flooded area.

Instead of walking around the wall by foot, we can rent a horse cart (upper left), trishaw (upper right), or a bamboo bicycle (lower right). We saw a mini 4 wheel drive beside a restaurant, as decoration, perhaps.

Bonifacio Global City in Taguig is a modern city built on former army camp area. The city is located around 10 kms from Ortigas Center. The most convenient way to visit the place is by car. Anyway, it is not more than a street mall with nice pedestrian walkway, branded outlets, nice restaurants, and nice buildings with beautiful landscapes.

We visited Bonafacio High Street after we left Intramuros. We felt like moving through a time tunnel.

The high street is about 500 meters long, and still growing (upper left). The whole pedestrian street is well designed and beautifully decorated (upper right). Modern buildings and sky scrappers are built around the high street (lower right). We found a few well-fed cute kittens there. These kittens were tame and active.

We tried some nice traditional food in Manila, thanks to the arrangement by San Pedro Poveda College. Of course we had tried Chinese food, Japanese food, Western food, and many more in the shopping malls.

Inasal, or grill marinated chicken with ginger and spices (upper left), turon, the giant fried banana wrapped like a spring roll (upper right), stir fried rice noodle (lower right), and puto, rice cake with cheese and salted egg were some of the food that we tried.

We tried several other local dishes in our hotel (upper left). Beside local food, we tried Japanese food in Megamall (upper right), satay in Marco Polo Hotel (lower right), and some fast food at Jollibee.

Jollibee is a local fast food chain in Philippines. It has more outlets compare to McD in Philippines.

Last but not least, we would like to share our group photo with our friends from Philippines, Australia, United States of America, and Singapore. Hope we can meet again in our next summer camp.