Saturday, 9 April 2011
The entrance to the Philippines...
Time for a new adventure, and although it has one of our most common main intentions – wildlife spotting, on this occasion it’s in a different habitat – the ocean! We’ve come out to the beautiful, diverse Philippines for some exploring, diving and hopefully the chance to see some incredible creatures, both above and below the surface.
First stop was Manila, to recover from a long journey and begin to set an agenda. Although with its own particular charms, the capital is like every other large city, with the added inclusion of quite a lot of smog (at least when we were there). The temperature was nice though, and encouraged us to explore on foot, which was possibly a mistake.
Whatever else the city is, it is not a pedestrian’s paradise, rather the opposite. The traffic is constant and congested, the layout difficult to decipher (a reason perhaps not to always trust the tiny and often limited maps in our lonely planet I suppose!), and the air thick. Finding a bus terminal to book tickets out of the city was a tougher task than we had imagined, even with the help of some friendly locals, and eventually we gave in and hopped in a taxi. In the meantime however we had wound our way through a bustling market and a couple of churches, seeing some of the human atmosphere of the area.
Whilst on the subjects of taxis, I would definitely recommend them as a way of getting around Manila. Cheaper than anywhere else I’ve been, they are also adept at dodging traffic and have air con for cooling down from the heat of walking.
Our bus tickets firmly in hand, we had some time to explore the large park in the centre of the city, and sample our first tastes of Filipino food, before leaving for the cooler climbs of the mountainous North Luzon area.