I have booked the JSA tour(Joint Security Area, an area located in the DMZ between North and South Korea) a month before arriving at Seoul. It is highly recommended to book this in advance as it could be hard to reserve one on short notice. The tour could be cancelled any time by the Authorities given certain situations. In fact my tour has been cancelled and had I not called for alternatives I never could have gone to the next scheduled date.
I’ve arrived last Saturday in Manila; arrival was at terminal 1. This terminal is particularly old and really pales in comparison to other regions. My parents had to wait outside for me and so they had to endure the heat. I do hope that in terminal 3 people don’t have to wait outside for travelers. Terminal 3 is the “new” Manila International airport which currently is only occupied by one two local airlines. The terminal was ready for use a few years ago but was mothballed because of diverse corruption allegations. One of the structures of the airport has already collapsed before even a first time used. The airport finally opened at the beginning of the year, and I am hoping that they will allow International carriers to arrive there. I’ll write more about this airport because today I have a flight with Cebu Pacific(local carrier based in terminal 3) to Seoul, South Korea
Speaking of corruption, well politics comes in mind and today is the Philippines’ big day for elections. We are electing not only the president but also senators, congressman, mayors, councilors… whew!! the list is long! Today is public holiday,everythings is supposed to be closed…. well they couldn’t prevent the malls from opening at 12. You can prohibit anything in the Philippines but don’t touch the Malls! You know there is something sacred with people’s relationship with the malls when 3 of the 10 largest malls are found in the country.
I am surprised that there isn’t so much posters around the walls of the country, ordinarily the posters are omnipresent that it actually takes months to take them off! Election period is also a time when money flows like there is no tomorrow. I imagine are money supply tripling in this short period. It is not uncommon to hear from people that in so and so area votes have been for 2000 PHP(around 40 USD) . That is a considerable amount of money especially if you live in the country side. Now you see candidates spending such amount for votes, imagine if they get elected… how eager would they be to recoup up their “investments”.
I am hoping that this election period will not be marred by so many killings.
I’ll need to now… I’ve been monopolising this chair at starbucks for so long!
I depart for Manila tomorrow morning. These past few days there has still been Northern European airports closed due to the volcanic ashes, and since I’m passing by Amsterdam, I have to admit I have a little bit of worry that it would affect me.
- Check out the restaurants of Malate, Nakpil street(I have heard accounts of good restaurants moving out of the area to sanitized places like Greenhills in Makati… but I am wishful thinking here)
- Try out the Malate night life
- Visit Binondo(chinatown), try out some Chinese food there , have a feel of the neighborhood
- Check out Quiapo and Binondo in search of the soul of Manila before and a few decades after world war two.
- Intramuros: The walled city of Manila. the place could give you a feel for what Manila was like during the Spanish colonial period.
- In Intramuros you can find the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin church(Unesco Heritage site under the classification of “Baroque Churches of the Philippines”). Churches in the Philippines are made differently from their counterparts in Europe. For one, Filipinos had to make them Earthquake resistant
- Have a stroll at Manila bay, and enjoy its lovely Sunset
- Checkout the Makati nightlife
- Boat Station 1: Highly priced hotels, more secluded beac
- Boat Station 2: More like the center of the island Good for nightlife but the beach will have lots of people.
- Boat station 3: A good place for cheap accomodation