That is to say, it’s a major departure from the authoritative air and hard-edged beauty of Singapore – in the best possible way.
The most eventful thing we did in Manila was buy our suits for Trevor’s wedding. I’ll get to that in a follow-up post. But there were some remarkable charms to this place, despite its rough exterior.
For instance, we stayed at a great little hotel/hostel, about a quarter mile from the ocean, called the Buoy. The owner was a domineering asshole, but fortunately we only met him once. His staff, on the other hand, were a delight. The all-female staff of the attached restaurant/bar were especially sweet and great to be around, and this led us to favor the hotel for our near-constant drinking during the few days we were there. We’d sit and drink buckets of beer, and work on this stupid little website we have (maybe you’ve heard of it), and play pool, and hang out with the Buoy girls. We spent a lot of time that way. (Hi girls!)
I’m pleased to report that we also reconnected with our old college pal Cat “I just keep getting prettier” Tolentino. Her family hails from ’round Manila way, so she happened to be there on a vacation. We met a number of her family members, whose names and relationships I forgot as soon as I learned them. Cat was also the one who recommended that we go to Boracay, which turned out to be one of the crazier experiences of our whole trip (post forthcoming).
We also spent some time hanging out with an American ex-military guy named Jack, now living in Cebu, who was absolutely insane. And we were lucky for it – he took us around to places we never would have seen, and told us stories that kept us laughing for days afterward. Jack, if you’re reading this, it was a real pleasure and we hope to see you again down the road.
Enough of the sentimental stuff. Some other distinctions of note for Manila:
- Worst food – Vince and I joked that the Filipino national dish seemed to be an unadorned boiled hotdog on a plate with some rice. (The burger I had at the place we went with Cat was excellent, but that was the exception. And that sucker was like $15.)
- Most McDonald’s eaten (see #1 above)
- Most beer ordered/consumed in bucket form
- Best Wingman Ever (title awarded to Franklin Page). I’m not going to write the story out here. You’ll just have to ask us sometime.
The lovely Buoy Hostel.
Our Digital Nomad Mobile Office™
One of our favorite Buoy staff members, Merlyn.
Merlyn and Cathyrine – our best Buoy friends.
Random hockey game in a shopping mall that Jack took us to.
Headed off to Taipei…