Sorry everyone! This is such a late post and we are now very behind because the internet around the Phillipines was really bad – we couldn’t even download any of the pictures we took so we have waited until now (we are in Japan) to write about Phillipines.
Manila – the capital of Phillipines is an intriguing city in Southeast Asia. It’s the first time where we could have a decent conservation to any stranger on the train or on the streets because they are so friendly, helpful and most of all they speak perfect English. Most Fillipinos learn English at a very young age at school along with Tagalog, which are their official languages. There are also lots of dialects, which we came across as we travelled to the south island for a spot of whale sharks, Palawan (voted one of the most beautiful islands in the whole world) and Coron, where there are many Japanese ship wrecks.
Another interesting thing is that the Phillipines were colonized by the Spanish for 300 years and there are many Catholic churches, which is great for a change after looking at so many Asian temples. Everywhere you will see Spanish themed buildings such as:
Fort Santiago was built by the Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and was used to protect the new Manila that had been formed. There is also a nice park to walk around.
The Museum of the Filipino People is a good starting point if you want to learn more about the history of Phillipines and there is also an Art Museum but there are separate to each other, although only a 5 minute walk between them.
We spent 2 days in Manila when we landed in the Phillipines and then another 7 days at the end before flying to Japan. However the last days were not very good for travelling and seeing what is around Manila as a typhoon had welcomed itself onto the city and it rained heavily every single day. This made it difficult for us to travel up north to see Taal Volcano Batangas and also Mount Mayan, which you can climb. The Banaue Rice Terraces are also spectacular during the rainy season. There are places we have penciled in for a future visit to the Philippines.
The rain was so bad that it is not uncommon for certain parts of Manila to become flooded as the drainage system is blocked really easily. Luckily there are many shopping malls in Manila and also some indoor attractions, such as the Manila Ocean Park. Normally I don’t like Ocean Parks as I would rather see the animals and sea life in their natural habitat and free from barriers but we had 7 days to fill with activities.
We are going to swim with the whale sharks in our next post!