Philippines

Manila, Thursday 19th February 2009
Manila Bus
I was woken by urban noises: traffic, beeping, construction, hammering and playing children’s voices. I am sitting on a bench next to the coffee place now with the security guard standing at the front. I did not walk far enough to find his recommendation for breakfast. I walked to the Intramuros or “Walled Town”, past the fancy decorated buses, motorcycle-powered carriages, walking along the busy main road going further than I had intended to the fort, past a photography exhibition housed under the damp archways. The river view with excited school children was gloomy. I briefly chatted with the drinks vendor before wandering around the old church and museum with a courtyard. I fantasised over the fancy Protrek watches (compass, solar powered, pressure and temperature measurement and with world time zones) but could not justify a purchase – I already have a robust working travellers watch. After eating at many food places and a quick derivative film there were many prostitute “hellos” as I left the cool mall. I imagine the same happens in London but I do not frequent those areas. The mall culture is understandable. There are few international travellers staying at my hotel. The touristy area with the old walls is quite run down. There does not seem to be a unique global feature that the Philippines offers to attract tourists. Children play in the busy urban streets. This does seem to be a happening area: saxophone jazz, a few Korean restaurants nearby and it is still busy at 11.15pm. I am not sure how much advice I will receive here about the best way to travel down to Donsol. Finding out how is my only planned task for tomorrow.

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