Monday, July 27, 2009

A Weekend in Manila

There is one thing every girl needs to know about Manila. Well, every girl living in Hong Kong that is. A fantastic hair cut and colour, AND the return plane ticket (yes, including taxes!) cost about the same for a decent hair cut and colour in Hong Kong. Minus the dread in your heart that every second sitting in that chair hoping that the Hong Kong hairdresser cutting your doesn't flip that pair of scissors around and start razoring it.

So start booking that flight! As for hotels? A night will set you back less than $50 USD at a brand name hotel. And if you're lucky, like we were, you get upgraded.

Run, don't walk!

For everyone's my selection of photos from my weekend in Manila. I apologise in advance that there aren't as many as my camera died halfway through the trip. Lesson learnt - charge thy camera battery before you leave!

First things first. I went shopping. Right smack in the centre of Makati City (Manila is made up of several cities, and Makati is one of them) a collection of shopping malls, each one large enough to make up a suburb, called Greenbelt. There's more than Greenbelt..Landmark for one..and I forget the other names. Basically, the place is huge. You could walk around it for a whole day, get lost, and still need to come back for another day.

In one of the malls, a very eccentric but gorgeous jewelry shop window display caught my eye. Each piece is placed in a ziplock bag, filled with water and suspended from the ceiling. Of course, I walked in. Then I walked out with a very amazing bracelet that set me back too much money. As a jewelry designer myself, I'm a sucker for jewelry. And I just can't help supporting other designers.....a good thing for them, a not so good thing for my wallet! Joyce Orena is the name of this particular designer. If you love statement will be leaving a trail of drool in her store.

M Cafe is a restaurant by day, bar at night..with an outdoor DJ, great sounds and wonderful people at the Greenbelt "suburb" of shopping malls. I love the lamps hanging from the large tree just outside that I had to climb up to take a proper shot at what I would love my garden party to look like - if I had a garden, and if I were to hold a party at home (two things that are virtually impossible for the struggling artist in HK). lol.

My favourite dish - Adobo. It's grilled or roasted pork spare ribs in some garlic infusion and black sauce. I am terrible at descriptions. Whatever. It was wonderful. I ate the entire thing. I wanted more. Find it at Fely J's at Greenbelt.

A random sign along the highway. The Filipino people are highly religious and most are Catholics. In the middle of the drab, car smoke and industrial buildings, this really stood out. We should have a similar sign in Hong Kong...with different words, ie: "Don't be rude".

I thought Greenbelt was huge. The Mall of Asia is the mother of all malls. I didn't finish walking around it despite spending more than half a day there. It was also where I got my fabulous haircut and colour for a mere HKD$300 ( ~USD $40). The lady at Mary Pauline's listened to my every word and it looked perfect. Did I mention manicures are basically free at USD$2-3?

The boulevard by the sea just outside the Mall of Asia....there is just so much space!
During the evenings and late into the night, this boulevard is transformed into a strip of restaurants, bars and clubs. We were there til 7am in the morning partying it up at a new club called LAX. I was a little intoxicated. I thought it best that I not have my camera on me..lest I lose it. Psst..drinks were USD$8 a pop.

Jeepneys are an institution in Manila. They're a mode of public transports. When the Americans left, a savvy local businessman turned unwanted military jeeps into public transport. By allowing the jeepney owner to decorate his jeepyney accordingly, the result are the many of these colourful vehicles can be found around Manila. It's spawned other "copy cat" modes of transport - converted vans for example.
A boy taking a break from a hard day's work.

My favourite jeepney decoration - horses!

Hop on, hop off...doesn't matter whether the jeep is moving or not! Payment is made by getting fellow passengers to pass the fare to the driver at the front. Sometimes, a driver may have a helper assisting in collecting fare money.

I'll be back Manila...with a charged camera...and hopefully for a longer stay so that I can visit the outlying islands..Bohol..Boracay...the list goes on!


AlyGatr said...

My dad was born and raised in Manila, but we never had the chance to visit. I was always hesitant...since here in the US the stories about Manila weren't always the best, but now I'm sorry I never had the chance to go with him to visit. Thanks for the peek inside...oh and I LOVE adobo too :)

Bejewelled Bespoke said...

You definitely should go and visit! - but best to get friends or people you know to take you around. It's very busy and we drove everywhere - hard to navigate the traffic system unless you're with a local!

Adobo is awesome..i've been trying to recreate it but I just cannot get it right. And so is that sour pork soup...i forget what it is called!

Patricia Theodora Michaela said...

it's called sinigang. :) you might want to try the recipe we use for adobo:
1 kg pork
a few cloves of garlic, crushed
ground or crushed black pepper, depending on taste
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water

place pork, pepper and garlic in a pot. pour in the water, soy sauce and the vinegar. cook on medium high heat, bringing the liquids to a boil. DO NOT disturb/touch/mix the pork until AFTER the liquids have boiled. disturbing the mixture before the boiling point leaves the vinegar "raw". believe me i tried it (against previous warnings!) and the flavors just didn't meld together well. after the liquids have boiled, lower flame then leave to simmer until only about 1/4 of the original liquid remains. you should have a slightly thick sauce. turn stove off and enjoy with a steaming cup of rice. :D mmmmmm!