August 06, 2013

Bishes the Explorers

If you've just woken up from 10 hours of deep sleep, it could only mean two things: it's either you've had a very tiresome day at work...or you've been through the best vacation of your life. Ene be nemeng buhay toh! The bishes just got bored and so off we go to Manila baby! Here are our extreme and fun-filled adventures. Tara! Let's see Manila in the eyes of the gorgeous Davaoeños.

Our fun started when we were about to leave Davao. Our friend Jun2x originally didn't plan to come with us. He just came to meet us so he can write an authorization letter to settle this small issue with our hotel reservation. But well, you couldn't really say no to bishes Quiel and Trishia, so even with second thoughts, Jun2x, with no extra underwear and everything, went with us to the airport, had his first plane ride, and the rest was history.

Friday, August 2, 2013, 3:05 PM - Touchdown NAIA Terminal 3

The hotel van picked us up from NAIA to our hotel in Pasay.
Traffic bah? We haven't really noticed it as we were so giddy with excitement.

Shogun Suite Hotel

Our hotel was just a 20-minute drive from NAIA. This was where we met up with our fellow bish Kaycee, who served as our tour guide for the rest of our trip. The hotel's conveniently located at the heart of Pasay City, just a walk away to MRT and LRT-1 stations, and jeepneys and buses are very accessible. We got this Mega Family Room, with one queen size bed and two single beds. We just added one single bed (a folding bed pala) to cater the five of us. The room has a hot/cold shower, cable TV and free but slow WiFi. There's also free breakfast for two, thus we just paid for the other three breakfasts. We stayed there for 3 nights. Considering the affordability and the accessibility, I'd rate it 6 out of 10. I forgot how much we paid though but you can check out more details here.

SM Mall of Asia

Because our time was so limited, we just checked in at the hotel, left our baggage and headed to our first official laag venue at SM Mall of Asia. It's one of the biggest malls in Asia, and it is indeed big. Lol. We met up with the rest of the gang there, the lovers Dagz and Oz.

Movie Stars Café

 Prior to going to Manila, we already purchased various promo packages via One was this dinner buffet at Movie Stars Café. There had been a problem with the café not acknowledging our reservation but thanks to the super argumentative powers of Trishia, we were reserved a slot for a 6:00 PM dinner buffet.

Movie Stars Café is one of the arrays of restaurants and cafés at Seaside Blvd in MOA. It took us some time to find it, but it was all worth it.

We were already amazed the moment we stepped inside the café. The design, the movie stars statues, even the waiters and waitresses wearing costumes – they all lived up to the café’s name. There were posters of some of the greatest movies and also a big screen showing a couple movie clips. The lighting also made the interior perfect.

I just had a few bites of my hotdog when a surprise came. Look, it’s Spiderman! IN THE FLESH! In fairness, achieve na achieve nya ang getup (you know what I mean when I say how tight-fitting a Spiderman costume is). And that’s just the first. One by one, there goes the black Spiderman, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Ironman, Darth Vader and a whole lot more!

They’re not simply people wearing costumes, they were also great entertainers. They went to each and every customer’s table, were so game with our every photo requests, and made fun with us for the whole night. They also had their production numbers (they were good dancers), one of which our friend Jun2x became an instant celebrity.

How was the food? Don’t ask me! No one would remember if the food tasted good or not. It was buffet but I only had one plate! We were so busy taking photos with the celebrities that we ignored the food. But, my! I was so full with happiness and satisfaction. Char!

All of us were really satisfied with the great service. Never would’ve thought that this café just opened in 2011(?). The café is so perfect for families and barkadas, and I’m sure kids will surely love being there.

It was indeed a night with the stars. Thanks to Movie Stars Cafe, they made our vacation so sulit already. I would definitely go back there, and yes, I promise to eat some more next time! :D

SATURDAY,  August 3, 2014

Cinemalaya at CCP and Rizal Park, Luneta

Our wishes were granted when we finally had our first MRT/LRT ride. It’s our first time in Manila so that was really a must-try. There’s really nothing special in riding an MRT except that, if you’re not from Manila, you will feel like an authentic Manileño once you’re inserting the ticket at the station and once you’re standing squeezed together inside the train with the other passengers.

We are really noisy no matter where we are. And, yeah, Manila wasn’t an exception. Though I know we can speak Filipino with a neutral accent, speaking it in our Bisdak accent is definitely more fun...and yeah, EASIER. Imagine yourself wanting to say something and you have to pause first to think of its Tagalog translation before saying it out loud. Promise, ang lisod talaga!

After a series of train-jeepney rides, we reached our first destination at Cinemalaya at CCP Complex. We just took a few photos (a few for us means a hundred) and went to Rizal Park in Luneta for a few more (so two hundred na?).

We don’t have any super tall buildings in Davao yet, so we couldn’t help but be amazed with those high-rise buildings in Manila. So, if you're like us who are so jologs and wanted to look up to see how high their buildings are, bring yourself a bottled water. You can definitely work that bottle-forehead formula, can’t you?

Pho Bac 

We later went to Glorietta in Makati to reserve our van ride going to Enchanted Kingdom. We had lunch at Pho Bac, a Vietnamese restaurant. The food’s fine, though I didn’t become a fan.

It’s an almost two-hour ride from Glorietta going to EK. We reached EK at 2:00 PM. We first tried the Flying Fiesta and later on entered Rialto to watch the 10-minute clip of The Journey to the Mysterious Island in 3D.

We then went to try the EKstreme DROP!

You can definitely see how scary this ride is by just watching the reactions of those who were just “dropped”. You will be lifted very slowly up to 40 meters high…you will see the vast area of the whole EK…and just there and then, you will be dropped so fast and without warning. That drop only happened in less than 10 seconds but it literally took so long to end. It definitely was the longest 10 seconds of our life. If you’re up there, there’s really no other way but DOWN!

We had an overwhelming adrenaline rush with the Extreme Drop that we had to lay low so our next stop was the Dodgem (bump car). Bump, bump, bump and okay. Hehe. Next was the Anchors Away, which is also scary..but not so (weh! Di nga?)

The next one was grrr…the Space Shuttle! My first roller coaster ride was in Cebu but that was just a mini-ride. And after experiencing this ride at EK, that’s when I realized that the one I had in Cebu was just really so mini. For me, this is the scariest ride I’ve ever had that all I did the whole time was to close my eyes. It felt like my brain (or cerebrum and cerebellum as per Jun2x) was dislocated or something. I don’t know. It was super scary. But thank God, it was all over! But I might wanna try it again in the future!

Our next ride was the Jungle Log Jam, where we rode in a hollow log which took us uphill and down splashing into the water. After my experience with the roller coaster, this one was no longer a challenge. (cough2x)

Our last ride was the Disk-O-Magic…(singing “I love EK.”) This was fun too…(singing “I love EK”.) 

We ate our dinner at EK and later on watched the fireworks display before heading home at 9:00 PM. With all the walkathon we did at CCP and Luneta and all those rides we tried at EK, our energy were all spent. It was raining but that didn’t stop us from enjoying. It was indeed a great adventure. I am not adventurous by nature but my curiosity had urged me to try all the rides…and it was satisfying. Feel the rush of the rides too…visit EK’s website here.

SUNDAY, August 4, 2013

Bonifacio Global City

If every part of the country is like BGC, no one would ever think of leaving. The place is so clean, so urbanized and so sosyal anyone would really want to live there. I don’t know what to say more, just let these photos do the talking.


This was where I really wanted to go since this place will really come out perfect on the photos. And it really did.

We also went inside the Intramuros Museum (Entrance Fee: P100 for adults; P50 for students). I didn’t have enough money to spend but I didn’t want to miss the chance to take more photos inside the museum. I was a little disappointed since there were some areas where taking photos is not allowed. One was the crematorium, where the ashes of Juan Luna, and a hundreds of other Filipinos who have fought for our freedom, were buried (yun ang sabi ng mama). There were also a dozen handmade wood carvings and sculptures made by our ancestors that were so detailed and so…creepy. The place really gave that creepy feeling but it felt good at the same time to feel so close with our own history.

This has the most number of photos in all the places we’ve been to. We purchased the Ultimate Adventure Level Up thru Metrodeal as well.

The Oceanarium

At the Trails to Antarctica. It's super cold but we took off our coats just for FUN. And it was...COLD!
Fish Spa. We all had fun with this one. The tickling feeling of those fishes eating the dirt out of your feet is so soothing. It was my first time and I wanna try that one again.
Birds of Prey Kingdom
The Sea Lion Show. Watching those sea lions made me teary-eyed. The feeling of amazement of God’s creations was so overwhelming. Although they’re trained by man, their ability to learn are really innate and makes you wonder what goes inside the minds of various animals.

Watch Ira the Sea Lion dance!

Once again, a part of our group became the star for the day. Featuring Kaycee in her closest encounter with the sea lion Ira:

Before heading back home to get ready for our late night gimmick, we had this dare to sit in the center of the lobby at the Ocean Park. And so we did, and ignored the curious stares of those around us.

A group of Koreans then followed our lead. Who knows? We could’ve started a tradition at the Manila Ocean Park.

Experience this cool ocean adventure. Visit Manila Ocean Park's website here.

Cowboy Grill Malate

 “Akoy nasa Malate alas siyete ng gabi” was sung constantly by Jun2x each time he hears the word Malate. And so off we go to Malate for our night out…but definitely not 7:00 PM too early! It’s not the sosy bar we’ve been expecting but it was okay. We had fun all by ourselves. The first live band wasn’t that great. The second band was cool, though. We had Tequila shots while my friends Dagz, Oz, Trishia and Kaycee were grooving and singing to the sound of heavy metal. Those were the types of songs that my brothers listen to…when I can’t hear them.

We were starved afterwards and so we went out and looked for McDo, only to find Jollibee which, according to Trishia was just okay since it’s still McDo. I’m sorry but Trishia has this tendency to talk weird…or weirder…when she’s drunk. LOL.

MONDAY, August 5, 2013

It’s our last day. :(
We went back to MOA to buy some pasalubong.

Our flight back to Davao was at 3:00PM. It was a tough ride. Upon touchdown, Jun2x clapped his hands because he was happy that we landed safe. The funny thing was the rest of our fellow passengers clapped their hands as well without knowing why. Also, because we no longer have money, we had to hike from the airport to the highway, with our luggage and all.

Painting the town bloody red

Shout out to our tour guide Kaycee who did a very good job in taking us to the must-visit places in Metro Manila. Our four-day adventure was really fully loaded. All of us had an amazing Manila experience. One thing I know for sure is that despite the cool things we’ve seen and done there, all of us were very happy and relieved to be back home.

I might give a poor judgment as I’ve only been to Manila for a few days but I find Davao a more livable place. I wanna apologize firsthand for all the not-so-good things that I’m going to say, but all these are just my honest opinion.

I just can’t help but notice a big difference in the streets of Manila and Davao. The traffic enforcers there weren’t that visible/strict, and you can just jaywalk on the busy streets without being reprimanded. Or maybe we were just so used with the active TMOs here in Davao.

This could be lengthy but I also want to highlight our experience in riding the taxis there. I remembered in one recent homily, the priest mentioned Emilio Advincula, a taxi driver in Manila who returned an envelope with two million pesos inside to his passenger. I don’t wanna be sarcastic but that was indeed a big surprise. With a number of times we've ridden a taxi in Manila, never did I notice even a small glimpse of Mamang Emilio in them.

Unlike in Davao where the maximum number of passengers is only 4 and the taxi meter is always being followed, it’s very different in Manila. As long as there are still spaces in the taxi, you can negotiate with the driver on how many passengers he’s willing to take. You also have to negotiate whether to run the meter or pay the price he asks.

We were 5 at that time and the driver agreed to transport us from MOA to our hotel. Yes, he had the taxi meter running, but it was when the taxi’s running when he told us that we had to pay additional since we were 5. It sounded reasonable but he should’ve told us that before we got in. Upon arrival, I gave him the exact taxi meter price. We all got out fast and didn’t look back. My friend told me that the driver got furious, went after him, so he had to pay an additional P30.

On another incident, we were 7 but the driver agreed to drive us from the hotel to Malate. Again, the taxi meter was running, but this driver made a snide remark that since we were 7, we had to pay P75 each. Take note, he was already driving. My friend then said that if the meter’s not followed, then we will just get off his cab. He then said that that’s not what he meant. He said that what he meant was that we’ll have to pay that price if it’s daytime. At nagpapalusot pa si Manong. Again, he should’ve told us before even agreeing to take us all in and gave us a chance to say no. Worse, he noticed that we weren’t familiar with the place we’re going, so he dropped us off to the wrong place. We had to ride a jeep to reach our destination.

Sorry, I’m not done yet. Here’s the best taxi driver of all time. We were also 7 and we had to go back from Malate to our hotel. It was all okay until one of my friends noticed that we were just going around in circles in one of the streets that luckily she was familiar with. When she told the driver about it, the driver then made an out of this world response (a sound made when a recorded speech is distorted). That’s when we noticed that our taxi meter was running from when we don’t know when as it has reached more than 400. We just paid the price we paid earlier.

I just felt so bad that that's how most of them treat their passengers once they know that they're not from there. Hindi po kami ganyan sa Davao. If you don’t know where to go, riding a taxi is what we normally recommend and you’re sure to reach it. But I guess it’s a “place to place” basis. I’ve been here in Davao for almost 4 years now but haven’t experienced one like that yet. Almost, if not all, taxi drivers in Davao are honest. Whether you’re a local or a foreigner, you are sure to reach your destination at an honest price. You are definitely safe in the arms of a Davao taxi driver.

But then again, those were just the taxi drivers. They can never ruin the fun we had there.

Manila or not?

If you’re a homebody, or if you’re a big-time employee with a car, then Manila is definitely a place for you. And if you wanna live there, you need lots and lots of PATIENCE.

Dan Brown once dubbed Manila as the “Gates of Hell” in his novel Inferno. I am a big Dan Brown fan and it’s really tricky to separate facts from fiction in all of his novels. He’s never been to Manila yet, but I bet one of his researchers had. Six hours traffic (maybe two), prostitution (or course, but I bet it’s more rampant in other countries), and a whole lot more. There’s always a touch of truth in every fiction.

But let’s face it. Manila is just one misunderstood soul. It was already served its verdict even before it has given a chance to prove its worth. For all we know, Manila is a very promising city and still has the right to boast its wondrous beauty. Do you need proof? View the best of the best photos of Manila here. (photo courtesy of Quiel.)

A super uber big thanks to Quiel for the talent, time and effort in enhancing and uploading the photos and to Baby Nikko for the amazing shots. Thanks as well to Kaycee for being an amazing tour guide, to Trishia for her super powers, to Jun2x who was so brave for coming with us, to Dagz and Oz with whom I just met but have been a great company. What made the journey super special weren't the places or the photos (or maybe the but the people I've been with.

So, am I willing to go back to Manila? Absolutely. But for now, CUKL! ☺


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