One last blast of random photos from my trip to the Philippines before I move on…
Here’s a view of The Ascott, the hotel-like apartment where my family and I stayed while in Manila. This is one of a chain of such “serviced apartments”, and it’s located in Makati, the financial and shopping district of Manila. As such, it’s smack-dab in the middle of an area that’s packed with hotels and shopping, and the Ascott itself is packed with locals and travellers in all sorts of clothing, from shorts and sandals to suits and ties to black tie and evening gowns to thawbs, hijabs and chadors — just about everything except for Bermuda business attire, and I suppose I should consider myself fortunate (it’s the socks that get me). There were 7 of us, so we were in the 3-bedroom deluxe unit, which is actually 4 bedrooms if you factor in the small but comfy maid’s room by the kitchen); its floor plan is pictured above (here are the floor plans for all the rooms). The place has a 4.3 out of 5 rating on its page at Hotels.com, and I’ve seen them offer the 2-bedroom deluxe for CAD$211 a night — and yes, the 2-bedroom actually has 3 if you use the maid’s room.
I spent a fair bit of my vacation hanging out with my 10- and 9-year-old nephews, which means spending some time at an arcade. It’s nice to see that they like doing what I liked to do at their age.
Pictured above is Crazy Birds, a shooter game chock full of what I’m sure are unlicensed Angry Birds images and sounds. It’s proof positive of the adage “Copyright violation is your best entertainment value”. Here’s a video of the game in action:
If the glimpses of Filipino soap operas that I caught are indication, an arcade is a perfectly legitimate place for a date, and the karaoke booths at the back are a perfectly good way to get to know your date a little better:
Shops Filled with Nothing But Cute
This is Asia, and nobody does cutesy stuff the way they do.
Take Ikea, mash it up with The Gap and do it all through a Japanese lens, and you have Muji.
Here’s a view of the left side of the Muji shop in Makati.
Here’s their dinner set…
…their shoe/slipper thingy, which rolls up into a convenient little ball that won’t eat up all the storage space in your tiny japanese apartment…
…and their womens jeans, which max out at US size 30. Apparently Muji does not like big butts — relative to the Japanese phenotype — and it does not lie.
The Tiangge (Flea Market) at Greenhills
Greenhills Shopping Center is part conventional shopping center with typical shops and restaurants and part tiangge (chong-GEH) or flea market with its stalls. The flea market is by far the more interesting part. I snapped a lot of photos here, many of which appear below.
Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! After all, it is the home of Imelda Marcos.
You can’t escape internet memes such as ragefaces, even this far away from North America.
And yeah, Manny Pacquiao is a big hero over here. His face is on ads everywhere, too — he endorses everything!
This is what I came for — something pretty for Anitra.
Wow, are there a lot of pearl stalls here.
If you love pearls, you really should come here.
If there are two things we love in the Philippines, it’s cell phones and chicken.
If you want to eat in the true traditional Philippine style, you don’t eat off a plate; you eat off a banana leaf. Places like The Banana Leaf (the restaurant where I ate the meal pictured above) let you do just that.
For my last meal in Manila, I got taken to a relatively new buffet place near the Mall of Asia called Vikings. The place and its selection are huge.
This is the sushi bar, located on one end of the restaurant. The other end is the dim sum bar. Awesome.
Here’s a sampling of the dessert bar. Note the three fountains. The center one is chocolate, the one on the left is strawberry and the one on the right is ube (a sweet local purple yam).
How fresh was the sashimi? Carve-it-out-of-the-fish fresh.
All in all, a wonderful trip! The day after my big farewell dinner, I boarded my flight back home, and a day after that, I was on my way to Tampa.