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Posts Tagged ‘Manila’

If you find yourself in Manila, rather than hit up all the shopping malls (it’s pretty much the thing to do for locals) visit Corregidor Island instead.

It’s a day-long journey (but you can stay the night too) taking a ferry across Manila Bay and back.

Corregidor Island (also called Fort Mills) was General MacArthur’s headquarters during World War II and the place he snuck out of the Philippines in 1942. It was the last bastion of defense of the Philippines and the US forces before Japan conquered the islands. But the defense lasted for over 5 months, severely altering Japan’s plans for conquering the rest of the Pacific.

The island (about 2 miles long and shaped like a tadpole) is covered in crumbling military barracks and installations (and a movie theater!). It also has hundreds of tunnels and fortifications, one of which – the Malinta Tunnel – housed all the people living on the island during the Japanese invasion. There are 24 branching tunnels (called laterals) off the main tunnel and additionally a major barracks and a military hospital (see the map below).

Here are a few photos…

Gun

Japanese Memorial

Mile long barracks! (Because it’s 1/3 of a mile long and three stories high)
Mile Long Barracks

Mile Long Barracks

An old movie theater!
Movie Theater

Movie Theater

Movie Theater

An old battery.

Battery

Battery

Gun

Mortar

Super selfie situation.

Mortar

Battery

Battery

Malinta Tunnel Entrance

Malinta Tunnel Map

Malinta Tunnel

Malinta Tunnel

Gun

Japanese Memorial

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Victory!

My goal in October and November was to visit a ton of new places. And I did it! So I say. Chalk one up to persistence.

I went to a fair number of new places in DC, mostly restaurants, and I discovered many more new places in Chennai (India), Manila (Philippines), New Orleans (LA), Montauk (NY) and Frederick (MD). I traveled a lot…I explored a lot. So now I’m resting a lot while I write.

October/November Goal: Visit 32 new places (70% have to be in DC)

Result: 32 reached and plenty more!

  • 23+ in DC
  • 9+ elsewhere

New places in DC:

  1. Fathom – A nice space for a wedding.
  2. Radiator – A nice bar for an after wedding party.
  3. The Haymaker Bar – Updated space (formerly The Atlas Room) on H St NE. Not a huge fan.
  4. Seoul Spice – Korean tacos, if you like.
  5. BKK Cookshop – Decent Thai food.
  6. REI – The new flagship store! Your outdoor gear fix is here!
  7. La Colombe (at REI) – Coffee with your outdoor gear!
  8. Walmart (on H Street) – I finally went inside. And now life continues.
  9. HalfSmoke – If you want a half smoke, hit Ben’s or Meats & Foods.
  10. Library of Congress Tunnel – Went on a private tour…secret things happen down there. Very bookish secret things.
  11. Sonoma – UW reception with wine and sliders.
  12. Smoked and Stacked – Good sandwich with DC prices!
  13. Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden – A poet, and you didn’t even know it.
  14. Spanish Steps – Supposed to look like the famous steps in Rome. Okay.
  15. Soho Tea & Coffee – Coffee they have, did not confirm the tea.
  16. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop – The Bobbie because it was close to Thanksgiving!
  17. Zero Milestone – Just a thing to commemorate the center of the city.
  18. Renwich Gallery – Very cool art museum brought to you by the letter ‘S’ (for Smithsonian). Surprised it took me this long.
  19. Thip Khao – Laotian food. I avoided the ‘Jungle Menu’ but could be convinced next time.
  20. All Purpose Pizzeria – Oh yeah, they do pizza here. Try it.
  21. Peirce Mill fireplace – For starting fires in Rock Creek Park post-hike.
  22. Donburi – Curry katsudon. Katsudon with curry.
  23. On Rye – Reubens with a some sort of bread!
Just a sampling of the new places I visited while traveling. I whittled it down…
  1. People’s Palace – (Manila, Philippines) A cool Thai restaurant in the heart of the trendy Greenbelt Park (in Makati).
  2. SM Mall of Asia – (Manila, Philippines) The second largest shopping mall in the world! And by mall standards (which I try to avoid if possible), it was a good one. Manila loves malls. Loves them!
  3. Ente Keralam – (Chennai, India) Serving food from Kerala, they love coconuts. It seemed like everything was peppered with coconuts. Most of it was good, all of it was interesting.
  4. Cane & Table – (New Orleans, LA) A boozy brunch to start the day before the real weekend drinking starts.
  5. Mercedes-Benz Superdome – (New Orleans, LA) Seattle Seahawks lost to the New Orleans Saints, but it was still fun.
  6. Courtyard Brewery – (New Orleans, LA) Post-game beer sipping.
  7. Montauk Brewery – (Montauk, Long Island, NY) A brewery at the end of the Earth.
  8. Goldberg’s Bagels – (Montauk, Long Island, NY) Needed bagel sammies at the end of the Earth.
  9. Sabor De Cuba – (Frederick, MD) Tasty cuban food right in the middle of Frederick’s downtown.

Peace out!

Kerala foodKerala food in India

 

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That joke bombed.

That joke bombed.

Manila. You are one frustrating bastard.

I recently visited Manila for the third time. Only this time I went with a positive attitude. Looking for anything worth doing in the city. I was there either way, so why not?

My standard description of Manila, is that it looks like it was built 50 years ago, and then mostly allowed to slowly break-down and crumble. There are a few bright spots of new development here and there. I haven’t visited every part of the city, but from what I’ve seen thus far, it hasn’t grown on me.

If you go to the Philippines, go everywhere but Manila.

Let’s run through some keen observations.

Commuting/Getting Around

  • The elevator situation at my hotel was remarkably nonfunctional. They had even opened the service elevators to guests. Most days the commute from my room to our meeting room (floor 27 to 4) was longer than my commute in to the office in DC. The most fun was a cathartic 12-minute wait-athon, punctuated by a dose of cleverly parlayed verbal abuse at the unyielding elevator door.
  • Traffic is shit. No, it is the perfect storm of terrible. No, it is terrible shit.
  • Driving in actual lanes does not exist. Cutting slower cars off and not giving two shits* about other drivers is the norm. If you are prone to road rage, your head will explode in Manila.
  • Uber can’t find me.
  • Uber can’t find the place I want to go.
  • The interest in pedestrians borders on malfeasance. The sidewalks, where they exist, are sketchy or so narrow that walking on the street is the only option. Urban planning did not touch this city with a 10-foot pole. And step lively or you may get sprayed by the random dudes using the sidewalk as a urinal.
  • Don’t grab a map and think you can navigate from Point A to Point B. Not a chance. You will need to detour to Points Z, Y and probably Pluto in between. If the way through isn’t blocked by design, it is under construction. Or it doesn’t exist.
  • Don’t try to jog here.
  • Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport is a soul sucking, festering wound on society. It has the highest level of clusterf*@kedness attainable. Its literal only redeeming quality is that there is a Starbucks. If you have a choice, go to the newer and fairly decent Terminal 3.

Other stuff

  • Balls. Home of the biggest sporting events in the world.
    What could be a better name for a TV channel? Yet, the only sporting event I saw on it was women’s volleyball…
  • At a restaurant, the band could not sing Toto’s ‘Africa’ worth a damn. It was painful. But then they dropped a pitch perfect rendition of ‘Just the Way You Are’. I thought Billy was in the house.
  • All the fast food restaurants are open 24 hours. And loads of people are out late/early on school nights. Consuming McDonald’s and Jollibee’s. There are also still Shakey’s here!
  • Malls. The national pastime.

 

Stay classy Manila!

 

* Number of times I used the word ‘shit’ in this post (if you count these two additional instances of shit) = 5

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