Well we have landed in Manila and have set up camp in our first ever backpackers hostel. Must admit I am pleasantly surprised. We are avoiding the dorm style accommodation and have an ensuited room to ourselves. Spent the first day sweating and drinking beer and the second was spent wandering the greenbelt shopping district in the comfort of air conditioning for the most part. Day 3 was spent planning our activities in the morning only to find that as we were leaving that the hostel had a free walking tour of old Manila which covered everything we had planned and more. So we jumped on their tour.

We rode in a Jeepey, a train and various other transport modes to get us to the old city, the fort and Intramuros. I had a Jeepney ride high on my list of things to do anyway. A winter in Canberra with low temperatures and low humidity saw me seriously struggling in a 30+ high humidity day in Philippines. I am happy to admit that I was sweating like a big girl at the Boxing Day sales.

I have a few additions for my beer blog that will eventually form another tab on the top of this but I thought that I may have a more rounded beer experience before putting things on line. I am trying to only drink local which so far is working well but as you may imagine there are some mixed quality by drinking only local beer. San Miguel is the local brew and is perfectly reasonable with the export quality (7/10) a touch better than the domestic quality (6.5/10). I had a few others that were less than great however while I would rate them at under 5/10 they were still drinkable but not ones to aim for. I guess the theory is that a beer will need to be 2 or 3 out of 10 before it is rendered not fit for human consumption. A fact that will no doubt fit with KAT’s experiences.

There are already a few little noteworthy quips. For those who know me well they are all food related.

1.  After taking advice from my nephew (fleebs) he claimed that the restaurant Jollibee  was his favourite when he and his mother lived in the Philippines. So we tried it. For those who do not know it Jollibee is a McDonalds style chain with a few odd twists. By way of example one of their value meals was a hotdog, a spaghetti bolognese, rice and a drink. Lesson learned – dont take the 15 year old advice of a person who was 5 on last visit.

2.  Whilst wandering the greenbelt shopping area we were in need of a cold drink.  We came across a place called Happy Lemon and asked what was nice. Jill took the safe option and had a mango smoothie style drink while I was a tad more adventurous and took the girl behind the counter’s recommendation of a rock salt and cheese drink which she swore would be very nice. Now many of you will already be laughing at the concept of a rock salt and cheese drink and in hindsight you would be right. If you can imagine a thin chocolate milkshake covered by about 2 inches of molten liquid cheesecake then that was my drink. I will not be having another.

3. Jill found that there was a Bubba Gump’s restaurant in Makati and she decided that I had to attend as I had never been there and that she had really enjoyed it when she visited in Hawaii. So we went. I hope the nostalgia of her return to Bubba gump and having a Lava Flow cocktail outweighed the greasy deep fried hell that was left in our stomachs at the end.

We are planning to head up to visit the live volcano (Taal) tomorrow a brave move considering that there was an earthquake today which killed 40% of the population in the south near Cebu an Bohol area. Surely that can’t end badly.


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