After ten days in the Chinese Special Administrative Regions of Hong
Kong and Macau, my islands hopping in the South China Sea brought me to
the Philippines. Leaving Macau, there are ferries going directly to the
airport of Hong Kong and it is not necessary to go through the
immigration of this latter city once again. Prices in the Philippines
were much lower than in the previous cities and therefore I could afford a good hotel near the Ermita Mosque, in walking distance of the main sights of the historical city center. The first two days, I spent
my time exploring Manila, the capital city. Intramuros is an historical
part of town with old buildings and Fort Santiago is definitively worth
a visit. One can even play golf there. Walking along the bay of Manila
is a beautiful experience. The SM Mall of Asia is one of the largest
shopping malls in the world, with a lot of diverse shops and food
outlets and even an ice rink. I managed to spend a whole afternoon
there, from before lunch until after dinner. In Rizal park, a green area
in the center, one can enjoy beautiful gardens, whereby people practice
various forms of TaiChi and Chigong in the morning.
On the third day, I went to Tagaytay in order to do some trekking around
the Taal volcano. This volcano is within a lake and in its crater
another lake has been created, and in this second lake a new cone is
emerging. The main challenge was the heat, which can be oppressing for
people not accustomed to such climes. In the evening, we could observe
beautiful fireworks along the baywalk.
For the flight back to Hong Kong, Philippines Airlines was using a
Boeing 747 and it was almost full, at least in economy class. This was a very short stay, too little time to see all the wonderful landscapes of the country and explore the various cultures living in this archipelago.
Pictures of this trip have been added to Facebook: