We arrived in the city about four days ago and have been staying in an Airbnb in Pasay City. The location is nice; we are in a condo building right across from the Mall of Asia. From our window we can see the mall, and the fireworks that go off on Fridays and Saturdays. There are four pools in a row in the middle of the complex. We have been taking full advantage of the opportunity to relax!
Near our apartment we found a place that does massages, and we have been there there once or twice...
We did take some time to do city exploration in Manila. It was interesting and pretty exhausting. There is no public transportation system that makes sense here. You can take cabs or jeepneys, which are like busses but you just jump on and off through the open back wherever you want. Our first stop was the historic district of town called Intramuros, which was described to us as "Spanish ruins." It is the oldest district in Manila and was the heart of the Spanish Empire during its rule.
Remnants of many wars, used during WWII.
A lot of the area was destroyed during the Japanese invastion in 1942. Kendra's great uncle was killed over Luzon in WWII, and it was interesting to see the area where battles took place. Evidence of all the many wars this area has seen is everywhere.
Due to the Spanish influence the Catholic faith is strong in the Philippines, and there are some beautiful Catholic curches in the area. This is the Church of San Agustin, the oldest church in the Philippines. Construction was started in 1587.
After Intramuros we crossed a bridge and headed into Manila's Chinatown, called Binondo. We got lunch there and walked around. It is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world. The most striking thing was the poverty. There were a lot of children on the streets begging for food. The comparison to the area around the Mall of Asia was striking; the wealth gap here seems severe. Mary notices major differences in Manila since she was here about 9 years ago. Everywhere in Manila was more like Binondo- now certain areas have become fairly wealthy. The Mall of Asia is very western and fairly upscale with many designer stores.
We have been enjoying relaxing and exploring Manila, but we are ready for our next stop: Thailand!