Why I Love Manila. PT I

NAIA Manila Philippines
NAIA international airport in Manila, The Philippines

Now, before talking about Manila, I feel it’s necessary to add some context to this story. I’m an Australian citizen who before travelling to the Philippines had never ventured outside of the country. 

I had travelled extensively within Australia but never made the leap to international travel. So what better way to begin with international travel than to dive in head first by spending six weeks in The Philippines. This is the story of my stupor which overcame me upon setting foot in one of the most fun countries in the world, The Philippines.

I woke up early on the morning of the flight to make the 8 a.m. boarding time. We had booked an early morning flight which would get us to Singapore by roughly 2 pm that afternoon. Then we would have 12 – 14 hours in which we could explore the city. We would then return to Changi to take our connecting flight to complete the final leg of the journey.

Upon arriving at Singapore’s Changi airport, everything I had imagined about foreigner airports (mostly built off of what I had seen in movies) had instantly come to life. I was now in a hub where the paths of people from all across the globe merged.

I was surrounded by high-end fashion boutiques, restaurants, money changers,  cafes; basically everything you would want inside an airport. Changi blew me away with what they had available inside the airport. It even has a spa, cinema, and an indoor garden. Eventually, we found the exit through customs; I was now on foreign soil for the first time.

We eventually found the exit through customs after spending a bit of time walking through the airport. We finally walked outside, which made it official. I was now on foreign soil for the first time.

This set the scene for me because Singapore had a standard of living on par with Australia, so the shock of entering the country was not present.

It felt like I was still within an Australian city just with some slight cultural differences and a slightly higher level of humidity. So staying in Singapore for me was just business as usual.

We walked the city for a few hours, visited some malls then had some drinks at a bar filled with young businesspeople. We noticed the bar sold beer with alcohol percentages reaching 15 – 20%. Without hesitation, we jumped on the opportunity to try it, upon the first sip I realised that was a mistake. It was almost undrinkable; the bitterness was a whole different level to anything else I had tried.

After our night of exploring Singapore CBD, we arrived at the hotel around midnight. We were ready our 3 am wake up call to begin the journey to Manila the following morning.

Shortly after closing my eyes I was jerked awake by the sound of an alarm from my phone. It was still complete darkness outside as it was 3 a.m. Unfortunately, it was already time for us to leave. I shook my heavily sleeping brother awake then got ready as the taxi was waiting for us outside. Once arriving at the airport, we bought coffee and sat in a sleepless daze outside the departure gate. This was our state for the following 3 hours.

There we were after an hour of laying across the seating inside the airport we finally made it onto the plane. We were then flying thousands of feet in the sky moving towards our final destination, The Philippines.

I found this section of the flight a lot more enjoyable as you see several deserted islands in the middle of the ocean on the way there. Whereas the flight between Australia and Singapore consisted of 5 hours of looking out across the open ocean.

The flight between Singapore and The Philippines was quite a lot more enjoyable than my first trip, mostly because the flight time was shorter. After roughly 3 hours of flying, we began to approach the mainland of The Philippines. My first thought on approach was how mountainous the country looked compared to everything else I had flown over, rolling mountains come into site topped with thick, lush vegetation, and small sections of farmland dotted the mountainsides. Then the flight began to approach Manila.

Continue the journey here.

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