Feb 10 – Arriving in the Philippines

Continuing from my last travel post (the Japan layover)

We arrive @ MNL – Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at around 5am. I was mostly trying to sleep during the flight and I remember being served a meal but… I too sleepy to eat properly and I just wanted the tray of food to go away so I can go back to sleep. Around this time,  I didn’t have proper sleep for almost 24 hours? Feb 9th in America at 9 am with a 11hr flight to Japan, so 8pm. 7 hour layover and walking around in Japan so 3am, 4 hour flight, so 7am Feb 10th in America. At that point, I didn’t go to sleep till 5pm in the Philippines that day, so 12 hours since arrival, 7pm Feb 10th is when I finally got to sleep on a bed.

So there are no photos at the airport sadly (like a welcome to the philippines sign), but there’s a photo of the sunrise from the van we were in.

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Plane we were on
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My lovely seat view of no screen for 4-5 hours.
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Sunrise of Feb 10th, Manila, Philippines

First order of business was head into the condominium we were staying at for a few days. I didn’t take a picture of what the outside looked like, but I did take a picture of our balcony view.

I forgot to mention, when we got off the plane, it was humid. We went from a relatively cold place (Los Angeles, 70F ish) to a really cold place (Tokyo, 33F) to a really hot place (Makati City, Philippines, 86F). I wore jeans throughout the trip, but I never had to use my jacket for this trip. It was never cold enough. We had to constantly put on bug repellent though because Philippines is so hot and humid, it was the perfect environment for mosquitoes and flies, so we found those quite often.

7-8am ish, first thing we see is a McDonald’s
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How to walk at the crosswalk in the Philippines – Don’t get run over while the light is green.
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Guard doesn’t care


My family wanted to wander outside and eat already, but because it was actually really early, nothing in particular they wanted was open exactly. We did go to this cafe food place called Mary Grace, which seems to be known for their Ensaymada (Bread with Cheese on top). I had a cooked ensaymada with hot chocolate, along with tapa (marinated beef) and scrambled eggs. Filipino hot chocolate is quite different from American or other kinds you would find in the world. This was a very thick one, with the consistency of a dipping sauce more than a liquid drink. I kept adding milk to make it more runny so I could drink it. The scrambled eggs, it was actually a runny kind inside. I really liked it.

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So how much did this breakfast cost me? The fast math way is 50 Philippines Peso is 1 US dollar. Tax is sometimes added to the price already, so we just take the number in front of us. 398 + 252 = 650/50 = $13 USD. A bit pricey on the side of things if you think about it, but was a quite filling meal.

At this point it was like 10am-ish I think, so malls and stores were opening up. We are staying in Makati City, specifically near Greenmall, so it was a relatively high-end brand name fashion mall we walked towards. Makati City is a pretty safe place to stay for tourists and has pretty much everything you need and makes the Philippines look relatively modern. I will mention Philippines really love their malls so much, they had about 3 different ones next to each other and they are much bigger, densely packed with stores than any American mall I’ve seen back home. Philippines is home to some of the largest malls in the world (SM City North EDSA, 4th, SM Megamall, 5ht, SM Mall of Asia, 11th, etc. largest in the world).

Around noon-ish is when I’m supposed to meet some of my cousins, but somehow we just ended up eating again. This is a food court in a mall called Landmark


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At this point, I was surprised to see Bonchon and Gong Cha here, because these are brand names I recognize from NorCal. I quickly hopped on this food and was dirt cheap ($2 USD for food, $3 USD for drink), but I actually was a bit disappointed because the style was much more different. We went to go exchange some money at this point, met with my cousins and walked around the mall more since that’s all we could do anyways. There were a lot of stores and restaurant names I recognize such as Pepper Lunch (Japanese sizzling meat place), Burger King, KFC, Quiznos, FamilyMart (huge convenience store chain in Japan), Ms. Fields, Uniqlo, Cold Stone, H&M, and the list goes on and on. The one purchase I did do in Philippines was buying new glasses, but I’ll go over that in a separate post because it is a nice thing I want to write about. The short of it though, buying glasses in America legitimately sucks ($300+ and a week turnaround) and buying it in Asia rules (1/3rd the price and 20mins turnaround).

At this point it was 4-5pm I believe, which we walked back to our condominium. I passed out till the next day at that point, while my family spent more time with my cousins. Onto Feb 11th, the main reason why I am here, a funeral burial of my now late-grandma.




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