Sunday 3rd October:
Bit of a sleep in this morning before heading to the Mall (our second home…) at 11:00am ish. We needed to sort out a dodgy Globe mobile phone load for Guy’s phone. Bought the card yesterday and when we tried to load it, it said the card was invalid.
The Globe lady was very helpful and after checking everything out, she gave Guy a new P500 load card to replace the dodgy one. This one all loaded okay so all good.
We found this really great little designer tee shirt shop in our travels with some very cool designs. Jordan purchased six of the designs and unfortunately he had to pay full price, which was P400 ($10.00 AUS) each. Yea okay still a bargain….
Jordan spent a few hours at an Internet café catching up with his friends back home in AUS on Facebook and Guy and I chilled out at Starbucks with a Chai Latte while posting the blog and doing emails.
Very relaxing day.
Monday 4th October:
Up early (6:00am) this morning as we are headed to Subic Bay, the old American naval base that was vacated back in the mid 90s. All 14 of us loaded back into the hired mini van and off we headed north for 2 hours.
This is our first time going north of Manila so interested to see the countryside. It is more rolling hills and rice paddies and was a very pleasant drive. We passed the old American Clark Air force base on the way, which was also vacated by the yanks back in the mid 90s.
Arriving at Subic Bay you would think that you have entered an American suburb or an aussie one. There are parks, baseball grounds with bleachers and lots of “western” looking shops and amenities.
The stores are “Duty Free” which means that the American goods are tax-free. No need to show your ticket or anything, you just buy it and it’s tax-free. Also the American goods are all marked in US$ with the local goods in PHP. And when you check out the final amount is all in US$ and then converted to PHP. All a bit confusing but it works.
And of course the American goods consist of a lot of super sizing. For example you can get a 10L pack of Fruit Loops and other “nutritious” serials.
We went for a drive round the bay past the international airport built by the yanks on the bay to support the naval base. This is quite a large airport and looks like it is still used by the occasional flight. But up the opposite end to the terminal there is a huge maintenance / hangar area that is all deserted and derelict. Would have loved to sneak in and get some pics of the big old derelict buildings but there were men with big guns there.
Also round the port there are lots of the old storage sheds that have now become derelict. Driving back in the hills we passed lots of old ammunition storage bunkers from WWII vintage and old living quarters that are almost fully consumed by the jungle now.
We went to a Safari Park behind the bay where they have the only Tiger population in the Philippines, which includes several white Tigers. The kids went on a two-hour Safari to see the Tiger’s, Crocodiles and some other wild animals. They said it was okay but a bit lame. I didn’t go as I’m not into seeing animals all caged up.
But all in all Subic Bay is an interesting place and we wouldn’t mind going back there and explore it some more especially the history of the old naval base.
Tuesday 5th October:
Back to Greenhills Mall as Jordan wanted to get a “Rolex” watch. Found the one he wanted and after some negotiating the deal was done for P880 ($22.00 AUS). Not bad for a “Rolex” where the negotiations started at P1,800. The watches like the Nike shoes are actually pretty good copies now. The quality has improved.
Then off to Shakey’s for brunch. This has become our favorite eating-place as the food isn’t too bad and it is reasonably priced. Have tried some of the others (Maccas, KFC, Jollibee, etc.) and yet they are crap no matter where in the world you go. At least they are consistent.
Then off to our second home Mall just down the road for some Wi-Fi and Jordan for some Facebook at the Internet café.
Dinner at guy’s Mum’s as her sister, Nida, and three kids return to Queensland (AUS) tomorrow after their holiday here for the last two weeks.
Wednesday 6th October:
Very relaxed day. Back to Greenhills Mall for Jordan who wanted to get some more stuff and of course finished up buying something completely different. Lunch in the food court where we found a Buko Shake. Not as good as our Buko Special but still not bad.
Back to the hotel as Guy has a bit of a cold for the afternoon siesta and then played cards for the evening.
Thursday 7th October:
Slept in till 11:30am this morning as we were playing cards well into the night.
A nice leisurely start then off to the mall once again to escape the midday heat. Bit of a wander round once again. We still manage to find little corners with some hidden away shops when we explore the malls.
Guy and I picked up our new glasses. Amazing how much better you can see when you have the correct glasses.
Jordan was back at the Internet café for a few hours and Guy & I hit Starbucks for a Chai and some Wi-Fi. Dinner at Guy’s Mum’s as it was Guy’s niece’s birthday so of course we had to supply the cakes. Bought two different ones for a bit of variety (Chocolate and a Merangue with custard type as stuffing).
All washed down with a hot cup of tea.
Friday 8th October:
Jordan’s last day today as he flies back to AUS tomorrow so we headed for the Mall of Asia, which is down by the port, as it is one of the biggest in Manila. This is the Mall that has an ice skating rink in the middle of it. Amazing how it is so hot and humid outside and yet in the ice ring it is frozen (no melt water at all).
To get there it was a Trike, MRT and Jeepney ride, which was Jordan’s first experience on the MRT and Jeepney in the heat and humidity.
After a wander and lunch we braved the afternoon traffic in a cab to get back to the hotel. This little trip took over an hour, as the rush hour traffic was bad. The cab driver wanted Guy to pay him P100 extra on top of the fare due to the traffic but after some negotiations she paid him P220 ($5.50 AUS) in total, which included a P40 ($1.00 AUS) “traffic fee”.
We spent the evening playing cards to determine the final cards champion, which is Guy. The card game we have been playing is “Monopoly” which is the card version of the real game. Great fun game.
Saturday 9th October:
Checked out the hotel and moved all our stuff to Beth’s house just a few blocks away. Guy and I will stay here for a couple of night till we head back home to Marinduque which looks like Monday at this stage.
Jordan’s last day so back to the Mall for some last minute “supplies” for the trip back to AUS. Then off to the airport with our taxi driver Beth.
Guy had her good friend Ed (The Police Chief at the airport) organize parking for Beth’s van in the 2 minute area so we could stay for a few hours. Ed arranged for a security pass for Guy to accompany Jordan and him into the departure area for Jordan to check in and immigration sorted while we all waited in a restaurant just outside.
Jordan was able to bypass all the queues with his personal escort and was checked in at Business Class and then through the diplomatic immigration process for all his paper work. All this done and dusted in about 30 minutes.
He joined us for about 1.5-hours back in the restaurant before boarding. As all his paper work was completed, Ed showed him the quick way to get to his gate.
Bit sad to see him leaving but he had a great time with his Mum and cousins and will be back in the New Year for another visit with Jo, his sister, so all are looking forward to this time.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy