Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rounding Up My Manila Experience

Despite having traveled to some of Mindanao's farthest places (Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, Lanao del Sur and Davao Oriental) which many considered as unsafe and dangerous, I admit it is the thought of exploring Manila that scared me as a traveler. It is not due to my complete unfamiliarity of the place that frightened me but the fact that crimes which happened in the country's capital are what I often see, hear and read on the news everyday. I often tell myself that I would rather travel to unheard towns and provinces you can't search in Google than explore "dangerous" Manila.

The opportunity to visit Manila (for the first time after 11 years) however presented itself when the company I've worked for enrolled us in a one-week seminar in U.P. Diliman. I was both excited and scared about the trip and told my officemates that when we reach Manila, I would never stray away from them, lest I'll get lost in the urban jungle. : )

We flew from Cagayan de Oro to Manila on a clear and sunny Sunday morning. I was seated by the plane's window and after one hour of flight these are my first glimpses of Manila:

Photos taken while we're aboard the plane.

I felt right at home upon arriving in U.P. Diliman, Quezon City. With lots of trees and wide open spaces, it seems like I am still in my home province. We stayed at the University Hotel (P1,850/room good for 3 persons) on the first two nights then transferred to the Francisco Benitez Alumni Hostel since it has cheaper room rates (P950.00/room good for 3 persons).

 The Oblation

U.P. Diliman feels like home to me.

For 5 days, this is our daily routine in U.P. Diliman: running around the campus in early morning, breakfast at the Consumer Cooperative Canteen, attend classes at the U.P. NEC building (with free snacks and lunch) and dinner at the coop canteen again. Twice I checked my Facebook account at an internet cafe in the Shopping center where we also bought some souvenir shirts in the U.P. Maroons shop. We also went to Trinoma and SM North Edsa twice since it is only one jeepney ride away (fare: 11 pesos).

 U.P. Sunken Garden

Minsan sa may Kalayaan...the dorm where Eraserheads was born.

At the end of our seminar, we transfered to Land Bank Training Center in Intramuros, Manila. Though, I was amused by the old heritage structures inside the walled city, the presence of slum-like dwellings in some areas are not so pleasing to the eyes.  

 A cobble stone street in Intramuros, Manila

Manila China Town in Binondo

In Manila, we were able to visit China Town in Binondo, the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, Luneta Park and SM Mall of Asia (I will write separate posts about these places soon).

 The Manila Cathedral

Fort Santiago

All roads lead to MOA!

And in the morning of February 27, we woke up early, hailed a taxi to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and joined the Philippine Daily Inquirer 25th Anniversary Run. It was during this run where I finished my first ever 10K race!

 That's me running towards the finish line (thanks to my officemate Pabs Loveres for this photo)

We left Manila late Sunday afternoon, exactly one week after we arrived. Our week-long stay made me realize that Manila is not really that dangerous after all (as long as you take good care of yourself and take some necessary precautions. hahaha!). There are still plenty of places to explore and I will make sure that I'll visit some of them when we go back again this month.  


  1. "All roads lead to MOA" - Matutuwa si James sa feature na ito :)

  2. Galing ah, nakasali ka pa sa anniversary run at dami napuntahan kahit one week lang, the first and last time I joined a 10k race, i ended up walking to the finish line :)

  3. @pinay travel junkie: hahaha!i remember, it's james "second home" pala.grabe, ang daming tao last saturday.

  4. @lakwatsera: actually, one day lang talaga kami naka-pasyal, since the whole week we were in U.P. Diliman. takbo tayo ulit!

  5. Earl.

    I missed the walled city very much when we had our training here for 45 days. Wala pa sad to digital camera that time. I only have 36 shots film camera at nadunot na bai. Cge balik ta diha sunod, hehehe. Congrats for the PDI Run.:-). Hopefully that I can join the group on the later part of the training. Ampo jud daghan.:-).

  6. Manila is full of smoke and taxi drivers are horrible. I prefer to go to mountains and see some falls. :D but one place I love in Manila is the ocean park. hehe

  7. @bon: dapay uban jud ka para naa mi guide.kuyog dayon ta dagan didto!

  8. the view from the plane.. Manila looks polluted.. :o

  9. Maybe I am just a probinsyana but I never dream of living in Manila. I would rather stay in the province.

    And one of the places I wish to live is Bukidnon. I once went to Talaandig - I luv the weather and greenery.

  10. I really like your post you done a great jobs . Thanks for sharing valuable information.To get Cheap flights to Manila from UK visit


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