We arrived in the Philippines with dreams of lazy days, white beaches, and sun, lots of sun. Unfortunately, we did not realize that we were arriving in a country with more than 7000 islands in the middle of the monsoon season. Resigned with the rainy weather, we prepare ourselves to face the 12 million people city that is Manila.
Sunset over Malate, Manila
Rumors are true; the Filipino capital is one of those places that, as a backpacker, you want to leave pretty quickly. The streets are dirty and smelly, traffic is crazy and the pollution emitted by the hundred of jeepneys (Filipino local buses) is hard to cope with. Nevertheless, the old walled zone of the city, Intramuros, offers a glance to colonial times when Spaniards ruled.
Intramuros, the Spanish capital within the Philippines
San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the country
One of the main reasons for us to spend time here was to get our visas at the Vietnamese embassy. HUGE mistake. First of all, you can get the visa online. Second, and this is just what happens when you backpack, we got to the embassy and it was closed because it was Vietnam’s Independence Day, Arrgggh! We finally turned in our passports the next day and, since we had to wait for five days for our visas to be ready, we headed to Palawan island with renewed dreams of white beaches, diving, and the tropical experience…
Halo-Halo, the layered dessert consisting of jello, ice cream, beans, and condensed milk