Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Manila: The land with Gigantic malls

So we hop on the earliest flight out for our first day in the Philippines and arrived in Manila at around 10am.
So, when we arrived at the airport, there is only 1 queue in sight. Despite many warnings about the yellow taxi, we went ahead to take them because we are unable to find any other taxis. We took the 40 minutes ride to Makati, their CBD area, due to a bad jam since it’s Friday and it costs us about 14SGD, which I thought it was still alright.
High rise in CBD
The hotel only allowed us to check in at 2pm sharp as their room was not ready. But they were really nice to let us put our bags there while we go shopping and have some lunch!

Our lunch at Reyes Barbecue in Greenbelt 1. Total damage: 340PHP ~ 10SGD. They come with a drink of your choice. Looks like a most economical choice as tonnes of people are queuing for this. And it's delicious too!!! And, oh ya, people in Philippines just loves pork. You will see how in my other posts in other cities. :)

And our dinner at Shakey's in Glorietta 3. Total damage: 830PHP ~ 24SGD. Shakey's in Philippines is like a franchise as we see them everywhere, in Manila, in Legaspi, Cebu and even Palawan. Anyway, we were forced to take the hand tossed pizza as the thin crust one was out of stock. No idea how this could happen but ya. We realised during this trips, tonnes of things could happen! The chicken is tender and soft. But I personally feel that they were a little dry on the insides. The pizza was great though. But a little too much for 2.

We stayed at Prince Plaza II Condotel which was great since shopping malls (Greenbelt) is just right across the street, like literally. The rooms are big too as expected from a Condotel (Condominium + Hotel) and it also includes in room amenities like oven, small dining table, stove and refrigerator.

The entire area consist of Greenbelt (5 zones), Glorietta (4 zones), Landmark and SM Makati. They are HUGE! We spent almost the entire day trying to complete Greenbelt and only about 2/3 of Glorietta. And nope, we didn’t even reached SM Makati. But oh well, it was compensated by our last day in Manila when we went SM Mall of Asia. Will cover more on that later.

When we went back to the airport the following day, we caught a white taxi with the help of the guard for our hotel and guess what, it costs less than 4SGD!!! Now you know why the yellow one is a rip off! ARGH!

Some tips about staying in Manila:
1. Try not to stay out late, go back before 930pm. There’re a lot of kids on streets who will try to sell you things and get real close to you. Personally I wasn’t very comfortable with them touching my arms and bags.
2. Keep your bags in sight as much as possible especially in the evening
3. DO NOT take the yellow taxi; take the white one instead. You can thank me later

Since there isn’t any direct flight from Singapore to most of the smaller islands in Philippines, we decided to purchase a round trip ticket to Manila since it’s really cheap during the promotion period for PAL (Philippine Airlines). I heard from a Singapore taxi uncle that he went during the same period as I did and he paid 350SGD for his budget Tiger Airline flight. I ONLY PAID 276SGD FOR MY PAL FLIGHT!!!! (Including check in luggage and on board meals!) SO MUCH WIN!!!

So anyway, back to the topic on SM Mall of Asia. It is HUGE. So huge it’s difficult to describe how big it is. Perhaps about the land size from Orchard MRT to Somerset MRT in Singapore. One other great thing is that it’s really near to the airport. Only a 5-10 minutes drive in normal traffic conditions. So if alike me, you have a few hours to spend before your boarding, hop on a cab and visit this mall. You will be astonished by the mere size of it. Like its logo suggest, No Other Mall Comes Close.

SM Mall of Asia

The Arena

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