Being in Manila was a bit like being home, but in the Philippines. Almost every fast food restaurant from the states was there, we had RANCH and of course the thing that makes a place home – family! This was the view from Steve and Karen’s place, weren’t we lucky?
shopping malls were EVERYWHERE! Some had nicer shops, some had cheap but amazing clothes, and some had marching bands playing in the basement.
When I told people that I was going to the Philippines, all of my friends who were in the military and stationed there said one thing in common – have a mango for me. So I did… One for each of them. It’s true, I think that Filipino mangos are THE BEST.
Our first night in town was one for the books. We all contributed in a big family dinner of steaks, salad, rice, chips & queso and loads of fresh veggies with ranch.
After dinner, Karen took Stacey and me to a night market where we saw lots of “crazy” foods like chicken intestines, blood and liver!
After the night market we shared a few beers, lots of laughs and listened to an awesome cover band at a bar in the Greenbelt Mall
One thing Stacey and I did really well in the Philippines is SHOPPING! Pearls & kimonos were our favorites and at less than $3 for a pair of beautiful real pearl earrings, you can’t help but go a little crazy.
Karen and I had this amazing and beautiful red iced tea with our lunches
Stacey opted for Vietnamese coffee
This is my glorious, massive bowl of beef & veggie pho.
I LOVED IT!
One of our drivers, June, played tour guide for us one day and after taking us to the National Museum drove us in front of this fort and said I’ll see you in 30 minutes or so. Haha! So, without knowing where we were or why we were there we took a little tour of this old fort – Fort Santiago.
It offered a really cool view from the top
Looking down into the courtyard
After our stop at Fort Santiago, it was time for a stop at Manila Cathedral. There have been several church-structures on this site since 1571 that were either damaged or destroyed by fire, earthquakes and even a bombing, but the structure that stands now was completed in 1958.
Did I mention that Stacey and I went Kimono crazy!? I bought 5 and she bought 3!
Our time in the Philippines was incredible and a large part of what made it so incredible was staying with Steve and Karen. Having our accommodation free in Manila, having drivers as often as we did and having so many meals provided for us is truly what allowed us to do some of the extra-special things (like swimming with whale sharks). I’m eternally grateful to their generosity and love. Thanks again, guys, it meant so much to me!
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