Monday, January 12, 2009

Trip to Manila

Since the day I landed at Ninoy Aquino Airport, Manila, The Philippines, people always speak to me in Tagalog. They thought I am Filipino. I have expected this because I do look like the Filipinos... :) especially when I introduce my self with my full name. When I'm out of my country, Indonesia, people always think I come from The Philippines. I'm fine with that. I just have to inform my nationality to people when they start to speak in Tagalog to me. They will give me a big warm smile because they also understand that the Indonesians and the Filipinos look alike. :)

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to visit Manila. I think I'm just lucky to be able to spend a 2 week-vacation here with my 2 children. It's like hitting a jackpot especially during this economic downturn.

I was very surprise to find out that Manila looks exactly the same as Jakarta, Indonesia, in almost everything, such as: the traffic jam, the people, the way of life, the transportation (they have jeepney, we have microlet. They have motorbike trishaws, we have becak (trishaw)/ojek(motorbike taxi)). It's like going back home to me. The main difference is just the language we speak. But some of the people I know in Manila know how to speak bahasa Indonesia as well. So, when they speak bahasa Indonesia to me, honestly, I completely forget that I am in The Philippines.

On this trip I don't stay in the heart of the city but in the area called Alabang. Alabang is in the south of Manila. It's about 1 hour drive from Manila with traffic jam or about 30 minutes without the jam. I'm not accustomed anymore to the hectic situation in big city like Manila. I prefer to stay out side the city where things are more in order and cleaner.

So far I have visited Manila, Santa Rosa, and Tagaytay. I can only visit Manila on the weekend since there is less traffic on the weekend. I don't like to get trapped in the long traffic jam. It's a waste of time. I personally don't really fancy visiting Manila. I went there just to visit Manila Cathedral and St. Agustine Church in Intramuros. Going to Manila to me is like going back to Jakarta. Even when I go back to Jakarta, I seldom go out of the house because of the traffic jam everywhere.

I prefer Santa Rosa and Tagaytay. Santa Rosa is on the same direction as Tagaytay. The trip to Tagaytay reminds me of my trip to Puncak (near Jakarta). Along the way to Tagaytay, I saw many people selling tropical fruits such as pineapples, bananas, manggosteens, pandan coconut, jackfruits, etc. The fruits are fantastic! I love the pineapples and the pandan coconut very much. They sell the pineapples 100 Pesos (approximately 8 Ringgit Malaysia) for 6 pineapples and 10 Pesos for 1 coconut. I also saw people selling steamed corn on the roadside.

It's very cold at Tagaytay because it is higher up the mountain (volcano actually). The soil is also very fertile. I can see the pineapples, corn, and coconut plantations along the way. The view was fantastic. I could see a small volcano inside a volcano (Taal Volcano). Too bad I did not have a chance to visit People's Park at Tagaytay.

So far things have been great. The people I met are very helpful, polite and friendly. I hope to enjoy this trip as much as I can. If I have a chance, I'll post more story for you. In the meantime, you can view the slideshow of some photos I took here in The Phillipines.


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