Posted by: gardner310 | July 16, 2014

World Cruise, Multi-faceted Manila

The Famous Manila Hotel

              The Famous Manila Hotel

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Because we have a large Philippine crew on board, the spirit on the ship was high since many of them would be able to see their family members in the two days we were docked there. It turned out to be a wonderful couple of days with hundreds of friends and family members on the ship enjoying the food and companionship of their working contact. I helped check in the visitors the first day and it was fun to see their excitement.

The ship is docked very near the old Manila Hotel, where Douglas MacArthur stayed during WWII. If you ask the concierge at the hotel they will take you up to the fifth floor and give you a tour of his accommodations. You can’t help but feel the history coming to life. After the visit to the hotel we headed to Robinson’s Mall for lunch and wifi plus a little necessary shopping, the boring kind – toothpaste, air freshener, etc. I did score a bag of my favorite potato chips that made my day.

Day 2 in Manila had Michael and I walking to the old historical walled area. It was about 25 minutes along the golf course to Ft. Santiago the southern entrance to the area. The fort was built in 1571 but has been rebuilt over the centuries during its many ownerships. That day saw a lot of visitors, mostly locals in school and tour groups. It’s nice to see a site that is well attended by residents as well as tourists.

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Fort Santiago

                            Fort Santiago

The walk north through the city had us passing the cathedral and St. Augustin’s, both of which are closed but we found a wedding couple having their photos taken and it’s always fun to watch that. The old city is inhabited and quite busy commercially. It is also very poor and you can see a large homeless population in some areas. They are doing some restoration of some of the lovely old colonial buildings and that’s a good sign.

It was our first visit to the Philippines and it would fun to return and be able to see the islands outside of Manila. Corregidor was a big draw for some of our guests and I would like to see it myself one of these days.

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