Hey there travelmaniacs and Steemitians! How’s your day going? I hope you have a great time with your respective travel adventures. Earlier, I have shared to you my travel story about my unplanned visit to the Eltoro Zoo De La Castellana, Inc. This time, it’s gonna be a long way back with my mom and sister, Aira. I’m going to share my travel story about our Manila getaway last 2010.
This was the time that both me and Aira are fresh graduates. Only that I’m one day ahead of her. However, it took me a long while to graduate because I spent 6 1/2 years in college (I shifted courses twice). I’m an Octoberian graduate of 2009 actually, but it needs me to wait until March to finally come up the stage.
Anyways, moving forward to our trip. The real reason why we are heading to Manila that time, is because my sister is applying for a banking job in Landbank. However, it is required that she needs to go to the main branch of Landbank Philippines in Manila to take the qualifying exam.
Although my mom offered to be her companion, she asked me if I could come with them. I had to admit that I’ve never tried riding an airplane before, and it’s my first time to experience that. I took that chance and said yes.
Days later, we packed our bags and head off to the Bacolod-Silay Airport to check-in for our flight.
At first, I’m excited but a bit nervous when the plane is about to take off. My mom told me to relax and calm down. When it takes off, I just felt great. From Bacolod City, it’ll take us more than an hour to reach Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I didn’t remember about our assigned terminal in NAIA back then, not sure if it was 3 or 4.
Anyways, it doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that we’ve finally reached Manila. However, it’s my 2nd time to be in Manila that time. The first time that I got there? I was 3 years old and Kookee (my youngest), isn’t born yet. And I remember that we ride on a ferry which takes us more than 24 hours to get there.
During that time, Grab or other similar apps didn’t exist yet. Not even Google Maps or Waze. And we don’t have any Android phones with GPS or mobile data back then. We just rely mostly on yellow cabs if coming from the airport, because they are more trusted than the white ones.
**IMPORTANT TIPS FOR FOREIGNERS ABOUT TAXIS IN MANILA: **
1. Take a photo of the entire taxi and the plate number. If you're from the airport, there's a counter too which you need to fall in line. When it;s your turn, the assigned employee from the counter would ask where are you going. After that, he writes the plate number of the taxi on the slip and hand it over to you for tracking purposes of the taxi.
2. If you see that the meter box is customized and not the standard, avoid it. One of my friends paid around P700 or $14 from NAIA to Buendia, while me only paying more than P200 or $4 in the same destination. Don't get fooled.
3. Never ever accept the "contract deal" made by the taxi driver. Just stick to the metered rate.
4. Check if the taxi has a displayed ID of the driver with his picture, which is required by the agency and the law. If not, ask him on where is his ID just to ensure he is a legit taxi driver. If there's none and he has some "reasons", better avoid and proceed to the next.
5. See to it that there's no child lock in the passenger doors. You can't get out if there's a child lock being controlled by the taxi driver.
6. In the window of the taxi, there's a sticker of the hotline number in case something goes wrong.
7. Never say you're a first-timer to the taxi driver. He might take advantage of you with his ridiculous prices, re-routing, etc. Just say that you have already visited few places here like Greenbelt, SM Mall of Asia, Intramuros, etc.
8. Open your Waze or Google Maps. Instruct the taxi driver to follow what the GPS says, or much better if the taxi driver already has his own.
As we ride on a yellow cab to our budget hotel, we checked-in immediately. I just forgot the name of the budget hotel that we stayed in Manila, because it was way back in 2010. After checking in, we eat our lunch and it's time to explore.
Since we are Roman Catholics, we took time to go inside the church of Malate and pray to God. After that, we head over to the Luneta Park, which is just walking distance from the church.
After strolling around the Luneta Park, we decided to try riding the classic kalesa.
The price of riding a kalesa from the Luneta Park is P350 or $7.00 for 30 minutes. However, if you are from Intramuros, it cost around P500 or $10.00 for 30 minutes.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR FOREIGNERS WHEN DEALING WITH KALESA RIDERS:
1. Never ever say that you are riding a kalesa for the first time. Just like taxis, these kalesa riders are gonna take advantage of you by offering ridiculous prices.
2. Be aware that the rate they give you is every 30 minutes. When you inquire, just make sure that you include ***"P350 (Luneta Park) or P500 (Intramuros) for how many minutes?", ***and they would say 30 minutes. If they say anything like per hour, don't believe that. Don't get fooled by them.
3. To make sure he doesn't overcharge you, turn on the countdown timer on your phone for 30 minutes. Unless you want more than that, you can pay another P350 if you think 30 minutes isn't enough for you.
There are kalesas that can only accommodate two passengers. Lucky for the three of us, there's a backseat where it can accommodate two more passengers. They would usually offer us to pay after the 30-minute ride. Once we're all set, it's time to explore riding the Philippine kalesa!
After 30 minutes and paying the P350 or $7.00 to the rider, we have some one last pose to the kalesa.
Our next stop would be at the Greenbelt Mall. It's one of the biggest malls in the city of Makati. We took a white taxi going there, and we have to make some re-routes due to the heavy traffic.
The Greenbelt Mall was divided into five (Greenbelts 1 to 5). However, the biggest one is in Greenbelt 5. When I worked in the city of Makati, I often go to Greenbelt 5 most of the time when roaming around.
Just look how beautiful the Greenbelt Mall was, especially if you're from the upper floor. The next big area was the Greenbelt 3, where we could see lots of restaurants and it's where we can watch movies.
As for the Greenbelt 4, all we can see here are stores with expensive luxurious items. I even saw a watch that sells for P1 million or $20k. It's like buying a house. We also checked around Greenbelts 1 and 2, but not really that big like the other ones.
After our whole day tour, we eat some snacks and dinner somewhere before going back to the budget hotel and have some rest.
For the following day, I asked my mom if where we will go next. Suppose to be that we might not go anywhere for the day because my sister is studying for her qualifying exam at the Landbank headquarters in Manila. However, we did strolled a bit for a limited time at the SM Mall in Manila. We didn't take much pictures though.
After a few hours at the SM Mall in Manila, we eat our snacks and dinner somewhere and go back to our budget hotel early evening. Although it's only for a limited time, but I know how important is my sister's qualifying exam. During that time, I did bring my laptop with me to use it instead of watching TV. As she studied, I was working on something because I was a freelance virtual assistant that time.
For our final day in Manila, we check out on our budget hotel and proceed to the Landbank headquarters. We bring lots of stuff, so we decided to put it somewhere. Luckily, we found a swing where we can just put all of our stuff. However, at least one of us should keep an eye on the bags we have.
As my mom and sis headed to the headquarters, I just wait for them. My mom came back to me though, and brought some snacks for us to eat while waiting for my sister to finish her exam. After the qualifying exam was finished, my sister called her mom to fetch her from the building. The results of the exam would take a long while to be released though.
After our brief strolling at the Roxas Boulevard, it's time for us to head back to Bacolod City. We took a white taxi going to the NAIA Terminal 3.
Even if it's just for 3 days, I truly enjoyed it together with my mom and sis. It was truly unforgettable, especially the day when I ride on an airplane and kalesa for the first time in my life!
I had to admit that this is not the first time stepping foot in Manila though. The first one is when I'm 3 years old, and my sister is just one year old (my youngest sister wasn't born that time yet). We didn't ride on an airplane that time though, but on a ferry to Manila. I remember that time that we did visit the Manila Zoo as a family and the Philippine General Hospital, where they had to check me up for something.
I have learned a lot during my Manila experience with mom and sis. Because of that, I'm much more comfortable going to Manila and Makati all by myself when I was working most of the time last year. I did stayed there for several months with some air travels in between (both local and overseas).
Thank you so much for your time in reading today's travel story and travel tips of mine. I hope you liked what you've seen here in my post. My next travel story would be an interesting one, because it's our road trip adventure with my sis and friends in southern Cebu. Cheers!
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