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Monday, 30 November 2015

Manila Trip 2015: Itinerary + Transportation

On 30th September until 5th October, I had travel to Manila (capital city of Philippines) with my friends. Actually this trip will have 7 travel mates including me but one of my friend need to attend her brother’s convocation which fall on the travel date therefore she and her fiance quite from this trip. Lastly, 5 of us continued our trip.

The purpose we choose for Manila for our travel destination because the flight ticket to Manila is cheap. We had bought our flight ticket in last year which a flight ticket return cost me RM 132.50.

The time I went to Manila was not a good travel period because Ringgit keeps depreciate. I had exchanged money for 2 times because I wish that Ringgit will stop from depreciate and my wish not comes true so you can see that the second time of exchange rate is worse that the first time.

First, I had exchange for peso in Arcade Money Changers Sdn Bhd. The rate given was 0.088 so I exchanged RM 528 for 6,000 peso. After few weeks, I came here again for exchange money but the peso was out of stock. Therefore during my KL trip, I had exchanged RM 498.42 for 5,400 peso in Spectrum Forex (Nu Sentral) for rate of 0.0923.

Before go to Manila, I had printed MRT and LRT map for my reference.  For me, I found out that LRT in Manila is not so convenience for travel because when in LRT station, you need walk for some distance in order to arrive the place that you want to go compare with Bangkok which mostly you come out from station, the place is in front of you.

Image credit: Yayaman Ka Rin

29th September 2015 (Tuesday)

Labuan International Ferry Terminal >> Menumbok Ferry Terminal >> Kota Kinabalu Bus Terminals >> Jesselton Point

Ferry Express did not operated on this day so I took big ferry for 2 hours (7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) to Menumbok and took around 2 hours plus (9:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.) bus to Kota Kinabalu. As my friend was so busy hence I walked to Jesselton Point for a lunch and resting to wait for my friend to finish her work.

30th September 2015 (Wednesday)

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) >> Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA Terminal 3) ---White Taxi --- The Oasis Paco Park Hotel >> Robinson Place >> Goldilocks (Dinner) >> The Oasis Paco Park Hotel

The time we arrived hotel’s room, the sky start raining. Before this, my friend had seen the weather forecast that during our travel period, the weather is not so good because has period rain. 

The manila streets like a maze because we get lost of it when want go to Robinson Place so we kept asking people around. Some people even did not understand what we talk about. Lastly we had found a way to the mall. Walk through street is good if you know the way because can short cut but we did not know how to go from street so we walk on big road to the mall.

If you know the way, it is quite easy. From hotel, we just need to walk to Paco Park’s entrance and go straight from Paco Park’s entrance then will see the big road. After crossing the road and go straight, Robinson Place at the left hand side.

The security in mall is high because every time goes in the mall, it has security check for body and bag. Robinson Place is quite big and has many wings or entrance so we need to remember which entrance we go in because when back, we also need to find the same entrance to go out.

1st October 2015 (Thursday)

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel --- United Avenue LRT Station --- Carriedo LRT Station --- Binondo (Chinatown) >> Lan Zhou La Mian (Breakfast) --- Tricycle --- Quiapo Market & Church --- Tricycle --- Manila Central Post Office --- Tricycle --- Intramuros (Casa Manila, San Augustine Church + Museum & Fort Santiago) --- Tricycle --- Rizal Park >> Lapu-lapu Monument >> Robinson Place >> Chowking (Dinner) >> The Oasis Paco Park Hotel

The LRT station in Manila did not link together. It means that you need to know which way of LRT go to. If not, you need to cross a big road in order go to another way of LRT station. First, we went to LRT stations which go to the Beclaran way and informed that this is not the station because we want go to Binondo. We need walk to opposite LRT station which the way to Monumento. Why these two stations cannot link together because the road in Manila quite horrible with full of car so need be careful when cross the road.

The station that we want to go was Carrido LRT Station which Binondo located at. For senior citizen aged 60 years old and above, it is free of charge to take LRT. The staff will need to record the details of senior citizen. The fare to Carrido LRT station cost me 15 peso. The fare for LRT is around 15 peso to 30 peso.

Inside of LRT have lots of people so we wait for second LRT to go in. LRT had Female Area to wait for LRT. We like sardine when inside of LRT. After few minutes, we were arrived Carriedo Station, we asked around the way to Binondo. The purpose to Binondo is for food.

The online map I saved cannot use in Binondo because the map look so simple but actual it has many ways, we did not know when is the time for turn left or right. I think the map I saved did not zoom in properly. Last, we eat our breakfast at Lan Zhou La Mian.

Image credit: Looloo Insight
After breakfast, I want to find for Lord Stow’s Bakery for egg tart because it has branch in Manila plus I did not go to Macau yet. After asking a lady who is a teacher for 20 years and knew that my egg tart was very far away so we decided to cancel it and move to Quiapo Market. The teacher was so kind because she helped us to look for tricycle and negotiate with them. Five of us need to separate into 2 tricycles. The bicycle tricycle cost 50 peso and motorcycle tricycle cost 60 peso.

When in Quiapo, we went around to see and take picture. After that, we crossed a small bridge and thought that Manila Central Post Office maybe just around. Who know? When we walked for a while, we had seen a big road bridge with lots of car. Then, we start to ask around the way to post office. People suggest we took tricycle. We had negotiated with tricycle driver that she took us to post office and Intramuros. The tricycle is quite big so five of us can fit in and one of my friend sit on motorcycle with driver. It cost us 250 peso to 2 places.

Inside Intramuros, we walked around to take photo. The guard in Intramuros can speak well in English so we easily can find Casa Manila and San Augustine Church. On the way to Fort Santiago, we had walked to the wrong way that reached Baluarte De San Diego Garden. From Garden to Fort is quite a long distance and all of us were so tired in walking so we choose to take tricycle.

The tricycle driver knew that we are from Malaysia so he said that has given us a discount price to Intramuros and Rizal Park. The tricycle which I took cost me 200 peso. After visited Fort, it started raining. I was so sad to see the driver ride the bicycle to take us to Rizal Park under the rain so I had gave him some tip when I arrived. In Rizal Park, we went to a restaurant to wait for rain stop.

After visited Rizal Park, we planned to have dinner at Robinson Place again because it was the places we familiar with as at night is not suitable go to other place to avoid get lost. When walked for a while, we started to ask around to know either turn left or right to reach Robinson Place.

A lady told us the direction of Robinson Place was opposite side. I did not quite trust for her answer because in my mind has a simple map that Robinson Place just either left or right from here, won’t be opposite side. My friend told me that should be trust for lady because she was very confirm and pointed us to opposite side. Therefore we followed the direction of lady and found out that it was a wrong direction and need go back. Moral of the story, if has any doubt for the answer from local, need ask some more locals to double confirm it.

On the way to find Robinson Place, we had asked for a young man. He took out his hand phone and showed us the Google Map to that place. Usually people use words to give the direction but the young man use GPS to give us the direction. Cool!

During travel, we did not eat many fruits therefore when we saw Robinson Supermarket has a salad stall. We bought some salad with fruits for our supper.

2nd October 2015 (Friday)

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel >> Jollibee (Breakfast) >> Manila Ocean Park >> Pinoys Delights (Lunch) --- Taxi --- Star City >> The Singing Cooks & Waiters Atbp Restaurant (Dinner) --- Taxi --- The Oasis Paco Park Hotel

This day we planned went to Manila Ocean Park. First we tried walked to there if possible. If cannot find Ocean Park, maybe we will use public transportation or taxi. Along the way, we had saw Jollibee so we went to there to have our breakfast.

It was having small rain so we walked by using umbrella. Like usual, we asked around for the way to Ocean Park. If you can find Rizal Park then Ocean Park is just very near with. Jollibee is at one of the street so we need walk out from the street in order to find Rizal Park because Rizal Park impossible inside of the street. After crossing a big road, we can saw Rizal Park and then walked straight can saw Ocean Park.

After visiting Ocean Park, we took taxi to Star City which cost us 300 peso. In Ocean Park, you can easily find the transport to anywhere. After visiting Star City, it’s time for dinner. We plan go to The Singing Cooks & Waiters Atbp Restaurant for dinner.

Before this, I had seen different location addresses of the restaurant via online so I had emailed to ask for them. Below is the reply email from them regarding the location:-

We are located right in front of the fly over on the opposite side of Star City, along Roxas Blvd near corner Sen Gil Puyat Street. To be more accurate, we are across World Trade Center on the opposite side of Roxas Boulevard and near corner Sen Gil Puyat Street.

When took Ferris Wheel in Star City, I had saw World Trade Center so we walked to there. At World Trade Center has security guard so we asked for the direction to the restaurant but they did not know about it but when we asked for Sen Gil Puyat Street, they knew it and told us the direction. Finally we were arrived the restaurant.

The Singing Cooks & Waiters Atbp Restaurant is full of fun even security guard also like to smile and sing a song when met us. When we backed, the security guard helped us to find a taxi. The taxi driver charged us 300 peso to our hotel.

3rd October 2015 (Saturday)

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel --- United Avenue LRT Station --- EDSA LRT Station --- Metropoint Mall >> Chowking (Breakfast) --- Taft Avenue MRT Station --- Ayala MRT Station ---Bonifacio Global City Bus Station (BGC Bus) --- Market Market >> SM Aura Premier --- Jeepney --- BGC High Street ---Taxi --- Mall of Asia >> Ya Kun Kaya Toast (Lunch) --- Taxi --- The Oasis Paco Park Hotel >> Paco Park >> Robinson Place >> Handaan (Dinner) >> The Oasis Paco Park Hotel

In order to go Makati, we need to take LRT and MRT. First, we took LRT from United Avenue Station to interchange station which is EDSA LRT Station. It cost me 20 peso per way. After get out from LRT, we need to use stairs up to Metropoint Mall. Inside of mall can reach MRT Station.

In MRT Station, it has a long queue. From Taft Avenue MRT Station to Ayala Station cost 13 peso. The fare for MRT is from 13 peso to 28 peso. Compare with LRT, MRT did not have many people inside of it. I still have a seat.

The fare from Taft Avenue Station to following Station:-
Magallanes, Ayala: 13 peso
Buendia, Guadalupe: 16 peso
Boni, Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas: 20 peso
Santolan, Araneta-Cubao, CMA Kamuning: 24 peso
Quezon Avenue, North Avenue: 28 peso

When at Ayala Station, we need go to Telus Building through a bridge in order to reach BGC Bus Station. When arrived bus station, I hurry went to queue up and I had been told that need to buy a ticket to get into the bus. The bus ticket cost 12 peso.  

To go SM Aura Premier, we need to take East Route Bus. The bus will stop at many bus stops during the trip. Our bus stop is “EDSA-BGC Bus Terminal” which is the last station. In bus, we quite confused where we need to go down. Luckily we had met with a foreigner and she told me that go down at last station and pointed to us the direction to SM Aura Premier.

When at bus station can see some arts, stalls and small amusement. Near with bus station has Jeepney station.SM Aura Premier is a high end shopping mall. My friend wants to look for NBA café (5th floor) in the mall. Due to meal expense in café is high so we just take a look at outside. Then we took Jeepney to BGC.

This was my first time to take Jeepney so we asked the driver to tell us where to go down. Jeepney usually takes by local because at anywhere, passengers can be going in and out include on the road.  Local know at where they need to go down. Besides that, local also know the price of it so for those who sit very far from driver can pass money to the people that near with until pass to driver. Jeepney is not suitable for foreigner like us because we did not know whether our destination reach or not but you can have a try. The English of driver is limited. We paid for 8 peso to BGC High Street.

From online, my friend found out that Bonifacio Global City (BGC) has public art which is so beautiful. We did not do a proper preparation to there and thought that local may know about it so finally we cannot find public art and BGC is so big. If next time has chance, I would like to explore BGC again with preparation.

At Fort Bonifacio has shuttle bus to City of Dream but when we asked around, no one known about it. When we asked a young office lady with her friends, although they did not know, she still helped us asked for security guard but the guard also did not know about it. Therefore we took taxi to Mall of Asia. It cost us 250 peso. When write for this post, I found out that shuttle bus from Bonifacio was took away. If you want go City of Dream by shuttle bus, you can take from Mall of Asia as I had saw the bus at there.

After having lunch and shopped in Mall of Asia, we took taxi back to hotel. The taxi charged us 180 peso. In evening, we walked to Paco Park and having dinner in Robinson Place.

4th October 2015 (Sunday)

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel --- Taxi --- Greenhills Shopping Center >> ArmyNavy Burger + Burrito (Breakfast) >> Promenade >> Won Ton Restaurant (Lunch) --- Taxi --- SM Mega Mall >> Komoro Soba Japanese Restaurant (Dinner) --- Taxi --- The Oasis Paco Park Hotel

Last night, we had asked receptionist about the budget mall around Manila. She suggested Divisoria and Greenhills Shopping Center. I had saw many reviews about Divisoria is dangerous because has many pick pockets so we did not go there although the things are very cheap.

In the morning, we took taxi to Greenhills Shopping Center which cost us 150 peso. We reached there before 10a.m. so we were having breakfast first. Greenhills Shopping Center is a mall with store and stalls that sell cloths, bag, food and many more. You can bargain with stall owner and the price is reasonable. The famous 7D mango dries also sell at there.

At Greenhills Shopping Center has a bridge which can go to Promenade. Promenade has a big movie theater and some restaurants. It is smaller than Greenhills Shopping Center. After having lunch at Promenade, we took taxi to SM Mega Mall which cost us 145 peso.

As we were lazy went out to hunt for dinner after back to hotel so we take away our dinner in Japanese Restaurant. That time raining was so difficult to get the taxi and the taxi rate has a little bit expensive. Last we just managed bargain for 400 peso back to hotel.

5th October 2015 (Monday)

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel --- Taxi --- NAIA Terminal 3 >> Cowan Aisan Express (Breakfast) >> KKIA --- Taxi --- Kota Kinabalu Bus Terminal --- Menumbok Ferry Terminal --- Speedboat ---Labuan International Ferry Terminal

Before this, my friend had booked for a taxi by telling him that took us to airport on 6:00 a.m. After 10 minutes, we did not saw the taxi so we tried to look for other taxi which at outside of hotel. We had found a taxi but we quite worried that whether this driver can be trust or not. After saw the hotel bell boy greet with that taxi driver, we knew that he can be trust. The taxi driver charged us 500 peso to airport.

When in Kota Kinabalu, the taxi driver took us to terminal bus first because I want to go back. After said goodbye with my friend, I bought bus ticket to Menumbok and having lunch at KFC. When in Menumbok, I took speedboat back to Labuan because it is faster than take big ferry.

After backed from Manila, I cannot travel overseas unless renew my passport. Where is my next destination? I also don’t know, hope next year can explore to more countries. :D

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