fort santiago

It’s More Fun in the Philippines!

Well hello there! As you can see, I’ve made it home safely from my vacation to the Philippines. Since I’ve already written a few posts about my Philippine vacation last year, I will try to keep this one short. Just like last year I went to Manila and Boracay, unlike last year we hired a driver and Peter’s parents joined us on our vacation! After co workers of both Peter and mine had recommended their driver, we decided to give it a try. Bright and early at 8:00am Rally, the driver, was waiting for us at the airport in Manila. It was nice not having to worry about finding a taxi. We just asked Rally to take us where we needed to go, and he knew exactly how to get there. He also suggested places for us to visit and helped us out when we went to Greenhills and needed to get good prices on things. On the other hand, it was VERY weird for me because he opened EVERY door and held my bags. It took me awhile to get used to all the services he provided. Overall, I am SOOOO happy Rally helped us out during our stay. He showed us parts of Manila that we’d read about and wanted to visit, but didn’t know how to get to.

When we arrived, Rally took us to Hotel Celeste to check in and freshen up. Hotel Celeste is a boutique hotel located near Landmark department store and just down the road from where we stayed last year. That was the first time that we stayed in that Hotel.  We didn’t enjoy our stay in Metro Manila last year, so we decided to stay in Makati City for our entire time in Manila. Hotel Celeste is very nice, the furniture is unique, the shampoos and lotions provided were by L’occitane, we received delicious welcome drinks and the pillows were extra comfy! It’s also in a great location for walking to Greenbelt. Very safe!

Peter and I asked Rally to take us to Greenhills so that we could shop around. Greenhills is known to have all the replica designer clothes and accessories. This time, we explored more and had Rally with us to show us around. Greenhills is a neverending maze of vendors. Upstairs are electronic items, mostly for phones. Downstairs is where EVERYTHING you’ve ever needed would be. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy, whereas Peter knew what he wanted but couldn’t make up his mind. We went again a few days later without Rally to show Peter’s parents around.

When Peter’s parents arrived, we asked Rally to take us sightseeing. He took us to Quiapo and we shopped in the street markets where all the locals shop. I found an AMAZINGLY affordable bead shop where I stocked up on beads for my bracelet making. We visited beautiful churches and I was touched by how big of a role religion plays in the lives of Filipinos. It seemed so pure and the epitome of what religion SHOULD be like to people. Locals stopped by the church to leave a prayer on their way home from work or while they were going about their daily business. In Quiapo, the Black Nazarene is very important. Peter and I stopped to say a few prayers and it brought tears to my eyes. I was very overwhelmed by the hope and faith I felt around me.

Rally drove us through China Town in Binondo, we also drove through Metro Manila and past Coconut Palace.  He was very helpful and I recommend him to anyone visiting the Philippines. In Manila we went to Fort Santiago, where we learned about Rizal’s history. On one of the evenings in Makati, past Greenbelt we found Ayala Triangle Gardens and walked throughout the park. This trip to Manila was so much better than last year’s trip!