Days 1-2: Arriving at Manila Airport, Philippines yesterday evening, the sounds of “Taxi Sir” (and “Madame”) floated through the air. Politely refusing, we made our way to the shuttle bus station and happily found that we were already on the reservation list to take us to the Marriott Manila (we turned down the offer of a limousine to take us and and waited a few minutes for the free shuttle to arrive).
According to Google Maps, the Marriott Manila is only 1.18 miles (1.8 km) from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but after we set off, we realised we wouldn’t be going anywhere fast. Manila is renowned for its traffic congestion and we could see why. Looking to our left we saw roadworks and to the front and back, bumper-to-bumper traffic. What could have taken 5 minutes, in reality took around half an hour, and we were thankful not to have booked somewhere further from the airport.
Upon arrival at the Marriott, we slid our bags through another x-ray machine and were greeted by “Good Evenings” and “Welcome to the Philippines” from the attentive, smiling staff. After our bags were duly delivered to our room, we made our way out to find some food. With not much on offer around the area apart from casinos and shopping malls, we walked through the hotel to the adjoining mall to see what we could find to eat. Like the hotel, the mall gleamed with luxury, and featured a casino and many high-class boutiques. Passing a variety of international options, we opted for a more local restaurant were we could sample a few dishes at not such a great cost (between 200-300 PHP each). Fresh tasting vegetables, breaded tofu, honey pork and glass noodles with drinks, came to around 700 PHP and our bellies were bursting afterwards.
Back at the hotel, we checked out the lounge entertainment in a relaxed and opulent environment and then decided to take an early night, so we could wake up for the breakfast, which we heard was amazing.
The next morning, we made our way down to the breakfast lounge and found more options than we could count. Freshly cooked waffles and pancakes, pastries, made-to-order omelettes and other local staples, such as sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf, were on offer. Washing all of this down with mango juice and coffee, we felt more than fulfilled.
Feeling a little overcome with jet lag, we decided to take advantage of the facilities on offer and made our way to the spa to loosen our muscles in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
After a relaxing and revitalising day, we returned to the same restaurant as the night before and this time sampled the Crispy Tilapia fish and Kare Kare (vegetables in peanut sauce).
Keep up to date with our trip around the Philippines by revisiting our day-by-day ‘30 Days in the Philippines‘ tag.