Philippines above and underwater

    Trip planning and ticket purchasing

    «The Kingdom of seven thousand islands» — this is how they call Philippines in the promotional videos that surf world wide web. Having watched these videos it’s impossible not to want to see at least the smallest part of this country with one’s own eyes. «You don’t like this island? Then why don’t you visit another 7106!».

    We decided to go to the Philippines about a year and a half before the trip, we bought the tickets three months before the trip (Emirates: St-Petersburg-Dubai-Manila, ~$920). And we started to work through the itinerary of pur trip.

    The main objective of the trip was diving that’s why such places as Boracay (world-known beach resort, which is in the top ten of world best beaches) were consciously left out in the cold. Day and night googling and studying of Vinskiy forum eventually bore some fruit, giving birth to the next itinerary: Manila-Busuanga(Coron)-El Nido Puerte Princesa-Dumaguete-Iligan-isle Bohol-Donson-Manila. We bought all the connecting flights and ferry tickets in advance. And we understood it later that we should not have been that greedy with our desire to see everything in 20 days. In fact we spent one third of the whole journey on the
    way … :-(

    Manila (transit)

    Arrival

    Manila greeted us with it's traditional tropical sauna. It rained… And it was hot, wet and cloudy. Although while we were landing the darkness fell and nebulosity didn't mean a thing.

    By the way, I couldn't find any book store with guide-books and maps in the international terminal NAIA. But there was a Department Of Tourism Office on the terrace of the first floor in the departure area where you can take a good map of Manila and also some books and papers to look throughfree of charge!

    The hotel driver met us at the airport. We decided to book a hotel in the internet in advance for we thought that we won't be able to look for the hotel after a 20-hour flight. We have chosen a fairly decent hotel for a comfortable price Kabayan. Double room: 1800 php, breafast and lunch for two persons included. Taxi from the airport: 330 php. In fact we could have reached an agreement with an owner-driver fo 200 php, but we had neither energy nor desire to do this. Our only desire was to leave our baggage, take a shower and have a rest from a long flight. The hotel was big, it was located on a busy street; with lots of people and cars. Rush, noise, jeepneys roar…

    We left the hotel to look around and check out the diversity of local food in shops. We found a shopping mall, took a couple of beers, some fish, checked out the prices for the local alhocol and happy about everything we went back to the hotel to have a supper and to surf the internet. The food turned out to be cheap, asian version of business-lunch costed $4-5:

    • vegetable soup on a meat-broth,
    • cuddlefish rice,
    • some kind of beverage more like Yupi.

    But we bought beer in a shop that's why we didn't care about a beverage. The hotel had a free wi-fi, but we had some problems with wi-fi in a room, so we had to surf the internet downstairs in a cafe.

    Departure

    We packed our things in the morning, had breakfast, took a taxi to the airport and set off. The driver turned out to be very sly and all the time danced around the question of price for the taxi and said that it depended on a traffic. Having arrived to the airport the driver named such an inadequate price and we said that it was very expensive and that a seperate taxi takes 300 php and we were going pay the same price to him. The driver complained the traffic and expensive gasoline. So he managed to bargain another hundred php more (that's what we counted for) and went away…

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