Dokodemo Door!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Journey to Manila #2

Perhaps the best part of this trip was the opportunity to sample heaping portions of the local cuisine. After all, who can resist chopped piglet with hoisin sauce in steamed pancakes? The peanutty temptation of kare-kare? The tangy pungency of adobo? Or... the unsettling mystery-meat of sisig?

Psst! Wanna know the secret to crunchier sisig? Extra cartilage!

And in the midst of all this fine food, one must not forget that there was also...!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Journey to Manila #1

Okay, as for Manila, I only had a few short days to spend there. Consequently, I didn't see or do a great many things that I could have done. If I'd stayed an extra day, I might have had a chance to see Corregidor island.

San Agustin Church, Intramuros

Despite the fact that my entire schedule was arranged around the conference I was attending, I managed to pack-in some decent stuff around the margins...

Metro Manila is a sprawling urban area which is subdivided into different "cities." Going from one to the next can show the stark wealth differences that occur in lots of countries. Makati, the business district, is a rich section of town with shiny office buildings, gleaming international banks and well-appointed shopping centers. In the Tondo district, you can catch a glimpse of, well...

Not a suggested venue for lunch

To be fair, I should note here that there are plenty of non-filthy places in Manila as well.

On my first afternoon off, we headed to Intramuros, the old walled section of the city which made-up the core of Spanish-era Manila.

Unfortunately, Intramuros was blasted into a burned-out shell by heavy urban fighting during the Second World War and there's been a mixed record in restoration of what's left. Nonetheless, there are some historic buildings worth seeing such as the old Palacio del Gobernador, San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago.

Manila Cathedral (not particularly old), from the inside of Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is a stone military emplacement dating back to the 1600s; apparently it had been burned and repaired several times. It changed hands from the Spanish to the Americans in 1899, and fell to the Japanese in 1942.

The fort also has a darker aspect. José Rizal, the pro-independence activist, was incarcerated there by the Spanish prior to facing a firing squad; there is a line of bronze footsteps running across the grounds of the fort's plaza to represent his final walk. And during the Japanese occupation, the ammunition bunkers were converted into jails; about 600 corpses were recovered at the end of the Second World War, many of them showed signs of starvation and torture.

Just to the north, the fort overlooks the Pasig River. It isn't much to look at, but there's quite a smell...

Swimming is not recommended

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let's English! #10

It's the only soap in the world that makes you feel less clean...