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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care


Manila  What a change from Japan. It is hot and humid. I rarely see men in suits, it’s casual wear or shorts and flip flops. At first I thought the city was dirty. But on closer inspection, trash is relegated to piles, air polution and mold give a black shade to all of the building. The traffic reminds us of Jordan or Rome - lanes, ha ha! The drivers are always looking for ways to squeeze in to move ahead more quickly or take short cuts through gas stations. Pedestrians are always jay walking causing more slow downs. Somehow they all work together to get from point A to B.

Our Airbnb apartment is in a tall building on the 15th floor. The lobby by the elevator is decorated for Halloween with a monster, the bottom half of a decapitated body, lots of spider webs and spiders and to further set the mood, screaming coming from the speakers.

The Cash & Carry grocery store is close to the apartment. It is already decorated for Christmas and they are already playing Christmas music. The building is more than a very large grocery store. There is a fast food court, several restaurants, and many kiosks selling take-out pizza to pretzels. We have been here several times as we are buying bottled water to drink. You don’t realize how much water you drink until you have to buy it.

I have been to the Makati Medical center to see a doctor. I needed to refill my prescriptions.  For the price of one Advair breather in the USA I bought seven plus some other drugs. The doctor charged $17.74.

In order to get to Mindoro Island we must take a two hour + bus ride to Batangas Pier and a one hour ferry. The trip would have been shorter if we didn’t have to pick up venders selling food for the trip along the way. Well I guess everyone needs to make a living. What a surprise to discover the ferry is an extra large outrigger!!

I have splurged on this Airbnb $92/night but worth every penny. 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms and a knock down dead view from the cliff. We spend most of our time on the covered upper deck. There are 217 steps down to the beach. What goes down must also come up!

Took a little tour of the peninsula where we are staying. It is a beautiful area. But not everything in paradise is perfect. TINY ANTS. They are driving me crazy. We sit down to eat and by the time I go in to clean up the dishes, the ants are on the counters eating any minuscule piece of food. I have to be meticulous about cleaning up but with a dark counter top it is hard to see every little crumb. Costa Rica revisited only we don’t have howler monkeys.

As we were sitting on the deck Sunday, a parade of sail boats, 50 at least, came sailing by just to enhance the beauty of my view, very narcissistic of me!

After a great week on the island of Mindoro we head back to Manila to catch a plane to the island of Palawan. Our one night stay is in a hotel next to the airport, mall and the casino before our flight. We have lots to keep us busy. Baccarat is a huge game over here. They keep saying it’s like “21” but I couldn’t understand the rules.

Our hotel on Palawan is a disaster.  The air-conditioner barely worked and Gary didn’t have any water for his shower. The owner was very understanding and said to check out the Microtel Hotel which we booked. We had a lovely view of the water from our room at the Microtel Hotel.

Our big tour was of the UNESCO Underground River Park. We are so glad we went even with the 3 hr round trip in a van to get to the area.

We have tried lots of Filipino food which is very tasty. My favorite was the fish ceviche - very spicy but delicious. The papaya is not as good as they grow in Hawaii but their tiny pineapples are yummy.

We are batting 0 for 2 - our inter-island flights have been delayed and our flight departing the Philippines on Nov. 18 has been rescheduled  2 hours later than my booking which means we now have a 4 hour lay-over ugh! We are definitely on island time.

Cebu City seems to be less “in your face” poverty. The traffic doesn’t seem to be as frenetic as Manila either. Our Airbnb is very compact - even more so than Tokyo. The Ayala Mall is fairly close by and, OMG, the mall is huge and very modern! We bought groceries, gin and tonic. There is nothing like a G&T on a hot humid day.

We purchased a city tour of Cebu City. I wasn’t so sure about the guitar factory but it was very interesting. The guitars are all hand made. From an historical view point, Magellan in 1521 was the first European to discover the Philippines. The Chinese had long been in the islands trading goods and immigrating.  I knew the USA had what I thought was a “Protectorate” status with the Philippines. The USA actually bought the islands from Spain in 1898. We didn’t treat the natives very well, just like the Indians.

Because we didn’t get out of the van to see Fort San Pedro on the city tour, Gary & I decided to go back on our own. Tour guides “in training” were giving tours of the Fort.  Angel did an excellent job. She will graduate soon. When the tour was over we went back to Ayala Mall for a refreshing drink and an early dinner.  When we got back to the apartment we noticed a party at the pool. A young girl was having a birthday party using Disney’s Frozen as the theme. The decorations were amazing.

Batting 0 of 4 for 3 inter-island flights and one international flight. All were delayed - the international was delayed twice. We bought some snacks for the long lay-over before our flight from Manila to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Gary found Blue Diamond almonds with sardines!!!    He was not impressed and he left most of the can un-eaten - and he is a big sardine lover. Go Figure!  We are so excited for our trip to Angkor Wat. I have a tuk-tuk driver and guide already lined up.