Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia

Date: April 23rd 2011

After yesterday’s grueling photo session, I enjoyed a really good sleep. A little too well I suppose. I got up around 11am and only had ‘breakfast’ by noon. Given it was officially half-day, it was too late for me to go to Mount Pinatubo, which I thought of doing today. Because for that, I should get there early since it involves trekking up to the now dormant volcano.

I could have stayed another day in Angeles City and checked out Clark, but in the end, I decided head back to Manila. Figured if I ever come to Philippines again, Angeles City isn’t too far from Manila and I can do Mount Pinatubo & Clark Duty Free then.

I checked out of Red Tulip Hotel and took a trike to Dau bus terminal.

Bus ticket Angeles City to Manila Philippines
They punch the ticket. Notice the 100 and the 8 on the top right (₱108 = $2.5/€1.8).
Bus journey Dau to  Manila mountain Philippines
Was that Mount Pinatubo?

Bus journey from Dau to Manila farm land Philippines

Bus journey from Dau to Manila farm countryside
The journey to Manila took less than one and half hours

I reached Manila by 2pm and I had no clue where in the city I was. All I told the bus folks were that I needed to go to Pasay. They stopped under a big flyover and asked me to get down, saying I can easily get to Pasay from here.

SM Megamall Shangri-la hotel Manila Philippines
Hailed a taxi, passed by an SM Mall and even Accenture's office
Inside Manila taxi to Pasay Philippines
It was one straight drive, but it cost ₱140 ($3.2/€2.3)! I was NOT happy about spending more on a short drive to Pasay than I did getting to Manila by bus!

I had booked a dorm bed for two nights at Kabayan Hotel, a place I liked a lot. I had to catch an early morning flight to Cebu, so I was going to check out by 5am on Monday.

Kabayan Pasay dorm room bed cupboard Manila Philippines
I got the upper bed. A/C dorm, ₱550 when I booked it. Website lists ₱610 ($14/€10) now. I still think it's worth it. You get all the usual Kabayan inclusions like set breakfast AND lunch, with complimentary wi-fi.
Kabayan Pasay dormitory room cupboard Manila Philippines
Pillow and towel inside the locker. The locker came in handy, since I could keep my camera bag inside it and go out. Most hostels charge extra for lockers, and they are usually outside your room.
Kabayan Pasay dorm room restroom Manila Philippines
They have a well kept toilet and shower inside the room
Kabayan Pasay hotel dormitory hall Manila Philippines
The hallway looks like every other hallway on the other floors. Kabayan doesn't make you feel cheap even if you are staying in the dormitory.
Kabayan Pasay hotel male restroom Manila Philippines
If the toilet in your room is occupied, there are many toilets and shower rooms on the floor
Pasay MRT station Manila Philippines
I stepped out with just my 7D and the Tamron lens attached. I wanted to travel light for once. This is the scene just outside Kabayan and the Pasay MRT station.

I boarded a jeepney and decided to check out Mall of Asia, which was very close by.

Jeepney to Mall of Asia Manila Philippines
I don't remember how much the fare was exactly, but I believe it was around ₱10
SM buildings near Mall of Asia Philippines
The journey takes just 5 minutes from Pasay MRT

Mall of Asia jeepney drop off point Manila PhilippinesWhen it opened in 2006, Mall of Asia was the largest shopping mall in Asia, but has since moved down to third place after Dubai Mall‘s arrival.

Mall of Asia entrance Manila Philippines
I had to take multiple shots using the Tamron lens to get wide shots like this
Mall of Asia Panorama shot
Merging three shots to create this wide shot unfortunately cost that white man his head. Sorry dude, blame Photoshop.
Mall of Asia entrance Filipino crowd Manila
Today was a Saturday, so it was expected the mall was going to be crowded
Mall of Asia store directory guide Manila Philippines
The virtual mall directory assistant

Inside Mall of Asia shop levels

Mall of Asia SMDC property exhibition Manila
There was a small exhibition of properties by SMDC (SM Corp. is the largest property company in Philippines).

Being curious as to how much the cost of apartments were in Manila, I acted as a potential buyer and checked out the properties on offer. A lot of the apartment sizes (compared to India) were pretty small. ‘Large’ flats were 1000-1200sqft, while there were plenty of studios on offer. Prices for apartments ranged from 2 million to 4 million pesos and higher. Expensive, I initially thought. Maybe its because most of the buyers they target are OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), who earn higher wages.

But then I realized that it’s 2,000,000-4,000,000+ Philippines pesos. I mentally re-arranged the zeroes into the Indian numeric system and realized that’s 20,00,000 to 40,00,000 (lakh) rupees! It struck me as affordable — and that too in a city like Manila, which has far better infrastructure than most Indian cities! (Yes Filipinos, complain all you want about Manila. Visit Mumbai/Bombay and then compare the two. You’ll appreciate Manila a lot more.)

It pissed me off (not the first time) thinking how over-priced and unjustified the Indian real estate market is. For a minute, I even considered moving to Manila. Then I thought about the lack of Indian food here, and the frequent typhoons.

Back to the mall.

Mall of Asia Ace hardware store Manila Philippines
They have an ACE Hardware outlet here

Mall of Asia ice skate rink Philippines

Inside Mall of Asia ice skating rink Manila Philippines
People watching other people skate
Mall of Asia SM ice skating rink Manila Philippines
This is an Olympic-sized ice rink
ABC music store Justin Bieber 2AM poster Manila
The Biebs was going to be in Manila. Unfortunately, I would miss the opportunity to see 2AM live as I would be travelling that day. They're really good! Loved 'Saint O'Clock'!
Mall of Asia cinema movietime multiplex Philippines
They also have an IMAX screen at the multiplex

Inside Mall of Asia trees Manila Philippines

Mall of Asia roll coin rolling faster Philippines
A novel contraption that makes you curious how fast some coins take to reach the hole. Also a novel way for the mall to get free change.
Mall of Asia bridge to promenade
I decided to walk to the promenade

Mall of Asia balcony baywalk Manila PhilippinesMall of Asia baywalk road Manila Philippines

Mall of Asia esplanade road Manila Philippines
There are over-bridges to get to the Baywalk
Manila baywalk restaurants parking Philippines
Plenty of restaurants by the bay
Manila baywalk evening sun Philippines
Watching the sun set by the bay is a popular activity
Manila baywalk Saturday evening crowd Philippines
Scores of people visit the Baywalk in the evenings. More so on weekends.
Manila baywalk children's playground Philippines
Packed with families too!

Mall of Asia promenade bay restaurants Manila Philippines

Mall of Asia baywalk music Manila Philippines
They have band performances here

Manila baywalk local sitting Philippines

Manila Port bay Philippines
Manila Port
Mall of Asia baywalk zip line Manila Philippines
They also have fun zip line activities

Mall of Asia zip line baywalk Manila baywalk zip line mall of asia PhilippinesManila baywalk zipline end Philippines

Mall of Asia Manila panorama
Panorama comprised of 11 shots
Philippines working heroes statue Manny Manila baywalk
A stature paying tribute to hard working Filipinos -- and Manny Pacquiao, the most famous Filipino in the world currently.
Filipino jabbawokeez dancers Manila baywalk Philippines
Faux Jabbawockeez preparing to do... something

Manila baywalk bungee fun Philippines Manila baywalk sunset PhilippinesBaywalk Manila crowds Saturday PhilippinesFilipino couple watching sunset Manila baywalk PhilippinesManila Baywalk filipinos sitting sunset Philippines

Manila baywalk Jabbawockeez mall of asia Philippines
People had gathered to see faux Jabbawockeez perform. Though these guys seemed like a mime act.
Mall of Asia convention center Manila Philippines
The convention center, where Maroon 5 was also scheduled to perform in a few days
Manila baywalk zipline Filipino mall of asia
"Hello to you too!"
Manila baywalk zipline above crowds Philippines
I decided to walk back to the mall and come back once the sun had set

Mall of Asia sunset view baywalk Manila PhilippinesManila baywalk mall of asia zip line queueManila baywalk mall of asia road PhilippinesManila baywalk evening crowds PhilippinesMall of Asia Justin Bieber poster Manila Philippines

Mall of Asia stores Manila Philippines
The interiors of this big mall aren't all that impressive, but then nothing is, compared to Dubai Mall
Mall of Asia led globe Manila Philippines
This globe apparently lights up at night
Mall of Asia interiors stairs panorama
Back outside...
Evening sunset baywalk Manila Philippines
Love the colours!

Given it was really humid, I craved for some ice cream. Bought one, which began melting by the time I tore through the paper wrapping. Had to gulp it up quick.

Mall of Asia baywalk Manila at night
Left the baywalk once it had gotten dark
SM mall of asia at night Manila Philippines
There was little else left to see

Comics Alley Camerahaus Mall of Asia Manila PhilippinesMall of Asia Stoked The North Face branch Manila PhilippinesMall of Asia evening crowds Manila PhilippinesDespite being one of the most famous malls in Philippines, Mall of Asia still offers a lot of affordable shopping. It isn’t one of those glamorous malls that draws a lot of people in but where you hardly see any of them actually shopping. There’s something for everyone at Mall of Asia.

Mall of Asia Globamaze LED advertising Manila Philippines
The LED globe was lit, and was showing ads among other visuals

Mall of Asia globamaze led at night Manila Philippines I really didn’t have anything else planned after this. My friend Aimee and I had initially thought of catching up, but we decided to push it to Sunday as she was going to show me around Manila tomorrow.

I took a jeepney and headed back to Kabayan Hotel. I left the camera in my locker and decided to take a stroll camera-free for a change.

Pasay pedestrian bridge Manila at night
I decided to explore the Pasay area a bit more, which wasn't a very clean area to be honest
Pasay market under MRT track Manila Philippines
I began walking under the other line of the MRT and came across what looked like a street market
Pasay flea market under MRT track Manila Philippines
Hawkers selling everything from fake goods, toys, fruits, clothes, t-shirts, pirated CDs and other fashion accessories
Pasay street market under MRT track Manila Philippines
It extends a fairly long way
Pasay market end of MRT track Manila Philippines
I walked all the way to the end of the track

And then I walked all the way back. Quite an unexpected discovery this was for me. I refrained from buying anything though, as I decided I would keep all my shopping for the last two days of this trip.

When I got back to the main Pasay junction, I decided to try out Chowking, the Chinese food offering from the owners of Jollibee.

Chowking pork fried rice root beer combo meal
Ordered their pork fried rice, dumplings and root beer combo meal for ₱80 ($1.8/€1.3). How was it? Bleurgh! Probably the worst fried rice I've ever tasted. The momos were alright, but then again, how hard is it to screw that up. Sorry Chowking.

After the poor dinner, I went back to my room and decided to spend a few hours on the internet.

Kabayan hotel Pasay recreation hall Manila
The dormitory floor has a recreation lounge with a big screen TV, comfy chairs, and a few computers. You can bring your laptop here and use the wi-fi. Even though the speed wasn't great, I wasn't complaining. I have never experienced such a value-for-money hotel anywhere!

If I ever decide to start a hotel of my own, I would look to Kabayan for inspiration. I really appreciated the quality of service Kabayan offers its customers.

So this what I did today. Basically, nothing much.

Previous posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites

Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc

Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village

Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio

Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time

Other posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town

Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple

Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches

Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus

Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country  (Last post)

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5 Comments

  • AC

    15/09/2011

    I am from the Philippines and I loved the way you captured it. I’m waiting for your next posts. Makes me want to visit other neighboring islands here 🙂

    [Reply]

  • rico

    09/12/2013

    thanks sir you appreciate my country very well even though i din’t yet complete reading it all im happy till next time meantime im heading now to philippines my country

    [Reply]

  • joe

    13/09/2015

    Hi! The mountain you saw at NLEX is called Mr. Arayat. It’s at Arayat, Pampanga.

    [Reply]

    joe Reply:

    **Mt. Arayat 🙂

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Joe! 🙂

    [Reply]

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