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.
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.
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.
I boarded a jeepney and decided to check out Mall of Asia, which was very close by.
When 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.
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.
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.
Despite 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.
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.
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.
After the poor dinner, I went back to my room and decided to spend a few hours on the internet.
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.