Monday, Manila Day 1, 7/22/13 Exploring Makati

After arriving late, we decided that we would spend the first day familiarizing ourselves with the area!  We stayed in Makati next to a huge set of stores, “SM” and the Greenbelt 6. We quickly discovered that the malls in Manila are enormous and they are always packed!  They are all connected by inter-building walkways on multiple levels.  The shopping malls in Makati are like it’s own separate city!  The huge networked mall system makes perfect sense to me now.   It gets WAY to hot and humid in Manila to congregate outside.  A climate controlled area where people can congregate and support local businesses makes sense, but you don’t get the authentic feel of walking down an actual street.  Although it felt like a walking in a mall in the United States with McDonalds or Subway on literally every corner, the stores and restaurants had a “Distinct Filipino Feel” to them.  As an American born Filipino-American I felt comfortable there, but using the mAss Kicker Mobile made me stick out!   We noticed that I was getting a lot of stares and strange looks from people in the Philippines.  I have learned to tune them out, but Damian picked up on this pretty quickly!  In Japan it is impolite to stare, but in the Philippines that is the furthest from the truth. We explored this later. ;P
We booked a room at the Dusit Thani Hotel, which is a Malaysian Hotel chain.  The staff was very courteous and eager to please. For me it was the first time staying with them. I am used to staying at American hotel franchises.  Initially we requested handicap accessible room, however the view from our room was of a construction sight and was very loud early in the morning.  We decided to upgrade to a junior suite on the other side of the hotel. One of the things we’ve learned on our brief travels is that we need ground transportation.  On our trip to Hawaii it was car rental.  In Tokyo, it was taxis, trains, and buses.  In Manila we hired a driver.  It was really convenient because he would take us wherever we wanted to go.   We asked he driver to take us to a breakfast place.  We found one really close to the hotel at greenway.  HAHAHA! We drove less than a block and went to a breakfast place at the mall.  We ate there and asked to take a quick tour of the sites close to the hotel.  We drove by Jose Rizal Park. Rizal is the National Hero of the Philippines. We also wanted to go to the beaches around Manila! We didn’t stop and get out.  Only drove by.  We found out that the public beaches in Manila are non existant.  You have to go outside the city to go to the real beaches.
After getting acquainted with the area around the hotel, we decided to go to Fort Santiago in Intramurous, the old fortified Manila.  There are lots of historical sites there, but how would the mAss Kicker Mobile hold up/manuever in there?  (That was interesting.)

Manila Day 1 photos

Stay tuned for the next installment of the blog.  We have more plans to do more international travel next year to break the stigma that tumors/cancer are death sentences!  We would appreciate your feedback and ideas for future activities.  Please leave a comment below.  We want to unite the WORLD in the fight against these diseases!  
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