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The thrilla in Manila that wasn't

PHILIPPINES | Friday, 21 November 2008 | Views [601]

As soon as I touched down at Clark Airport about 2 hours from Manila I boarded shuttle bus and two hour later they dropped me off in suburban Manila. Surrounded by malls and fancy restaurants I trudged off for the Cebu Pacific Airlines sales office in a nearby mall. I made it with about 30 minutes to spare before closing, was able to book my ticket after learning why yes they do have trouble with international credit cards on their website, no shit! But they redeemed themselves a little because the women working their helped me catch a bus among the 20 or so bus companies criss-crossing this huge city to my guesthouse some 45 minutes away. I would have never found it alone so some thanks goes out to them. Also the bus driver and conductor were amazingly helpful by taking me past their last stop after everyone got off, taking  me to the wrong location, asking for mine and then dropping me off. This mind you is a full size bus driving through congested Manila traffic, I was feeling much love from the Filipinos already. I checked into the marginal guesthouse at 10:30, took  my customary cold shower and went to bed. My flight to Dumaguette was not until 2:40pm the next day so I could sleep in a little and walk around the area. Not much, just old malls and convenience stores. I paid for a shuttle ride to the airport only 10 minutes away. One thing you notice as you enter the Philippines is they are heavy on security, everywhere with guns. As we went through the airport checkpoint whiel in the van the driver made  a joke about no bomb in the van. Apparently, this did not sit well with airport police as they made him pull over, check the van and then got in to drive me to departures. They questioned me about how much I paid(too much they said, no doubt I believe) and then released me while holding the driver. Not sure what happened to the old boy but I felt sorry for him. Plus I have to stay there for one night when I get back to Manila, hope they are still open. Next stop-Dumaguette

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