Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer 2012 - 12th Stop: Manila

"What's that?!" I hear you cry, "Weren't you flying to Japan next?". Yes, indeed. In a break from our scheduled holidaying, we're bringing you a special edition of the blog, live from the worst place in the world - Manila! Thanks to a little pinch of bad luck and a major dollop of typhoon, we had to take a small detour from our intended route, but we'll come to that in a moment...

When we last left you, we had just arrived in Hong Kong and it was good to be back, if even for a day, as we had people to see, things to do, stuff to pack and unpack too. (I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but I'm definitely leaving it in!) We didn't come back to HK mid-holiday for just these reasons of course, it also had the cheapest flights in the south of China, and so we were flying from here to Osaka (via Manila) the following morning.

While we were in Vietnam and Laos, it was meant to be their rainy season, but we luckily seemed to dodge pretty much all of it. I guess Mother Nature was just storing it all up to unleash upon us in one go, as that night, Hong Kong had it's worst storm in 13 years!

And the next morning wasn't much better, though thankfully the trains were still running so we were at least able to make it to the airport. And there was more good news as we arrived, in amongst the cancellations and major delays, our flight to Manila was still going strong, albeit with a minor 50 minute set back. This was fine though as we had 3 hours after we arrived in Manila to make our connecting flight.

Unfortunately, as we made our way through the various stages of the airport, those 50 minutes turned into 3 and a half hours, so by the time we arrived in Manila, we couldn't even make a dramatic, last-ditch run to our gate, the flight was already gone...

We headed straight to the Cebu Pacific desk as they were handling both our flight in from HK, and out to Osaka. And in fairness to them, they couldn't have done more for us.

- "Excuse me, our flight from Hong Kong was delayed and we just missed our connecting flight to Osaka"
- "Don't worry, we'll take full responsibility and will book you on the next flight to Osaka free of charge"
- "Oh great, that's very good of you! What time is the next flight?"
- "Emm... Thursday"

And as my brain was in holiday mode, all I could think was 'Oh God, what day is it today?!'. It turns out it was Tuesday, which meant we had two days to kill in Manila. Funnily enough, we would've been better off if our flight from HK had been cancelled completely, instead of being delayed. At least then we could've spent those two days in comfortable surroundings. In fact, we would've also been better off if the typhoon had slammed our plane into the ground, and spent the two days among the wreckage, rather than spending it in Manila. It would've at least been safer and less chaotic! Seriously though, Manila is an absolute shithole.

And the thing is, despite being stranded here, we were both very positive about things and really embraced the situation, and in a strange way, were kinda looking forward to two days in a surprise location! We just wish now that it had been somewhere else, anywhere else. I always try to put as many pictures as I can into each blog entry, but I'll be making an exception this time around. The place had absolutely nothing to offer. In fact, I'm not even going to recount what we did in our time here, it was just an atrocious place. What did I tell ya about capital cities...

The most exciting thing we did was go to the cinema to see The Dark Knight Rises, and even that wasn't very good!

We just couldn't get out of this town quick enough! On the plus side, these two days made it all the sweeter when we eventually did land in Japan. In fact, things got better as soon we stepped on the plane! Cebu Pacific always have a little competition on board where they call out an object and the first person to hold it up wins a prize, and as we had flown with them a few times before, we were ready for their games, nobody else stood a chance! And that just adds to our experience of Manila - as soon as we leave, we get a bag full of cakes! I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere...

Here's a video diary of our time in there, now let's never speak of this place again.

Anyway, onwards and upwards! We may have been two days late, but we still had three weeks of Japan ahead of us, and a nice sunset to welcome us in.

Land of the rising sun, me balls!

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