Living in Asia has its advantages. The proximity to many interesting places means that there is basically no time to be bored. What distinguishes Asia is cheap travel.
A weekend in Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Singapore is an expense of 200-300 dollars, including the cost of an air ticket (Asia-Asia).
For the iconographic order, I began to describe my travels from the first two - to China, where it all began and I'm talking specifically about Qingdao.
From now on, travels will appear in a non-chronological way, but certainly diversifying your reading of my entries.
I invite you to a weekend trip to the Philippines. From many interesting places, I chose Manila as a start.
The trip to Manila is not long. It depends on which country and city you are starting from. I have visited, and I still visit, the Philippines from China and Viet Nam.
In both cases, the journey takes about 3 hours and is a flight from Shanghai, Honk Kong or Ho Ho Minh City. If I had to recommend airlines, I would say so, cheap and very punctual, but with a low level of on-board service, Cebu Pacific flies, as does Air Asia - popular, Filipino, low-cost airlines. I usually use Philippines Airlines which is the national carrier of the Philippines but also Viet Nam Airlines flying from and to Sai Gon. From Hong Kong, it's best to choose Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon. From Shanghai, a whole range of local airlines.
The Philippines is the only Christian country in Asia, so after arriving and arriving in the city, you will feel a bit like in Poland. Every street is a church.
Fast check-in at terminal 2 of Manila International Airport and catch Grab or Taxi to the center. I recommend Grab. Once it is cheaper than a taxi, you know how much you will pay (taxi drivers will always find a way to cheat) and in addition cars are more comfortable.
Depending on the district you choose for accommodation, the journey from the airport is usually 40 to 90 minutes. A lot depends on the time of day. Manila traffic is heavy. It is an agglomeration which today has 12 million inhabitants, including the surrounding area. So it's very corked up. The traffic is monstrous - cars, motorbikes, "Jeepney" or remaining after the US Army, converted into small buses, old cars, carrying passengers for several dozen pesos throughout the city - Metro Manila.
As for accommodation, I recommend quite affordable - max $ 40 per room, Red Planet hotel chain. They are located in many districts, clean, neat, offer good comfort in terms of room, nice bathroom and basic coffee or tea preparation.
In some locations, they offer breakfast and sometimes simply, they probably have a cooperation agreement with a local bar or small restaurant, where you can just have breakfast in the morning and drink a decent coffee.
I invite you for a walk around one of the largest Asian parks, Rizal Park.
If you want to explore Rizal Park, the largest city park in Southeast Asia, it's best to choose the Red Planet Manila Bay Hotel, which is located a 7-minute walk from the park.
Rizal Park is 58 hectares of a beautifully designed park located in the center of Manila. It really impresses me with its appearance.
It is large enough to be divided into three sectors. In the north-eastern sector, which has 16 ha, we have the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of Anthropology. They were former government buildings: the museum of natural history was once the seat of the Ministry of Agriculture and the building of the museum of anthropology was once the building of the Ministry of Finance.
In addition to the two museums that I really recommend to visit and see (admission is free, just enter the guest book giving your nationality surname) there is also, located between them, a wonderful map of the Philippines built in a water pool and visible only from a certain height e.g. the window of any of museums. It makes a really big impression because it is a map of the Philippines recreated in detail - 7 thousand islands !. The Lapapa monument, added by Koreans, adds to the charm and is an expression of opposition to the colonization of Asia. In addition, on the left side of the park we have a working floral sundial, which is also a beautiful floral composition.
In the central section we have 22 ha of a beautiful park with Japanese and Chinese gardens. The large swimming pool which is also the place of the evening "light and sound" performances, where the fountains, computer controlled, show a wonderful musical and light creation for about 0.5 h every weekend (on Saturday and Sunday at 19:30). The culmination of the central part, to the south, is the statue of Jose Rizal and a flagpole with a national flag.
The third section, 10 hectare south-west section is the oceanarium and Defilad Square which also has its huge grandstand. This square served mainly as a place for military parades. Today it is perfect for flying kites.
The park is already 200 years old. It was designed and built in 1820, initially as a monumental alley, leading straight from the coast to government buildings. Through consistent expansion, expanding both frontages, planting trees and vegetation. In total, today there are 112 different species of plants that grow within the park.
Its current name - Rizal Park - comes from the execution of the Philippine patriot, Jose Rizal. He was killed in the park in December 1896, which caused a Filipino national uprising against the Kingdom of Spain and led the country in total to independence and the creation of the first Republic of the Philippines.
Rizal was shot in a part of the park that is now part of the Chinese and Japanese gardens. This is the eastern side of the park and there is a historical reconstruction of the place of execution. This park also operates under the name Luneta Park
I recommend a full weekend or two days for visiting the park. One day to explore the park itself, the Chinese and Japanese gardens and spend 1.5 hours in the evening watching the show light and sound. I recommend spending the second day visiting both museums which are really wonderful. They have huge archives dedicated to the natural history of the Earth but also to anthropology and the history of the Philippines.
Walking from the hotel to the park, the first thing you see is a monumental 46-meter mast with a huge national flag of the Philippines. The ceremonial raising flag on the mast takes place every first Monday of the month so if you have the opportunity to stay in Manila until Monday, you will have the opportunity to watch such a ceremony. This flag is solemnly pulled onto a mast with a military ritual and stands in front of the Jose Rizal monument.
It was here, on July 4, 1946, the Philippines regained full independence after the war with the United States and at 09:15, as a sign of victory, the flag was raised.
And this is not the only tourist attraction here.
On June 12, the national flag is also raised on Independence Day (liberation from the Spanish Kingdom). In addition, December 30 on the day of Jose Rizal and December 31.
Rizal Park is a place hosting all kinds of national and international conferences, sports races and various types of meetings such as youth days or religious ceremonies.
By the way this mast and flag of the Philippines, such a curiosity.
The Philippines flag has a total of 3 colors: half of the flag is blue, half is red (horizontal) and the triangular notch is white and contains yellow symbols of stars and sun.
In peacetime, the sequence of colors is just that, the blue part at the top is red at the bottom, while during the war the Philippines inverts the flag and then the sequence of colors is the opposite, i.e. the top is red and the bottom is blue. So far, I have not encountered this type of procedure with the national flag elsewhere.
Opposite the mast is a beautiful statue of Jose Rizal, with 24/7 military assistance. It is massively visited by tourists and residents of the Philippines as Rizal enjoys the unwavering esteem and respect of all Filipinos.
Near the monument is another curiosity, namely the Milestone, which is the "zero point - 0 km" from which all distances to individual places in the Philippines are measured.
No matter what time of year you go to Manila, it's always warm there, sometimes quite rainy so umbrellas or raincoats are necesseery. You can always escape from the rain to one of the museums.
I usually spend the evening after visiting the city on the promenade in Pasay, where in my favorite bar "Pete`s Place" I eat dinner and drink cool San Miquel light, enjoying live music and admiring the fantastic sunset over Manila Bay.
Finally, a commitment - I will devote separate short entries to all attractions that are available in the park. Also, don't worry, you'll be able to learn everything in detail soon.
Salamat Pilipinas! Hanggaas muli!
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