~ Leap Of Faith ~




The Collins Family
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

~ Manila Old & New ~

First off, I want to wish my parent's a Happy Wedding Anniversary. Sorry I missed it earlier this week. Hope you had a great time celebrating it with Jaidyn and Addy! Did you get to have a nice dinner out at McDonald's. :)

Last night was a night of restlessness. My body still hadn't adjusted to the time change and I was up from 2:30-4:30 am. I watched a little bit of the Asian Living channel for about an hour (interesting stuff) and then played around on the internet for awhile. Wes didn't seem to have any problems sleeping, probably because he is used to time change schedules since he goes from nights to days every two weeks with his job. Hopefully, tonight goes much better. I didn't take a 4 hour nap today, so hopefully I will sleep much more.

Change of plans! We got with the travel agent located in the hotel this morning and booked a "Manila Old & New" tour. For any of those who will be traveling soon, I highly recommend taking this tour. It lasted about 3 1/2 hours driving Makati and Manila. It cost us about $50 each, but was definitely worth it. Our tour guide, Rick was fantastic. He was a retired (or as he would say "a tired")university history teacher, so he was very knowledable about the area.

We were drove through Forbes Park, which was a ritzy residential area dubbed as Millionaire's Row. Rick told us that in the Philippines, 70% of the population is very poor, 20% make an average income, and 10% are very, very rich. He said that the very rich only continue to become richer and the poor, poorer. Sad statistics. He too, also said that Levi is a very lucky baby to be coming to the US. He said that here he wouldn't have any opportunity and would be part of the 70% statistic. I have to admit that this tour was very eye opening. Yes, I have read plenty about the Philippines, but until I actually saw it first hand, it just wasn't a reality. I have many very vivid images in my head right now...mainly consisting of the small street children.
These pictures are from a distance, but you can see some of the poverty living circumstances.
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Our first stop was the American Cemetery and Memorial which is reputed to be the largest and most beautiful of American memorials outside of the Continental US. I wish I would have brought a notebook with me on the tour so I could have jotted down some of the statistics throughout the trip, but I am very sure that I remember Rick saying that the white crosses represent 10,000 missing in action American Soliders and 60,000 Filipino soldiers from the Baton death march.

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48 states were represented with their state seal in the memorial.

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Flags were only half massed today in honor of the former President Corazon who died on August 5th. The tall blue buildings in the background are condo's that can be purchased for $30 million each if anyone is interested. You even have your own helicopter landing pad on top so that you can avoid Manila traffic. Hmmm!

We then proceeded on to Rizal Park which is in memory of the country's national hero. A beautiful park, lot's of history.

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We also passed the "Walled City" of intramuros. Here we saw ancient walls (which had bullet holes in them), church ruins, and other relics of the Spanish Conquistadores. We also stopped at the San Augstin Church which was historically beautiful, but we were only able see in from the entrance as there was a wedding in progress. I kind of felt sorry for the wedding party as there were many tourists such as ourselves snapping pictures from the entrance. It just didn't seem to be a very private ceremony. Rick told us that weddings are big ordeal here because in the Philippines it is until death do them apart. They don't do divorces so they have to be sure from the beginning. At another old church (the one that they held President Cory's wake at last Wednesday for 2 days), we witnessed the bride getting out of the vehicle in front of us. She had approximately 10 bridesmaid in her wedding party. Rick shocked us when he said, "Ugh, she's ugly, but you can tell by her dress and the size of her wedding party that she is very rich." Yep, he was one of those truly honest type of guys and says things as he's sees it.

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Look closely and you can see the bride and groom kneeling at the alter.
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I think it was an Italian architect who crafted the ceilings for the church.
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Heavy wooden doors to the church.

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This is the church where President Cory's wake was held. It went on for 2 days and Rick said that the lines to witness this event were very long and people walked a long ways to be a part of the ceremony. We wouldn't have been able to get remotely close to the church a few days ago.
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Here is the "ugly but rich" bride entering the church.

Our last stop was Fort Santiago, a spanish fortress that watched over the entrance to the Pasig's River. This is also where the country's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, spent his last days before being led to which is now known as Rizal park for his execution.
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Dungeons where prisoners were kept.

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The Philippines posesses so much history and I really feel that by taking this tour it helped us to more truly appreciate Levi's birth country.

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A row of Jeepney's parked at the Mall of Asia. This mall is bigger than the Mall of America. We didn't go inside, but the drive around it was a long one. They have little cars inside for senior citizens to use so they don't have to walk.

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This is a picture of the open seafood market at Manila Bay.

Thank you to all of you posting on our blog. We really appreciate all of the comments and well wishes. Wes and I have never eaten at a California Pizza before and after several of you raved about it through the comments we decided to try it out for dinner. We will definitely be eating there again before we leave. I had pepperoni pizza (I never try anything new) and Wes had the Chicken Adobo Pizza which is only made in the Philippines. They were both fantastic! I left about a 4th of a piece of pepperoni (which Wes ate) on the tray just so I could say that I didn't eat the whole pizza! ha!

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Earlier today, Wes and I had some time to enjoy the pool.

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I just love all of the little ball shaped lanterns that look to be floating in the trees. They close down the pool area at 8:00 about an hour after it gets dark, so I hope we get to see them all lit up sometime before we leave.

We think we are going to visit Manila Bay tomorrow. The typhoon that came through earlier in the week left the area trashed, but we did drive by some of it today on the tour and we still think that we would like to walk the boardwalk area. Wes may even try out some of the fresh seafood available.

94 comments:

Renee and Brian said...

The tour sounds like a terrific idea. I'll have to keep it in mind. It is nice to have someone guide you through and give you all the history. You guys must have taken hundreds of pictures already. Keep posting them as I love to see a taste of the Philippines.
I love the California Pizza Kitchen! There is tons to choose from on the menu and I always leave there full.
I look forward to hearing all about your Sunday adventures. Enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you were adopting. What a great thing you are doing for that little boy. He doesn't know how lucky he is. Libbee and I can't wait to see him. I love Manila, we visited several times when we were living in Taiwan. That was a long time ago so I'm sure it is a lot different now. Anyway, congratulations and we can't wait so see him in person.
Sue Hicks

emilie said...

Very nice photos, Jenny. It must be amazing to be there at the time of Cory Aquino's memorial. Have you had much opportunity to get thoughts about it from the people there? Media coverage would seem to suggest there is much disgust at the current president (the latest fiasco being GMA's $20K restaurant tab at Le Cirque in NY) and much sadness at the loss of a former president whom many regard as an icon of democracy. What an incredible time to be able to witness history there -- of the past and in the making! And how appropriate that you are there to create your own family's history, too :-)

Julie said...

Thanks so much for sharing all your pictures. I wish we were planning on staying Manila longer to see some things, but we are planning on simply in and out with an ICAB visit. I'm glad you are able to make the experience a vacation also, that will be so much more relaxing for Levi also. Keep sharing pictures.

Haley and fam said...

Thanks for keeping us updated we are enjoying your posts. We love you and we cannot wait to meet little Levi! We are praying for all of you. xoxoxo

Rachel said...

I miss Manila so much! Enjoy your visit! Hope your adoption goes well and you are able to bring your son home soon!

Allison Family said...

I love reading your blog and your experiences. It is bringing back memories from a few months ago. We plan to return to the Philippines when Jay-R is in his early teens so I will definitely make this tour part of our agenda. I had to chuckle when you said something about the cars for senior citizens at the Mall of Asia...we went there with the Manila Church of God minister's wife who knows people from our local church...since she is a senior citizen, we got to ride around the mall in one of those golf cart like cars...people were snapping pictures of us as though we were celebrities! I look forward to reading your next post and I'm taking notes for our next trip!!!

Amber said...

Reading your posts confirms my desire to spend at least two weeks in the Philippines when we travel to go and bring home our child. Like you and Wes, my husband and I have been considering travelling a week or so earlier, to give us a chance to get over the jet lag and see some of the sights and sounds of the country. I am really enjoying reading your posts and seeing the pictures :0) We will definitely keep the tour in mind. Thank you so much!!

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