Monday, May 11, 2020

Day 4: Exploring Baclaran

23rd November 2019 (Saturday)

Tonight, I would be flying out of Manila to Port Moresby on Philippine Airline at 23:35 hours. I have a full day today. Check-out time was 12:00 noon. My plan for the day was to explore Baclaran Market, which was about 1.4 km from my apartment at Casarenta Sea Residences. Then, I would check out, leave my baggage at the apartment and spend the afternoon at MOA before taking an early dinner and leaving for the airport.

Baclaran was as expected, a working class district. It was crowded and the people were mostly from the lower- income class. They wore simple clothes and the place was a little dirty and chaotic. It was synonymous with Manila's slums.

On the way back to my apartment, I decided to drop by Double Dragon Plaza. The name suggested it was Chinese-owned, but in fact it was owned by a Chinese Filipino company. It looked like a new plaza and not at all crowded. I stopped for brunch at Mang Inasal for Pork Sisig (PHP113). It was not too bad.

At the apartment, I met Mark, the care taker of the apartment. I talked to him and requested for a late check-out. However, he apologised saying that there was a guest arriving around lunch time. Instead of getting a late check-out, he requested me to check-out early. Being the reasonable person I was, I checked out before mid-day.

I have a full afternoon ahead of me, I thought of leaving my baggage at the reception/ security counter. However, the guard on duty said that this was not possible. I went to talk to the doorman, hoping that he would assist to look after my baggage. However, he declined saying that he was not allowed to do so. Mark offered to take me to the concierge storage room at an adjacent building. The charge was too expensive and I declined. I have no choice but to look after my own baggage at the lobby and wasted the whole afternoon there.

My plan of having my dinner at MOA before leaving for the airport was dashed. Instead, I had a pack of bento noodle for an early dinner (Php180) and bought some snacks (Dim Sum, Turon & Lumpia) at Alfamart to take to NAIA airport. 

It was about 3:30 p.m. when I decided to leave for the NAIA Terminal 2, instead of getting stuck at the apartment and bidding for time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Day 3: Ippudo Ramen Restaurant, SM Hypermarket and Paradise Dynasty Dim Sum

22nd November 2019 (Friday)

After waking up this morning, my interest in going to Intramuros has more or less dissipated. Instead, as I laid in bed I was thinking whether I had enough cash to treat the younger sister of a new staff member, RM, to a dinner as I would be meeting her to collect some items to be brought to her sister in PNG.

I could not remember seeing any money exchange centre at MOA. I went online and searched for one nearby. It showed that there was a money exchange office near the intersection of the canal with Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, close to the south bank of the canal (parallel to Bradco Avenue). It was at an unlikely place since it was not a shopping area. Nevertheless, I decided to check it out. My hunch was correct. There was no money exchange office there.

I then decided to walk back and to proceed to MOA. I would look for Ippudo ramen restaurant for my lunch.

In order to navigate MOA in a systematic manner to find Ippudo Ramen restaurant, I entered MOA through the south wing, and without walking left or right, walked towards the rear. Near the rear, I found Ippudo ramen restaurant. It was not hard to find at all.

The Shiro Ramen was okay, but certainly not as good as Ichiran in Osaka. It was in fact average and at Php495 (about ¥1,050), it was even more expensive than ramen at touristic area in Kyoto or Osaka. Ichiran ramen at Dotonbori in Osaka was only ¥890.

After my lunch, I went to SM Hypermarket. The night earlier, I went to the fruit section only. Today, I would explore the whole of this large hypermarket. In the process, I bought a pack of powdered milk, chips and Chicharon before returning to the apartment.

Back at the apartment, I finalised with RM my appointment to meet with her younger sister. It was before 5:00 p.m. when I met her. After getting the items for RM, I invited her for dinner. At first, she declined saying that a friend was waiting for her. However, I told her to invite her friend along.

Both of them were planning to go to a dim sum restaurant. Since I love dim sum, I told them that I would like to try the dim sum too. Paradise Dynasty Restaurant was situated at Conrad Hotel. It was just about to open for business at 6:00 p.m. when we arrived and we ordered several types of dim sum and drinks. Well, dim sum from Dynasty Restaurant in Port Moresby was better. Fortunately, I was able to use my credit card to pay for the dinner which cost me Php2,420. We parted ways after the dinner.