To the Philippines and Beyond: Part 2

I wake up to a brilliant day in Makati. The weather is good, and so is my mood. I head to my favorite part of Metro Manila: Manila City. It may be confusing to hear that there is a city named Manila in Metro Manila. To put it simply, Metro Manila consists of 16 cities, and Manila City is one of them. Here is a map to clarify what I am talking about:

The places mentioned in this blog post are in Manila City, so you will see the name Manila only throughout the post. 

Intramuros and Rizal Park

I remember my first visit to Intramuros and Rizal Park three years ago. I want to revisit them to revive my memories and see if there are any changes to my favorite part of Manila! Visiting these places is vital if you are keen on learning about the local culture. Eager coachmen greet us and start telling us about the history of Intramuros, but as much as I love learning history from locals, I don’t enjoy unsolicited information and assumptions about my prior learning.

It breaks my heart to see the suffering people went through last century. My heart goes out to the victims and their families, and I leave the dungeons wishing for a better world where there will be no more atrocities, tears, and suffering. It is high time we all learned from 20th-century history and stopped repeating the same mistakes. 

This is such a lovely place under the bells next to the Manila Cathedral Church.

I love my ice cream bread!

Children are running around and playing games, unaware of this burden placed on their nation’s shoulders. We silently stand in front of The Rizal Monument and try to grasp the scope of the history of this land that was formerly unknown to us. Manila is rich in history; unfortunately, for the same reason, there is no shortage of tragedy in this city.

Free Rides Come with A Price

After spending hours walking in Intramuros and Rizal Park, our legs give up and beg to return to the hotel. We discuss how to go back to Makati. We usually travel within Metro Manila by LRT and MRT. They are comfortable and frequently operate, all the while managing to be budget-friendly, unlike the country I live in (yes, Japan railway companies, I am shaking my fists at you!). 

Being the queen of impracticalities and random local adventures, I decide to go back to Makati using the public ferry. The Pasig River Ferry Service is free (for now) and covers 25 kilometers of the Pasig River. But, of course, we will know if it is free once we get to the Escolta Station. We will also learn that you need to carry a valid ID to be on board. 

The Pasig River

We arrive at the ferry station, and the friendly staff tells us we don’t need a ticket. It’s free! Yay! (What’s the catch?) They ask us to present our IDs, which we both fail to provide. Thankfully, they accept a copy of my passport. Meanwhile, my husband has no ID whatsoever on him. Smiling faintly, he shows his vaccine passport to the staff. Oops! We have two options. We will either say goodbye to our Pasig River adventure (did I already mention it’s free?) or convince the friendly staff that we are innocent global citizens intending no harm. 

They seem unconvinced, leaving me with one option I bring into play only under dire circumstances and as a last resort: being the universally dreaded, unsatisfied wicked wife that likes to squabble over the tiniest inconveniences. I turn to him and tell him that he always ruins my adventures! Pleased with the attention I get, I up my game and say, “How dare you! How dare you not bring your ID with you! Even I don’t know who you are! Are you from Japan or Djibouti? How will these good people know!”

My body language compliments my staged anger: folded arms, frowned brows, and a high-pitched voice. The staff and those around us feel for my husband and let us in to save the poor husband from his bickering wife. I tell him to grab a nice seat and wink. He looks down. Coming from a culture where irony, sarcasm, acting, or tricking(!) aren’t overtly used, he believes I am really mad at him. I say, “Get a grip! It wasn’t real!” and enjoy my free ride on the Pasig River. Only people in intercultural marriages/relationships can understand the hurdle of spelling things out for their partner, after all! 

Stay tuned for the next part about my adventures in Cebu, Bohol, and Panglao!

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  1. Monch Weller

    Woah, just read this now — and thank you for the shout-out! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      You’re welcome 😊 That is the least I could do for your invaluable help!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shahbaz Ashraf

    Another great blog post packed with useful information about the culture and history of Philippines. You are going to make a good travel blogger, Bahanur! And the amusing incident with your hubby ironically leaves us in good taste despite all the ‘bickering’. This was an ingenious way to get favor from the locals. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you, Shahbaz 😊 Your comment brought a huge smile to my face and made my day!


      1. Shahbaz Ashraf

        You are welcome, Bahanur, and I am glad to know that my comment made you smile. Looking forward to reading more about your travel expeditions and adventures.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 100 Country Trek

    We visited the Philippines years ago . Thanks sharing your travels. Let’s follow our blogs. Anita

    Liked by 1 person

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