A Travellerspoint blog

One Night in Manila

Last stop before heading home...

sunny 32 °C


We are staying Bayside in Malate, the old city at the southern end of Manila. Our hotel room overlooks the ocean and the famed Bay Walk to the right and Boys Next Door club to the left. We dump our things and head into Chinatown for a noodle fix. The noodles are great and the dumplings are even better but the neighborhood is dodgy - way dodgy. After lunch we walk for half a dozen blocks before finding a cab. Our cab driver tells us off for walking around Chinatown. “Not safe!” he says. “No walking!” We realize this could be a scam to ensure we get a cab everywhere – but what the hell - we got enough bad vibes in Chinatown to tell us all we needed to know.

We are dropped off at Ocean World where we are on the lookout for the White Moon Bar. Ed's research reveals that this is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. I’m not so enthusiastic at first, doubtful that anything can beat that insane Boracay sunset, but I’m pleasantly surprised as the magic starts to happen and Ed is victorious. As the sun sets over the ocean we plan our evening.


A short while later we jump in a cab and head back into Malate’s bar district to find some live music. We are successful. The second venue offers 3 bands throughout the night - best of all it's free. Ed is happy! After the second band, a hard rockin' 4-piece with a charismatic Eddie Vedder-esque front-man who happily takes requests from the audience, we pop out to explore the local area. Alas there's not much to explore. Most of the bars are Girly Bars and there is a definite vibe on the street that makes it uneasy to walk around. We find a small street bar teaming with colorful locals. We take a seat and enjoy some serious people watching but two drinks in the child beggars are making it difficult to relax. We decide to leave. We have an intriguing destination ahead of us...


The Hobbit House pub is based on Lord of the Rings and all the waiting staff are dwarves. Unfortunately our cab driver can’t find the address we give him. After driving around the block a few times he gives up on us and we get out of the cab to walk down a dark street – which we know is completely stupid. Before we're even out of the cab, a power packed motorcyclist stops to ask where we are going. “It’s not safe to walk!” He says. Apparently the Hobbit House has moved. He tells us to get back in the cab and he will lead the driver there. We get back in the cab. Traffic is the dense. We have no idea if we’re getting scammed as the cab winds its way through the city streets. It turns out we are not. Give or take a bit of ‘tip’ extortion from the biker.

The ‘Little People’ are outside to greet us as we arrive at Hobbit House. We pay our 150 pesos entry fee and are ushered in. The place is half empty but there is live music. There is also Karaoke. Ed is happy. Drinks in hand and we are ready for a new adventure.


Soon after Ed takes his place on the Karaoke stage. His accompaniment is an acoustic guitarist. Her range is quite small it turns out. She doesn’t have Queen. She doesn’t have the Beach Boys. She really doesn’t have very much at all. With her encouragement - and no other choices - Ed settles for Air Supply! I diligently film his tentative version of All Outta Love – and to be honest, it’s weird. I am used to Ed doing mad, crazy Rock-eoke – this is way too tame. The song finishes and Ed launches into Bizarre Love Triangle. A stocky man approaches and compliments Ed on his singing. I look at him suspiciously. The guy is a British ex-soldier living in Philippines with his Filipino girlfriend. Ed finished and leaves the stage. The couple ask us to join them. We do so and it's fun. Many, many drinks later we find ourselves in a deserted bar across the way, a local Aussie owns it, of course he does!! The night has been interesting and fun – but we are lightheaded after a long boozy night so we make our excuses and leave in the wee hours of the morning. The shimmer of the sun bouncing off the ocean wakes us up a few hours later. We check that all our bits are intact. Everything seems OK. Phew!


We wander down to breakfast and plan our day. The choices are to follow the tourist route and go and explore the Old City with its medieval fortress - and get hounded by a thousand and one touts - or not. We decide we've had our share of dumbed-down cab drivers, scammers, child beggars, pimps, trannies and bad boys, and we don't fancy being bombarded with hundreds of hopeful ‘Tour Guides’ everywhere we go - it's our last day and we want to take it easy. Manila has been interesting but it's stressful. The alternative is to go shopping. And since we have the SM Mall of Asia, the biggest shopping mall in Asia right on our doorstep, it seems rude not to!!

It’s the last day of our honeymoon and we are goin’ shopping! IMG_6394.jpgIMG_6403.jpg

Posted by gobannanas 05:00 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunset honeymoon shopping philippines bar sightseeing

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