Manila, Philippines

Mabuhay!  In December, 2011 I had the opportunity to get to the Philippines, a new spot to explore.  I didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing but got to see a few things.

First, leaving JFK, I noticed a Korean Air Airbus 380, didn't know they were operating those.

My route to Manila took me on a first leg to Tokyo - an interesting departure route to head west.

Coming in to Narita I got some action shots of the airport:

Qantas 747 looks so small from up here!

A JAL flight to Manila was next - not too long, but still served a nice Japanese meal:

In Manila, the downtown hotel served a nice western breakfast with asian and Philippine selections.  Everything from white sausage to smoked salmon to prawn noodles.

There are some good-sized buildings in downtown Manila.

There were a lot of billboards and vehicles with advertising - even for computer software.

I read all the local english-language newspapers, and all seemed to be on the fight against corruption.  I liked the tagline of the Philippine Star: "Truth Shall Prevail".

A typical Philippine Jeepney, which are a popular form of public transportation.  Maybe not all that comfortable, but cheap.  Many of these are built from leftover US military jeeps.

I guess there's demand for higher security transportation options.

After completing my work I had a few hours before a flight to visit the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, the largest cemetery in the Pacific for US personnel killed during World War II.  The central buildings have excellent depictions of the relevant battles in the war, as well as a very poignant ring of piers listing the names of more than 36,000 missing soldiers, some of which have gold stars indicating they were given the Medal of Honor, and black stars indicating they had been found and identified since the piers were placed.  Such a sacrifice.

The chapel.

After the Cemetery visit it was time to fly to Cebu City on Philippine Airlines.  I had heard that Aquino international airport was one of the worst in the world.  At this time, just using domestic flights, I had nothing bad to say about the place.  The domestic terminal is clean and well-organized:

PAL's Mabuhay lounge has nice selection of finger sandwiches and a local rice and chicken porridge.

You have to pay a departure tax for each flight, and it's collected in either Philippine pesos or US dollars right as you go through security, so this wasn't a big impediment.

Using a 747 for a short domestic flight.

The domestic terminal is really quite pleasant.

On departure out of Manila.

I wasn't expecting pesto pasta but I wasn't complaining!

Here's the local currency- at this writing $1 bought about 43 pesos.

Next stop: Cebu!