Manila, 12 December
We leave Coron by tiny propeller plane to land in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Here we’ll be spending one night before heading to Indonesia.
Now there’s almost always something wrong with airport hotels, but rarely as much as with Rappricondotel in Manila: it has burned to the ground.
First we think the taxi driver who’s driving us there is at it (he definitely is), when he starts off the ride by telling us the hotel is in a bad area, and he knows a better one he can bring us to (out of the kindness of his heart). However when we’re near, the entire street is cordoned off. A guard appears at the window and asks us where we’re going, then casually remarks: “It’s burned down back in April.”
Contrary to what his mischievous smile may suggest, it turns out he’s telling the truth. A quick look at the latest reviews on the booking website shows Rappricondotel has indeed been razed to the ground (even though it’s still trading online).
We soon find another hotel nearby, who’s owner listens to our story with great interest. In the morning she jumps in the taxi with us and gives us the gossip on the way to the airport. Word is Rappricondotel caught on fire because of Chinese guests smoking in the room. So that’s that, let’s go to Bali!
Travel statistics for the Philippines
Duration: 29 days. Distance (land): 1,200 km. Distance (water): 300 km. Distance (air): 860 km.
Travel statistics for the entire trip
Duration: 135 days. Distance (land): 10,400 km. Distance (water): 415 km. Distance (air): 23,019 km. Distance (total): 33,834 km.
Since we’re about to leave the Philippines, it’s time to put some scores on the board!
The people score 8/10. Our experience with Filipinos is that they’re a very friendly bunch and pretty honest to boot. English is commonly spoken so it’s easy to get talking to locals. Compared to India and Sri Lanka, it was nice to see women participate in social society too.
The food scores 7/10. The average Filipino food is nothing special, but there are loads of Italian and Spanish restaurants with high standards on the islands. Some (but not all) of the bbq at island hopping tours was also spectacular.
The transport scores 6/10. Three wheelers are readily available everywhere, but are usually slightly too small to sit inside with two people comfortably. Cebu island has a good bus system, whereas the van transport on Palawan is pricey and badly organized.
All in all the Philippines has easily passed the mark and therefore more than earned Lauren’s official certificate of excellence. Merry X-mas Philippines!