We won the race with the typhoon to Manila by letting it win. It moved more northwest and sped up so it only brushed Manila while we slowed down and stayed south until the last minute when we pushed pedal to the metal and headed straight north into Manila and made it on time today at 7am.
To be honest getting here was not a big priority for me personally but many of the ship’s staff were planning to meet with families for the short time we are in port so I would have felt very sorry for them had we skipped Manila. Conrado, my steward, would have missed seeing his one and three year old grandkids and another steward on the next deck down had sent money to her family to get them to Manila as well as stay there and return after the visit. When the Captain first announced the typhoon she was crying according to members of the trivia team who know her.
But, all is good. We made it.
Manila is a large city that is becoming a mega-city that promises in a few years to stretch from one side of Luzon to the other. My plan was to take the shuttle to wherever it left people in town and then do a little exploring. I did take the shuttle. It let everyone off at a very LARGE shopping mall; several wings and four stories high.
Traffic was horrible and I noted on the way that foot traffic was constantly at risk. So, I did explore the mall and promptly got lost in it. Eventually found the exit where the bus let us off by following the arrows to the wing of the mall with the same name as the street we drove up on. Though, I got to that exit passing many stores I had never seen on the way in. So, now I know that the mall not only has wings but the wings have a circular shape and I’ll bet that if I raised the roof and looked down on the entire building it would be in the shape of a flower with something like four petals all meeting in a central spot. Taking the wrong petal is what got me confused.
I had thought about walking from the mall to a park that was near the pier and then to the ship from there but seeing how traffic and foot traffic interacted I decided to just take the shuttle back to the ship as the safest thing to do.
As we left Manila we had a local (probably high school) band entertaining us. That was a nice touch. Only a few ports have had any sort of send-off.
Honestly, I think I’m ready for the long series of sea days ahead of us and the voyage home. Being on the port side of the east-bound ship means I’ll likely have the sun much of the day so when I get back I just might have a large surplus of vitamin D. 🙂