29 May 2014

Old Manila: Intramuros, kalesa and halo-halo

There is much to do in the metro I know but I have chosen to stay in old Manila with my foreign friends. Instead of bringing them to a fancy hotel, we booked a night somewhere in Malate after which my foreign friends could swear was the worst hotel service. But I have gone through even worse though more exciting times so I could easily dismiss that.

I am afraid of streets in Manila because there is so much I don't know about them. Thanks to my friend Brennan for bringing us around on foot and in a jeepney. I love riding in public transport sometimes because it is the easiest way to blend in.

It rained just before we entered the old and once walled city of Intramuros. The splatter of water and mud went to our legs and our bare feet. I wasn't sure if wearing sneakers could have been worse. I felt the slippers were just right for walking around on wet ground. Though I have to admit there was also a scent of old stagnant water in the air. However, both the rain and the smell did not stop us from buying turon from the sidewalk. One of my Singaporean friends had to try it because she missed eating the banana spring rolls when they had it served in one of the office parties. Yes, a hot and steamy turon is best eaten on a rainy day while standing on a damp sidewalk.

The kalesa ride seemed to be a must so my localized friend bargained for a cheap tour inside Intramuros. The horse was a bit skinny but I am grateful that it managed to bring us around safely. The last time I rode on a horse carriage was in a small town when I was still so little. I was always scared I might fall into the road because the ride was too bumpy. This time it was just a pleasant time with friends. Plus the ruins from the Spanish era gave the ride some class.

The kalesa ride ended at a cozy cafe that happened to just have what we were looking for -- halo-halo. The Filipino dessert was the star of the palate experience. It surpassed the ridiculously expensive but delicious local lunch at a seafood market and the crispy fried chicken dinner in Jollibee.

So we shoot before we eat. It took four cameras and sadly no prayer to devour the exquisite and tasty blend of milk, ice cream, cereal, crushed ice and basically every tropical fruit you can think of, in those cups of halo-halo.

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