Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and is on the west coast of the biggest island, Luzon. Surrounded by the Pacific, the South China Sea and the Celebes Sea the Philippines is Asia’s only predominantly Catholic country. Manila is a mix of east and west, where people with oriental faces have Spanish names and speak English.
In the heart of Manila is the Intramuros – the Walled City – constructed in 1571, during the period of Spain’s colonisation of the Philippines, it houses the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago. The Manila Cathedral was first built in 1581 to replace the church that burned down in 1574, and was then rebuilt seven times after becoming the victim of earthquakes, fire or war. In 1981 Pope John Paul II gave the new cathedral the rank of minor basilica.
Wednesday 4th – We arrived at 10:00 to a fantastic welcome from the locals with music, dancing and stilt walking. A marquee had been set up on the quay so that the Sojourn’s Filipino crew could have lunch with their families.
As we have an overnight here we decided to stay on board and enjoy the pool virtually to ourselves again…wonderful.
Thursday 5th – As the shuttle was going to a Mall today (and we are all Mall-ed out) we took a taxi from the port to the cathedral…we asked the price and were told 1 US dollar, so off we went but when we arrived the driver said he wanted 10 dollars…our own fault as one of the waiters had told us to make sure the taxi was on the meter…anyway we settled on 3 dollars and we were all happy with that. The cathedral was beautiful and we enjoyed exploring all the side rooms where we could read about the history of the building.
From the cathedral we decided to walk to the Fort and then to San Agustin church but were talked into taking a pedicab (a bicycle with side car) …definitely scary but good fun…and only 10 dollars… and our driver took us back to the port gates…a bargain.
All aboard this evening was 17:30 for the 18:00 sail away and the local band, dancers and the crew’s families came to cheer us off. I’m sure it was both a happy and a sad occasion for the crew.