Day 59–Sat., Mar. 5, 2011–Manila, The Philippines

     We were up early this morning because we had a tour with Vacation Vignettes, Charms of Old Manila.  The tour started with a visit to historic Rizal Park and headed on to the old walled city of Intramuros built during the Spanish colonial period.  The first stop of the walking tour was Fort Santiago which served as headquarters of the military might of the Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers until its destruction in 1945. IMG_3955 We saw a “mardi gras” performance.  They were dressed like the girls that welcomed us yesterday.                      IMG_3956 

   The tour then proceeded to the Manila Cathedral, a magnificent architectural feat with its intricate stone carvings, stained glass mosaics and rosette windows.  

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     We drove to the San Augustin Church and museum.  It reminded me of the church in Peru.  It is the oldest structure in the Philippines, dating back to 1571.

IMG_4019 San Augustin Church

Then across the street to the Casa Manila, a reconstructed 19th century mansion replete with 16th to 19th century furniture and furnishings.  No pictures were allowed inside.  The carvings were beautiful and room sizes were pretty good.  We went to the Manila Hotel instead of driving under the Quiapo Bridge to see the handicraft market, perhaps because of the rain.  The hotel had explosive detecting dogs go around the bus before we were allowed to go in.  There was police presence all through the city.  We had rice cake and iced tea and wandered around the lobby.

Manila Hotel Bomb Sniffing DogIMG_4064 IMG_4065

     I spent our last 24 pesos on a card at the pier and then we went for a quick lunch, shower, and to the Queen’s Lounge to get good seats for the Hospicio de San Jose performance by the children.  As always it was a delightful show.  The silent art auction raised $1,600 and the ship added to it and gave them a check for $5,000.  The mayor of Manila once lived there and he was aboard also.

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      The school band was back to send us off along with a military group.  We missed their marching but enjoyed the band.  We left a little late because the captain was on the pier having his picture taken with everyone.  The families were on the pier to say good-bye.

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     We were a little late getting up to dinner and then went to the show. IMG_4152 It was the final performance of the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers.  They are getting off in Hong Kong and a new group will get on in Singapore.


“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.”                    –Leo Buscaglia-

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