We expected our bus tour of Metro Manila and afternoon at the museum to be a little more low-key than our other days thus far, but our tour guides and the branch still had some surprises in store for us.
While walking tours are ideal, I like driving tours too, as I find you can still get a good feel for an area when you are limited on time. Our guides weren’t able to cover quite as much of the city as they had anticipated, due to heavier-than-usual traffic, but we still got quite an extensive overview of the city.
Lunch was an unexpected treat. Our busses brought us to the Golden Bay Chinese Restaurant in Pasay City, one of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila. We were greeted at the door by several formally dressed individuals, and then sent to our tables, where a family-style Chinese feast was served. Towards the end of our meal, the group who greeted us at the door, made their way to the stage, to perform a beautiful a capella serenade for all in attendance. These singers are all currently working as fulltime volunteers at the Philippines Branch Office of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as vocalists for CD’s, DVD’s, and other on-line recordings.
We spent the afternoon learning about the history of the Philippines at the Ayala Museum in Makati City, the financial center of the country. The historical collection at the museum coincides with their mission, “Re-collecting the past. Re-presenting the future.”
Finally, we returned to the hotel for a large evening gathering. Another feast of local dishes, and entertainment by several local brothers and sisters. The two-hour program included a vast array of dance routines. Interestingly, none of the dancers were professional, several just learning the traditional dances for the performance for the delegates. They had practiced nearly daily for 3 months prior to our visit. But if no one had told me, I would have never have known this was new to them. They were that good!