Philippines Pt. 5 – Metro Manila & Ayala Museum Tour

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.

Leaving the hotel.  The bomb-sniffing dog that occupies the entrance.

Leaving the hotel. The bomb-sniffing dog that occupies the entrance.

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.

Jeepneys - the local public transportation.  Very affordable at less than 20 cents a pop.

Jeepneys – the local public transportation. Very affordable at less than 20 cents a pop.

The poorest citizens of Manila occupy these self-built shanties along the river.  We were told to stay far away from these areas, in part because dengue fever runs rampant in these slums.

The poorest citizens of Manila occupy these self-built shanties along the river. We were told to stay far away from these areas, in part because dengue fever runs rampant in these slums.

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Interesting architecture from different generations fills the city.

Interesting architecture from different generations fills the city.

I enjoyed photographing the haphazzard powerlines that are strewn up and down every street.

I enjoyed photographing the haphazard power lines that are strewn up and down every street.

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This globe is right outside the Mall of Asia - the largest mall in Asia.  When driving to the mall, the undercarriage of your vehicle is checked with mirrors for explosives.  To enter the mall, you pass through a small security gate with a metal detector and bag check.

This globe is right outside the Mall of Asia – the largest mall in Asia. When driving to the mall, the undercarriage of your vehicle is checked with mirrors for explosives. To enter the mall, you pass through a small security gate with a metal detector and bag check.

There's nothing more romantic than a hot cup of reconstituted noodles.

There’s nothing more romantic than a hot cup of reconstituted noodles.

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.

The bethel singers.

The Bethel singers.

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.”

Makati City

Makati City

The lovely courtyard behind the museum.

The lovely courtyard behind the museum.

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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!

The umbrella dance.

The umbrella dance.

The clay pot dance, which required tremendous balance, as they carried a stack of pots on their heads.

The clay pot dance, which required tremendous balance, as they carried a stack of pots on their heads.

The breathtaking fan dance - of which my photo does not do justice.

The breathtaking fan dance – of which my photo does not do justice.

Rebecca Knabe

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