No, I haven’t gone crazy. The title does make sense because ‘Salamat’ is ‘Thank You’ in Filipino. 🙂 So, thank you Philippines for a lovely experience of my first international trip. And now after procrastinating things for forever, I am going to document my travel here. I have decided to do three posts for my stay in Philippines, the first one in the series is this and it will cover everything I experienced there. Are you wondering what will the other two posts be about then? 🙂 Well, I want to keep a little surprise element but I can tell that this first one would most likely be the most interesting for you guys. 😀 (Update: I realized that I am explaining things way too much so I’ll break this post into two parts).
I was in Makati which is the business hub of Philippines, adjacent to and quite a part of the capital city, Manila. As most of you know, I was on a business trip and so I had very little time to roam around. Manila, the capital city, has a lot of churches and parks to visit apart from the largest mall in Asia and an amusement park – Manila Ocean Park. I did not visit any place in Manila. 😛 Although Makati and Manila are like one big city, I did not get the time to visit Manila. Makati, again, has some churches, museums and an American cemetery and the biggest highlight is a chain of malls that are SHOPPING HEAVEN.These are basically 8 malls (yes, 8) , all connected to one another like one huge giant mall, the first 5 ones come under one chain called ‘Greenbelt’ and are very posh and high-end malls. The next two, i.e. ‘The Landmark’ and ‘SM Market’ are the kinds where you can do cheap shopping. One more, i.e. Glorietta mall is in the middle of these two price-wise, not exactly high-end but not exactly cheap. Now comes the best part of the trip. My hotel was right across the Greenbelt malls. Like, I only had to cross a road to go there. Literally. Whoever from the client booked my hotel, bless you.
Now let’s go over the trip day-wise, shall we?
[Day 1] I reached there on September 7 via a connecting flight from Bangkok and while I was told that the Bangkok Airport (Suwarnbhumi airport) is wow, I was super sleepy to really care (as I watched movies through my entire flight from Delhi to Bangkok) and I also needed to charge my phone to let the, ermmm, ‘stakeholders’ know that I am fine. 😛 But honestly, I don’t know why people who live in Delhi raved so much about this airport. It is good, indeed, but just as much as Delhi airport. Of course, with different brands, so that’s exciting.
Anyway, my flight reached the Philippines airport (Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I noticed the name while coming back to India 😛 ). It is such a sad airport because there is some construction work going on but still so sad. Ok, let’s all take a moment to praise the Delhi airport. Silence.
Then, I needed to purchase the global SIM and charge my phone so that I can make a call to the driver which my client was sending. Because of all this, the poor driver had to wait for so long. By the way, he was such a cute old man.
So, he dropped me at my hotel, the New World Makati Hotel, it is an extremely nice hotel guys but the USP is mostly the fact that it is right across the 8 malls that I talked about (a big USP), everything else I guess you will get at every good hotel if you are willing to pay so much!
I ordered some lunch in the hotel and took a bath while the lunch arrived. It was a big veggies pizza and it had so much cheese that it was nauseating! Anyway, I ate as much as I could and left for the first mall I wanted to cover – ‘The Landmark’. I haven’t mentioned that I had an agenda on this trip, to buy gifts for a lot of my cousins. I really loved Landmark. It is like a huge supermarket with so many floors catering to different things and you can buy stuff no matter what your budget is. I can’t explain how big it is. I really liked the fact that in their make-up and skin care section, they stock some really good brands also and not only the cheap ones. There is such a HUGE area of shoes and bags on the floor for women that you will get confused and overwhelmed. If you are considering bulk shopping, this is THE place to check out.
[Day 2] It was my first day in the client’s office and the people were really sweet. I had lunch with them and it was a tough task for them to find vegetarian food for me. 🙂 When I came back to the hotel that day, I felt kind of lonely and low and I did not feel like going out. So, I just stayed in. After a while, I wanted to be out but the time was not right to go out all alone. So, I hanged out in this fake lagoon that the hotel has made next to its bar and lounge. It was very beautiful with all the lights, the bridge and the curio shops of the hotel. Super relaxing. I LOVED that about the hotel. The music in the bar also felt so good.
[Day 3] On this day, I was in high spirits when I came back from office and I decided to explore the Greenbelt 3 mall. Like I mentioned, the Greenbelt chain is all high-end and posh but of course, there are some reasonable stores as well. On the ground floor, though, there are so many of the big international labels that you cannot not enter the stores. There was this one store with ballerina shoes available in all colors possible and since I had never heard the name of the brand, I just entered. 😛 The shoes were so damn pretty!
The biggest highlight for me in Greenbelt 3 was finding the Etude House store. It’s a cosmetics brand and I always longed to visit an Etude House store because it’s very Disney princess like but it is not in India. It was out of my mind when I was there. I was just roaming around when I saw the Etude House store. Such an amazing feeling! On top of it, I soon realized that this is not an exorbitantly priced brand. Loved that! 😀 By they way, when you enter their store, they greet you by saying ‘Good evening princess!’. That was a little creepy for me. 😛 Still, well thought. 😛
One really good thing about the Greenbelt 3 mall is that there is a HUGE variety of restaurants here and mostly all of them offer open seating. I decided to try the vegetarian pasta at ‘Seattle’s Best Coffee’. It is a chain like Cafe Coffee Day. 🙂 I was totally enjoying sitting in their open area and eating my food slowly but these 3 boys appeared and started to kind of flirt in a scary way, so I literally stuffed my food and grabbed my stuff to run away. They actually followed me for a while but thankfully, this mall was extremely near to my hotel. 🙂
To be continued from day 4 onwards. 🙂