Salamat Philippines: Part 2

[Day 4]Β Day 4 was quite similar to day 3, only difference was that I had pre-decided where I would go once back from work. I came back and headed to Greenbelt 5 (next to Greenbelt 3). I had decided on it because I wanted to buy my mom a Charles & Keith wallet and did not want to keep that thing for the last. Charles & Keith is there in Greenbelt 5. The USP of this mallΒ is that it is notΒ all international chains. It has a very large number of distinctive Philippines-specific designer boutiques. Very expensive stuff, but very ogle-worthy. At some of the stores, I literally couldn’t take my eyes off.

Greenbelt 5

Greenbelt 5

I decided to have dinner in one of Greenbelt 3’s open space restaurants – ‘Recipes’. I had a Tofu in Garlic Sauce with rice, and it was one of my favorite foods there. Simply because it was spicy. πŸ˜› Although, I am sure lot of people won’t like it as it was very dry. DSC_9293

[Day 5]Β It was this day on which I had the first half reserved for sightseeing (as I was coordinating the time with my client’s night shift) but somehow, I wasn’t really excited about it. I was planning to visit the Manila Ocean Park but I did not feel very excited so I just slept through the half day and went to office in the second half. Yeah, no tourist-y sightseeing!! 😦 However, I explored the residential streets near my office area.


The streets of Makati

DSC_9302 DSC_9305 DSC_9306 On being back in the evening, I wanted to check the SM market which was praised a lot by my driver. So, here’s the thing with SM Market. I grabbed the best deals here but it is, again, SUPER HUGE. So, when you enter, you are greeted with the same old international brands and some local ones as well. Two floors above is the highlight of SM market, the shoe city. It is an amazingly big area with bags and shoes but it is not all budget (as is the belief). Make sure that you cover this entire floor because this floor has hidden gems. You find amazingly nice shoes and bags for pocket-friendly prices. Also, the SM marketΒ directions don’t mention it but this floor has a lot of budget-friendly nightwear and lingerie. Basically, keep calm and scan the entire floor. Since I had got really late in the SM market, I did not want to stay out for longer and carried my dinner from Burger King as take out. Did you just say that I am a vegetarian? Well, yes, the sales guy said they would remove the chicken and I understood that he is saying that he will remove the chicken and put in a vegetable cutlet. πŸ˜› Hats off to my absurdity! πŸ˜›

[Day 6]Β Β There were still some people for whom I was yet to buy gifts. So, I had planned the Friday evening to be a quick, well-managed walk through all my favorite areas of the malls. But the office people told me that they would like to have a goodbye dinner with me. πŸ™‚ How very sweet! πŸ™‚ So, I quickly rushed through my shopping agenda and then had an amazing dinner with them. πŸ™‚ We ate at the Lorenzo’s way in Greenbelt 5. My vegetarian dish was average and I also tried a bit of their rice which was good. The dessert and the mango-guya (local fruit) drink were amazing!

From the goodbye dinner. :)

From the goodbye dinner. πŸ™‚

Of course, afterwards, I had one more task πŸ˜› as I couldn’t find anything good for my dad, so just wandered aimlessly in Greenbelt 3 revisiting my favorite places there. πŸ™‚ Still unable to find anything, I postponed the task for Bangkok airport.

[Day 7]Β Had a peaceful flight back home and met really nice and interesting people on board. πŸ™‚ Now coming to things that I regretted on my trip. One is that I wish I had done some tourist-like sightseeing. Yes, the cities Manila and Makati in Philippines are more of a shoppingΒ heaven but there are other things to be seen. And, of course, if you are visiting any of the islands, then soaking up the natural beauty becomes the major attraction. Well, the islands were never on my agenda because you have to go there through flights, I did not want to extend my trip. Second regret is that I wish I had shopped some more for myself. πŸ˜› I really did not buy much for myself and as I checked out a whole of stuff, I kind of want them now. πŸ˜›

Finally, thankfully for you guys, this post is finishing but not without my Philippines travel suggestions:

  1. If you are going to cover both cities as well as some of the islands, plan for a longer vacation. Frankly, the USP of the cities (Makati and Manila) is the shopping and the USP of the islands is their natural beauty. So, you can decide based on your preferences.
  2. Things to do in both Makati and Manila are very easy to classify. There are 5 types of things here to check out (apart from observing the day to day life and the food): 1) Churches, 2) Museums, 3) Parks, 4)Shopping, 5)Adventure Sports/Amusement Parks. The good thing is that you can easily skip on the parks (right?) and I am guessing that you wouldn’t be very keen on visiting each and every museum (but that depends).
  3. If in Makati, definitely do attend the Salcedo Saturday Market. It happens in the parking of the Salcedo park and has such a great variety of foods on display. It is worth visiting even for vegetarians because there are hundreds of varieties of fruits.
  4. For designer shopping, head over to the Greenbelt chain of malls. For budget shopping, do not forget to cover The Landmark and SM market in their entirety. πŸ˜› You would require a lot of time for that though. πŸ˜› Apparently, there’s another affordable mall called Market!Market! I did not visit that.
  5. There are 3 convenience stores everywhere: 1)Convenience 7, 2) Ministop and 3)Rustan’s. I think the third one is the best.
  6. Try booking a connecting flight via Singapore because their airport is fabulous and Charles & Keith is even cheaper there. πŸ˜›

That’s finally it!! If you read till here, please let me know in the comments. It sure would make me happy! πŸ˜€ And do stay tuned for the rest of the two posts of the Philippines trip. πŸ˜‰

[Update: With this, I complete 100 posts on Life of Srish πŸ™‚ ]

Salamat Philippines

No, I haven’t gone crazy. The title does make sense because ‘Salamat’ is ‘Thank You’ in Filipino. πŸ™‚ 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? πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜€ (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. πŸ˜› 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]Β 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. πŸ˜› 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 πŸ˜› ). 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!


View from my room window


View part 2 πŸ˜› That’s Greenbelt 3 that you see.


I hardly drink, but I made sure that I flaunt this to everyone I know πŸ˜›


The room


The customary hotel bathroom photo

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.




Crossing the road for going to Landmark, can you see Ralph Lauren? πŸ˜‰


One of the things I was most excited about. Philippines has these ‘jeepneys’ like we have autos. They were used in military during World War, but now are used as a means of public transport. Please Google for better pictures, they look amazing.


There were rows and rows of shoes in Landmark. I realize that these ones don’t look good quality but believe me there were really good ones too in abundance!


Yes, the bags look kind of cheap but the topmost orange one is good and there were many good bags.



I got myself these from Landmark.

[Day 2]Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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.

DSC_9250 DSC_9252 DSC_9254

[Day 3]Β 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. πŸ˜› 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! πŸ˜€ By they way, when you enter their store, they greet you by saying ‘Good evening princess!’. That was a little creepy for me. πŸ˜› Still, well thought. πŸ˜›


It was a very small store, I have seen pictures of people in big Etude House stores and they are lovely.


The skin care. I bought some face washes for few people.


The billing counter


The really cute skin care stuff. Look at those small hand cream tubes. I got one of them for a friend.


Those two paper bags were mine. πŸ™‚



Look at those toys! It’s a books and stationery store in the mall. I think it was called Power Books? I loved roaming in this huge store. Who doesn’t love books & stationery stores?

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚



To be continued from day 4 onwards. πŸ™‚