manila.

Every man in my life almost got a large stack of new boxers today.

(I swear that will make sense shortly)

We tried to schedule a trip to the Pagsanjan Falls, Gorges and Rapids today, but after learning that we might not be able to see the main waterfall given the high water, we decided that it wasn’t worth $100 per person to see the crappy one.

J’s parents are back in Manila, staying with their cousins, but J and I decided to spend our last couple of nights of vacation in a hotel (hot showers being the main driver there). We’re staying at the Dusit Thani in Makati, which is where I got an affordable corporate discount. I could have been convinced to stay at the Shangri La or The Peninsula too, but even my corporate discount didn’t make those very cost friendly after a few days in El Nido.

Anyway, J’s cousins picked us up this morning to “look at pearls”. We had no idea what this was going to entail, but quickly realized that it wasn’t just pearl shopping. When J’s cousin said, “hold your purse tightly as you walk through…”, I knew we were in for something interesting. That and I could tell that she was very on top of her fashion / jewelry, etc.

The “pearl shopping” turned out to be a dream of handbags, shoes, clothing, wallets, jewelry, etc. The pearls were real, the handbags, likely not. The thing is, if you know what you’re looking for, you could end up with a real, “overrun” Prada, Chanel, Tory Burch, whatever, handbag, wallet, shoes, etc.

I bought a bag that is definitely leather (the woman held up a lighter to it to prove that it wouldn’t catch on fire and I, along with J, J’s cousin and J’s mom all confirmed that it smelled like real leather). It’s a “Prada”, that came with an authenticity card… apparently if they have the card and are from Korea (which they said, but who knows), they’re more likely the real deal. So, I might have gotten a really expensive, real-thing, purse for not real-thing prices. It’s REAL pretty though. …And not that I actually own a whole lot of Prada, but it looks real to me.

In addition to the bag (honestly, I probably would have bought more than 1 with more time to really look at them), I got a necklace and a couple of gifts. I had bought pearls earlier in the trip — that was the one thing that I knew I wanted to take home, so today was all about the other stuff.

GAP is made in the Philippines, so tons of the booths at this place were selling GAP clothing – boxers were about $1 apiece. I actually didn’t buy any because J didn’t want them and I don’t wear boxers, but I would have bought about 60 pair if J wanted. $1!! Even on sale they’re usually 2 for $12 or 2 for $20 full price and I’m always looking for a deal!

Seeing GAP, American Eagle, Polo, etc was funny… J’s cousin said, “now you know why Filipinos dress so well…”. Again, who knows if any of it is the real deal, but it sure looked like it.

I know that some of my friends would have LOVED this place… I certainly could have loved it with more time. I felt bad for holding up the people that I was with (even though they seemed to be enjoying things as well, based on purchases), but if I had been with some of my girlfriends… My wallet is probably glad that I wasn’t with some of my girlfriends… 🙂

After shopping, we ate lunch at an awesome Chinese restaurant and then headed to The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery reminded me a lot of Arlington, honoring American and Filipino soldiers who died during WWII. It was very well maintained and they did a really nice job with the memorial.

J and I spent the rest of the day doing a ton of walking, but nothing all that exciting.

I like Manila more than I thought I would, though if I’m honest, I don’t think we’re seeing the true Manila. We’re seeing the very safe, very expat, very wealthy, Manila. For safety’s sake, this is probably a good thing…

Tomorrow is more touring and then our flight leaves late at night. It’s bitter sweet to leave, of course. Vacation has been amazing, but I miss home and especially miss the pupper, who hopefully still remembers us :).

More from Chicago…

0 thoughts on “manila.

  1. what an amazing adventure! so glad you two were able to go. i’ve loved reading about it. safe travels home, my friend! xo.