Well, halfway through my Philippine jaunt. Have also quietly passed my 3 month probation date. No one's said anything so I guess I'm still employed. Guess the test comes at the end of the month when I see if I got paid ;-)
I have come to dearly love my 60Gb Creative Zen Xtra jukebox. Need to crack on with finding a tailor here. The others are also very interested but I suspect they don't have Kuomintang or Galactica uniforms in mind though! Have established that the Philippine Nintendoflage is worn by the Police Special Action Force. Must have! Want! Want!
Getting reasonably settled into the routine. Work's been busy but manageable. Food's so cheap here it's going to be a bit of a shock when I get back to London! Palato Fino's rapidly become our favourite restaurant. Very nice Mediterranean place: been there three times so far and this evening, Christina, the proprietor, was offering us complementary drinks which always helps :-)
Been getting asked on average once a day if I'm Filippino (either that or addressed in Tagalog). I blame all that time out in the sun at Beltring before I came out here! Also turns out the woman I've been exchanging email with in San Diego about stock options is from Manila too so she's been sending recommendations of places to see. On a vaguely related note, a vendor commented a few days ago that I had "a very distinct British accent". Was tempted to reply that he had a very distinct Hongkie accent - what was his point? ;-)
Bit of a scary shock, all the news about the Heathrow terrorist plot, especially at this distance. Daunting implications too, of only wallet and passport in clear plastic bag as hand luggage. Still, don't care, I'm still flying back come 1 September, even if they make us sit in our underwear on the flight!
First weekend, we headed down to the Intramuros area to see the old city. It was really our first venture outside Makati. I did rather expect it but it was nonetheless a bit of a shock to see how grim some of the other parts of Manila could be. Makati really is an extremely sheltered, prosperous enclave. Can't help noticing how even Starbucks has armed guards and all the banks have signs saying no mobiles or firearms inside!
Most of area within the walls got levelled in 1945 when the Americans recaptured it from the Japanese though. Interestingly phrased memorial to the civilian casualties of the fighting - it was dedicated to the victims of the heinous acts of the Japanese and the casualties of the American artillery... Fort Santiago was pretty interesting. Shame we couldn't get into Manila Cathedral as there was a wedding on. Alas, the visit (and the next day's to Rizal Park) were cut short by heavy rain. Still determined to get to Corregidor but the trip out to the island leaves at 7.30am from Manila harbour!
That evening, after I wussed out and went back to the hotel, it seems Paul and Rickard got talking at a club to a couple of girls called Gloria and Imelda. Had to ask if they had a friend named Corazon...
Last weekend, we flew down to Cebu. Noticed an awful lot of signs at the Domestic Airport warning people not to make jokes about bombs. As in every couple of metres or so. Serious stuff! To be honest, I'd probably have stayed in Manila except that Peter was down there so it'd be a great opportunity to catch up with him - not seen him since Beltring last year.
So, left the guys diving and sunning and doing other beach resort type things and went round Cebu with Peter and Rowena. Had a great time, got to the likes of Santo Nino Basilica, Magellan's Cross and the Taoist Temple. Just hope we didn't bore Rowena too much with our constant yammering on about airsofting, re-enactment, UNIT and the like!
Still managed to spend some time on the beach the next day though - we even went jet-skiing. Unfortunately, Rickard pranged me in the leg with his. Fortunately, I'm a) not fencing right now and b) have just about stopped limping!
Currently reading Greece And Crete 1941. Hmm... think I shall have to follow up ASAP the tentative discussions about a trip to Crete!
Recent UK events missed:
- Muster at Gunpowder Mills
- Great British Beer Festival (but did get a SMS from Kate (and a couple of MMSs) saying she'd secured me a glass so no unsightly gaps in my collection!)
- Galactica 2