Q. What is the worst city we have visited?

A. Manila

It didn’t start well as the taxi from the airport drove past numerous seedy bars full of old white men with young local women in very dodgy areas and when we got to the supposed ‘tourist area’, it looked like a bomb had hit it!

Nevertheless, rather than move on straightaway, we elected to spend a day seeing the sights. We wandered around the Intramuros area, home of the old Spanish fort where there were a few nice buildings.

Entrance to Intramuros

However, once outside we were hit with the fumes from the thousands of jeepneys which are the city’s main form of public transport. They are converted American jeeps left over from the Second World War, when the Yanks had several bases here due to its proximity to Japan. But they are not just adapted for transporting passengers, they are also painted crazy colours and have booming sound systems.

A typical jeepney

We didn’t fancy choking on exhaust fumes whilst in one of these so took the metro to the Chinese cemetery. It sounded really interesting as some of the bodies are buried in huge mausoleums with air-con, running water and toilets. However, once we arrived at the station we realised it was in a very poor area next to a huge road. We had a quick look around, saw a man washing plates in a filthy river and decided to get straight back on the train to our hotel.

The street near the cemetery

We still had a few hours to kill before the night bus so headed for the nearest shopping mall (the Philippines is famous for them as the locals apparently love ’em) and popped into M&S (more expensive than in the UK) and Topshop before watching ‘Little Fockers’ and eating a Burger King (exactly the same as at home in case you are wondering).

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