We woke later than we intended to as we needed to get to both the Post Office and the Immigration Offices by noon. Why were we so late – we were both suffering and badly folks. I was feeling like someone was trying to break out of my head using a sledgehammer and Liz was not faring any better. If San Miguel was a Saint why could he not save the hangovers for the evil doers – okay it may be a fair cop .. lol. I was not laughing today though folks, I did not have time and could not even muster one if I had the time, we needed to be off and fast.
The walk was still, by what we had been told, achievable, however our good friends who explained the route must have been thinking that it would have been easy for two able-bodied people and at this moment we were far from that. The Sun was not helping by making everything ten times brighter than it really needed to be so this was really hurting folks.
Through Rizal Park and around Intramuros we went, our cunning plan was to extend our visa to two months and change our journey to one that double backed a bit earlier to Manila AND then we needed to open a PO Box and have my new ATM card sent to that address. Even in our bedraggled state we noticed that there were ALOT a few homeless on the roadside and they would pester us for money, not persistently so but side did happen regularly, this was quite new to us. Even in Jakarta which had seemed by far the poorest city we had visited we had not seen any homeless but here they were many. Prize for the strangest being the woman who lived up a small tree who nearly scared me witless (spelt with a ‘sh’).
Even with all this hassle a final spurt and we finally reached the Office of Immigration and – hoorah – it was shut and would not be open till Monday and the security guard also pointed out that even if they had been open Liz would not have got in due to her choice of clothes – he neglected to comment on our grey pallor. It was good information to have got but we now needed to hotfoot it over to the Post Office which was just along the road, so we could at least get one of our jobs done and it was ten to twelve – by the time we got there though this was also shut. Despondently we walked home – we would now have to stay an extra day in Manila than I had expected – my spreadsheet would be very mad. Oh well back to the digs for some much needed rest and sleep.
When we awoke (much) later we decided we were rejuvenated enough to go and find the bus station we would need to get to our next port of call – Taygaytay, to see the Taal volcano. We decided the best course would be to get the Underground/Overground (Wombling Free!) trains to get to near the bus station and then hunt around from there. Manila metro is the first I had seen with ‘women only’ carriages and travelling at night on it, although it did not feel unsafe, it did make me feel somewhat more wary than I had felt in other cities I had thus far travelled.
When we got there, only a few stops down the line from our digs, the actual area felt no better either very bustling and lots of people but it was all dark, dingy or dim and this added a bit of a surreal ‘Morlocks’ feeling to it all. Again there were lots of homeless about but they were being ignored even by fellow Filipinos so although this did not particularly ease my conscience, at least I had a benchmark I suppose and used this to justify my own actions.
We finally reached the bus station and getting the bus seemed to be a relatively easy affair so, hanging round the area no longer than we had to we went back to the MRT station and high-tailed it out of Dodge.