21 June 2008

My trip to Makati Philippines

7 June 2008 - 17 June 2008
Makati, Manila, The Philippines

After 3.5 hours flight, we reached Philippines!

First thing that greeted me, poor luggage system

Luggage jammed and no one is doing anything about it

More and more people waiting for their luggage and I waited 30 mins for mine!

Still jammed!!!

Finally I got my luggage and proceeded to find a taxi to bring me to the apartment

Took the metered taxi, the fare is so cheap!

This is the road name of the apartment where I stayed. L.P. Leviste in Barangay Bel-Air. According to my colleagues, this is like River-Valley in Singapore.

High rise apartments

7-11 and MiniStop conveniently located within vicinity

After unpacking our luggage and rested for a while, we went for our dinner in this family-run Korean restaurant. The noodles are delicious! I couldn't stop complimenting the noodles while i was eating it, and throughout the entire trip. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera because we were going to club that night, as I didn't want to misplace it.

After dinner, we went to Malate, the area with a lot of clubs and bars, somewhat similar to Mohd Sultan or Boat Quay. No pics, but we enjoyed ourselves, the alcohol were cheap and we drank to our hearts content!

On Sunday, P brought me to Tri Noma in Quezon City, one of the newest malls there and apparently quite high end. Like the Paragon of Singapore. We shopped, and shopped and still shopped.

Bench, People are People, Euro Edition, etc, so many nice brands there, great for shopping lovers!

We both agreed that somehow the shopping in Tri Noma can replace Hong Kong because the quality and design of clothes there are as good as (or close to) Hong Kong, but you pay less!

I bought a pair of Euro Edition jeans for about 4000 Pesos, which is about SGD$130, and the design is so nice, I love it! A pair of jeans like that could have cost me SGD$200-$250 in Hong Kong or Singapore?

Look at the embroidery!

All in all, I spend SGD$300-400 or 9000 Pesos in TriNoma? I lost track, will wait for my credit card bills.

Monday, went to Philippines office located in Makati City. One word. BEAUTIFUL!

Their small group morning briefings

Listening attentively


Getting ready for work

A view of half the call centre

Individual work station, fully computerised

9.30am sharp, start work.

I like this, their Coaching Station

Trying to take a picture of the full view of the call centre. However, because the area is too big, I did not manage to do that.

Locker area, for them to lock their belongings. No handphone rule applies.

Having some discussion

Smile . . . this is a quarter of the team

First lunch in office, KFC delivery. Regretted the moment my food was served to me. No chilli. Sauce is bland. Argh. No more KFC in Philippines!

Quality board.

One of the top agents there


Interview waiting area

Training room for new hires

Monday to Friday was all work, auditing, interviews, training and coaching, etc.

During the week itself, tried out different restaurants. Realise there are a lot of Korean restaurants in Philippines. By the way, if you are a chilli lover, DO BRING ALONG A BOTTLE OF CHILLI WITH YOU IF YOU GO TO THE PHILIPPINES, OTHERWISE YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET! You cannot find chilli there. Yes, not even fast food restaurants.

This is a monkey that is chained outside the premises of a Korean restaurant I dined in twice. This Monkey is so interesting. Looking at it makes me happy.


The Korean restaurant I was talking about. Ma San Garden. Food is disappointing.

The lady boss dressed in traditional Korean costume

Delectable "looking" side dishes

The super bland, super unsatisfying Kimchi instant noodle.


Beef Bulgogi

Another restaurant Super Bowl of China

Snacks before meal is served

Every table has this Tsingtao beer on it. Just wondering why they are not promoting their local beer St Miguel or Red Horse instead of Tsingtao?

Roasted Chicken

Exterior of the restaurant

Max's Restaurant

Delicious half spring chicken with garlic rice

Greenbelt, they have 1-6 I think. So so only. Restaurants there have no air-con and they charge restaurant prices, so you can give this place a miss.

On Thursday, met up with Jennefer and Noel and they drove us to Fort Bonifacio, another high end residencial and shopping area.

I found a World of Fengshui by Lilian Too there and got very excited.

The waterfront area

We ate in Brothers Burger

Every burger description on this menu is super tempting

Burger presentation is nice too. But, turn out the burger is really quite normal. I still prefer my McSpicy burger from McDonalds!

Krispy Kreme, the donut franchise every Filipino would rave about.

Mall of Asia in Pasay City. The largest mall in Philippines and third largest mall in the world. So how could I leave Philippines without taking a look at the mall.

The outside area somehow reminds me of Shanghai Pudong, minus the nicer view in Shanghai. P, D and myself walked aroundthe whole stretch of restaurants at the alfresco area of Mall of Asia, and we could not find a restaurant that accepts credit card. Can you believe it? 3rd largest mall in the world, and they still do not accept credit cards? So primitive!

Then we found a seafood restaurant that accepts credit cards and we sat down. We looked at the menu and were surprised that the food was so cheap. Then I saw something suspicious. On the menu itself, the prices stated are the "Cooking Charges"!!! Not the actual price of the food we are going to pay.

In another words, they are cheating and misleading people!!! Imagine if customers walk in and they order a FEAST because they think its cheap, and when the bill arrives, they are going to get a rude shock!

When we found out it was a gimmick, we walked off!

This is the proof.

We ended up eating at "Fish & Co"! Boring to the max. We went all the way to the Philippines and we dined in a Singapore chain.
My not-so-sambal-at-all Sambal Fish
I have to give credit to this very tasty Pineapple Smoothie
Interesting shop name "Dogs and the City". Well, you should have guessed, it a shop for dog lovers.
Their book store, like Borders.

One thing about Mall fo Asia, or rather most of the malls in Philippines, is that they are not fully air-conditioned. Doesn't this look like Chinatown point?

Ok, I love this SM Hypermarket. I bought some toiletries there. CHEAP!
We wanted to take a cab from the taxi stand, and to our horror, look at the freaking queue!
Lucky, they have another taxi service, but its more expensive. Doubled the price, but half the waiting time. Why not?

Like I said, there are so many Korean restaurants, so we ended up in another one during lunch time.

Finally, on the last night before we left Manila, P and I went to this Fine Dining restaurant near our apartment. Apartment 1B. the crowd are mostly expats and rich tai tais.
Mango smoothie

Appetiser 1: Crab Cake
Appetiser 2: Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa
Appetiser 2: Scallops
Main Course: Ribeye steak. (Very nice)

Cocktail: Cosmopolitan

Damage: 6000 Pesos = SGD$200
Enjoyment: Priceless
Time to go back. Reached the airport early as we did not want to rush. Philippines airport security is atrociously tight. Have to take off belt, shoes, ring, everything. Sickening.
Lunched at this coffeeshop in the airport after checking in

Curry Chicken Rice. Disappointing. I miss the Curry Chicken at Ave 8 near my house. By the time you are reading this, I would have eaten that at least once.

The Philippines government is nicer to their smokers. Short and sweet message.

Bought foodstuff for my staffs.
OMG, this one is so delicous. I regretted not buying more. This is what they call cheese buns or Ensaymana. I bought the salted egg flavour and chocolate flavour, something different.
Philippines famous for mangoes
Chocolate Mallows

My business trip to the Philippines was great, and though I was not used to the food there (no chilli), but I am looking forward to another trip to the Philippines, if there is another opportunity.

Total Expenditure: Approx 30,000 Pesos or SGD$1,000!

To sum up my trip

What I love about the Philippines:
1. Massage is so cheap
2. The people are friendly
3. Shopping is good and cheap
4. Not so fast pace
5. Good looking people everywhere

What I dislike:
1. Pollution
2. No chilli
3. Food mostly bland
4. The ridiculous airport security
5. Taxi drivers always taking long routes

Do visit Manila if you have the chance!

16 Macro Voice(s):

J E Z said...

weeooww...ur coming in our country? first time? 2nd time?

welcome to the philippines!
if you have time, visit our tourist spot from beaches to caves to mountains.

let me hear in your blog about your experience(s)

3POINT8 said...

wow...this is one very long post with lots of photos!
Great work!

Marc said...

Hey Kif, thanks for the compliment!

bugITs said...

waghahhahha! you are so funny with those pictures from different places and foods in manila.. anyways, i saw dried mango.. we have it here in cebu.. come back here in philippines dude!

Marc said...

oh bugits (Mark), you are from Philippines? I did not know that. Haha.

Myj said...

hi hi there....finally back from ur biz trip...read ur blog, i too want to visit, but was thinking along the beach areas....ok, bye for now..

Belle said...

hi wow such a long post haha... i wan ur cosmopolitan drink and one chocolate bun =x and wad a cute monkey haha

YEONG said...

woooo! loooks super fun! haha i'll be leaving for aussie in 2 more days so when i'm back, get your eyes feast on a long entry! hehe traveling is such a great thing in life. don't you agree? :>

J E Z said...

Hey marc, this is a long post. heheh. what can i say:

(1)My best friend used to live in that same apartment too in bel-air.
(2) You’re right; you should have tried the local food instead.
(3) though, most Filipinos are not fond of chillis not until you asked the waiter that they will hand it to you.
(4)inspite of the increasing prices in oil and commodities, atleast you find it cheap to dine and shop here (how much is the exchange rate? 1S$ = 35,36,37,38 pesos?)
(5) didn’t you enjoy your stay in greenbelt? I like that place.
(6) u wer in trinoma? that’s why, I thought I saw you there? Hhmmnnn….
(7)I love dried mangoes too……or I must say I love mango !
(8) taxi drivers – you will encounter different character I know.
(9) what can I say about our airport security – that’s how they are here. Hehehe.

Well, good to hear you had a great time inspite of some flaws. Try visiting our beaches and caves next time you visit. That’s what we can offer that Singapore cannot.

Serene said...

mmmm sounds fun.. tks for sharing!

Marc said...

myj: ya, u should visit the beaches in Philippines, I heard they are good, too bad I don't fancy beaches

belle: the cosmo was so so, the bun is great and the monkey is CUTE!

yeong: of course travelling is fun la. I wish I can just travel all my life without working.

jez: 1. I asked for chilli most of the time la, but no chilli!

2. exchange rate is 1SGD=30Pesos

3. Greenbelt was ok for me, but I do not enjoy the lack of air-conditioning there!

4. Oh yes, i love Trinoma, I am talking about it all the time

5. Taxi drivers suck there

I hope I would explore more parts of Philippines if I get the chance again! Ya man caves sound good!

Simon Seow said...

Man, even Manila has Krispy Kreme now. When la it will come to Kuala Lumpur.

YULI said...

come to davao city, philippines . :D

Marc said...

Simon, crispy creme has alrdy arrived in KL, i m sure u wld hv known by now. I knw there is one outlet at Berjaya Times Square.. Haha.. Becuz i stayed at e hotel there the last time i was in KL.

Yuli, i m gg to Manila again end of this month(feb 2010), this time its a leisure trip

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Marc said...

Ayala center, thanks for the kind compliment.