2020 birthday in the Philippines!

I'd promised to visit good friend and travel mate, Vicki while she was working in the Philippines.  When better to visit than on my way back from Christmas at home in NZ.  I landed on my birthday, Friday 10 January and the birthday celebrations continued all weekend 🥳.

To celebrate my birthday, Vicki arranged to take me to a speakeasy!  I had no idea we were going to a chic cocktail bar, she took me to a 7-11 store, gave a nod to a security guard and lo and behold, a cupboard door was opened and through she went, with me following quickly behind!

On Saturday I was treated to a mani pedi, but not your regular mani pedi.  I sat on a sofa, watching a movie with a gin & tonic for sustenance.  Simultaneously, someone buffed and polished my feet while someone else massaged and polished hands.  From our luxurious mani pedi we headed to a roof top bar in Makati for cocktails and gorgeous sunset views of the sun setting over Manila Bay.  As the night was still young, we took a detour on our way home and did what all good locals do, some karaoke!  The less said the better - what happens in Manila stays in Manila!!!

The next day we headed to the walled city, Intramuros and did a bamboo bike tour with bambike eco tours, a great way to see the city.  At dusk we headed into Fort Santiago, a fortress used by the Spanish, British, Americans, Japanese and Philippines.

Early on Monday morning we were due to fly to Coron for a 3 night stay at a tropical island paradise. Our plans were about to be scuppered as Mt Taal erupted.  Unsure whether the eruption would affect our flight, we headed to the airport bright and early and eventually were informed that all flights had been cancelled.  We headed to the airline office, along with everyone else on the flight, to rebook.  All flights on Tuesday were fully booked but we could get on a flight on Wednesday.  However, as I was heading back to the UK on Saturday, our three night stay would be reduced to a two night stay.

All was not lost.  We drowned our sorrows in style at Raffles Long Bar happy hour and then on Tuesday we did a tour of Corregidor Island, an island fortress in Manila Bay.

Two Seasons Resort, Coron
Hoping against hope that Taal wouldn't decide to erupt again, we headed back to the airport on Wednesday morning.  We held our breath until the flight actually took off.  A flight, taxi journey and speed boat ride later, we arrived at the Two Seasons Resort.  The website doesn't do it justice.  We had arrived at our tropical island paradise.  There was a coral reef right by the resort with the most amazing corals, large clams and fish which we spent the afternoon exploring.  The next day we had a private tour, taking us to swim in Kayangan and Twin Lagoon and snorkel at Sangat Wreck and Siete Pecados.   The day on and in the water exhausted us so we headed to bed fairly soon after dinner.  During the night we both got sick, nasty sick, the type that wipes you out and leaves you unable to even keep water down.  We'd both got food poisoning.  Somehow we managed to pack, check out and cope with the speed boat, mini bus transfer and flight.  So much for our plans to head out for one last night in Manila, we were in bed by 1800!


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