During my seven month stay in the Philippines from late May 2012 until early December 2012 I was able to accomplish much of what I set out do to. There was simply not enough time and money to do everything that I wanted to do.
I stayed in Manila for a little over 2 months and in the Cagayan valley for almost 5 months on 2 separate occasions.
I wanted to see more of Ilocos Norte and the beaches on the northern coast. I wanted to see Santa Ana and the small islands off the northern coast.
I will plan ahead so that during my next trip to the Philippines I will take ample time to visit all the places that I want to see. I am looking forward to returning to the land that I consider my second home……The Philippines!
Someday, in the future, there will be an SM City Tuguegarao. I understand that plans are in the works, as we speak. The picture above shows an artists impression how SM City Tuguegarao will look when it is completed. I have visited many SM City malls in Metro Manila area and they are always fun to shop at……..but this will be my first opportunity to visit a new SM City Mall in the Cagayan Valley! Looking forward to shopping there when it is completed.
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Even though I am back in the states now, I am always looking at the photos that I took in Manila and only dreaming that sometime within the next two years I will be able to return.
The photos above were taken from my hotel room in Ermita. A few blocks from Roxas Blvd and a few blocks from Makati.
One of the things that I would do different next time is to rely less on TAXi’s as they can be very expensive on ones budget. Next time I will rely more on Public Transportation. The Jeepneys and the Elevated Train System.
My next trip I will bring a TABLET PC with me so I can blog everyday while I am there!
The Savemore Market in the Philippines is, perhaps, the most American Styled supermarket that I have seen during my seven month journey in the Philippines. I went to the Savemore market in Tuguegarao City, in the cagayan valley and also to Savemore in Santa Cruz, Manila.
The prices are very competitive and there is a wide selection of items to choose from.
Pictured above is the Savemore building in Tuguegarao City. The actual market is on the other side of the building. Savemore is always very well air conditioned, so it is a welcome relief to get out of the hot Philippine tropical sun and do some shopping!
When it comes to the Jeepney in the Philippines..it is BASIC, CHEAP Transportation in the larger cities, and there are RURAL Jeepneys that take you from town to town in the rural areas. A Jeepney runs between 8.5 and 20 pesos in Manila…depending on your destination. The good thing about the JEEPNEY in that there is ALWAYS room for one more! When it fills up inside they can hang onto the luggage racks on the roof! 😀
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I loved Mercury Drug stores because it reminded me of Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies back in the states. There is ample security as there are always one or two security guards in the store. They sell a wide assortment of products I would go in the store to buy a 1-liter bottle of C2 green tea or apple juice for 20 pesos (about 50-cents US).
Most of the shampoos and conditioners come in small sample sized (or what we would call travel size here in the states). The prices are much lower on the sample size and travel size products so they are easily in reach of the Filipino consumer.
If you are an American, driving in the Philippines should be easy. They drive on the same side of the street as Americans. If you are driving inside Metro Manila, be prepared for rush hour traffic jams. In some locations near Cubao/Quezon City rush hour traffic can last all day. I would love to drive outside of Metro Manila the next time that I am in the Philippines. Places where there is little or no traffic and see the beautiful tropical scenery and mountains!
I want to thank my landlords Rose and Sonny for letting me stay at their boarding house on Natividad Ave in Santa Cruz, Manila. I learned a lot about Manila during my stay there and I learned how to take MASS TRANSIT. I took Jeepneys (Jeeps built into a small bus), Tricycles (motorcycles with side car), elevated trains (MRT/LRT) as well as the occasional Calesa in Intramuros! I got to see first hand the markets in Santa Cruz and the vendors selling all types of electronics! I wish I would have had more time to stay and perhaps, mor importantly, more money!