16th, 17th & 25th Feb & 6th of March 2004 (far too many days... but it is the unavoidable hub of the Philippines and we needed a Vietnam visa).

Under Spanish rule, Manila was nick named "The Pearl of The Orient", it is now a conglomerate of 17 cities that make this a large, noisy, bustling city.  Everyone thinks we are rich and can't understand why we don't want to change money, give them money, buy a dud rolex, buy sunglasses, or go in their horse and cart.

It is difficult to tell what went wrong, but there are too many people living in parks, and on the side of the roads sleeping by fires at night. We saw people who wash their clothes in a drain and then dry them on the back of air conditioning units.

With the whole sex trade thing going on, doctors in the area seem to be specialising in the real problems facing their customers!

Where else in the world have you see a neon sign with "VD" on it?

We were told to take a scenic walk to the waterfront to see the beautiful bay and enjoy a coffee in the many waterfront cafes. The smell of sewerage and rubbish seems to of shut the cafes and the homeless seem to be swimming here.

The beautiful orchid gardens were right in the centre of town in the middle of a park. We really liked them, they had a small butterfly sanctuary inside where you could walk amongst hundreds of butterflies.

... the museum was pretty cool as well, once someone could finally tell us where it was..... never ask a rent-a-cop (security guard) for directions.

This advert was on the window of the Manila "Walkabout" pub.... it seems their idea of a romantic valentines day is beer, and cheap beer at that.

Another great pub is called the "Hobbit House" which only hires dwarves for table service creating a rather amusing setting.

Last but not least the misery and poverty of Manila is summarised by this sign.... the CEO of what springs to mind.

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