My first taste of the Philippines was extortion on the taxi ride from the airport in Manila, the capital. Even though I was aware of this carry on, I still got stung paying almost 4 times the price! If you are here, please walk away from the airport and flag down the white metered taxis, not the yellow airport taxis or the silver/white "fixed rate" taxis. There is a saying, "never learn from you mistakes but from others mistakes!".
Ask anyone and they will say get in and out of Manila as quick as possible, they are probably right. This place gave me the heeby jeebies and brought me back to my time in Mumbai. Overcrowded, noisy and dirty. I stayed at the main central business district of Makati, which is right beside the red light district. I had to walk in the evening time (as opposed to heading there in the nighttime with a few guys!!!) on my own and I felt vulnerable with everyone staring. Coming up trying to sell Viagra and dodgy iphones not to mention the learing prostitutes and the ladyboy contingent, which I reckon tops Thailand in terms of numbers. There is really no need to stay here that long considering what else the Philippines has to offer but you know what, you still gotta see how this place works and you have to experience it so you can really say.......this place is a s**t hole. You should get in and get out as quick as ya can!
Anyway, the "hidden gem" I'm referring to ain't Manila, so lets catch a flight out of there with super cheap Philippine airlines. First stop to Puerto Princessa in Palawan. See the map below for a better idea of the Philippines and how spread out it is, in fact there are over 7,000 islands in this country! Scheizer!!
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