Introducing the Asian typhoon

Australasia ~ Australia ~ Victoria ~ Home and Asia ~ The Philippines ~ Manila and Asia ~ Japan ~ Fukuoka & Hiroshima

So much has happened, and yet nothing has happened since my last post – nearly 2 months ago! What can I say? Once again I’ve slipped into holiday mode, and have slacked off a bit on my blogging. Almost immediately after writing my last post, it was decided that I was needed back in Australia to help out the family business with our annual promotion. So we madly scrambled around to find a decent flight back to Australia at extremely short notice, and came up with a Philippine Air flight. “Hmmm, they seem to have a bad reputation”, mentioned mum. “FANTASTIC, I’ve never been to the Philippines”, I thought…

My two weeks back in Australia were full on, 12 hour days really take it out of you, but I did get to spend some time with my nephew, so it wasn’t all bad. And I managed to convince one of my friends to come back to Japan with me for a holiday. And so it was that Leah spent her very first typhoon locked up in a 4 star hotel in Manila with me, and her second ever typhoon madly riding through the wind to get to our favourite okonomiyaki restaurant…

People waiting to catch a train in amongst the typhoon

People waiting to catch a train in amongst the typhoon

We had a whirlwind 3 days in Manila on the way over to Japan from Melbourne… Day 1 we arrived at 6.30am, had a snooze then wandered around the streets – it was hot and humid, but bearable with a slight breeze… We talked about doing a tour the next day. Day 2 we decided to go shopping at the mall next to the hotel, as it was raining “a bit”. On the way out the door, we noticed the concierge had umbrellas – so we asked when they expected the rain to stop, to try and decide if we needed to get an umbrella. He said that the storm would start at 2pm (this was at about 10am). We assumed he made a mistake, he meant the storm would finish at 2pm, and headed through the torrential rain (a bit of a summer storm we assumed) to the nearby shopping centre. Wandered around the shopping centres for most of the day. At about 2pm the weather did indeed turn worse, terrible winds and rain. At this stage we still thought it was just a summer storm, we hadn’t heard the news. It wasn’t until we passed the Apple Store that we found out – it was closed, with a big sign up saying “Closed for the typhoon”. We started heading back to our hotel, it was bucketing down with rain everywhere, lines to get taxis and trains where huge (I’m not sure the trains were running). Luckily our hotel was right in the centre of town, so we just walked through the malls to get back. Not until we got to Japan did we realise just how bad it really was over there (we weren’t watching the news in Manila – we had plenty of DVD’s from the markets to get through!).

Leah surrounded by shopping in Manila

Leah surrounded by shopping in Manila

Leah and I spent a fantastic couple of weeks in Japan, running around visiting my favourite places. Amongst a bunch of things, we rode the shinkansen to Hiroshima, visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, the deers in Miyajima, Leah stayed in her first hostel in Hiroshima and we were interviewed by a Japanese TV station at Dazaifu, questioned about our ‘fashionable’ clothing (we were wearing jeans and thongs…). Leah was all set to come to our Wednesday English class, when our student SMS’d us to suggest we cancel the lesson, because of the approaching typhoon. Leah still wanted okonomiyaki for dinner, so we battled the winds to ride to our favourite restaurant despite the warnings… We were fine, and the typhoon ended up passing by us through the night, hopefully the typhoon’s are over for the year.

This red torii (gate) at the Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima) welcomes visitors to the island - famous throughout Japan and the rest of the world. Deer all over the place...

This red torii (gate) at the Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima) welcomes visitors to the island - famous throughout Japan and the rest of the world. Deer all over the place...

Leah’s now headed back home, and I’m left to, once again, find a job. Hmmm, better get on top of that 😉

Bubba Gump (Manila, The Philippines)

Having never been to a Bubba Gump in the US, the experience was unique in Manila – a family restaurant setup, fully decked out with Forrest Gump merchandise, quotes, pictures etc. Prices were ok, drinks were great value and tasty, food was unique and clever, we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch here. The way to grab waiters attention is unique – a little license plate sitting on your table, flip it to “Stop Forrest Stop” to call their attention, and “Run Forrest Run” if things are okay.

The great thing about Manila is that menu’s are in English, so you’ll easily be able to decifer them. This is what we ordered and what we thought of it.
  • “I’m Stuffed!” Shrimp – large prawns, stuffed with a creamy crab mix, served on rice, 585 PHP per serve.
  • Sparklin’ Apple Cobbler – huge apple pie, delicious, 340 PHP
  • Plantation Punch – large alcoholic citrus based cocktail, 205 PHP

The InterContinental (Manila, Philippines)

We stayed here for a few days on a stopover, and enjoyed ourselves despite the typhoon that arrived on our second day.

The staff were quick and pleasant – we ordered room service a few times and were impressed with the speed that it reached us. The hotel was in a great location: close to the airport and close to the malls – a 1 minute walk to the closest (Glorietta) malls and from there most malls interconnect though walk ways. We were able to borrow huge umbrellas from the concierge when the typhoon hit, we just had to give our room details. The onsite spa was fantastic, we had a number of massages and treatments and our room was large and clean.

On the other hand, the buffet breakfast incredibly expensive (not included in the room rate), however there is a small restaurant opposite the hotel that does a buffet breakfast for less than a quarter of the price. Internet was available in the room, however it was expensive and slow.

We booked through their website direct, with a fantastic deal, so it was well worth the money. We completely enjoyed being pampered for a few days!