Despite its reputation, I was determined that there would be something interesting and inspiring for me to find in Manila and that it should be given a fair chance to shine.
The plan was simple - start early to visit one of the well-know historic areas, after quickly organising a bus ticket to Naga, my next destination. That was my first mistake. There is nothing quick about organising a bus ticket in Manila.
It seems that tickets can only be bought, well in advance, directly from the bus station. Luckily the bus station was only a short one-hour taxi ride away from my hotel (one-way). After the short one-hour return trip, I lost all heart to look at things historic in the heat of the day. Better to save my energy for the trip back (again) to the bus station later for the overnight jaunt.
As much as I wanted to explore on foot, Manila is not that kind of place. It is incredibly spread out and is really a combination of small cities, rather than having one main city centre.
There were, however, two things that I liked. The first was Jeepneys - a sort of funky car/bus/truck-type vehicle that transport people all over the city. The second was the symmetry of some buildings that caught my eye. I'm a bit weird like that.
The day wasn't a total write-off - it's amazing how escaping from reality watching the latest release IronMan 3 movie, on the biggest screen I have ever seen, can reinvigorate the soul.
Bring on the 11 hour deluxe bus ride!