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It’s been a while since I’ve been back from Manila. My trip was back in late October of 2011, and I’m finally getting around to writing this post! 

I was in Manila for one sweet week. First time? Yes. Did I see any sun? No. Tickle my toes on their beaches? Absolutely not. Well, I ended up choosing the one-week where it was gloomy and rainy.  However, this encouraged me to really shop and check out all their mega malls and food markets, hahaha.  I NEVER thought that I would end up at a mall practically everyday of all places: Manila.  So yeah, they’re kind of into these malls.  Mega malls.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and classes.   

My sister-in-law Jiye (Korean) grew up in the Philippines, and explained this mall culture, alongside the cheap massages, pedi/mani’s you can get everywhere.  I was definitely on board with this one.

Originally I was invited to Manila for a short project.  However, after a few days my time freed up while I was there, and I was extremely fortunate to reside at Jiye’s parents house in Bonifacio (not to mention it's where the upper echelon live in Manila).  What was so great about this home? Golf course, outdoor pool, fitness center. All the goodies that you would want as part of your ‘home’.  Well, due to the weather, I was only able to enjoy the fitness center.  Let’s just say, I have never been so pampered in my life!  Her parents were out of town, so it was just me, the maid (Gaga) and their personal driver that were left behind.

Breaky was served each morning, and every time I left the house Gaga asked what I wanted for dinner! Wow.  I feasted on everything from Korean food to homemade Filipino food.  Not to mention, I don’t think I walked more than 20 meters, because the driver literally took me everywhere.  Do people really live like this? Hahaha. 



The fruit in Manila is just too good...


@ Abe restaurant: Lumpiang Ubod-spring roll of fresh hearts of palm.
The peanut sauce served with it was perfect!

Crispy Pork Adobo ni Lola Ising-pork belly stewed and then dried in garlic & spices.


Ahhh, the Bamboo Rice served enclosed.
Basically mountain rice served with shrimp, wood ear mushrooms, &
bamboo shoots steamed in a bamboo shell.


Oh the fancy shopping spots: High Street and Serendra.


Then I discovered that Muji in Manila is a lot more affordable than Seoul. This is where I went a bit crazy. Just meters from the Muji store, I found this organic/health food shop that carried all my favorite granolas, grains, and other goodies that I usually find in the states.  Yup, real world expat problems. I do go a bit crazy when I can get my hands on things like this.

Just love these cute mopeds you will see everywhere!


Passed by this Korean restaurant and just had to take a snap shot!
Actually, there is a huge Korean community in Manila.


I couldn't get over these local buses that have different sayings about God, and come in different colors.

Biko-sweet rice wrapped in leaves. Yum!


Pig's head! Yeah, we do this in Seoul, although I'm not a fan...


Across the street from all the street vendors, you will find trendy gourmet cafes like this one. 


This is what happens when you give Sarah mangosteen! I think I literally swallowed all of this in 2 minutes flat.


So this is where I stayed. The view from Jiye's family's home in Bonifacio


I arrived in Manila with a tiny carry on, I left with 2 suitcases and 2 carry on’s.  Something wrong? Well, it was a shopping bliss for me.  What can I say, if I wasn’t able to go to the beaches, I may as well take advantage of the indoor shopping!

Ok I admit, this post seems more like Sarah’s splurge on shopping endeavors more than anything food. On a serious note-the food was quite amazing, didn't get a chance to try too much of the street foods.  The people were absolutely one of the friendlist, sincere people I have met as well! Will definitely love to go back.  Next stop-Boracay.


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