Philippines- Day 2, Intramuros and Palawan

Interestingly enough, after my trip to Germany, a friend mentioned I hadn't taken enough food pictures- so I did my best this time to food document this trip better.  Sorry if you weren't that friend and are so not interested in what I ate every day...  After the rooftop deck the night before, the hotel had a spread for breakfast.  We were excited for a day of exploring around Intramuros, so I dove right in and had a bunch of fruit, some roasted tomatoes, rice, pork tenderloin, a little sweet roll with raisins, and a bowl of congee soup with wontons.
The congee soup was my favorite and I got another bowl with more wontons and chives this time.
Matt had a super salty egg (can't remember the name for this, but Dan knew it!), but I knew I would hate that, haha.
Hilariously, each time I left air-conditioning with my cameras, everything would fog up- the lens glass, the viewfinder, everything.  It would take a good 15 minutes to acclimate to the humidity each time, haha.  So here is a very dream-like view of the wall around Intramuros!
When my lenses were clear, I got a better shot of the kids- Matt, Dan and Beth.  This wall surrounds Intramuros (literally meaning "within the walls") and we figured without a map or smartphones, we could just stay along the wall and never get lost!  A genius plan that totally worked.  Intramuros is the old section of Manila, and was supposedly more of a touristy area.  It definitely didn't scream touristy, maybe it's the off-season?  Lol, but that was a good thing!  We were able to explore :-)
Look at how worn out some of the stones are (sorry for the booty pics, guys).  We had to be careful where we stepped because the whole wall was like this.
Looking back at our hotel- The Bayleaf, and the rooftop deck up there.
Observing nature all around the wall.
 Beth and I!
Some stairs of death headed down to the street.  I don't know if it's possible, but I think they looked steeper in real life.
I found a ledge to sit on and observe Beth and Dan below, haha
Puppy, Beth, Matt, Dan.  Arch in the wall.
Looking up at my ledge.
We made it to one entrance into Intramuros.
Sadly, most of the older buildings of the city were in disrepair from earthquakes and other natural disasters, British invasions (not The Beatles kind) in the 1700s, and WWII.  So often, we would come to a sign that showed an old picture of what the block used to look like before whatever building had been bombed, destroyed, and just generally wasn't there anymore.
We are so sad to once again read that this building pictured was destroyed.
But Matt and Dan rallied and spoke to each other through pipes, hahahaha.
After a quick wander through the city, we found another section of wall and continued on our journey around Intramuros.
We found huge images of the Presidents of The Philippines.
We found a wall that told us it was unstable.
We found non-death stairs.
We found more wall and shot an image for their album cover.
Nature!  We wanted to go into this garden we found, but hadn't changed any money to Philippine Pesos (PHP) yet, and couldn't pay the entrance fee. 
Looking into some rooms along the wall, we found this collection of old bells.
And then we had circled around the whole wall!  Well, we think the whole wall.
We went back into our hotel and were able to get maps from the front desk!  Maybe we should have done that earlier.
We determined we had seen most of the things to see, except the Manila Cathedral.  So on our way to that, we saw a McDonalds and wandered in just to see what different things they serve.  Chicken McDo seems like fried chicken?  But McSpaghetti?  Really?  Matt wanted to try it, but couldn't find it without getting the whole meal.  Luckily he didn't get it, Ami told us later that the sauce is really really sweet, and they add hotdog meat.  Sounds.  Interesting.
But also along the way we saw this spread of baked goods!  Gah, why didn't we have any money yet!  PS- that bright purple one we would later discover was called Ube (oo-bay)- it's similar to taro, but it's like a sweet purple yam or something, and they use it for a lot of flavorings!  Cakes, stuffed pastries, ice cream topping...  Beth tried it in as many capacities as she could!
The Manila Cathedral was impressive!  It was closed for renovations though, so we didn't get to explore inside.  We were very excited that it wasn't destroyed though!
Matt, Dan and I at the fountain in the public square opposite the cathedral.

More cathedral, then brilliant color as we walk back to our hotel.
We walked by this sign for McDonalds (I know, I know, but seriously what is that green one!?).  We went back in, and tried to order the green one, but were told they had plain, dipped in chocolate, or dipped in ube.  We stared blankly and asked them what that was.  They said it was like taro, so Matt and Beth got one!  There's that bright purple...
After our ice cream cones, it was time to gather our stuff from the hotel and make our way to the airport again for our last flight.  We were headed to a different island now- Palawan.  It's where Marcus and Ami live, Matt and Dan's friends from NYC who moved a couple years ago.  We'd all been emailing back and forth, solidifying plans for the trip, and since I had never met them before, I was getting a somewhat introduction through email at least!  I was crazy excited to finally meet them and their family after hearing about them for forever from Matt, and after so many emails, haha.

PS- our boarding tickets looked like receipts.  We almost accidentally threw out Dan's after lunch in the airport, but Beth was super smart and saw it before anything tragic happened.  This seems like a terrible system.
Also PS- the airport in Manila is 3 terminals that all share runways.  But that's misleading, the terminals have to be reached by car, and should really be thought of as 3 different airports, not terminals.  Thank goodness Marcus explained this to us earlier, or we would have been really confused when we just headed to whichever one and didn't realize we couldn't get to the others by walking a little.  So we were headed to Terminal 3 to catch our flight to Puerto Princessa, Palawan.

Dan after our flight!  We're now in Palawan!  Cebu Airlines was hilarious.  As we boarded and deboarded, there was music playing, like American Pop, and mid-flight there was a trivia game emceed by the flight attendants.  We were so confused at first, hahaha.

Marcus and Ami picked us up and took us straight to dinner!  There were margaritas.
And I had a chicken sandwich with salad and fried plantains.
Then really yummy chocolate ice cream with candied orange peels on top.
This was our lovely outdoor restaurant!
And then we were taken back to their place to settle in.  They were so amazing and let Dan and I take over their kids room, while they took them in their own room for the week- Luke is 2 and a half, and Aliya is 6 months.  Here is Dan making sure our AC was on for the night.  He turned our room into the arctic and we froze that night (I thought he would be unable to sleep if I turned it up, he thought I was peacefully sleeping in the cold- we needed to work on our communication skills).  My camera took a really long time to dehumidify the next morning.
Get excited for the next batch of postings.  That's where the beaches start showing up :-)

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