Yesterday we spent in Manila. First we managed to get a quick tour of the presidential palace and museum. They had the old presidential office, which was used until the end of the Marcos regime, as well as the nearby cabinet rooms and the small ballroom. They had a display containing many of the gifts to the government of the Philippines by other governments, as well as other clothes and personal effects of previous presidents and first ladies.
After the presidential palace, we walked through Fort Santiago, an old spanish fort. We walked the old walls, looked through gun ports, and spent about in hour in the memorial to Jose Rizal, a famous Philippine patriot and nationalist.
After the fort we stopped off in a local mall for lunch, and then found an internet cafe where I could check in with Alex and fire off a couple quick emails home. Afterwards we went to the Mall of Asia, which is billed as the largest mall in Asia. We spent some time and money taking advantage of the favorable exchange rate (there aren't many places left you can do that, after all), then headed back to the house for showers.
We finished up the day with dinner at Joahnna's aunt in Paranaque. I didn't manage to make it out to meet up with Alex, as he was out dancing with his performance group and we ended up fairly far apart, time-wise.
We are on the road to Naga city, which is a full day's drive from Manila. Most of Joahnna's relatives live in this area, so we will be spending a week in and around Naga. Along the way we stopped and took a look at Taal, an active volcano in the middle of a lake. There was an old Marcos palace called “The Palace in the Sky”. It's at the top of a nearby peak that overlooked the lake and volcano, so spent a while admiring the view.
After the peak we stopped at at a food stand by the side of the road and bought bananas, pineapple, chico, and jackfruit. The last two were new to me – chico is a small brown fruit that looks a bit like a kiwi, but inside is brown and tastes a bit like dates. Reputedly if you eat enough of it you will get drunk. The jackfruit looks a bit like a pineapple the size of a watermelon. We just bought portions of one – I'll have to check in later with how it tastes.
Update: Just tried some jackfruit. The taste is difficult to describe – the closest we could come is a combination of banana and pineapple.