On Thursday we rousted the crew out of bed dark and early for the first part of our bus trip to Manila. We manage to get moving within 20 minutes of our 4AM scheduled departure time. Soon thereafter we learned a practical lesson on taking long road trips in the Philippines - fly. Our plan was originally to drive to manila and then to Bataan, but after a full day of getting pounded by a combination of patched pothole roads and our bus' extra-stiff suspension, we revised the plan to spend some extra time in Manila and skip Bataan.
We stopped halfway to Manila at Villa Escudero, where we had a nice lunch under the waterfall, and spent two nights at the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay, which was a very nice hotel with a beautiful view of the Taal volcano. The volcano is recursive - it is a volcano in a vay of water with a lake in the caldera, with another volcano coming out of the lake. Yesterday we took a quick day trip to the "Castle in the Sky", a palace built on top of a mountain that was partially constructed by President Marcos.
Today we loaded up the bus, took a quick stop for Jaiden, Mila and Joey to ride ponies for a couple laps, then made our way into the city to get to our hotel. We switched hotels because our original choice didn't have enough rooms for our party, and ended up instead at the Lotus Garden Hotel. We are in the old part of the hotel, which has beautiful hardwood floors and staircases. An unexpected benefit is that it is located in the red light district. Apparently these would be the Lotus Flowers.
Tomorrow we are gathering up early (again? Why do I keep getting up early on my vacation?) to go to Corregidor, the site of some of the fiercest fighting of WWII.