Thursday, August 03, 2006


Whee. I finally arrived as a bonafide travel writer in this town. Just last month I accepted my first travel junket: an all expense paid cruise in exchange for an article. Well, actually, I'm exaggerating. It wasn't really an offer for a cruise, it was for an hour and fifteen minute ferry ride across Manila Bay to Corregidor. And it wasn't really an all expense paid trip either - I paid for part of the food and drinks (I personally don't believe that lifestyle journalists should get a totally free ride on anything - it compromises opinions). And lastly, I wasn't really sent there to write an article, I was sent there on an assignment for Sun Cruises. I had to write a detailed report about the quality of accomodations and services at their hotel on the island (which I will not include in this post). I did, however, write an informal diary and list of recommendations to be posted below. But even though it wasn't a one week sojourn around the waters of Southeast Asia with semi celebrities and silly socialites aboard the Superstar Scorpio whatever, it was a definitely a trip that I would repeat without batting an eyelash. And here are the three simple reasons why: Its' affordable, interesting, and I don't have to sit through hours of traffic to get there.
Although departure time was at the ungodly hour of 7:30 am (their terminal is located between the Folk Arts Theatre and the Harbour Square Complex beside the CCP), I just accentuated the positive. I considered it as an opportunity to enjoy a sweeping view of Manila (above) over waffles at Pancake House Harbour Square and to swig down an iced double espresso shot with sugar free vanilla syrup at the Starbucks next to it. But if you are neither into franchise cuisine nor coffee, then I recommend you bring your own carbohydrates and caffeine with you and snarf it outside the Sun Cruises departure lounge before rolling off to the rock.
This is the MV Sun Cruiser (above), the ferry which ferries back and forth from Manila to Corregidor. It has air-conditioning, outdoor seating upstairs to the rear, and the bathrooms are WAY above average for Philippine maritime standards - "sittable", if there is such a word. The staff are also courteous, efficient, speak English well, and wear these rather stylish navy inspired outfits which give an image of professionalism. This will be first of many "U.S. Military Chic" moments of the weekend.
This is the last that I saw of Manila for the next twenty four hours (above). The trip took exactly one hour and fifteen minutes. Newspapers were available on board. Karaoke machines were not. Thank god.

Next: The Accomodations.