So after a few days in the ultra hot and humit Manila, we’re back!
So first impression of Manila:-
1) The airport is chaotic. Especially at the arrival/pick up area. It’s so horribly chaotic that I’m super glad I’ve booked a private airport transfer in advance. Yes, it’s a lot more expensive than calling uber or hailing a cab, but considering it’s my first time there, I don’t mind spending the money to ensure a safe and no-hassle transfer from airport to my hotel.
2) It’s freaking bright at 6am in the morning. Like what? The sun is shining so brightly at 6.30am that I thought it’s 10.30am there. O.o
3) The traffic is insane; the roads conditions are worse, and I really can’t imagine the amount of dust/dirt that flies around on the roads. If you think Malaysia or Bangkok is bad, wait till you go to Manila.
Well the hotel we stayed in was relatively new, but there are quite a lot of problems with it. Some severe, some not so.
But generally in Philippines, the food is tasty (their beef stew is absolutely delectable) and cheap. Even their Starbucks is cheaper than here in Singapore. But enough of that.
This is why I went to Manila:-
The Manila Major 2016.
We got the inner ring tickets for Saturday, so yup, that’s how near we were to the stage and screen. We went in a little late, as we had to go exchange Bruno’s Uniqlo jacket as he felt it’s too flimsy and he wanted a slightly thicker one. Hence we weren’t able to snag good seats in the arena, but you know what, I have no complaints. The hype from the crowd was incredible, the production was awesome, heck even the food sold in the arena was super tasty (I just love their hotdog sandwiches!). Bottled water is also super cheap, considering you can’t bring outside food and drinks. The food booths could easily jack up their prices since spectators have no other food and beverage choices, but nope all the prices are still very very cheap. You certainly won’t get this kind of prices in Singapore.
Let’s see. At the venue, a hotdog sandwich cost only PHP110 (~$3.20). If you order a combo (hotdog with large drink), it’s only PHP155 (~S$4.50). Bottled water cost PHP25 (~S$0.70). Heck, that’s even cheaper than some of the mineral water brands here in Singapore supermarkets. And you don’t get cold, pre-packaged food. You get hot, made-on-the-spot food. It’s just so amazing that you can get such tasty food at such cheap price. And best part? Queues are always relentlessly long, but no one ever tried to cut the queue. No one at all. The queue can snake forever, but everyone will be queuing up orderly. I was so impressed!
In a way, I wished we were there earlier for a few more days of the Manila Major leading up to the finals and grand finals. It was really awesome to sit in the arena and watch the games being played right in front of you. But on the other hand, I was glad to go home because the heat and scorching sun was almost unbearable. If you think Singapore weather is bad, Manila’s weather is 10x worse.
But that’s that, and I’m glad I had the chance to experience professional dota teams playing right in front of me. I’m sad that Team Liquid lost to OG in the grand final, but I’m still glad to have experience the hype, the passion and the cheers from everyone in the arena for the last two days. Beautipul doto, indeed. XD (Sorry, can’t resist.)
That said, I’ll update my travel blog in a while, with more pictures of everything. That said, it’s still considerably less photos than my other trips. Not sure why… maybe because I don’t like to keep waving my phone around in Manila. Hurhur.