*Bali: Our latest trip (October 2013) is a week-long stay at a villa in the resort town of Seminyak. (Earlier postings on this site date back to last year’s visit to the Philippines and Malaysia.
In the late 1970’s, Arlene left home in the Philippine resort island of Palawan, heading to the seriously big city of Manila. She was just 16.
The next five years were spent buried in books at the University of the Philippines, followed by 4 years at De La Salle University’s College of Medicine.
Now, more than 25 years on, Arlene’s medical school classmates are gathering for a reunion. And we’re heading to the Philippines to join the celebration.
We’ll have a week there, followed by a brief visit to Kuala Lumpur
Our first three days are organised around reunion activities in the town of Tagaytay, near Manila. This place is 25oo metres above sea level – a cool retreat from the heat of the capital. The town has 60,000 residents and one very understated marketing campaign. It proudly claims to be ‘Probably The Most Pleasant City In Asia’.
The town’s main attraction is Taal Island volcano. Historically, this hot spot has caused more ‘catastrophic’ damage than Pinatubo. Its been quiet since 1977. But the Internet helpfully notes ‘signs of unrest’ since 1991. Fortunately, we’ll be able to monitor any new eruption from the comfort of our hotel balcony, overlooking the crater!
Next stop – the chaos of Manila. We spend three days in the capital. Traffic here puts Auckland to shame. So we’re unlikely to travel far from the hotel. Besides, Greg has a winter tan, and we don’t want to scare the locals. But a tour of the city’s historic Spanish quarter is planned.
The journey home requires a plane change in Kuala Lumpur (a four-hour flight from Manila). We have a four-day break in Kuala Lumpur, checking local attractions (mainly food and shopping) and perhaps a couple of day trips to rice paddies, a fishing village and/or the highlands.
The final leg of the journey is a 12-hour flight back to the sub-zero temperatures of a particularly cold Auckland winter.