Today I slept in late, but eventually roused up enough energy to get out of bed and get ready. I first went to a restaurant to try some authentic Filipino cuisine. I treated myself to sisig pampabata (a Cappangan dish of minced pork head meat and chicken liver sauteed in garlic and chilies), eel meat cooked in coconut milk and spices, a tamarind shake, buko pandan juice, and miatamis na saging (sweetened saba banana). This was the best meal I’ve had thus far during my travels; Pacific Island food can be quite incredible if done correctly, as these dishes were.
I then walked my large lunch off as I headed north, first to Rizal Park, the location of where Dr. Jose Rizal was executed by the Spaniards on December 30, 1896. The park has a large obelisk monument to the martyred man which is guarded by two soldiers from the Philippines military, a giant flag pole with a matching national flag hoisted up, and an enclosed area of the actual execution spot, filled with many slightly larger than life statues detailing the moments leading up to the execution and the execution itself – as he is being struck by bullets, complete with an observant dog with its tail between its legs amongst the riflemen carrying out the execution order.
I then walked back to the Intramuros and walked along most of the old city wall. Classes must have just been released, because many young teenagers in their school uniforms were walking the streets and hanging out on top of the city wall. Along the walk I passed by many old structures, some of which were no more than walls, having been gutted throughout their life time. Also, one section of the city wall (south-side, center) had many old cannons positioned along the battlement as they would’ve been over a hundred years ago. Eventually I walked back toward the hostel, back through the slums, passing many Jeepneys driving down the roads along the way (Jeepneys are metallic vehicles used in the Philippines to transport passengers around the city, they look like a miniature hybrid of a school bus and a Willy’s jeep and they are usually painted with unique and colorful murals.
Before going back to the hostel, I stopped at a supermarket to pick up mustache wax and a dry red coconut wine (made from the sap of the coconut tree and with the coconut palm frond added for tanins). I then made it to the hostel where I tried this native wine, which was tart and bitter, tasted of lychee, molasses, melon, and – of course – coconut; it smelled and looked similar to a fortified wine, but was only 11% alcohol; overall, it was drinkable, but not very good. During this time, I tried to book a flight through Cebu Pacific to go to Tagbilaran to see the Chocolate Mountains and the tarsiers; unfortunately their website could not accept payments at that time, so I decided I would just show up at the airport tomorrow morning to purchase my tickets. I then met up with the hostel’s owner again and he decided to join me for dinner. We went to a nearby restaurant that serves local dishes and we shared crispy pata (deep fried pork knuckles dipped in a sauce), tinapa rice (rice infused with smoked fish), and a plate of water spinach cooked in garlic and oil with slices of pork on top. In addition, I had mango juice to supplement the meal.
After dinner, the hostel owner decided to take me to another bar tonight, as he had done the previous night. We took a taxi out to this bar where we had a couple of beers each and were treated to a free performance of an intoxicated man spending a good portion of his cash. He was dancing with many of the women there, buying them all flowers, and even a bottle of tequila; the hostel owner told me that he had probably easily spent 30,000 pesos while we were there. This bar also had many Filipinas interested in men’s cash, but they were more forward and numerous than the bar we had gone to the night before. Luckily, I was far from wasted even with having consumed the beers and two-thirds of the coconut wine, so my wits remained intact and I declined all forward advances from the many prostitutas. Anon, it was getting late, so we taxied our way back to the hostel where the hostel owner and I shared the rest of the coconut wine. Once the bottle had been completely consumed, I bid farewell to the hostel owner and went to sleep.