A tour of Manila

On Thursday while the others went to Welfareville, Ben, Sam and I accompanied a group of twelve New Zealand short term mission workers and three missionaries on an Orientation Tour in Manila. We left Manila at 11am, catching a bus to Quiapo. Here we walked through the markets where they sold such a wide variety of things until we got to the big Catholic cathedral there. We were approached by many paddlers selling potions supposedly cures for all kinds of illnesses, and crucifixes. We went into the back of the Church and watched for a bit before going into another room to see statues of Jesus (often depicted as dark-skinned and called the Black Nazarene). Many Filipinos were rubbing the feet of the statues and saying their prayers. 


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We then went to Jollibee- the traditional Filipino fast food place. We three felt like pros as we know how it works pretty well by now. The New Zealanders were still surprised at the combinations of food in one meal- spaghetti, rice, spring rolls, chicken and chips!

Next we were taken to a jewellery store which was pretty fun- lots of interesting little trinkets (bizarrely including British and French souvenirs!).

Then we split into two groups and our group walked through markets and into a more Spanish section of Manila. We felt almost as if we were suddenly in a European country! We looked inside another Catholic Church there. Then, we went to Fort Santiago where there is a museum about Jose Rizal- a celebrated folk hero. It was strange because we were suddenly surrounded by many white tourists! Our tour guide said she had never seen so many. We saw a brief movie about Filipino history and cultural influences. It really helped to explain why some of the Philippines seems very Western (because of American control after the 2nd World War) and some seems very Spanish. Rizal advocated for independence from Spanish rule and was put to death because of this.


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Manila Tour 2


After the museum, it was time to make our own ways back to the Manila Conference Centre. Unfortunately, the traffic was terrible! I think we narrowly avoided several crashes as our driver just beeped his horn and drove on regardless of others around him. Anyway, we eventually made it back safely, after about two hours of travel!

Ben, Sam and I really enjoyed the Orientation. It was fun to be with people who had just arrived in the Philippines as well as experienced missionaries. The museum was very informative, I didn't know much about Rizal and we didn't go to the museum last time I came. It was good to learn more also about Filipino culture. It's certainly very different to Australian, as we have found throughout our trip. However, it's been great to make connections with people here, who despite cultural differences, we can laugh with and focus on serving God together.


Manila Tour 1