Lara Stone's on his first trip to Las Islas Filipinas. We arrived here early morning of Saturday, slept for less than four hours, and went around Manila.
Our first stop was the Shoe Museum in Marikina. Lara specifically requested to see Imelda's shoes, of all things. The museum was smaller than what we expected, with only 800 pairs of shoes out of the 3,000. Shelves of foot wear - from the dainty to the powerful to the gaudy - line the walls of the museum. Prominent brands I noticed were Charles Jourdan, Chanel, Dior, and Ferragamo as well as brands specially made for Madame by the famed shoemakers of Marikina.
Photos of Madame also adorn the wall, with focus on her encounters with world leaders and celebrities during the halcyon days of the Marcos "empire".
We then took the train to Qiuapo, home of the Black Nazarene. I've always loved Quiapo. For me, it best represents Manila - full of contrasts, rowdy, and mysterious. We were drawn to the macabre religious images sold outside the church and then ended up buying amulets and charms.
Lara seemed to have been captivated by Manila, even the slums, which he called "sturdy". I don't know.
We were lucky to find vegetarian food at the food court of the Megamall. At least he was able to try veggie meat adobo. I also offered him to try halo-halo (a mix of crushed ice and fuits), but he was repulsed by the kaong and gelatin, calling them plastic fruits. What sacrilege to our national dessert!
I also introduced him to a few of my friends from Surigao, Manila, and Davao. It was wonderful to catch up with some friends, but if I had more time I would've wanted to meet more people.
The former Czarina of Penang hosted a dinner/party for La Bayots de Bangkok. Bubbles was also visiting Las Islas for the first time in six years. We had a blast with other blogger friends based in Manila and SFO. Super thanks to the Czarina for the wonderful evening!!!
We ended up hopping to a gay club in Ortigas. It was packed, after all it was a Saturday. For some reason the waiters at the club are way cuter than its patrons. I haven't danced that much since, I don't know... 1999 perhaps? The great company of friends really made a huge difference and I wish we have more opportunities to hang out in Manila or perhaps some other city.
We flew to Surigao yesterday. It has been rainy so far. We'd be lucky if the weather would be nice enough for some time on the beach.