My last day in the Philippines so I spend my time at Hotel H2O/Manila Ocean Park activities.
There is a mini-mall in the main center of the hotel as well as a food court. This is because the hotel is attached to Manila Ocean Park which made for a fun location…or so it would seem.
This was a lot of fun. No one else was in the attractions as I arrived just as they opened. One of the employees went in with us and took interesting pictures of us using mirror trickery. The maze took a few minutes for me to get out as I ended up going in circles. I assumed if I just walked along the walls I could find the escape. This attraction is a little small, but definitely try this.
This was a fairly modern shooting game that ran on computers and used HD projectors to a screen. Each game was PHP70 and lasted about 5 minutes.
We selected “The Bermuda Triangle” since that was recommended as their best show. As soon as this thing started, I found myself in immediate regret. The ride seats were very run down/poorly made and the safety bar did NOT lock. This was a concern as the chair violently moved in all directions during the virtual ride. The movement of the chair did not seem to match up with the video either, it seemed a little random. The 3D use the Blue and Red eyeglasses which gave me a headache.
Overall: Very dangerous and poor quality. Do not ride.
After these attractions, it’s time for my friend to go to the airport. We leave two hours before the flight in anticipation of Manila traffic. I got a deal from the hotel taxi service to go to the airport and back to the hotel. On the ride to the airport, the driver didn’t say anything to us. On the solo return ride back from the airport, the driver offers gets pretty talkative. He offers to drive me around town (for a fee of course) to see the sights, bars, and brothels. In that order. I politely decline, but the driver starts going into great detail about how the hostess bars work in the Philippines. Just so I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable, he offered to go with me to these hostess bars and brothels. I didn’t make any agreement to go, and I’m pretty sure he expects me to pay for his hookers if I did accept. A little information about the driver, he’s about 20 years older than me. Not really the age demographic I hang out with normally, and I’m definitely not going to let this guy drive me to a shady part of town where no one will find me. That’s just a red flag in “Don’t get killed on vacation 101 – An Introductory course.” That is a fictional book I mentioned to express how bad an idea it would be to go anywhere with a stranger while carrying a lot of money for hookers. Of course there’s a lot of traffic in the Philippines, so this conversation lasts for about an hour. Once we get back to the hotel, I still politely decline but he gives me his phone number in case I change my mind. I did not.
Hotel H2O – The hotel looks nice, but my experience was awful.
Hotel H2O Annoyances:
The room had a flashing light above the door. It looks like it’s an emergency exit light. It flashed every 20 seconds.
The air conditioner worked the first hour I was in the room, then spouted out heat for the next 2-3 hours. It took several calls to the front desk to get it fixed. At one point at night, the air conditioner turned itself on for a few minutes. I got up to verify that the switch was in fact set to “OFF.”
Calling the reception for help proved to be a challenge itself. Many calls went unanswered. 2 of my 10 calls were answered promptly, the other times no one picked up.
At one point, all the lights in the room decided to turn themselves off. It took a few attempts to call for help before they were turned back on.
I spend a large chunk of my time watching television. I always find the local television programming in other countries very interesting. I watched anime dubbed in Tagalog and the local news.
I think this occurred every other hour, there was a water show at the big stage of the park. There is an admission to get in, but I viewed this show from the room.
My flight is at 08:20 so I leave for the airport at 06:00. We didn’t hit any traffic so we got there at 06:20. I thought I was too early, but I was just on time. As we get there, there is a line to get into the airport. They scan your luggage and your personal belongings as you enter the airport. To get into the airport, you must show them an airline ticket. I had an e-ticket so I showed them an e-mail of the ticket from my phone and this was acceptable. As I looked for my airline, I found it was the LONGEST line in the airport. Self check-in kiosks are the best, unfortunately the Manila airport was not that advanced. The airport looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1980. I finish checking in after an hour, and head towards the terminal.
Line at check-in for my flight. It’s very difficult to see, but there’s a counter for people to check in beyond all these people.
Bribing doesn’t work. Oh well. It was PHP550 for the departure tax so have that ready to go after you pass security.
Well, the elevator wasn’t voice activated. I ended up using the stairs.
Luckily, I have a Priority Pass Airport Lounge card, so I got to stop into the Pagstop lounge for breakfast. The lounge isn’t very modern, but it’s nice. It kind of reminds me of someone’s living room. They have pretty good sandwiches and dim sum.
MNL -> NRT
I make my way to the gate and see that this flight is going to be packed.
The flight was pretty uneventful, but I was bored by the in-flight entertainment selection. Since my flights to MNL were via JAL, that was about 16 hours of being on their plane with the exact same in-flight entertainment. I already watched everything I would have found interesting.
My 1.5 hour layover has been delayed another 2 hours. I get bored so I go to find a place to eat. I find a ramen place, as I’m in Japan gotta go with the local food, and sit down to eat. This bowl of ramen was pretty damn awful. Airports aren’t really known for having the best food, but it was still better than what I would have had on the airplane. That’s the only standard you have to beat when eating at the airport.
My flight was a codeshare between JAL and AA. JAL has a great on-time record and their service is amazing. My AA flight was delayed and not that great. I really wanted to get to work on time since I would have arrive in Los Angeles at 8:50am, I didn’t arrive to around 11am.
If you didn’t know, you can make a complaint about the airline at fault and get a credit when things happen like this. I complained to AA and requested for either a $50 airline credit or 5000 miles. I really wanted the miles, but they gave me a $50 credit. That’s still pretty good for just waiting around for 2 hours.