because i haven't had the drive to go out of town recently, i thought i'd stay close to home and rediscover places here that give manila its charm.
so one march weekend, i, together with a bunch of friends, trooped to the guadalupe ferry station, and hopped on the ferry to escolta, hoping to fill our tummies with nummy chinese chow in binondo.
the ferry ride
the first time i rode the pasig ferry, the fare was just P25.00--flat rate, one-way. that was three years ago, and the price has now gone up to P45.00 one way. quite pricey, i have to say, but it's still one of the most comfortable ways to get to manila from our neck of the woods.
we got to the station 15 minutes before the next trip arrived. the ferry station is pretty decent--seats for waiting passengers, turnstiles by the ticket counter, and restrooms for the passengers' use. the staff were also helpful enough.
the ferry got to the station at 3pm on the dot. embarking and getting off was a breeze, and the ferry didn't waste any time at the dock. before we knew it, we were floating on the pasig on our way to escolta.
i found the ride much more relaxing this time, maybe because the air conditioning was fully functional, and our ferry didn't have a flatscreen with air supply karaoke videos playing. passengers are free to roam the ferry throughout the ride. there are also restrooms on board. we're all hoping that they put an area or a small bar where people can buy snacks and drinks.
an hour later, we got off the ferry and on to escolta. the binondo arch was just a few meters away.
we didn't count on being in binondo so late, and some of us hadn't had breakfast or lunch to save tummy space for this trip. this, it seems, was a mistake. the moment we got to ongpin, we went to cafe mezzanine for our "first" meal.
because we were all famished already, we ordered a feast: kiampeng, different kinds of siomai, adobong tofu, pata tim, radish cake, lechon macau, and other things that i can't remember at the moment. we decimated the dishes in less than 10 minutes, and by then, we all felt stuffed and had no space for anything else.
so after cafe mezzanine, we decided to just explore and let our feet take us wherever. we saw shops selling jade, gold, and other trinkets, a lot of fruit stalls along the street, a chinese grocery that sells large and thick haw flakes, hardware stores, and a security equipment store.
we eventually ended up in soler, and found this quaint little cafe called cukeng coffee shop. we all needed a break, and decided to go in for a cup of tea or coffee. the place was homey and comfortable, and had knick-knacks all around, including an old-school coffee maker made of glass.
some of us ordered milk teas, and to our surprise, our orders came in lovely pots and cups. their coffee drinks looked great, too. it was funny to see sisig and lechon kawali in the menu of a coffee shop, though.
after a half hour of talking and goofing around in cukeng, we decided to head back to the ferry station. unfortunately for us, the schedule that they gave away at the guadalupe station wasn't followed. according to the schedule, the last trip on saturdays from escolta was at 8pm, but we arrived at the station at around 715pm, and we were told that the station was already closed. how's that for efficiency.
by this time, we were all exhausted already, so we tried looking for a cab. unfortunately, cabs are hard to come by in binondo, so we eventually ended up walking to intramuros, burning all the calories we've consumed in the process. everybody seemed happy about that little tidbit (that's why i had to write it here, too).
when we got to san agustin church, we hailed an avanza taxi, who offered to take all six of us back to makati for P200. we were in no mood to argue, and the price actually wasn't so bad, so we all hopped in and ended the day's adventure. :)
more photos of the pasig ferry ride and our day in binondo.