OK, apologies, it has been a while since I posted here but I really have been busy with various things. What I propose to do now is to post some stuff in bite size chunks so the photos make sense to the text and you don't have to keep scrolling back and forth. I have also been devoting what spare time I have to trying to keep my Virtual Tourist pages up to date, and, frnakly, failing miserably. If all this makes little sense to some of you, I contribute to a wonderful travel website called Virtual Toruist (VT for short) and it was through friends from there that I organised this trip.

So where did I leave you, dear readers? Ah yes, me in bed having had about one hours sleep in what felt lke a week and totally exhausted. Time for a nice journey in the land of nod. Well, that waqs the theory anyway. As my late Grandmother used to say, I had gone beyond my sleep and I managed about another hour and a half. I know from experience there is no chance of me getting back to sleep so I was up again at some unholy hour of the morning knowing I had to meet some friends and go for a daytrip to Corregidor. The nice man who ran the place I am staying had very helpfully drawn me a detailed map telling me how to get to the LRT station and then what to do at the far end to get to the port. I made it to the nearby Abod Santos station without too much hassle and the first thing that surprised me was that my bag and person were searched by a security guard, and a female one at that.

Security seems to be a feature in Manila. You cannot go into a train station, shopping centre or anything else wilthout being searched. I have even seen armed guards on the door of Goldilocks, a local fast food chain. Imagine going to your local Burger King to find a guy on the door with a .38 revolver. Other travellers have asked me if it does not make me feel more secure. Frankly, it doesn't. I have no idea what training these guys have had, if they can even shoot straight and if I might get caught in the crossfire if one of them gets a bit trigger happy. I don't want anyone to get worried about me, I haven't heard of or seen any gunplay yet, althought the sign at the entrance to a good quality hotel advising you that all firearms must be left with the duty security guard made me raise an eyebrow.

With my ticket duly purchased I waited for the train which arrived shortly (they run about every ten minutes). Remember this is about half six on a Sunday morning. I. could not believe my eyes. Imagine the most crowded Tube in London, then multiply it by three and add a few more for good measure. The good thing is that the carriages are air-con which helps a bit but it still gets pretty uncomfortable altohugh it was only about a 30 minute ride to where I was going. I then hopped in a jeepney (more aobut these later) and off to the port where I met my online friend Isa (short for Theresa), Hansi and Lori. I had known all of them online for a long time and had met Hansi and Lori on a previous VT jaunt in Macedonia last year. They are delightful, both retired Canadians, although Hansi is originally Dutch. They have been married for 40 years and are really the nicest people you could meet. It was great to see them again. Isa had organised everything beautifully and we were issued with stickers to put on which served as our tickets for the day. A short jeepney ride to the pier and we embarked on the large catamaran for the 90 minute ride to Corregidor.

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