About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bright Lights, Big City (of Manila): The Manila Bay Dinner Cruise

Here we go again!
We've all heard Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu's old adage that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". Throughout the year, The Mediocre Wanderer has pretty much been going around in search of the best that the Philippines has to offer (albeit a mediocre experience, as far as what we're willing to do), and we have come to a conclusion that travelling a thousand miles isn't as necessary as opening one's eyes and viewing things from a different perspective.

"the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step"
That being said, we headed out to the famous Manila Bay. 
basking int he golden light of sunset at Manila Bay
Manila Bay, a natural harbor famous for its beautiful sunsets, has been the gateway to commerce and trade between the Philippines and other countries for hundreds of years. To our delight, we have discovered another form of commerce in the vicinity in the shape of The Manila Bay Cruise.
the waiting area by the jetty
For 500 php (or less, depending on the availability of group buying promos), one can go on a dinner cruise around the bay. There are a couple of companies offering this activity, but we opted to go with Prestige Cruises (manilabaycruise@gmail.com for queries). 
we got on the bigger one
Two cruises are scheduled daily; one at 6 pm (5:30 pm boarding) and the last one at 8 pm (7:30 pm boarding).
Manila, Manila...I keep coming back to Manila (musical notes in between words)

What does one gain from this experience, you ask? For one, you get to dine on a yacht and subject yourself to the surprisingly charming and romantic view of Manila. It's not everyday that you get to see this side of Manila: The beautiful lights from the not so distant shore, the cool night breeze keeping the humidity and warmth at bay, and the sound of the gentle waves as the yacht moves gently across the water. It's got all the elements of a  great  date.
All Aboard!! Says Capt. MAX

Here's the nitty gritty of our cruise:
On joining the cruise:
Based on what we saw, walk ins are acceptable but may not be accommodated if the sea vessel is full. Call the numbers below to make reservations. Kudos to Prestige Cruises for their great customer service and efficient scheduling:
Prestige Cruises Inc.
(632) 832 8967
(63) 917 525 5455
(63) 927 555 5502

Regular Rates:
Cruise Only            PHP 250
Cruise w/ Buffet     PHP 545

**children 3 and below are free, but you'll have to check with the company as to how many kids could come with you
the view as we set sail
The Dress Code:
There is NO dress code. You may want to bring a light jacket though as the sea breeze can get a bit cooler that the usual Manila night air.
You can dress how you want to dress on this cruise.
Here we are just being ourselves :)
Boarding Time:
Making a reservation allows you to be on the passenger list and assures you of being prioritize upon boarding time (they will call for you). We got there an hour early as we weren't sure of the traffic situation from our house (when we're in Metro Manila), to that area. The jetty is located behind the CCP Complex. You'll know you're there as there are little expo type tents in the area for the awaiting passengers. 

waiting isn't so bad...if you're not a little boy!
other cruise yachts nearby. One can even hire one for a private party!
The first two levels of the yacht are for the those who paid the standard rates (it was quite full). An additional  PHP 100, allows you access to the roof deck (just the 3 of us and 2 other couples). This is also the floor where the captain mans the ship. A spotlight shines on the middle part of the deck (where our table was), enabling a candlelit dinner the right amount of illumination. The buffet table is at the first level, but worry not. The yacht's crew will bring up your food BEFORE the peeps below are called to line up for the buffet line. Unbottled mineral water is free, but you may buy canned juices and soda for PHP 75 a can.

the roof deck of the yacht
The Food:
Given that we were the first cruise for the day, I was quite disappointed by the food that was seemingly reheated once (or twice) too often. For dinner, we were given a little bit of everything from the buffet menu. We were served a bowl of cream of mushroom (we did ask for seconds), and was soon followed by the night's entrees consisting of fish fillet in white sauce (fish was dry and had the texture of pork), some form of beef stroganoff (sauce was good, beef was a tad tough, probably because it was dry), carbonara, and maybe some rice, carrot sticks and cucumber slices...all a blur now, we didn't even take pictures. The highlight of the meal was perhaps the fudge brownies they served after the meal. One may come back for seconds, but this time around, you'll have to line up and join everybody else. 
I honestly believe that #2 was for the benefit of the entertainers
The Entertainment:
I can now relate to XFactor's Simon Cowell when he says that word "Ghastly". The band's vocals were not so tolerable. It was also the combination of the Visayan accent (my mom's from Cebu...I can get away with this statement), wrong or invented lyrics, and horrendous, pointless and disconnected ad libs by the male lead vocals/host. I can now understand why firearms (if any) are supposed to be surrendered to the yacht's steward upon boarding. I also now understand the true meaning of a "captive audience". 
The Mall of Asia at night
Overall, Phil, MAX and I had a blast.Seeing the Manila lights brought to mind the view of Hongkong's harbor from the Avenue of Stars. Having a fireworks or light display in the vicinity would probably be awesome. 

Manila could be quite pretty from the yacht. The pollution, the hustle and bustle, the traffic and all the city's other negative aspects, temporarily forgotten in the two-hour cruise. The lull of the water and the sea breeze evokes images of a past era, of days gone by, about how beautiful Manila was when the first settlers set up shop here and why invaders felt the need to make it their own.

dslrs will never replace point and shoots in this aspect :p
It was quite a night.
happy to be here

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours.

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