After our lunch with Rene and Nadia, and the unfortunate encounter with Durian, we boarded a little commuter plane and made our way to Manila. Domestic flights in the Philippines are amazing, they are cheap and abundant. There are tons of flights from Manila to the other islands every hour of the day and I don't think ours cost more than $50.
Manila is an entirely different beast than village island life. Millions of people have flocked to the urban sprawl in search of decent jobs and a higher standard of living. What I really couldn't get over in Manila was how patchy the city is. Slums border nice historic colonial sites, fancy sky rise hotels are just outside of crazy bus stops, and of course like all developing nations, there is trash everywhere. I have actually never seen a more polluted river than the Pasig River.
We did have a good time in Manila, though. After our week of beach-bumming it with no air-conditioning or hot water, we enjoyed a bit of pampering at the Sofitel (complete with the renowned breakfast buffet (it has an entire room of cheese)) and we had a good time adventuring around some of the historic parts of the city.