It was an early sail-in to Manila, before sunrise... Ann, Cathy, Allan, Sandra and I we were off the ship at 7:30 to meet up with our longtime friend Raymundo Eslao and his wife Myrna. Our reunion was short. very emotional just magnificent! It was wonderful see such a dear friend again. Raymond arranged for his sister-in-law Bang to tour us around for the day. Ann, Cathy, Bang and I set off to discover Old Manila with our main focus how the locals live... Manila is a city filled with contrasts, the beautiful high rise buildings and the homes thrown together by squatters. Our first stop was the Quinta Market, one of the oldest markets in Manila. It was so much fun being with the people, the Filipino people are just the best! Next, we stopped at the Divisoria Squatters market...our walking tour through the markets was such a rewarding experience for all of us...we love interacting with the locals, having a chat, a laugh or a simple smile...during the couple of hours we spent in the markets, we did not see another foreign tourist...the vendors were extremely friendly and welcoming to us. The traffic in Manila is incredibly congested, it takes a long time to get anywhere... not surprising when you consider they have a population of 12 million plus...Bang did a great job of getting us around the old walled city known as the Intramuros, the oldest part of Manila built during the Spanish colonial period. Next, we visited Fort Santiago, built by the Spanish in 1590, which served as the headquarters of the military strength of the Spanish, Japanese and Americans until its destruction in 1945. We finished our touring at the Manila’s oldest structure, San Augustine Church...a beautiful building with it’s rare bamboo organ.... Visiting Manila is always satisfying, especially seeing the crew and their families reuniting for a brief visit.... warms the heart!