Manila, Philippines

What a spectacular day we had today in Manila. It was a roller coaster of sweet and sad moments. Here are some highlights:

The Crew – The one common denominator on cruise ships all over the world is the high population of Filipinos. They are a hard working, friendly, but underpaid. At home many earn barely $9 daily, which makes traveling abroad appealing. However that means leaving their families for months at a time.

Regent was so kind today. They allowed the crew to bring their families on board to show them the ship, and gave them the day off when their chores were done. Of course we told our cabin attendant that we needed no services today.

There were hundreds of sets of tears both upon arrival and departure.

Ft. Santiago – Now it is pleasant, but also crammed with a grim history. The dungeons were renown for packing in so many people that they could not fall down. Then they drowned at high tide.

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial – It is difficult to grasp the numbers of people killed here. To actually see the tombstones for the 17,202 who are buried here (and read the names of another 36,285) really puts things in perspective.

And this is just one cemetery for people killed in this area during WWII.

Temple Beth Yaacov – Of course we visit synagogues all over the world and today was no different.

Although there is very little anti-Semitism here, the door was still heavily guarded and they recorded all of our information before letting us in.

Massage – To top it off, Allyn and I each got great massages for a total of $25.

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