|The Grand Manila Hotel|
I didn't make it to the Collection Room, where apparently there are signed photos from Bill Clinton, a lean and spry Dean Martin, and other celebrities from the golden years. But today, the world has moved on from Manila for good reason. The Philippines has a tortured modern history, much like many other territories around the world that were pawns of the global game of Empire. Magellan met his ignoble end here, and the Spanish ruled for 300 years before they got booted by the Americans at the turn of the 20th century.
|MacArthur wading ashore at the Battle of Leyte|
|Manila razed to the ground|
So it was with mixed feelings that I wandered up to what is now called Intramuros. About all that is left are some crumbling walls and some rebuilt churches. The rest of the historic area is just a collection of ramshackle nameless buildings and the usual clutter of any modern Asian city. Manila certainly has some nice areas, like Rizal park and the upscale neighborhood of Makati, filled with shopping malls. But like LA, it was a city without a heart. Sadly I wandered along the smelly waterfront back to the neighborhood where I was staying. At least it had a Starbucks.