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Regent Seven Seas Voyager Asian Cruise Blog #7

Ben Hall

With an unscheduled overnight in Manila because of a problem getting into Sandakan en route, there were some very happy crew around who were able to enjoy extra time with their families. We took off for a day tour out of Manila on a Regent shore excursion and on the way out, there were lots of crew partners with small children all waiting eagerly for their mum or dad to get off work and catch up with them.

A large percentage of crew are from the Philippines and our steward Victor flew his wife and one of his three daughters in from Cebu and like all the other crew from this part of the world he was very excited to see them again, and then very sad to say farewell the next day.

While the Philippines crew were off doing their family things, we headed out to Villa Escudero which is about 100km out of Manila. It's not every day you get to have lunch while sitting in the middle of a river with your feet in a fresh water stream and this was one of the highlights of this day out. Villa Escudero is an original plantation with a long history and is now basically a tourist theme park with an interesting museum of knick knacks showing the history and collections of the original families who lived here.

The lunch was a buffet of traditional Philippines food and one of them was buffalo curry, which is tough but tasty and the seats are built into the river floor under the man-made waterfall which also drives the hydro electric plant on the Villa. There's a few cultural dance shows which are performed by the descendants of the original settlers and it's a fun day out.

They also do buffalo rides, but be careful if you're sitting right behind one … when they want to go, they don't give any warning and I saw one lady get a soaking and she was not very happy!

Off to Keelung for Taipei .. shall report again….

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