I did something today, that most backpackers have done in Manila, but less and less Manileños get to do. I strolled through Luneta Park, and it turned out to be a pretty trippy experience.
When I walked through the gates, I thought it was Phnom Penh all over again, which is pretty sad considering the state that that city is in. But then I started seeing things that were different. Surprisingly, Luneta may just have something in common on Sundays with Yoyogi Park in Tokyo! It seems Luneta is truly a public space where people can freely express themselves. First we came across a group of eccentric artists who spoke very good English and were clearly enjoying themselves. Then near the opposite end of the park, behind the Lapu-Lapu statue, there were arnis (stick fighting) people fighting. Beside them was a group doing acrobatic stunts for free. When we got back to the Rizal statue, there was whole contingent of Philippine Marines showing off their marching skills in full dress blues and firing off their rifles (with blanks, of course). In short, all this was pretty awesome.
Then I walked off, down M.H. Del Pilar and came upon the Hobbit House. It’s not where I used to remember it to be, but it was still cool to see it. Next time, I’ll try to catch La Solidaridad bookstore, which is around the corner on Padre Faura, when it’s open.