Monday in the Philippines was considered to be an off day. Sent here to work, though, this potentially relaxing day of wishful sightseeing and recovering from a touch of jet lag was instead spent upgrading our soon-to-be sold-and-recently-downgraded-to-three-star Hyatt Hotel over to the very opulent five-star rated Pan Pacific deeper into town. Once set up in the new digs, I then had to go through my work for the upcoming two-day Q&A blitzkrieg presentation for which this trip was all about. Plus, the monsoon season, much like Kevin Smith’s humor, had yet to fully surrender saturating the island with rain and humidity.
The Pan Pacific features two lounges, one public, one strictly for guests, and boasts a casino, nightclub and eleven different eating establishments. We, that is, the big boss and I, tried two that night, and kinda wished that number was divided by itself.
Initially my boss, and Indian-by-decent who can generally eat anything, and I were coaxed into the Shabu-Shabu. Sort of like Benihana back home, Shabu-Shabu had a grill sitting in the middle of the table. You then selected from a long, stainless steel buffet table your choice of raw – let me say that again, raw – meat to go into the pot and see it cook before your very eyes. Well, in front of eyes that were interested, which this American was certainly not.
We then settled, no, I think the proper word should be resorted, to eating at a Chinese restaurant across the main hall. Where everything was deep fried. And covered in some sort of seafood-based paste with appetizing names like “oyster paste”. And greasy. And stringy. Haven’t the Philippines yet discovered that ancient recipe for general’s chicken?
Fortunately the Palm Lounge, residing at the top of the hotel’s twenty-one floors, became our saving grace. I was introduced to San Miguel, the Philippines’ answer to Heineken. The lounge offers comfortably-dim lighting and a smashing pool table. Smashing, of course, is what I ended up performing on it as I am certainly no Minnesota Fats. Although, I can twirl a pool stick just as charmingly as Tom Cruise. Plus I’m not a freako Scientologist, so at least I have Tom beat there.
It is with a belly full grease, a bladder waiting to pass San Miguel, and my boastful one-upping of an A-list star, that my first full day on the other side of the planet came to an end. My room has a magnificent view of both the bay and the streets below me. And it’s still raining. Tomorrow, clients await.