“Hi Ma’am! I like your makeup, Ma’am!” – are the words I hear every day as I enter the Genting club at the Resorts World here in Manila, Philippines. Asian women love their makeup and I don’t blame them, I love it too!
I came to The Philippines a week ago to cover the APT Manila Main Event and this has been my first trip to Asia. From the moment I landed until the very last moment I leave, this has been such a unique experience that I will never forget.
I have been all over the place, but The Philippines is one of the friendliest countries I have ever visited.
Everyone, from the girl that works at the cafe, the cab drivers, hotel maids, people at the street market, to the casino staff, are always smiling. 8AM or 3PM, everyone is welcoming and helpful.
We arrived the day before the start of the Main Event and got mind blown by the size and the looks of our hotel. The Marriot at the Resorts World complex is complete with shops, restaurants and facilities that are better than some Vegas hotels.
Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese restaurants, open their doors almost 24/7 and it was hard to decide where we will have our first meal. But there was not much time to spare, the tournament was starting tomorrow and we already had crew meetings lined up.
The second I finished those up, I called up the local masseuse – the girls showed up to our room and literally massaged me to sleep. Best feeling ever after a 24 hour trip.
The next day was very exciting as I got to meet Jay Tan. She just joined our team and I was so happy to welcome her. Unfortunately, she felt a bit sick so her Main Event performance got affected, but she showed her teeth for sure finishing third in the Heads Up event. Way to go, girl!
The Main Event attracted over 250 people, which was really awesome, but the biggest attraction here was the Super High Roller. With over $120k for the buy in, I was getting dizzy seeing all these players come to register and sit down.
Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan showed up and a lot of commotion started – everyone wanted to take a picture with their heroes.
Unfortunately, they left as they busted but I managed to grab Tom to talk about his opinion on the EPIC poker drama and how will that affect the US market. We also spoke about his plans and I asked him if he would resign with FTP2 in case they offered him a deal. The video should be out really soon, so I will not spoil it for you, but he did give some interesting answers.
After the whole High Roller and Super High Roller buzz settled, we decided to explore the area. McLean and I went to visit the night market. Being foodies, we tried EVERYTHING!
Oh man, there were some crazy things to eat and, yes, we ate them.
I had chicken intestines, pork face and cheeks with egg and rice, shrimp balls (not testicles, just puffy balls of dough, duh!), milk tea with pearls…I was just stuffing my face like there is no tomorrow. But there was tomorrow and me not eating for the next two days cos I was so full!
Since the previous day was packed with food, the next day had to be packed with drinks. My lovely CalvinAyre.com crew took us to the “Hobbit House” in Manila.
Yes, it’s a bar with over 250 kinds of beer and all the staff is very small. I mean, very small. Unbelievably friendly, nice and smiley though.
Seeing McLean, who is 6’4 in the Hobbit House was just silly.
As soon as we walked in, we noticed the great music – the live bands that were coming on stage were some of the best performances I have seen.
We were introduced to the owner and were served some “Flaming Frodo’s”. Basically, they made like Jaeger bombs but with beer and some strong ass grappa. One of those each and we were laughing at McLean’s ‘Dad jokes’ about short staff.
“It’s really impressive that we have gotten such good service, despite the fact that they are such short staffed.”
The next day, clearly, had to start easy, due to the amount of the beer we tasted so we hung out by the Maxim pool, which is a super nice pool area with great fruit platters and I found out I will be doing a photo shoot at a hotel resort in Thailand. Obviously, I had to go and buy a dress.
Now, that was an adventure! I walked into a shop and spotted the perfect one, but it was too big and it was the only one.
The guy said: “Don’t worry, Ma’am. Come back in 20 minutes, Ma’am!”
I did as told and when I came back the fixed it for me so it fit perfectly. The dress was so pretty they asked me to take pictures with them and asked if they can post them on Facebook. We giggled and took pictures pretending like we are at a fashion shoot.
I did not have much time for messing around though, the schedule was packed – I had only 3 days left and the email with the plans was not even close to the end. Visiting the Bodog88 HQ, hanging out with the Bodog live dealers, interviews, a photo shoot…This week should have 8 days!
To be continued….