I have heard so many things about Manila, and majority were negative descriptions. From traffic to rising numbers of informal settlers congesting Manila, to crimes and road accidents and Manila’s biggest challenge, floods.
And like many people, I had a feeling of disgust towards going to Manila hearing this and that and I humbly say I was wrong with my judgment not because the above were not real but simply because you can never define what you’d feel about a certain place unless you set your foot, come face to face with it and meet its people.
The supposed trip was booked on January 29 of this year. That was when I still worked as a Human Resource practitioner living in the City. A lot has happened after that day, my daughter was diagnosed with GDD, I lost my job and we moved to Bohol. Me and hubby have contemplated on not going when we were faced with a more pressing issue, his dad’s health. We begin to understand why things has to happen, we were led to a perspective where we have to work as a family and live a frugal life accordingly, while preparing for the unexpected. As our travel date neared, we counted our money and we feared that it might not become a reality. I told my husband that maybe we can just see Manila, stay at my brother’s and leave but then one morning my brother messaged me that he will tag us along their company outing to Enchanted Kingdom. We thought it would be a great idea, and a more reason for us to go.
We left on Friday morning of September 13, which was my husband’s birthday. Inside of me I was a bit scared because we left on Friday the 13th. They said it was an unlucky day but it turned out to be our luckiest one so far. Also, it was my daughter’s first plane ride. The weather was fine and the flight went pleasant. Our first travel outside of the Visayas as a family, both planned and unplanned. We were oblivious of what’s in stored for us.
NAIA-Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Since my brother cannot fetch us from the airport, it was a Friday and a working day; and also, I did not inform him ahead., hubby’s dad asked his uncle living in Manila to fetch us from the airport and take us where we are supposed to meet my brother. Bangz and I agreed that we can have lunch at Mall of Asia and then head to SM Megamall, where my brother works. When we landed Gou-ko kong was on his way to the airport. Bangz and me were full of anticipation and a bit anxious because it will be the first time that we’ll meet the man. Gou-ko kong is Ah-ma’s (grandmother) brother. Gou-ko kong was tall a very tall man, he was wearing red and he smiled upon seeing us. We let Blyf take his hand to her forehead (Mano) as a sign of respect, and later that day we were scolded because we taught our child to “mano” but we didn’t do the “mano” ourselves. We said sorry and realized that how inconsistent we have become in teaching Blyf respect.
First Day-Going with the flow
Gou-ko kong’s driver was taking us to “MOA” when he asked what we are gonna go there. I answered, we’ll just stroll around, have lunch and then head to “SM Megamall” to meet my brother. Gou-ko kong then suggested that we have lunch with them instead. I just went ahead and took a photo of the 11th largest shopping mall in the world and the 2nd largest in the Philippines, as I thought we’ll not be able to go there any longer. Mall of Asia is just near the airport, a strategic place with vast land. I thought of Cebu’s South Reclamation area and the SM Seaside City being constructed. It will be just like that. On our way to Gou-ko kong’s house, we went to a Toyota Showroom and display center. It was huge and full of people, we transferred vehicles to Gou-ko kong’s SUV. He drove us to their house in Quezon City, met Gou-Kim Ma (his wife) and left for Robinson’s Magnolia, a new mall 10 minutes from their house.
We had lunch at Yabu-House of Katsu. We learned that it was their favorite Japanese restaurant. Gou-Kim Ma was readily recognized by one of their servers, it was apparent they were regulars. They ordered food for us, which was great because I don’t know anything on the menu. It turned out their food was great! Unlimited rice and unlimited vegetables. After lunch, we told them we’ll stay at the mall for a while, and instead of going to meet my brother and travel to Bulacan we decided to have a sleepover at their house in QC and meet my brother at Hanston Square for our trip to Sta. Rosa Laguna the next morning. It turned out to be the best decision that day since Bulacan is far from Pasig and time is of the essence.
Robinson’s Magnolia-New Manila
Our afternoon was spent at the mall. I often forget we were in Manila that I speak in “Bisaya” to salespeople when I ask for prices or information. Malls are malls, they are the same with almost the same stores as we can find in Cebu except some food stalls and specialty shops, but still it’s that same place where you come out penniless. Early evening, Gou-Kim Ma fetched us, headed to their house for what we thought dinner at home. We washed up and then left again, Uncle Steward and Gou-Kim Ma took us to a Chinese Restaurant this time, Tao Yuan. It was our first to taste Shabu2x, a popular Chinese food. We had a full dinner, and headed back to their home. We stayed at Auntie Sheila’s room and she slept at her brother’s room. 🙂
Our first day had a great surprise and we wondered what’s in store for us the next day.