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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

So it’s day four of my trip to the Philippines with my friends’ family. Sorry for the delay on posting; we don’t have internet in the condo we’re staying at and the people whose wifi we were stealing caught on to our shenanigans, rendering us internet-less unless we go to a cafe, which is where we are now–UCC Coffee.We’re drinking some very strong and very delicious coffee right now because for the past few days, we’ve been crashing after about 9 and we’re still trying to beat the jetlag. We all concluded that we are also especially susceptible to post-dinner sleepy time because the photo above was taken just at lunchtime. You know, lunch, the meal that’s supposed to be lighter than dinner? And tonight? There’s a buffet dinner scheduled at the Dusit Hotel. Lunch was probably more ridiculous and delicious than it looks in the picture, if that’s possible. We ate with Brianne & Josh’s mom’s family in celebration of their aunt’s birthday. Banana leaves were laid down on the table and covered with two types of rice, crab, shrimp, vegetables, squid, sashimi, a peanut soup, all kinds of sauces, and even lechon, a whole, roasted suckling pig. Utensils were not a consideration, but my fingers don’t smell like seafood thanks to calamansi fruits (they look like tiny limes).Like I said, more ridiculous than the picture. And everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned with tons of garlic and spices, the way all southeast Asian countries love to cook their food.

We ate until we were all stuffed, and even with 10+ people, the were leftovers somehow.

That being said, I am loving my first visit to the Philippines so far. We’ve been splitting our time almost evenly between the condo and Mrs. Siegel’s family home in Magallanes village.

This is the view from our condo, overlooking a golfcourse; the main city is to the right.

Driving through the city (Manila) is really reminiscent of my trip to Indonesia (Jakarta) last year. Giant, modern skyscrapers sit right next to clusters of slums. The stark contrast is almost unfathomable, and it makes for really interesting scenery. I’m also glad to be back among the tropical foliage that is abundant and beautiful. The 90 degree+ weather is pretty intense, but trying new foods is a good way to beat the heat. Some other Filipino specialties I’ve tried: the ubiquitous adobo (which was also served on the airplane), pancit noodles, sour sinagang soup, and longganisa sausage for breakfast.

I’ve been getting mistaken for Chinoy (Chinese FIlipina) everywhere (as I do back in the states). It’s interesting to come here and be more inconspicuous than I am even in Hong Kong. It’s also pretty stressful when waiters, etc. approach me and begin speaking in Tagalog to me. I have a feeling I’ll get the same response in Vietnam…

Which is where we’re headed on Monday! I don’t think I could accurately convey just how excited all of us are for nonstop, super cheap pho everywhere.


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