22-26 Dec 2017
Despite the sky-rocketing airfares, T and I decided to go to the Philippines in December. I haven’t been going back for Christmas because I thought New Years are more fun back home but since he wanted it, I just decided to submit.
His flight arrived first. My ever-supportive parents picked him first. My flight landed later that night. To my surprise, my parents weren’t by the arrival area when I exited. They were busy with T, apparently.
I decided to book in Aurum Makati because they allow pets there (with extra price). It was not so bad considering it’s around Makati area and it allowed our Bambi. We stayed there for a night because the plan the next day was to tour Manila.
We checked out at about 10am. Our first stop was, of course, Luneta Park. Unfortunately, the monument itself was being renovated. We couldn’t completely see it. We just walked around for a while. I introduced a little bit about Jose Rizal and why he is our National Hero.
A few kilometers away from the famed park, we went to Intramuros to visit the Fort Santiago. This was where Jose Rizal spent most of his last days in prison before his execution. From there, we saw Binondo, Manila Cathedral, and Pasig River. I have not visited this place in a very long time hence, going there reminded me of the historical events I have long buried in my remote memory. Difficult to access!
We were looking for a place to have lunch in Binondo, but searching for parking space was terrible. We gave up after a while. We just decided to go somewhere with confirmed parking space….SM Manila! We had our lunch of Filipino food there. We had lechon, Dinuguan, Lumpiang gulay, Lumpiang sariwa, ginataang halo halo, pancit etc. T was up to try it all….ONCE! He isn’t a big meat eater, unlike me and my family. This is one great point why I liked him. He’s my opposite (when it comes to diet). We’ll see if he could actually bring me to the healthier side of living. We’ll see.
After lunch, we drove to one of the oldest universities in the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas (UST). I am who I am because of this place. I studied here from secondary until my masters degree. I gave T a tour of my Alma Mater. Being in this place made me feel humbled. This school shaped me.
We, then, drove to Mall of Asia to have coffee, passed by Manila Bay, then home. But before we reached home, we decided to give T a taste of Filipino street food, like Balut, all kinds of barbequed animal parts like blood, intestines, fats etc. He, again, politely tried everything…once!
A place not so far away from my hometown, Tagaytay. We decided to visit the popular volcano at the center Taal Lake, the Taal Volcano. Before that, we had lunch at Leslie’s. We ordered more Filipino dishes. T already had a favorite, Halo-halo!
We then drove almost incessantly to Quezon City for dinner with my sister and her fiance. T isn’t a big fan of seafood as well, but he still tried. We headed home after that.
We reached home almost midnight. We ate a little bit more, exchanged gifts and concluded the night.
We just stayed home and mealed together. The essence of Christmas was to be with our loved ones anyway and that’s what we did. We drove to the nearest shopping mall, though, in the afternoon for a massage, grocery and to watch fireworks.
We just stayed home and bonded. We flew back to Singapore that night.