THE PHILIPPINES AND ME PART 1

From the 20-25 May 2015, I was lucky enough to be able to go to The Philippines for free. Yep I know what you’re thinking. Super lucky! Yay! It’s free! But the truth is, it comes with a ‘burden’ as well. Oh well, this is the story for whoever out there who wants to read it. Off you go!

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I traveled to the Philippines together with my supervisor at work, because we went there for a International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2015. We first went to Jakarta because we live in Surabaya (it’s the second largest city in Indonesia, in case you’re wondering. It’s not that rural) and the flight that we took didn’t have routes to Surabaya. So, on the 19 May 2015, we went to Jakarta by plane, spent several hours in a small hotel room (it’s super small, I’m not joking. The bathroom was super-super tiny. You can’t really maneuver yourself inside it), and then went back to the airport to catch the midnight flight that would bring us to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. No pictures of the hotel, unfortunately. However, for such a small hotel, the cleanliness was extremely good. It was well equipped, the hot water ran well enough, the air conditioner worked well, and the bed was comfortable too. All in all, it wasn’t that bad to stay there for a brief couple of hours.

In the airport, we waited and waited for the plane to arrive and depart. Because it was late at night, our dinner time was really unpredictable. Dinner at around 8.30 p.m was a very late dinner (not that usually I didn’t eat at that time as well…). But it was good. A little past midnight, we hopped on the plane and departed to the Philippines. It was quite a long flight, but I didn’t really feel it. Why? Because I was asleep almost the whole time! My internal clock works really well when I’m inside a plane. Fall asleep right after take off and wide awake right before landing. Perfect! Except this time, I was awake in the middle of the flight because, as usual in these international flights, the flight attendants gave us breakfast. Therefore, after the munching of the early breakfast (or late late dinner, depends on your perspective), I went back to sleep until we reached the International airport. After that was the hustle of the immigration processes, getting everyone inside the car from the Indonesian Embassy that would take us to our hotels, and hotel check in that was just impossible to do that early in the morning.

We tried to do an early check-in but the rooms were still full. So, we needed to wait until one of the rooms were empty and they had cleaned it before we could check-in. It was horrible. Really and utterly horrible. Just imagine, it was seven or eight in the morning after a four-hour flight. So we were practically awake for a whole day. Then we still had to wait for the rooms to be available. Fortunately, the sofas in the lobby were empty. We claimed them as our territory and voila! Good bye world, hello dreamland! We slept for almost two hours (if I’m not mistaken) on the sofas. Then, after several hours of uninterrupted (though uncomfortable) sleep, there was one room available for us. Since it wasn’t the level of room our company booked, it went to our friends from a different company (which I later get to know during the time of our stay there).

Oh well, since we needed to change our money to Philippine Peso and searched for some breakfast for my belly, we decided to take a walk and look for the money changer. The receptionist said that there was one near the hotel. After a couple of minutes of walking on the hot (it was SUPER hot, and I know hot. I mean, I live in Surabaya. It’s bound to be very hot here everyday, except for rainy season. But this is like super duper hot) road of the Philippines, we found the money changer. We quickly changed our money, and found something to eat. When we got back to the hotel, the room was ready for us. Thank goodness for small mercies!

Right. Let’s stop right here before it gets reaaaalllyyy boring since I have no picture whatsoever for this part of my journey. But don’t worry, next post will be filled with pictures as I traveled to the place where time seemed to stop, the Intramuros.

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