Hi! So last post was talking about my trip to Intramuros and the disastrous late-night cab ride. This post will talk about what happened the next day, and the next, and the next, until I went back home to Surabaya. Chop-chop! Let’s go!
So, after that disastrous night trying to catch a taxi and got the huge cultural shock our our lives, the rest of our stay in the Philippines were quite tame compared to that experience. The next day, we started off with the breakfast in the restaurant beside the hotel, Kenny Rogers (they have such a delicious roasted butter chicken, yum!), and then we were off to the exhibition hall. It was only 10-15 minutes car ride from our hotel (or perhaps even less than that). We can even go there on foot! So, after that brief car ride to the exhibition hall, we started our first day of expo with some preparation to do. Just some simple tasks like preparing the samples for people to taste. Nothing spectacular happened during our exhibition, but I got to learn to deal with a lot of people. And the most important thing for me was I got to practice my English. My hard-earned skill after 4 and more years of studying started to rot with inactivity. Lol.
So, after a day of hard work, standing around and trying to talk to as many people as we could, we closed our booth and went to malls in the city. Yep, that was our whole itinerary. Just wrapped in that one sentence. It was because we didn’t have a lot of time to travel, because well obviously, first and foremost, we came there to work. So, malls were the best destination to go to. There was one time that we decided to visit the City of Dreams Mall in the city.
We heard that there was some kind of a ‘playground’ there that belonged to Dreamworks named Dreamplay. So, off we go. Unfortunately, we were totally got the wrong information. Oh, there actually was a playground named Dreamplay that hang around characters from the Dreamworks Animation films, like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. But people perhaps forgot to mention that it was solely for kids. If you didn’t bring any kids, or didn’t have one, then you couldn’t enter the place. What a bummer! Oh well, we just decided to go to the souvenir shop next to it and took a lot of pictures (the price was so expensive…).
Then, we decided to try and enter the casino. Yep, there was a casino there. Inside the same building where you took your kids to play with the Penguins of Madagascar, there stood a big casino right on the entrance door. Magnificent. And! And they put some kind of a dance show on the round and tall stage in the middle of the casino where everyone (literally everyone) who walk inside the mall can see it clearly (including children). Now, I’m not saying stuffs about people shouldn’t go to Casinos or whatever, because it’s their own choice, right. But come on, do you have to build one in the same place where you bring your kids to play? Well, that just didn’t sit well with me. But anyway, because we wouldn’t get anything done inside this mall, we decided to just go outside and look for something to eat. It was close to 9 p.m. and we still hadn’t had dinner yet. So, after we waited almost like an hour or so for the car to arrive (no taxi this time, we’ve learned our lessons), we went to one of the Indonesian restaurants in the city. How amazing right, eating Indonesian food in an Indonesian restaurant, with Indonesians, in the Philippines. Sigh… So, our days went just like that. With the exhibition in the mornings and afternoons, and malls in the evenings. That routine was going on until our last day home, but on Sunday, I got up early and decided to go to church.
I had this ‘compulsion’ if you like or an ‘obsession’ of going to churches in other countries. I did it in Korea, and I was determined to do it again in the Philippines. So, I woke up early and walked to the Baclaran Church. Luckily, it was near our hotel. Only 10 minutes walk and I arrived on the (supposedly) famous church. It was quite a shock to find out that I was 30 min late for the mass, because apparently I got the wrong information from the hotel receptionist about the time the mass started. They told me it was 07.00 a.m. while in fact it was 06.30 a.m. Well, because I got no time to wait for the second mass, I just joined right in the middle…only to find that the mass was in Philipino language. I just didn’t understand a thing. Thankfully, every steps that they have in a mass was the same everywhere in the world. Thank goodness for small mercy named liturgy, really saved me from completely looking like a fool.
However, there was something different. People there went to the church and then touched the statues and the cross placed in front of the church. They touched it, prayed, and sometime wiped it with a towel or napkin, or just simply touched it briefly and went on their way. And there was some kind of a bowl that I though was the holy water, because in Indonesia, when you enter the church, there will be a place to dip your finger in the holy water and make a cross with it. But here, there was no such thing. I still remembered that I thought perhaps I just couldn’t see the water, and tried to dip my finger inside slowly only to find it touching the bottom of the bowl. What an embarrassing moment! But that experience taught me that the people there did put their hands inside, but only to touch the bottom and then make a cross (is that right? I’m not sure. Any Philippinos reading this, please set the record straight if I’m mistaken about any of the above). Hmm…that was definitely different from what we do here.
Oh well, after that we just did our exhibition as usual and later that night we shopped for souvenirs. Got some cool t-shirts for the whole family back home too. Yep, even though it was for work, but we had a bit of fun on the side as well. Perhaps next time, I will go back to the Philippines purely for holiday and enjoy the beautiful beaches!