Finally I'm back in BKK after having been gone (more or less) for four weeks. I cannot be more relieved I'm home ("home" meaning BKK). It had been a frantic visit to Las Islas Filipinas, you have no idea how exhausted I truly am though.
In the coming days I'd surely post more about my trip home.
It's fascinating how I'm looking at things in the Philippines using a seemingly different set of eyes. Many times I was amused at the familiar, but also there are many things I paid more attention to whereas I used to consider them as mundane aspects of everyday life in Las Islas.
And then there are of course the number STILL frustrating things about home that I thought have changed for the better since I left. Anyway, I'd go into the specific reflections of my homecoming in the next entries.
For now I'd tell you about my last days in Las Islas.
So after the Cebu trip, I still had a few days in Surigao. Fortunately, uber best friend Nikki also went home so we had more time together, mainly spent on meeting friends, who by now have went to marry and, uhm, reproduced.
Nikki's mom, who is a city councilor, has this wonderful project that distributes pencils, pens, and papers to grade-school kids in Surigao. Nikki was nice enough to drag me to a couple of school visits outside the city center, about thirty minutes by car.
The smiling faces of the children when we handed them the pencils were treat enough. However, it was sad to see the state of their classrooms. It's not like the buildings were crumbling but they can certainly make use of better desks, more lighting, among other basic things.
The trip was also a good chance for me to see some parts of the "countryside", albeit we were not exactly that far from the city.
I truly love Surigao's landscape of rice fields squeezed between rolling hills (I failed to take pictures of this though). We also went to another village called Day-asan, located in a mangrove forest and where houses are built on stilts above the water.
Bye, bye Surigao!
Before finally leaving for Manille, I went out with my amigas and spent more time with la familia.
As soon as I landed in Manila, I messaged a number of my friends about the queen's arrival. Oh, the queen is me, BTW. Tse!
Fresh off the plane, I had dinner with La Ate at Fat Michael's, which is close to her place in Evangalista. After which, I met Daisy's kids and then the next day I was off to my former office in Quezon City where I gave them a workshop on posing. Hahahaha.
La Meredel (a super friend in college) and I visited the Ayala Museum, which has an excellent exhibit called Gold of the Ancestors on the use of gold in pre-Hispanic Philippines. Lo and behold, many of the items came from Surigao. There was also a small show of Philippine costumes called Embroidered Multiples.
La Meredel and I then walked around the swanky Greenbelt 5. Gosh, Las Islas has brought mall design to a whole new level. Despite the seemingly lack of change in the country, malls in Cebu and Manila have been constantly upgraded and refurbished. I'm not complaining though.
Speaking of which, I have no other motivation to visit Las Islas in the coming months but to shop. Gosh, I'm shallow, what's new, aber?
I cannot get over the many edgy stuff churned out by Filipino designers. I even went crazy just being in Bench, Human, Folded and Hung, and even Penshoppe and SM.
I thought shopping in BKK is cheap, but Manila is even cheaper it seems. But I kept shopping at a minimum, hence a trip back to Manila is in order.
Anyway, back to more meetings with fierce friends from the university. And then I went to Malate with Japheth, a close friend from Surigao. At Bed I met one of Manila's most popular blogger and I swear I was way beyond star-struck, my hands were shaking when I talked to him.
On my last full day in Manila, I went berserk shopping. Well, not really. I wish I did.
It was damn frustrating not being able to buy more clothes, bags, and shoes (am I sick or what?) but instead I stocked up on my favorite Philippine-made moisturizer. Hahaha. Only Celeteque touches my skin! Tse!
Anyhoot, la Ate and I made our way to Quezon City via a harrowing ride on a packed MRT. Dahling, you have no idea what I mean by packed. Ewwwww...
In QC I met blogger friends Miss Fiji, Miss Antigua (who visited BKK recently), and Celia Rodriguez (peace, Kiel!). It was a fabulous dinner, not least of which was the best humba I've tasted, and bottles and bottles of San Miguel over our musings on life and love. Choz!
And then, I brought my sister to Malate, her first time in a gay club, to meet Joven (a friend from the university) and Mark (from Surigao).
A note on the gay men in Malate... why are many of them wearing baseball caps? I don't get it. Is it a way to amplify their obsession with trying to appear as straight as possible? Please lang, ha. Nonetheless, I'm not complaining about the number of gorgeous men in Malate, although many of them look aloof and stuck up... and have horrible fashion sense. Well, it's just my impression.
Anyhoot, on day of my flight I had breakfast with Davao friends, Lu and Ipe to catch up on their very sporty lives... they are obsessed with ultimate.
And then it was time to leave for BKK after lunch at Jollibee (of course!) with my sister, who G said is out-fiercing me. Tse, G!
Ok, I'd stop right here. I will not recount my horrible time at the immigration of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). I swear, I do not have the best feelings for the immigration officials of Las Islas Filipinas, not for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administrations, and most definitely not for the the pinheads at NAIA. Isang milyong TSE sa mga nabanggit na opisina ng gobyerno. TSE, TSE, TSE!!!
That said, I'm so freaking relieved to be back home in BKK.