I had the opportunity to spend a few days vacationing in Manila. My mom-in-law was attending a national conference for pediatricians, and was given travel sponsorships for the entire family. I jumped at the chance to visit my aging Lola because she had not seen her great granddaughter, as the case was with all of my QC-based relatives. Our itinerary was real tight, but I was happy anyway since we went through so many unexpected, yet pleasant surprises en route to Manila until we got back here.
We stayed at the Dusit Hotel Nikko; posh, yes, but this selection wasn't ours. It was mostly creditable to the auspices of my mom-in-law, who has great PR with the pharma companies, by the way. So the plan was to settle in, do some shopping, steal the van for a day and visit grandma, and spend the rest of the days doing more shopping. Now this didn't exactly go as planned since mom needed the van, so we went to Novaliches, QC, straight from the airport.
Our house in Novaliches, QC, seemed to have gotten real small over the years. It must be because since my grandma stopped working on the garden, all sorts of plants have occupied what available space there was. I saw several monitor lizards darting in and out of the shrubs. I guess they were as eager to keep cool in Manila's unbelievably stiffling heat. Lola Magding didn't immediately recognize me, but I was happy she did eventually; and she cried as usual when someone close to her comes to pay her a visit. I was even happier that she remembered Pangga. Naturally, her "apo-sa-tuhod" got smothered with hugs and kisses, much to the latter's irritation.
After lunch, Pangga, Aunt Fe, and Aunt Dodang talked a lot. Kysa got along with her Uncle Brian (5'10" at 13 years, and he was just a runt when I last saw him) and the helpers, and they were doing their stuff. My Uncle Arnold and I did a one-on-one; not like how it was when Uncle Boy was still around, but yeah, two's a quorum and will definitely do. You do know how catching up drinking sessions work, right?
That night, we were back at the hotel and did checks on the itinerary. Monday was to be spent for taking care of Pangga's LTO certification at the Tayuman agency. It was pretty far from where we were, but it helped that we were able to borrow a car for the trip. LTO surprised me that day. I didn't see the kind of transactions that I used to see. Everyone was being quite helpful and appeared to be no-nonsense in their dealings. We got the certification we needed in under 30 minutes! Wow. Talk about fixing up. The afternoon was spent going around Market-Market, a vast shopping area that I swear I'll never visit again unless necessary. We met up with Mareng Lilay, Pangga's closest friend, Kysa's Ninang, co-worker at the Allegro, and now big time manager at Teriyaki Boy. Why do they get sweetest jobs? Don't get me wrong, I'll code anytime for food (and beer).
We went to Enchanted Kingdom the following day and pigged out and rode all we could. I wanted to try out the space shuttle ride, since it wasn't around the last time, or maybe I just didn't see it back then. Big disappointment. Nobody wanted to ride with me and I hated riding alone, so I missed out on that one. I'll catch that ride next time, or maybe some other fast and crazy ride in HK!
On our last day, I met up with Carl, a high school buddy and one of my closest friends. We did some catching up over lunch, coffee, and Lights. Bong, bilib ako sa iyo tsong, kasi kahit anong mangyari, kahit papaano, inaangat mo ang pamilya mo at sarili mo sa wasto. To hell with those who righteously think they're better than you are!
I was also able to meet up with Ubunteros Clair, JM, Charo, and Ealden. They're all real cool people! Clair and JM compose one of the sweetest couples I've seen. They're really a great match. Charo, well...Charo...nevermind. She's well, disappointing. I was expecting to get scared off my socks with her patent claws and green wasabi for a brain. :P But no, she's real cool and very nice naman pala! Ealden's very "in demand" as he had his thoughts on coming interviews. Panicky? Not! But it's obvious that he can bowl over any interviewer with his skills and his looks..nyarharhar! As I've been eating most of the time, I said I just wanted coffee. Ealden needed a chow real bad (overslept, ergo skipped meals; tsk) so we shuffled to Big Buddha at the Greenbelt. Surprise! Like our "kapatid" and "kumare", the manager of that restaurant used to be a co-worker at Allegro!
I'm really happy that in spite of the tight schedule, we were able to do everything we needed and wanted to do; well, almost. :)