Kamusta! Greetings from the Philippines!
Surprisingly, I haven’t been traveling as often as I wish I was. UST seems to have tests every other and group projects on the off weeks. It’s been crazy, but we finally took the time travel! We decided on a weekend trip to the Philippines! Deciding to go with a group helped us figure out what we wanted to visit with our limited time. When my one friend told her mom she was planning to go to the Philippines, it caused some confusion. “Philip?” she asked, “Who’s Philip?” So I went along with four other friends to visit our new friend Philip and explore the culture that he could share with us.
We left Friday afternoon, since many of my friends had class on Fridays, but getting there was stressful. My one friend ended up having to leave class early to make sure she had enough time to catch the plane. Transportation to the airport was actually very easy and convenient. There were several options we could take, but we decided on taking the bus over. It was a double decker bus and we were able to sit at the very top where the front had a clear view of the road ahead, allowing us to look at the Hong Kong scenery en route to the airport.
By time we got through security and arrived at our terminal, the plane was nearly done boarding! We really cut it close, but thankfully we made it. We arrived Friday and went straight to our Airbnb situated in the middle of the city. Since we were tired from traveling and a long school day, we went straight to bed. Well, most of us. One of my friends decided it would be the perfect time to start doing leg lifts while the rest of us slumped in our beds from exhaustion. Before passing out, we all agreed on heading out at 9am the next day to check out a local market.
The next morning, I woke up at 8am. Then 9am. Then 10am. Unsurprisingly, there was still no one up. After some persistent persuading, we were all ready to head out at 11:30 to grab brunch at the market. The Salcedo market was full with people, locals and foreigners alike, and full of food. One of my favorite foods is Filipino food (a preference I discovered through FISDU at Drexel), so naturally I was very excited to try different foods. The food in the Philippines was nearly half the price of the food in Hong Kong, which was already much cheaper than the food in America. Both my wallet and my stomach were grateful for this. One of my favorite dishes that we found there was grilled milkfish cut open and stuffed with vegetables. I’ve also tried Ilocos empanada which is from the Ilocos region, though I saw it plenty in Manila. It’s different than the empanadas I’m used to—it had egg and few other ingredients in it, though I can’t name most of them. It gave it a different flavor that I liked a lot. Lastly, one of my new favorite desserts, Halo Halo. It is known as the Filipino dessert for a reason. I finished one and wanted another one immediately after. I’ve found myself sitting in class thinking about eating Halo Halo. On the trip I was only able to eat it twice (which was technically one every day I was there). If you have not tried Halo Halo, I highly recommend it.
In addition to the variety of food that we ate, we went to visit the Chinatown in Manila. The streets were very crowded and you could find almost anything among the shops there.
We decided to finish off the day by heading off to Intramuros. However, we couldn’t find it. Instead, we headed off to some area with several high schools that was still very pretty. We passed by a church on the way back too!
Though our flight the next day was scheduled for around noon, there was a typhoon in Hong Kong that delayed all of our flights leaving us another full day in the Philippines. We used this time to go to a different market place, Legazpi market looking for souvenirs and good food to eat, which there was plenty of. The Legazpi market was larger than Salcedo market, and included more artisan goods as well as food. These handmade crafts cannot be found in the malls either, so it was a very unique experience.
I will definitely come back to the Philippines someday, if not for the food alone.
Paalam! Ingat ka!