Friday, July 7, 2017

the Philippines

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in Taiwan en route to the Philippines for work. I should also mention that I got a new position recently, and now have a decent sized part of my team in Manila. My trip there was conveniently planned around their annual beach weekend outing...

I landed in Manila around 4 pm on Friday afternoon. Due to the intense rain, thunder & lightning that had just happened, our luggage was delayed for about one hour. I then found a (metered) cab and headed to my hotel.

Now, I have heard rumors of the traffic in Manila before and was given a fair warning by the people I work with. However, it is one thing to hear about it and another to experience! It took me 2.5 hours in the cab to travel from the airport to where I was staying. To put this in perspective: this is a 10 kilometer drive. Apparently the rain, it being a Friday, and it being payday that day all played major factors into my crazy commute. I am valuing it as an authentic Manila experience!

I then got to where I was staying (booked via airbnb) and pretty much went straight to work after! The team there works Canadian business hours, and with the time difference, means they start work around 9 or 10 pm local time. (9 am MNL time is 6 am PST and 9 am EST - I am getting better at converting all my time zones!)

After work, around 7 am local time, we all piled into a van and headed to the beach! This was about a 3 - 4 hour drive. It was beautiful when we got there!! Plus, so nice and warm. Tropical warm.

I rocked in that rocking chair quite a bit. It is called a toomba toomba in Tagalog.
We immediately changed into our bathing suits & hit the beach. My goal was to get a tan. Sadly, with having to wear sunscreen and it being overcast, I did not get too much of one.

This was being sold on the beach. Sadly I don't remember what it was called, but it is sugar and coconut (I think!) melted together and SO DELICIOUS. I could have eaten a million.

This is my little buddy Sabrina. We played in a water a lot together!!

We laid on the beach all day, swam in the water, and bought cool things from vendors who came by. Did you  know pearls are a great deal in the Philippines?! We then had dinner, had a beer after dinner, and went to bed after. I know what you are thinking at this point: when did I sleep?!

Being a vegetarian in the Philippines is not an easy task! This meal there was a vegetable dish, which was bitter melon. There is always rice at every meal!! (even at McDonalds for breakfast)

From when I left Wednesday evening until Saturday night at the resort, here is when I slept:
- 6 - 7 hours on the flight from Vancouver to Taiwan (granted, broken plane-style quality of sleep)
- 30 minutes in the aforementioned taxi ride to where I was staying
- 2 hours in the bus ride from work to the resort

I then slept a solid 8 or 9 hours Saturday night at the resort! I was pretty sleepy. On Sunday, some people woke up early to see the sunrise. I was not one of said early risers. After I drank my coffee by the beach, we went to the beach again. We then headed home in the afternoon!

I delighted in the photos from the people who did wake up to see the sunrise!

I also did not participate in this event. I wanted to throw up just watching them!! This "disco ball" was pulled behind a jet ski and spun the WHOLE time.

Not a great photo, but it was pretty rainy on the way home!
Overall, the beach resort weekend was super relaxing and fun to spend time with people I do not see very often except for on the video phone! I will blog more in a few days about the rest of my trip and other fun things I learned about the Philippines. I need to head over to check in to my flight shortly and want to try to beat the crowds. I hope you are having a great weekend!