10.25.2007

Philippines Update

So much to say and I don't know where to start so I'm just going to write whatever comes to my mind.

After 2 days of travelling our flight was delayed in Taipei, Taiwan. When we got to MIA (Manila International Airport) Marty being a seasoned "Balikbayan" (what they call Filipinos who are visiting in the Philippines after living abroad.) We were able to zip thru customs without them even blinking an eye. The secret is she took all four passports and she picked one custom agent who's waving at her. She then puts some money, I think $5.00 inside the passport. Mind you we have 8 huge luggages weighing approximately 70 lbs. each, 8 carry ons and we were able to just go thru customs just like that. So, for $5.00 green bucks we were able to get out of the airport without any hassle.

When we got outside the door ( we had 2 Filipino men who took care of our luggage for $3.00, the airport people doesn't get paid, they strictly work for tips) I saw my two brothers right I way. I was able to recognized them with no problems. They didn't recognized me until they saw Marty. Along with my nephew Alex ( the driver) and Fernando ( my sister Gloria's house caretaker) picked us up.

Driving in Manila, Philippines is another topic on its own. Just let me tell you I had my eyes closed pretty much while we were in the city. It was a NIGHTMARE!!! I still haven't gotten used to the traffic here. I am sure that Philippines have traffic laws BUT noone is obeying them, at least from what I've seen so far. After we got out of Manila and were on the highway, it wasn't so bad. Traffic was light they told me, it was raining hard so the temperature was not as hot.

After an hour or so, Niece #1 (Marty) HAD to use the bathroom. I refused to go. I'm sure DH can tell you about my public restroom "petpeeve". When Niece #1 got out of the facilities she had that horrifed look on her face! She was about to tell me what it was like but I told her I did NOT want to hear about it! I'm just glad I was smart enough not to go! =)

Halfway thru our road trip, it was time for lunch! We stop at this one place near the highway. It was a pretty decent little restaurant and 'lo and behold there was a beautiful clean restroom right next to it. They refer to public restroom here as CR (for comfort room). So of course I had to take advantage to it since we still had a couple of hours of driving. They even had a CR attendant who works for tip as well. The only drawback with my first public restroom experienced is when I got inside the stall, there WAS NO toilet paper! NOT EVEN A TOILET PAPER HOLDER!!! I was shocked... what a girl to do?! ? It's a good thing Niece #2 (Angelina) came in. I guess you have to pay for toilet paper here. There was a vending machine at the far wall corner and I didn't see it! But enough of my public restroom experienced I am sure you didn't come to hear me whine about it here! ;)

Finally got in my Sis Gloria's abode. She has a beautiful home outside the city. Visited for a couple hours with my brothers and hit the sack. It was such a very long trip and I was exhausted. I woke up at 3 am hungry, my body still adjusting to Philippines timezone and there was this awesome food at the kitchen table just for us so, started eating by myself. I quite enjoyed it!

The next day (Wed., 10/24) was the day when all my relatives came to see me. It was such an emotional day for me, I still have a hardtime processing it. It was a happy time to see them but also such a sad time. Very hard to explain. But seeing them, meeting all the nieces and various cousins and their children, the way they live. I realized how fortunate and lucky I am. The disparity between the haves and have nots are unbelievable! There is no such thing as middleclass here in the Philippines.

That night when everyone left and in bed. I cried and cried for my family and relatives. I also realized how mundane some of the problems I complained about. How DH provides for me and Autumn, and I don't let him know as much as I should, how I appreciate him for being a good family provider. Thank you God and DH for providing for me in such an awesome way!

As you can "see" I was able to post an update. I wasn't able to use my laptop because the place with the WI-FI I was going to use wouldn't let me use their ISP. They said it's only for their guests. But I was told there was a cafe someplace in the city with a WI-FI hot spot. I will brave it one day to venture there. But for now, I am using this really old slow computer with a really slow connection. But I am not complaining, I'm just glad I can update you guys about my trip. I have tons of photos and lots of stories to tell, so stay tune and come back often.

My plan is to write my update everyday in my laptop and use my flashdrive to upload, so I don't have to stay at this internet cafe. The cafe is near the highway and there's a construction outside. The smell of the gasoline and the noise makes this a very unpleasant place.

I want to thank you for all your prayers and good wishes. Please kindly keep remembering in your quite time.

P.S.
DH, I wasn't able to get the money from WU today. I only brought my AK drivers license and assuming with that and knowing the "number code" you gave me was enough. But they didn't want to give me my $ So, tomorrow I will bring my passport and AK drivers license.

7 Had Something To Say:

Dear Husband said...

I don't understand what their problem is. Let me know if I have to give them a call and verbally throw down. I'm in the mood to give some hapless phone idiot a good country butt-whoopin!.

Fonda said...

August, it is great to hear from you. I have been thinking of you often. As to the restroom situation, I can vaguely remember traveling as a small child and having to put quarters in the stalls of the public restroom in order to gain entrance. Of course the paper was free! Nowdays, my favorite public restroom story to tell is the little outhouse we stopped at the convience store in Alaska - complete with hole in the ground! Freaked me out!!! Can hardly wait for the next update.

Kirstin said...

August so glad to hear what you are experiencing back "home". I can't imagine the flood of emotions!

Enjoy your time, love them well and keep us updated.. and remember we love you too!!!

Blessings!!!

Fonda said...

Any new word from our world traveler?

Dear Husband said...

According to her schedule and the last time I spoke with her, she should be at the airport in Manila right about now. Her flight is supposed to leave Manila around 12:45pm Tuesday which is 11:45pm Monday night here on the east coast of the US.

After a couple of hours in Taipei, she'll board a flight for Los Angeles, which should put her in the City of Angels sometime around 5:00pm eastern time tomorrow. After a NINE hour layover at LAX, she'll be boarding a US Airways flight to Charlotte, NC which should arrive around 6am Wednesday morning. It's a relatively short layover in CLT (a mere 3 hours this time) with a quick 1 hour 15 minute flight to Charleston.

Keep in mind that before all of these flights began, she had nearly 8 hours of travel to arrive at the airport in time!

Arrival Time: 11am EST (midnight Manila time)
Time Enroute since leaving her sister's house: 45 hours.

Call it two days.

I wonder if she'll be too tired to do all the laundry and cook Thanksgiving dinner?

Dear Husband said...

By the way, since she still seems to be in the vacation mode (people did pretty much everything FOR her when she was over there), and she's not bothering to update her friends and family who might be concerned, I'll put a note here saying that she got home last Wednesday.

She safe and sound...and sitting around!

Fonda said...

Okay...so I have been two weeks without posting on my blog...but come on! Let us know how the trip went!!!! We miss you!