Filipino: The Kaleidoscope of friendship

“HINDI BUKAS KUNDI NGAYON”

I was standing at the corner of Don Pedro Street, Makati and had to go at nearest train station which was 30–40 minutes walk. Problem was, my map didn’t contain much info about routes! So, I asked 3 women coming from opposite end to show me the route. Then I went as they directed me to go. 15 minutes of walking and then I realised it’s the wrong one and had no idea where to go next. In despair, I thought of going back to Don Pedro Street so I can figure out the route myself. I returned back only to find those 3 women standing there waiting impatiently. They saw me and waved hand to come to them. I went and asked them why where they still there? They replied ,“ We left after providing the direction. After quite a while, we realised that we provided you with the wrong direction, so we returned back to see if you were here, then we can provide the proper one again!”

The above incident happened just 8 hours after I arrived to Manila, Philippines during midnight of February 4 , 2017 A.D. Because it was late night and my eyes were shooting for sleep, the above incident next morning was my first major impression of the country and I just can’t stop talking about it! What those women said , sparked a different euphoria, a kind of divine feeling of gratefulness and happiness which I hadn’t experienced it for a very long time! So, I decided to write this blog , not writing about what you should do, or this and that, but my experience with the locals that makes me feel like Manila is calling me again!!

After my blissful moment with those wonderful ladies, I finally got to meet my HPAIR friends Emmanuel Manages (Eman as I call) and Sheen: We knew each other as delegates of Harvard Project of Asia and International Relations 2016.

Me with Eman (middle) and Sheen (right) eating Sorbets (bun stuffed with ice-cream and avocado)

They were very happy enough to tour me around to the city: from National museum to Rizal park and to LPU (Lyceum of the Philippines University). I later knew that they had exams running but still were as excited as I was to eat all street foods : From kwek-kwek, mango with bagoong, to manginasal (I am not going to tell what those are, go to Manila). Couldn’t have thanked them much. Courtesy of them, I did learn a lot of filipino words, famously being “ Hindipo Salamat” meaning “ No, thank you.” I had to use this word so as to get away with door sellers approaching to sell things and it worked every single time. Best part was, they are so easy to get along with. I thought I would be travelling alone in Philippines, I was wrong because their friendly behaviour makes it undeniable to spend time with them.

Rizal Park. A tribute to the country’s famous hero “ Jose Rizal”

Spending one full day with HPAIRs and listening to their experience, I headed to Puerto Princesa. Capital of Palawn Province, the province is just absolutely beautiful. From the weather , to people, food, beaches, everything is just fantastic, believe me :D .No seriously it is!

Puerto Princesa “ City of Living God”.

I loved this city. There is no rush, people are just relaxed, calm and happy. “HINDI BUKAS KUNDI NGAYON” is their motto. It means ,“ Not tomorrow but today”. After exiting from airport, I had absolutely no idea where to go! (careless traveller, me! ). Trying to use my navigation skills, headed right, reaching to the main city square (picture above).Going round and round, finally came to this cute, little Cherry’s Pension Inn (“Pension” meaning Hotel) at Manalo Extention road. The room was affordable for 500 pesos/night, but room wasn’t the only thing I got. The owner Jamie Sony Lichaucco hospitality surely made me feel home. He would invite me for coffee, and have a long conversation about life and his philosophy. Damn, I really enjoyed those talks.

Mr. Jamie, owner of Cherry’s Pension Inn. He can be contacted through the link above. My favourite part was the “Hen alarm” every morning :-)

The pension inn represents a typical village life at it’s modest. I would occasionally play with his grand children and try to replenish the good old childhood days! Such feelings are so hard to get nowadays and I am really grateful to him for making me realise “ I am Old”!

Now that I got a beautiful Pension, I needed an agency who could organise my trip tours at efficient cost. After careful consideration, I choosed Nellie Joy Guillermo N’Joy travel and tours as the best option. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. My favourite part was when I requested her that I go alone to hike at Mt. Bloomfield, but she insists I don’t cause of its danger level. I requested again and then she calls upon her sister Nemah at late night. Nemah with her boyfriend Mark decides to accompany me as well and by midnight, from 1 person trying to climb the top, it reached to 16! I don’t know what worked out but the next day turned out to be the best day in Philippines! Crazy wild adventure, it turned out to be so good and so risky at the same time! Climbing rocks, stiff cliffs, thorns picking the lower feet and thigh, I had wounds all over my legs, but all those were nothing compared to the thrill I got.

A one nasty day at Mt. Bloomfield with craziest people around!

But there is one more reason I really thank Aate(big sister) Nellie. During the trips she organised from Honda bay to El Nido, I got to meet so many new people all of whom were very kind enough to let me join their group! Words can’t demonstrate how much happy I am to know them and still be in touch with them after the trip. I still remember, because I couldn’t carry my camera into the sea, so Je Carino, one of boat member for Elnido, was urging me to take his camera so I could film lots of shots and take it as a souvenir back home. Not only him, but everyone else in that group of El Nido requested me the same as well! My interesting part was when I knew I was younger than all in the group but asked how come they look so young. One lady replied “ because we just laugh all the time”.

Me with gigi, sky and their son Ryan( actually, he’s my little brother) Photo credits by: Sarahlee , awesome person by heart and by soul. We had lots of fun in the beach snorkeling and throwing mud at each other. It was all worth it.

Best thing is, most of the people I met there, are still in touch some way or the other and I have to appreciate the social media network for that. I have way more stories to tell about the people I met in The Philippines but sometimes, it’s just better not to say all for time will come when I will talk about it again. Overall, my 16 days trip to Filipino was full of awe and a feeling which I will always be grateful to. I did come to The Philippines thinking in mind I am travelling alone, but as I arrived here, I definitely didn’t feel alone at all. Such is the magic of the country that leaves a happy face among people who come here.

It’s 7 days and I am back to Beijing now and semester madness has rolled over my head. As I sit in the Beida Library while all are in intense mood studying, I am one smiling all time thinking of the those days if it will ever come back again. If it’s Philippines, then it’s definitely yes! Philippines is definitely, the Kaleidoscope of Friendship, love, happiness and ever lasting memories.

Until next time, Salamat po and Ingat.