Philippines, part 1

A lot has happened since my last update, which is understandable since that was a good two months and change ago. I’ll use this entry to update about my trip to the Philippines. At least part of it, anyway.

I went to the Philippines on Thanksgiving Day with my grandma, flying through Japan. As always, it was very exciting to be on the plane heading there. Flew into Manila as usual, stayed with mom’s relatives for a night with grandma, then flew to Tacloban with her the next day, where we got picked up by Uncle Alvin & Aunt Benjie, who brought us to their home in Catbalogan, where I stayed for the next few days.
Staying in Catbalogan, the town my dad is from, was pretty interesting this time around. Before this trip, I’d stayed there before with grandma and family, but never by myself. We arrived on Saturday, so Uncle Alvin’s kids were home. That night, I had fun hanging out with the kids – we played games together, and I played guitar with Isabel (the oldest) for a good few hours. Good times. They stayed in Catbalogan for the next two days since Monday was a holiday (they live in Tacloban during the week for school).
Every day I was there, I woke up pretty early, thanks to jetlag, and so I would spend mornings with grandma. We would have breakfast, head over to the Shell station (owned by Uncle Alvin), and then go buy food for the day, usually riding an Isuzu Elf transport truck. I remember going to the wet market, which was a bit dirty and smelly (she remembers that upon arriving there, I asked her if I could wash my feet), and also down to one of the fishing beaches, where they gather and organize the morning’s catch.
These morning excursions also included a visit to my grandfather’s grave, running some errands around town, and an attempted visit to my great-aunt, who turned out not to be around. And while in the car, in a tricycle, or just walking together, grandma and I had a lot of time to talk, and talk we did. I really got to know her better, and for that reason I’m kind of glad I was staying there by myself. If other relatives were there too, I may not have gotten to talk to grandma as much as I did. Something else I realized was that there are points over which my dad and grandma don’t exactly agree, and that’s okay. I also saw that my opinions in some things differ from hers a bit as well.
After coming back from the market or the fishing beach with grandma, the kids were usually awake by then, so I would spend time hanging out with them. The times I’d been with them before, we never connected a great deal because of language barrier and because they were more kid-like. But this time, we hit it off really well, and I missed them a lot when they went to Tacloban on Tuesday, even though I would be joining them the next day.
Tuesday and Wednesday, I got to spend more time with Uncle Alvin and Aunt Benjie. During this time, I realized that even though what they do may be pretty commonplace in their own eyes, I was very interested in their daily activities and how they operate their business. I don’t have any plans to move to the Philippines, but I think I’d learn a lot if I went and helped them out with their business. Overall, it was really good spending time with them, and I missed them heading off to Tacloban on Wednesday, since I didn’t know if I’d see them again.
Now ever since I got to the Philippines with grandma, she’d been mentioning to me that the family in Tacloban wanted to introduce me to someone there. That’s where I’ll start next time.
Been writing a while, and I need to get back to studying. And tomorrow, back to the grind. Anyone who’s reading, enjoy your week!
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