It would be untrue for me to say that I’ve experienced the essence of the Philippines during my 40 day stay here on Luzon, the main island. This country has so much more to offer than traffic, 24 hour shopping, and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see.
Manila is the Philippine connection to the modern world and it’s definitely a place where one could never be bored. I’ve shopped until my heart’s content, eaten at fancy restaurants, and toured several famous and historic monuments. My only regret is not being able to see any of the pristine beaches or sites like Taal Volcano, Baguio City or the Rice Terraces.
My last day has approached and it’s definitely bittersweet. I’m so excited to go home, my home. I have a good life. I haven’t said that too often in the last few months, but I know that I’m so blessed. God is so good to me.
Being in Manila has been an adventure. Often times, adventures are of the short-lived nature. It’s the little things that I’m going to miss. I love the way the Starbucks’ baristas say “latte.” I love Coke Light. I love being able to walk across the street and have over 700 stores to shop in encompassed by three malls. I’m going to miss the weddings in the hotel lobby every day and the elevator girl who always greets me with a, “Good morning, ma’am.” I’m going to miss the aggressive driving techniques, wild and creative Jeepneys, radio talk shows, and hearing the driver honk for no reason. I’m going to miss seeing all the people. There are so many people and there is always someone interesting to watch.
Most of my days have been spent alone which isn’t something that I’ve ever had the opportunity or desire to do. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions while I’ve been here separated from the familiar. I don’t necessarily feel more put together or in the know about my life and my future. However, I feel more confident in myself. I feel confident that I am more equipped to handle unknown situations or, at least, my reaction to them. Traveling does that to people, I suppose. It brings out a side of you that you don’t normally see.