...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Philippines 2010, part 3

Just about this time of the year in 2009, I was attending a course on Ageing, Body and the Life Course as a newly accepted PhD student. A British professor came by invitation to talk about the narrative – the telling of life stories – as a qualitative research method, and on the first day she asked us to bring an object that told us something about our lives. Instead of bringing a book or a picture, I settled for a map of Metro Manila, which I had given to Marcus on our first year together. It was an apt biographical object, I thought, since that's where majority of my twenty-something life has been spent. My school- and work years were mostly within a 6-kilometer radius in Quezon City. Later on in the course, we reflected on how one's life stories were as much stories of other people, of places and objects in time significant in one's life. And – well, here's where I'm coming to my point – I realized that Metro Manila, or Quezon City in particular and the people I know who populate it – is the Philippines for me to a great degree. They're what I talk about when I talk about "home", such that it sometimes seems to me that the Philippines really isn't a place, but a network of connections that I in turn associate with certain places and events in my life.

I stop at that. I have no deeper conclusions. Here, instead, is the last part of my entries on our Philippines 2010 trip, featuring many of the people that have made this trip more than just another winter escape to the sunshine. Thanks a million!

Family! Friends! Fun!

Feb 20, Day 10: Brunch at Jeline's with our mutual friends in the guest list. Lawrence, who was also in Manila for field work, should have also been there, but was unfortunately sick (Hope to catch you next time!). Val was out of town and my mother was too tired to go, so it was PJ, Peachy, Jeline, me and Marcus. Thank you, Jeline, for organizing this! It was nice to see you again after our (all too short) time together in Sweden. I wish we had the time and the money then to bring you to more places we think you would have wanted to see – then again, you're always welcome to visit us in the future ;-)

Brunch. Translates to breakfast, lunch, and lots of stories to tell!

Smiling with mouths full – of corned tuna, puto, mango float and cupcakes. PJ owns an online cupcake shop, Chipper Cupcakes. Visit the site and order for you and your friends!


Feb 21, Day 11: No pictures! We were planning on maybe jogging this day with my brother Jon this day. Since it was a Sunday, the University of the Philippines oval would have been more empty than usual. However, Marcus woke up feeling feverish and had sore throat. We stayed at Jon's anyway to watch silly movies and YouTube clips, and Marcus got to nap. For dinner, Jon warmed up some bottled pasta sauce comfort food. It was quite tasty, actually.

Feb 22, Day 12: The Monday of the week we're leaving. Day 12 of 14. I suddenly felt that my time in Quezon City was ticking, and that I still had friends to meet. Cheryl, who works in the afternoons, dropped by our house in the morning and ate lunch there. Hey mom! Cheryl wanted me to mention that your pancit tasted great. You probably didn't notice, but she ate about the third of the batch, hehehe! Marcus, who was still feeling sick and feverish, was napping in the next room and I had to leave him there while I met Val in Tomas Morato for a meryenda (that's a snack or a fika) that lasted two hours.

I don't think I have pictures from this day either, but I wanted a picture of Cheryl in the series, so here's one from when we had lunch at Cyma. Bad hair day for me. Cheryl's hair looks nice as usual

Feb 23, Day 13: Lea landed in Manila from Bangkok during the night. It was nice to get to see her too, and since she's working in Thailand now I wasn't even sure that we would meet during my two weeks in Quezon City. What can I say? I shared a room with her almost throughout grade school and high school, we had the same leisure activities and we even bought matching clothes and shoes. We cosplayed together in our anime days, we swooned over Gundam characters and we did things like applaud after watching an LOTR special feature. I think many of our Manila Kendo Club friends thought we were twins (In fact, Lea's 8 years older)! So of course it's always nice to see her, and it's exciting to hear about her new life and travels abroad. The cat bell is hanging by our kitchen window, Lei!

Lea, wearing a shirt that I got from Cheryl for Christmas once upon a time. It fit Lea better. Sniff!

In the evening, I invited my high school friends home instead of going out with them, so that I could also look after Marcus. Grace and Rhea are hardworking people – Grace had just passed the medical boards; Rhea works long hours for a TV company – but they're hilarious as ever. We laughed with mouths open when we remembered our make-believe clothes design company StarJar (Sorry, this is real girly highschool stuff. Tee hee!)

With Grace and Rhea. Poor Rhea had to get back to work editing for TV after this dinner! Grace passed the medical boards two days after we met.

Feb 24, Day 14: Our last full day in the Philippines. It felt a bit sad to know that we were leaving. Though the two weeks were great and fully packed, I suddenly thought of more things we could have done just when it was too late to do them (which is what next times are for, right?). Like, next time I want to take my parents out to dinner – you have to remind me next time, mom! Neither Lea nor Jon was at leave from work, but we wanted a family lunch so we organized one at Jon's place during their lunch break. It was a take-away lunch from Max's Chicken, one of the oldest Filipino chicken chain (as Marcus observes, we're not short of chicken chains). Mom must have been happy to see, short of Liz, almost all her grown-up kids together. Don't worry, we ate your share, Liz :-)

Dad and mom taking a micro-nap ("power nap"?) in Jon's day bed after lunch


Jon, with his and his girlfriend's cat Yoshi, who here is doubling as a microfiber mop

On the last evening in Quezon City, PJ and Val came to the house to say goodbye with some pizza. Heheh! There are no words to describe this night without breaking into laughter. We probably woke some neighbors up with our cackling :-D Awww, I miss you guys! It was very reassuring to laugh with you like I never left for years. And PJ, I won't publish your "face of the night" picture here in case you decide to sue me. Tee hee!


See, with people like these, it's great to plan for vacations. Ano, Bangkok next year? :-)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Liz said...

Hey! I wore that orange "Lost Pet" shirt too when I was back home last time (in May/June 2008) :-)
I sure miss Max's Fried Chicken - you should have sent us a whole chicken by mail - Rob has yet to try the famous fried chicken from "the house that fried chicken built", and he can't even imagine how banana ketchup would taste like!

10:43 PM

 
Blogger Ahoy! said...

Actually, Max's chicken was a bit dryer than I remembered it to be. But, that's what the ketchup is for, of course! What? Rob hasn't tried banana ketchup yet? We had it a lot now to mom's crab- and fish patties.

"House that fried chicken built"... How could that be possible if the chicken were already fried? :-O

9:51 AM

 

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