There’s No Place Like Manila
Posted on: 23rd of May 2010 | Under: Life & Love

Eleven years ago, if you had asked me whether I could considered Manila home, I would have flat out said NO. It was a fact that I had decided for myself, before I even gave the chance and time for the entire city to grow on me. It was my stubborn self closing the door right away, because all I could really think about was having to leave Brunei. Taking a sixteen year-old away from her friends and the life that she adored would no doubt have the same effect. I was a depressed, angry teenager, who wanted nothing more than for her life to return to the way it used to be.

For a while I was miserable being back in Manila, but then sooner or later, LIFE happened. If you ask me whether I consider Manila home now, then I would one hundred percent say YES. That’s why I didn’t mind moving and living here in Singapore two years ago. With Manila just a little over three hours away by plane, it’s just so easy to fly back whenever I get homesick. And I do fly back quite often. Three to five times a year, actually. And like most getaways, my trips back home are something that I really look forward to.

Last month, I flew back for a couple of weeks. And after spending lots of time either at home or out with my family, I scheduled dates with different sets of friends who were part of my hate-love journey with Manila.

With baby Jillan, Jewelle and Steph. This was actually taken when I was in Manila last January. Steph and Jewelle are a big part of my Manila life. We went through St. Scho and PSID together, and were even labeled by some of our PSID teachers as the “Tres Marias,” because we were practically inseparable. =P Baby Jill is the first barkada baby. :)

Bestest and I during her Graduation dinner treat at Brazil Brazil, Serendra. :) Kris and I practically grew up together in Brunei, and although we hardly see each other whenever I’m in Manila (it’s funny, but we talk more when we’re miles apart), it’s always a comfort seeing her. <3

With Carlo and Shella during dinner + Iron Man 2 night. Any trip to Manila is never complete without seeing these two. :)

Lunch date with my CSB Girls! <3 I only spent a year in college with these girls, but even in that short period, a great friendship grew. Last time I saw them was about two years ago… too bad Caryl, Kat and Nicole couldn’t join us. :(

And because, I consider my pets as one of my greatest companions in Manila, here are my babies:

This is our new lab, Blair. Last month, we took her to our farm in Batangas, where my dad threw her into the river for a quick swim. She’s one hyper dog, but after her first swim, she was so exhausted that she slept like a log during the entire drive back home.

My baby Gucci! <3 She likes sticking her head outside the window whenever she’s in the car. =P I love coming home to this baby. <3

So yeah, Manila is definitely a place to love, because of these people. <3

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8 Comments to “There’s No Place Like Manila”

  1. teeyah says:

    I’ve been asked a couple of times, too, to move out of Manila for good and well, I still don’t have enough reason to let go of it. It really is home. :)

    Though like you, it may be soon na when I have to move in another Asian country but who knows :)

    anna Reply:

    I love Manila, but I have grown to really love Singapore too. But yeah, it’s such a blessing that Manila is just a few hours away, because I get to fly home easily whenever I get homesick. :)

  2. Caby says:

    Were planning to take the dogs swimming again… when you come home, nobody will be able to keep Gucci still in the car ahaha

    anna Reply:

    Boo! Hahaha!

  3. Maria Celina says:

    I went to Singapore for college, as you know, and moving out of Jakarta was hard only in the sense that I could only prepare myself for the unknown. I had no idea what my school or major or my social life was going to be like. However, I felt no antipathy for Singapore except for that initial nervousness. I remember hearing so many negative stereotypes about Singapore, but I knew that I couldn’t let those things hinder me from fully enjoying my experience. But little did I know the place was going to grow on me. I gained so many friendships, learned so many things, blasted all those negative stereotypes, and at one point, Singapore saved my life (though I will refrain from elaborating on how it has done so, because that bit has been indefinitely divorced from my life — let’s just say it had a lot to do with the depression and angst that you felt). Now, I pretty much have two homes: Jakarta AND Singapore.

    I moved back to Jakarta after college, and it felt as though the time I spent in college seemed like eternity. Although I went back during holidays, I never stayed for longer than a stint. There was a bit of an adjustment, which I’ll admit caused some negative emotions, but looking back, they were minor events.

    People like you and me — the third cultured type — deal with adjustment issues all the time. It’s part of how we’ve grown up and the people that we’ve been exposed to. But with learning to adjust (or not) comes with the notion that home is more than just materialistic aspects.

    Like you, I define home by the connections and attachments gained in those places. It’s almost as though I have scattered little bits of my heart in more than one place at a time, but there are few people that I know who can fully say that they have more than one place they call “home”.
    As for now, I’m just thankful to be back home. At least in one of them. =)

    Thanks for sharing this!

    anna Reply:

    I so feel you. Singapore has become home for me, too. It was just so easy to love the place, really. That, and the fact that culture-wise, it’s very similar to Brunei. All the things I missed about Brunei (food, people, etc.), I found in Singapore. I’m glad to hear that you are doing well over there. Let me know when you decide to pop by around here in the future… we must have coffee! :)

  4. ate janz says:

    chuck e. cheese’s is fun. hey, it’s fine to get excited even at 27. i’m 32 and am more than happy to be there when i take my son. i’m addicted to their ball toss game and their new price is right plinko game. hahaha… you guys should go when you come to the US again. if you’re in the SD area, we can meet and come to chuck e. cheese’s. woohoo! :D

    you’re so lucky you’re only 3 hrs. by plane to the philippines. i miss vacations there. i haven’t been in almost 10 years. yikes. i’m glad you’ve learned to adjust and love manila. i remember that feeling when my dad initially retired in pinas. i wasn’t too thrilled at first, but i’ve learned to enjoy life there once i met my friends and even better when i had my first boyfriend there. hehehe… you’re lucky you get to visit your manila friends often. :)

    ahh… i knew you and marz would like the rings on my previous post. i can imagine you wearing the big, black olive ring too. hehe… take care, anz. :D

    anna Reply:

    JR and I are planning to take a US trip mid next year. If it pushes through, we must meet up somewhere!!! Hehe!

    And if you ever do fly back to Manila, make sure you drop by Singapore too. :)