A couple of years ago I got invited by my in-laws to join them in the Philippines to celebrate my husband’s grandmother’s 80th birthday. I was really excited and a bit nervous about the trip. My hubby laid down a long list of don’ts that didn’t really help for the nerves.In the end it’s the don’ts he didn’t tell me about that had “my panties in a twist” We didn’t travel there as tourists as most of the family was born in the Philippines but I would love to go back and experience it as a vacation goer.
Upon Arrival in the Philippines
The 13 hour flight there was wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t seem to suffer from any jet lag. As we disembarked and the heat struck me I realized Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Guys I hate sweating but in the Philippines I might as well have changed my middle name to sweaty Suzy. No matter how many times I showered the only time I didn’t feel sticky is when I stayed in the air-conditioned room. The delicious street ice cream made up for the heat and was a real treat for my taste buds.
Now here is the part that had my panties in a twist – Flushing toilet paper is a big NO. More often than not when I tell people about this I get the strangest looks. But that’s just how it was and I had to deal with it. I didn’t let this spoil my fun but I would have liked to be prepared for it.
Ventures in Manila
We mostly spent our time in Manila, the capital of the Philippines and explored their most famous malls. We went to MOA (the Mall of Asia, and the biggest one in Asia) and Glorietta. Why the malls you ask? Two words. Air conditioners. I was really amazed at how cheap everything was there. They are very big on what we call “flip-flops” and have stores dedicated to selling only these. Unfortunately their ladies size mostly only goes up to a UK size 5 (EU size 38) but I was in luck as that’s my shoe size.
The jeepney rides around the city was really different and I was amazed at how they just swoop through the traffic. The Philippines is also big on beauty and you can find beauty salons and spas on nearly every street. I found some really great hair masks and mani & pedi tools while exploring a market.
Manila at night was really pretty, all the city lights just took my breath away. Night time also came with a very welcomed breeze of cooler air.
One afternoon we ventures into the city center of Manila. This was a whole adventure on its own. If you’ve ever rode on a train in Asia you’d probably have a good idea of how a sardine in can feels haha. But it was all part of the cultural experience. I didn’t bring a camera or phone with me as I was told it’s a bit dangerous. I wouldn’t suggest exploring the city center without someone who knows the area as it’s very confusing and you can easily get lost.
A Little Trip
After all the family responsibilities were taken care of regarding the party we went for a 2 day, 1 night trip to a resort. The resort was gorgeous and had a lagoon and a pool. It wasn’t as hot out in the country and the cooler weather was really welcome. On the way back we went to take a look at a volcano. We ended the short trip with a stop at a fancy fair.
Not long after we returned to the Netherlands. This time the jet lag slapped me like nothing I’ve felt before. I slept nearly all the way on the plane and another 22 hours after we got home. Hubby even exclaimed that he had never before seen anyone sleep like that.
Have you ever visited a country and did more things like the locals than as a tourist?