Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Philippines - Chapter Seven - A Stalled Hearse, A Temple, and Halo-Halo


If I ever write a real book, someone please remind me to set a deadline. Someone else, please remind me that I'll probably finish the book two years after the deadline.

Anyway...Chapter 7 encapsulates a full day. I bid adieu to the farm bungalow I stayed in (and had come to love) and went to Aris's house for one last awesome breakfast, complete with a nice chat with Aris's mother. Great way to wrap things up in Hermosa!

I should mention, since I forgot to mention it in my last post, that the Philippines has an interesting tradition in regards to public officials, which Aris is. On New Year's Day, and a few mornings after that, families will come to the gate of a public official in town, knock, and ask for money or gifts. Some do it as early as 6:00am. The official may or may not personally know the soliciting families, but the official is expected to give something to them. I saw it happen several times, but I didn't catch any pictures of it happening (it probably would have been awkward if I had).

Another thing to mention...before we began the trek back to Manila, we stopped at a gas station to fill up. There was a vehicle that had been there for a long time...perhaps five hours or so.

The reason the vehicle had been there for so long: The driver put the wrong kind of fuel in the tank.

The reason this was a big problem: This vehicle was basically a hearse. There was a dead body inside. 

I believe they found another vehicle to transport the body, but was just sitting there for quite a while in not-so-cool weather.

And off we go. Aris is a champ for so many reasons, one of them being that he took me to see one of the landmarks I'd wanted to check out: The Manila LDS Temple.

On the way to Manila, I make the biggest mistake of the trip. As we go through the drive-thru at McDonald's, I order a burger and fries.

Yes. I know this is an event that happens millions of times throughout the world. Yes. I ate a lot of very random things in the Philippines, including ketchup-covered sardines. But something about Mickey D's not only gave me a stomachache, but caused me to feel like everything, including thinking and talking, took a lot of extra effort. I think I'll be steering clear of the golden arches for a while, because the next couple hours were just less fun than they could have been.

And do you know what does not make a quarter-pounder-with-cheese-induced lethargy any better? Manila traffic.

Traffic in Manila is notoriously bad. We alternated between stand-still and slug-pace for an hour and a half. I just figured that this was business as usual, but this time, there was a culprit, and it wasn't a traffic accident.

The issues was that a mass was being held at a place called Quiapo, and so many people were in attendance, they simply walked out into the road and blocked two lanes of a four lane road.

These devotees are't about to let a little traffic stop them.
Smooth sailing after that. I almost forgot to mention that our route took us by Aris's alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas. Tiger and nativity set included.

We pull into Intramuros, the oldest established district in Manila, and wander around. The Spanish influence in the area is strong.

St. Agustin Church

Oh hey. A wedding car.

Oh hey. A wedding.

Cathedral of Manila

Old Governor's Palace...I think

On the wall of Intramuros
After Intramuros, it was time guessed it...MORE FOOD!

Epic cake and halo-halo, which is 250% sugar.
I took some time to update the ACYPL book and look like a scruff.

Eventually, we made it to my destination and I had to bid Aris farewell. What an incredible host. He really put so much effort into making sure I enjoyed our time together, and it was effort well-spent. I just found out that he and his family will be coming to Seoul early next year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again.

The remainder of the evening will have to be touched on in another chapter. Hopefully I can get my butt in gear and post it, along with some of the other happenings that have occurred, soon!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this portion (chapter7) and to tell you im at the airport now with my family waiting for our boarding call - summer retreat in Legaspi City and Bicol. From time to time i pose and look around for i always smile with your comments.. so funny that you recall all those stops and the details :)

  2. Man, that sounds awesome! Will you spend any time at Mt. Mayon? That's a place I'd definitely like to visit when I come back.

    Yeah, I wish I could remember everything in such detail. :) Of course, a trip with Aris is hard to forget (for good reasons).