I was in Manila twice for the past two months this year. I was there for a purpose. The trip was solely a time for myself. I was alone. I was there to accomplish something worth while.
My first trip to Manila falls on a Holy Week. It was a 4-day stay in the busiest metropolitan area of the Philippines. I stayed on a friend's condo (I have a separate post for it) as my official Manila residence at that time. I arrived March 24 on a Sunday at the NAIA Terminal 3 from Davao. Since I want an adventure, I didn't get a cab to take me to Taft, where the condo is located. I was also confident because I only had a backpack and my sling bag so it's not gonna be a hassle on my part to be commuting. From NAIA 3, I rode on a bus located at the Bus Stop situated at the Arrivals Area of NAIA 3 for only P20 pesos as my fare. Since it was my first time to do this, I asked the help of the bus conductor and I was told where to get a ride that would take me to MRT-LRT Taft. All I can remember was, I got off the bus near a Petron Gas Station still at the Airport Road in Pasay, and I saw a lane of tricycles with drivers shouting MRT-LRT areas. With no further ado, I negotiated the fare fee with a tricycle driver and told him to take me to MRT Taft. We passed along narrow and crowded streets which I can't identify no more and after I think 5-8 minutes, I was already on MRT Taft. Immediately went to the train station counter, paid for my fare ride from LRT Taft to LRT Vito Cruz. Twas actually my first time to get into the place at One Archer's in Taft and I only saw the location on the map. I never let anyone notice that I was a first timer. I got off the train at Vito Cruz, walked past DLSU until I finally saw the condo tower I'd be staying. I experienced minor troubles while getting into the condo unit at 23rd floor and twas past 6pm when I finally got in. My stomach did complain past 7pm since it was almost dinner time. I went down the tower and walked along Taft and saw a McDonald's outlet area. I had my dinner there. Went home after dinner and decided to sleep early for an early appointment the following day.
I woke up at 3.30AM the following day, March 25. Prepared myself and immediately headed to Bocobo Street along Manila for an early appointment. Twas really a long day for me. Felt so tired for the whole day's appointment of lining up and getting served and I was told to come back the next day. Before heading home, I went to MOA first with my friend and her family, and had dinner there.
The next day, March 26, I woke up not that early anymore at 6.30AM. I first called up my mom and greeted her coz it's her birthday. Had a quick breakfast then prepared myself again for an appointment. This time around, I didn't hailed a taxi no more. I rode on a jeepney along Taft and stopped at around UN Avenue. I walked along UN Avenue, passed by NBI Manila, til I reached Bocobo Street again. Went to the clinic and finalized everything. It took me two hours before I finally got off. Twas almost 11am when I left Bocobo Street. Headed to Ortigas to meet a highschool friend who would accompany me to Antipolo City. I plied the LRT-MRT routes and got off MRT Ortigas Station. Good thing my friend was already there when I reached Shangri La. We immediately headed to Antipolo City aboard a jeepney to get some important documents. After almost an hour, we reached Las Brisas in Antipolo City. Finally had lunch at 2pm after visiting Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish Church in Antipolo.
After dinner, we went to Highlands Coffee shop nearby and spent hours just chatting and did some catching up.
On my 3rd day of my 1st Manila Trip this year, I intended to just stay home. I cleaned up the condo, fixed my things, and prepared myself for my later flight for Davao in the afternoon. Got out of the condo at 1pm, took my lunch on a fastfood chain at Taft Avenue, then headed to the airport and took the 4.15 flight bound for Davao.
My next Manila trip happened last April 26-29, 2013. This time, it was for another purpose - that is to claim my birthday gift which I did expect to really have. It was also at this trip when I included church visits in two of Manila's great churches - the Quiapo and Baclaran churces. Again, it was a solo trip. I didn't have friends or a family member with me. I just had the time for myself, for some discernment, reflection, and spent some time with God in His places of worship.
I just walked myself out of Quiapo area and thanks to the help of the people there, I found my way to LRT Carriedo Station that would take me straight to LRT Baclaran Station. It was a less than 20-minute ride and I walked my way through Baclaran tiangge stalls til I found where Baclaran Church is. It was a perfect timing coz mass was held.
After my Baclaran visit, I decided to go home to rest for a while before meeting up with a Manila-based college close friend. It was already past 4pm when we met. She took me to Makati Area. We window-shopped on Glorietta then finally had dinner at Shakey's in Ayala Center. Before I went home that night, I bought a pair of shoes at SM Department Store in Makati for my early appointment the next day.
On April 29, exactly my birthday, I woke up early at 4AM.
After everything's checked, went to an office along Roxas Boulevard for an early morning appointment. And guess what? I got the greatest gift this year!;) Like I said, I was actually claiming a birthday gift meant for me in Manila. I went out of the building before 9AM and headed to Baclaran to attend my birthday mass and of course to Thank God for His timely gifts for me.
My birthday did really start out fine. Rushed home before lunch and prepared my things for my late afternoon flight bound for Davao where my family's waiting for me. At that time, I can't really wait to tell them the good news! It was about 2pm when I decided to go to the airport. Arrived NAIA past 3pm and immediately checked in for my flight. I could have been disappointed because a lot of flights have been delayed but since I don't want to ruin my mood on my birthday, I just let the time passed by. It was actually a delayed flight which I did expect to happen.
I found out that there was an air traffic congestion, hence having a delayed flight for that matter.
It was already past 8pm when I arrived Davao. I was fetched by my family at the airport and we're rushing for dinner because we're almost late for Iron Man 3 and we got ticket reservations at that time. We took a quick dinner at Razon's and immediately went to the movies.
It was really a long day and I celebrated my birthday in two places. I really thanked God for His blessings, for my birthday gift and for the gift of family most importantly.