We have just spent more than 3 weeks in the Philippines visiting with Denise’s family. It has been the highlight of our trip. We ate, drank, and had massages and manicures. Sounds like paradise and it was. Denise found time to shop and I golfed a couple of rounds with her uncle and cousin. I learned a lot about the Philippines’ history and culture. One thing I observed was the amount of respect towards others that all of the Filipinos show. It is a tradition that has never died out and one many countries can take note of. There are not many non-Asians roaming around, but I never was treated like an outsider. I was always treated with the utmost respect by Filipinos of all ages.
This is our street where we stayed, and the apartment building behind it:
All services in the Philippines are a fraction of what they are in the States. An hour massage is equivalent to 7 US dollars and they come to your home if you would like. Cabs and Uber are 1/4 of the price back home. When you golf in the Philippines you have a caddy and he or she is around $12 US for 18 holes. For those who don’t golf, caddies in the States are only at elite golf courses.
This is me shoved in the back of a Mitsubishi Mirage after golfing. These cars are not made for three big guys.
The days were filled with lots of eating and enjoying family. We stayed at Denise’s uncle’s condo in Makati. We were treated very well. Each morning we had breakfast and coffee with her parents. Usually an egg or two, rice and either beef tapa, which is dried marinated beef, or longganisa, which is Filipino sausage. For lunch our favorite was adobo – pork or chicken cooked in vinegar and garlic. Denise’s dad’s favorite is kare-kare, a beef dish served in a peanut sauce. We always had dessert and my mother-in-law’s favorites are pastillas de leche, a candy made of milk and sugar, and halo-halo, which I’m still not sold on. It’s a traditional dessert that is a mix of shaved ice, condensed milk, ube ice cream, which is ice cream made from a purple root used in sweets, and other things like leche flan, jello and beans. Denise loves it. There are places in the US that serve Pinoy food, but there’s not a lot of them so we felt we had to eat as much as possible and we did.
Denise’s family is top notch and reminds me of my family. There are many uncles, aunts, cousins and extended family. Tito means uncle and Tita means aunt, and everyone is one or the other. Tita Tap, one of Denise’s aunts, picked us up numerous times for shopping and lunch. Denise found Christmas gifts for a fraction of the prices back in the States. Tita Tap also got me my first barong. It’s similar to a button-down dress shirt except the sides have a little cut for air circulation. If you’re wondering how we managed to fit gifts for Christmas in our luggage, we didn’t. Denise’s parents now have an extra suitcase they are lugging across the world as I write this. Tito Antonio took me golfing twice. He is a great golfer. The second time we played his son Paulo played too. He’s just as good. It was great being invited to play with them. I’m not that good, but they taught me some simple techniques that I will always remember. The two golf courses in Manila that I got to play were as nice as they come.
Denise’s dad loves going to the movies so we decided to see a couple with him. The first one we watched was General Luna, a new movie in the Philippines in Tagalog, but with English subtitles. The movie was about the Spanish selling the Philippines to the US in the late 19th century. General Luna was a great general and gave the US more trouble than it expected. The second movie was The Intern with Robert De Niro. Thought it was a great movie and recommend for all ages. Also Christmas is a serious thing. They have been playing Christmas music since September 1st and Christmas decorations were already up from the streets to the malls.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was visiting with Denise’s sister, Tricie, and her family. Tono, Raf and Ram, see you soon and thanks for a great time!! It seems like family is everything in the Philippines and I think that is the greatest base for our well being.
Event for Tricie’s company, Jewelmer, and Rolls Royce:
Took the kids — and Denise’s parents — to the arcade. I think we had more fun than they did.
Day trip to Tagaytay, two hours outside of Manila, a weekend getaway and home to Taal Lake and Taal volcano. The fog was so thick when we first arrived that nothing was visible except for a ferris wheel in the distance. It’s actually Asia’s highest one:
Pics from around Manila: