Around noon, I opened my eyes, I stepped out the room shouted good morning. Downstairs, I saw the sister of Rencel. She was watching some Filipino programs on tv. I yelled good morning once more, but she didn’t reply. I guess she might be a little shy.
I took a shower first before I went down, don’t want the people to smell my half drunk odor. While walking down the stairs I noticed that the gang were still sleeping. So I took the stuff I left on the table last night and went back to my room. To my surprise I was so tired I went back to bed and fell asleep. Eddie woke me up for lunch and we hung in the couch for awhile.
Erik, the boyfriend of Rencel had a basketball game to play, that’s why headed over there to take a look at his game. It was nice to see, both teams had the same name ‘Ateneo’ I guess they’re all from the same college. The one team in white and the other in blue. To the end of the game they had a fight going on. The whites were already losing and they forced a foul, but the fouled guy from the blue team threw away the ball in unsportsmanlike manor. So funny and hilarious, because the little man was looking for a fight with a guy that was double his size.
Around 21:30 we ate some late dinner at home, everyone wanted to watch a movie. It was a Filipino movie named ‘Bulong’, a nice horror/comedy genre.
On the way to the car, we had some ‘ice choco’ from the local Starbucks. Not too long after we dropped off the father, Reina and Eddie at the bus station.
Making the first steps on Philippine soil… I remember the smell of the air as if I never lever left the homeland. The queue at the immigration was long. The passport check took awhile as was the luggage carousel. I’ve learned an important lesson with luggages, never take the color blue. Almost every bag was the same color. Next time I’ll take a pink one! So I’ll spot my luggage out of the hundreds on the conveyor belt.
I remember Rencel told me on skype to wait at bay 3, I hoped she would still be there because it took me more than one hour to get through the check out. I just arrived at the meeting place I didn’t saw anyone familiar. After awhile I saw Rencel and her brother.
On the way to the center of Manila I looked out of the car and got a little excited. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was trying to absorb everything, but the car was going to fast. Somethings didn’t change in the Philippines after 20 years: the squatters, the public transportation, poverty, …
They brought me directly to the Hard Rock cafe in Manila, apparently they were there before they picked me up at the airport. One of their friend was performing on stage. Eric asked if I still wanted to go out.
‘Icon’ was the next destination, this was a club behind a hotel. The group ordered a bottle of Grey Goose vodka with sprite. My fist day in the Philippines after 20 years i got drunk and after we finished the bottle we left the place.
I guess everybody was hungry. Jollibee, a fastfood restaurant like McDonald’s, were not expecting us. Especially me, I was about to order in dutch.
We had such a laugh there. I think I will burn in hell for this. The guys at the drive didn’t knew what to say.
A bucket with chicken is what we’ve asked for. After eating, it was straight to bed. It was 5 o’clock.
The sun and a dry mouth woke me up. It was already noon. The night before, we went to ‘Cafe Au Lait‘ for a drink with friends. The day after did some chores, like moving the sofa bed. Then immediately went to the ‘Pinoys’ basketball in the gym in Linkeroever. On arrival home, I had Filipino steak that was made at a birthday party of the 2 years old Margreth the day before.
The last Monday in Antwerp. In the morning I dropped Alexa off at her school. Then went to the health insurance company to arrange some papers, my forgetful girlfriend had forgotten the note. Now that we were there I could might as well request information concerning my trip to the Philippines.To my surprise I get the indication that my health card had a problem. It wasn’t valid anymore…
Daily routine for bringing the toddler to school was just done. The next stop was the union. There I waited two hours for a simple attest to be filled in.
I come to realize that I need a visa for my departure to run smoothly. By not being smart and safe, I’ve listened to all the people I requested information from. But my “compatriots” have no Belgian passport …. a Belgian may only stay for 21 days without a visa in the Philippines. My stay there was scheduled for 25 days. Being fast was the message. I’ve called the Philippine embassy stating that I desperately needed a visa to pick up my grandmother .
I went to the Philippine embassy with the copies of my documents. By train from Antwerp to Brussels. Luckily that I found my way back. Had to change to a tram and then just checked my route on the street.
I arrived at the Philippine Embassy, In fact a small building. On the window of the counter was written “processing period is 3 days, I had to leave two days later … Panic was definitely felt in my body. When the clerk behind the counter mentioned that I could get my visa tomorrow , I was really relieved.