Beating Manila like a Pro

I am taking another course this time. I am now trekking the urban jungle of Manila once again. I am no longer that hesitant Cebuana whose Tagalog takes too long to compose. I am now a reliable city-dweller in Manila. 

The Plane. The Taxi. The Hotel.
I must say that I have planned my Manila trip well this time. I had an authentic vegetarian dinner at the airport hours before boarding. I was even unmindful of the delayed departure. 
"Arrived at Kabayan Hotel exactly 12 midnight"
It was almost midnight when I arrived in Pasay. I never would have thought that I could speak in conversational Pilipino. The language which I was uneasy about came in handy. I was speaking the national language. 

The Jeepney Ride
With the rising prices of transportation, I am now training myself to ride the jeepney. So, I took the chance to grab a jeepney and thus, it became convenient to me. 

From NAIA Terminal 1, I had a jeepney bound to Baclaran. Then I took another ride bound for MRT, Pasay. I wrestled my way against the crowd since it was the day's busy hour. I arrived in the hotel at 5pm then dozed off. 

SM MOA Stroll
I don't go to malls in normal days. Yet, this time, I had the chance to wander and wonder what it felt like being in the biggest mall in Asia. 
"Balloons at The Dessert Museum Booth"
"My Thailand-style salad at Tossed"
"An expressionism kind of painting by Gerry Joquico Jr."
The number of shoppers fascinated me. The mall might not be the best place for me but I began to appreciate it. Besides, I enjoyed the art exhibit. 
"Wistful Glance"
"Brass Sculpture"
At 8 in the evening, I watched the 9th Pyromusical Competition in SM MOA by the Bay. The lights were magnificent and awesome. It was a grand and memorable experience in my life. 

- By the way, there is a baggage counter across Ace Hardware at SM MOA. For a traveler like, I left my backpack at the counter for free. You only have to show your I.D. when claiming for your baggage. It closes until 12 midnight. 

Paving my way to Victory
The crowd dispersed immediately after the fireworks display. Meaning, it would be a difficult ride for me to reach for Victory Liner Terminal bound for Olongapo. From SM MOA, I was squeezing my way to MRT Jeepney. Then I took another ride to Malibay and had the jeepney stopped at Jollibee Pasay. Victory Liner Terminal is across the food chain. 

Well, I was lucky enough to take the 12:30 PM ride as a chance passenger. What a great ending for my first day trip in Manila!

Insights and realizations with a deep sigh:
1. My trip to Manila was not out of coincidence. I left a promise to myself to watch the 9th Pyromusical Competition with my mom and with the Manila Guy (see Manila: Of Love and Friendship)
2. If I were vulnerable in Manila, I would be sucked up with a lot of opportunistic people. I learned how to refuse people taking advantage of me - taxi drivers and some vendors. 
3. It was the first time I was touring my mom in Manila. I saw her enjoying stuff in the mall. I couldn't be more grateful than having this chance to be with her - veggie lunch at Tossed, window shopping, and watching the 9th Pyromusical Competition. 
4. Lastly, I would miss my brother big time. A sudden wave of emotion surged in me when I saw him walking towards the OFW Passenger's gate. I was teary-eyed but as a brave olders sister, kept my emotions to myself. 
5. Victory Liner Pasay Terminal's last trip to Olongapo is at 12:45 pm. The next one will be at 2:30 and from there, it will have 30 minutes interval. Fare is at 192 pesos. 
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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