The Philippines – June 18

by Rosalie Chan, Web & News Editor

I feel so tired, though I’m not sure whether it’s jet lag or the fact that the past few days have been packed with activities with the family.  But it’s been fun.  Last Saturday, I went with some of my relatives to the “Masters of Illusion Live” show, which featured many magicians doing different types of tricks, such as disappearing acts and tricks with fire.  It was highly entertaining, and I enjoyed the show.  Later that night, my dad’s entire side of the family went out to eat at a fancy restaurant called Gloria Maris, which looked like an enormous, multi-storied ballroom, but with fancy dinner tables.  It had enormous chandeliers as well as very cold air conditioning (This is not a fact so don’t quote me on this, but it seems like the fancier the restaurant, the colder the air conditioning.)  I enjoyed being with the entire family.  The meal consisted of so many dishes such steamed fish, crab, sponge cake, ube jello, fried taro, an eagle made out of fruits and more.  At the end of the night, I thought my stomach would literally blast, but the food was ridiculously amazing.

On Sunday morning, I went to Mass with my grandma.  Catholicism is the major religion in the Philippines.  For the most part, Mass is the same as Mass in the U.S., other than occasional Tagalog (the Filipino language) songs.  However, after Communion, many people, my grandma included, started going around the church touching the feet of and praying to all the statues of Jesus, Mary and saints.  At my church, after Communion, many people would quickly make their way out of church to beat everyone else to the parking lot.

After Mass, my grandma and I went to visit my great aunt and uncle, and after that, we then went to Uncle Manchic, Auntie Mae and my 11-year-old cousin Avery’s house.  With them three, we went out to eat at an Italian restaurant and then went to the mall, where I got a haircut.  Later in the afternoon, we returned to their house, where my grandma and I got pedicures, and I also got my nails done.  My grandma left early, but my uncle, aunt, cousin and I went out to a burrito and taco place to eat.  There, we happened to see Gerald Anderson, a Filipino actor.

Today Uncle Lito and Auntie Myra drove my cousins Kevin, Mark and Brian and me north to Subic to do the Tree Top Adventure, where we can zip line and ride through the tropical forest.  It was raining like crazy, so we were hoping the weather would clear up.  The countryside, filled with lush green mountains and rice fields, was beautiful.  Luckily, when we got there, the rain stopped, and it didn’t start until we started driving back home.  In the Tree Top Adventure, we did the Canopy Ride (where we sat in chairs suspended from ropes and slowly rode through the forest canopy), the Superman (where we zip lined Superman style), the Silver Surfer (where we zip lined standing up, so it was like we were surfing) and the Interactive Free Fall (a drop).  I had a lot of fun with my cousins and enjoyed seeing the forest from a large height.  For lunch we ate at a restaurant called Xtremely Xpresso Cafe, known for serving large pizzas and the largest burgers in the Philippines (apparently one burger can feed at least four people).  We didn’t order the burgers for obvious reasons, but I did try spicy chocolate gelato.  It tasted like normal chocolate ice cream, but once I swallowed it, I could taste the spicy aftertaste.  The coldness and sweetness of the ice cream and the hotness of the spice made an interesting experience out of eating ice cream.

So far, I am enjoying my stay in the Philippines, but my main problem is that I don’t know Tagalog.  English is one of the official languages in the Philippines, and my relatives talk to me in English, but sometimes I hear other people speaking Tagalog, and I have no idea what they’re talking about, except the occasional word borrowed from the Spanish language, such as “pero,” “siempre,” and “Como estas?”  I should really try to at least learn some common phrases.


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