“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” as they always say. Well, when in the Philippines, DO AS THE FILIPINOS DO. I mean it, guys. I will make your trip a hundred times easier and more enjoyable. We had a couple times where this past weekend we could have never done the things we did or enjoyed it as much had it not been for a local guiding us. Annika and I went up to Manila to visit the other interns at FNRI. Getting to their condo would have been an absolute mess had it not been for Dace (angel sent from above) volunteering to accompany us all the way to the condo! We didn’t have to worry about catching the correct bus or figuring out which one was our correct stop and what to do when we got to Manila. She figured it all out for us and it was INCREDIBLE. She even did the same thing on our way back to Los Baños making sure we got home safely. When we got to Manila, we had lunch at an upscale Filipino place where I tried my new favorite Filipino dish: Kare-Kare. 2 words for you guys. Peanut. Sauce. It was so good!! Definitely a must try when you are here.
Later that night, once we met up with the rest of the FNRI group again, we had an amazing dinner cooked by one of their Filipino coworkers. He made adobo and a mango ice cream dessert which was amazing. A couple more of their coworkers trickled in throughout the night and by 11pm we all decided to go to karaoke. I’m not sure how, it must be in their genes but FILIPINOS ARE ALL AMAZING SINGERS. They definitely carried the team while the Americans just chimed in at the choruses. Once we got back around 1 am, the FNRI group had to go to bed since they were planning on hiking at 4am the same day. Annika and I stayed up with the coworkers for the rest of the night talking about culture differences, impressions, politics, and even relationships. When 5am came around and the FNRI group was leaving for their hike, we decided to leave with them and get some breakfast. The group we were with brought us to a place called Chicago Bulalo, bulalo being a filipino dish and the restuarnat being Chicago Bulls- themed. I guess restaurant may be to strong of word since we were sitting on the side of a road eating noodles at 5am. But boy did it hit the spot. As we slurped down our mami noodles and sipped on our coffee, we watched the sunrise and the streets fill with people making their early morning deliveries. It was an incredible experience and it was all thanks to a group of guys who took us under their wings to show us the way of Manila.
On our walk back we stopped for Taho which was a sweet tofu dish that Filipinos usually have for breakfast on the go. By the time we fell asleep, it was around 7am. We had an incredible weekend and it was all thanks to our new local friends.