I was in contact with one of my friends (Julius) from my elementary school named Creative Middle School. He happens to be the one of the children of the director and owner of the school. I told him that I was going to visit the school to meet my old teachers and to catch up. I was very excited! The last time I visited the school was back in 2010. But it’s been 10 years since I last went to the school. And now that I’ve graduated from Florida International University (paws up!), it was really nice to see how far I’ve come. From a small private school in the Philippines, to a big international university in America.
And so I went inside the office and I greeted one of the founding teachers there. She said, “Ma’am” as a form of greeting. She taught that I was a parent that wanted to inquire. She, along with the other teachers, were surprised to see me (all-grown up). We all talked about my studies, about the school, current events, and updates on other CMS alumni. It was truly an honor to be here again at CMS. I’m happy to know that the school is still running and expanding.
After visiting the school, I went with my friend to visit Mrs. Rose (Director/Owner of CMS) at their house. I didn’t know that she was close friends with my mom. I’m glad to know that their family is doing so well.
After seeing so many teachers and catching up, I went with Julius to this cute and well-known Italian place called Mama Lou’s Italian kitchen for lunch. The restaurant was actually an old house that was bought and transformed. We ordered Mama Lou’s iced tea (home-brewed black tea with basil, I believe I tasted a hint of lemon), Mama Lou’s specialty pizza (thin crust pizza with tomatoes, arugula, balsamic drizzle, mangoes and prosciutto), seafood alfredo and lasagna. The food here was definitely amazing. I’ll give it solid 5-Yelp stars if I can (there’s no Yelp in Philippines… YET). The pizza was so creative, who would have thought that mangoes will work so well together with balsamic in a pizza? The lasagna was layered so beautifully, and it really had a great sweet meat sauce with creamy melted cheesy goodness. The seafood alfredo was also great when I tasted it. I think when it comes to pasta, Filipinos really like it on the sweet side, just like our famous Filipino spaghetti. I can’t help but notice that this quality of food is only $5-6 per entree. I think that’s pretty incredible. The servings are huge and again, it’s so so so tasty.
From Mama Lou’s, we drove a couple minutes down to Aguirre (BF Homes Parañaque) and went to a nitrogen ice cream place named Outré. The vibe was very hip! We bought got the tiramisu gelato: espresso soaked broas, mascarpone gelato (it’s simply amazing) and cocoa powder. I feel that this food adventure was really Italian themed. If you happen to be in this area and looking for a great cool down delicacy, you really must try this gelato!
At Outré, the bathroom was also called the Confession Room. There were these notebooks there that you can write your secrets inside. I looked through the book and found some really interesting secrets as well as even better replies to those secrets. Below is my favorite one 🙂
I took a much needed nap after all that food. But a couple of hours later, it’s time to eat, yet again. Angel and Blu picked me up to go to Mang Raul’s BBQ. There was a wait on the food, but I was so excited to have some more street delicacies. We ordered tons of pork BBQ, chicken and pork intestines and chicken ears. It all added up to about 50 sticks of food for P420 (roughly $8). Mang Raul dips it into this special BBQ sauce (perfectly sweet, tangy and a little hint of spice). When you sit down they also serve the sauce and spicy vinegar on a plate for you to dip the grilled meats in. We all sat down to eat and talk! I also got to order kwek-kwek (quailed egg) at a vendor close by for P15 ($.30). I couldn’t help but comment that our hairs and clothes smelled like bbq afterwards (SHOWER PLEASE).
After having an immense amount of BBQ, I was dropped off to a local casino to meet my grandparents. It’s a really short distance from their house. What’s great about this casino is that it has free food for the players! Yes, order anything you want and it’s all for FREE. You can eat all of your wins and losses away here! We ordered pancit sotanghon, palabok, champorado, pancakes, shrimp tempura and squid chips.
Updates on Project…
Project: Redefining Me
I think it’s important for a person to go take a moment and go back to their roots. Today, while I visited my old school, I felt such great honor and self-accomplishment. I understood that this school was my foundation. The training and lessons that I received in my elementary years really stuck through me. It creates such a strong importance in education at a very young age. I really believe that children are really a product of their surroundings. When I was young, this was the environment that I grew up in. I’m happy that the environment was encouraging, loving, and supportive. There is a strong part of me that is truly appreciative that I went to such a good school and was taught by amazing teachers. The values you acquire and habits that you form really goes back to your childhood. I’m very thankful for my solid foundation. The future of a person’s success or failures starts from birth. When we talk about tomorrow and future, I am now the future of my childhood dreams. Although I didn’t dream about becoming a nurse back then (nor living in the U.S.), I still set a goal that I will be successful in graduating college. That goal was achieved (and I went a little overboard by striving for Summa Cum Laude) and I continue to work hard to achieve other dreams, turning it into reality. Remember that today is yesterday’s tomorrow.
Lessons Learned: Build a strong foundation. Be grateful to those who have helped you, for gratitude helps you grow. Stop waiting for tomorrow, for today is yesterday’s tomorrow.
Got some good photos of my BBQ experience! Hopefully I’m able to capture more of these “when in Manila” experiences.