Manila: Final Days and Hours

Manila: Final Days 

During these last couple of days in Manila, I’ve helped move Angel and Blu in to their new apartment in Mendiola, I’ve also eaten a tremendous amount of food (again, this deserves it’s own post), surfed the Flowrider in Cavite, gotten drunk & sang open mic at Dry Dock, went to Tagaytay and shopped for souvenirs.

Moving In & Away

I’ve never moved away for college, so I live vicariously through my friends. Moving in to an apartment is much harder in the Philippines. With no internal A/C in most dorms/apartments, you would need to purchase and install your own AC, fridge, oven, microwave, other appliances and furniture. I mean wow, moving in an apartment in America is so so so much easier. I got a view of Mendiola while driving around with the girls. I didn’t realize how many colleges and universities there are thats conglomerated into this one very small area. The streets are filled with students. There are also many market places, small businesses, street vendors and traffic. I got a preview of what the college experience was like here in the Philippines through the stories that Angel and Blu told me. They briefed me to the stereotypes in college and to the hang out spots. It’s very familiar to the college life in America. But basing from what they say, I’m pretty happy with my own college experience. You make the most of what you get right?


Flow House Manila

I’ve experienced the Flowrider before on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but it’s always been body boarding (since I fall within 2 seconds of surfing). I was very excited and nervous to try to Flowrider again here in Manila. You’d be surprised that this little hangout spot exists in an underdeveloped area. The Flow House might have been rushed to gain more publicity and to get profits early. We went around the late afternoon and signed up for an hour of surfing. To my amazement, Angel and I did surprisingly well. I think you just really need to relax and not rely on the rope or the person so much. It’s very different, you’d feel the power of the jets underneath your board. I got a hang of it a couple of wipe outs later. It was definitely a challenge worth taking. Because of the falls, I came out with a bruise on my knee and a pretty sore neck and back. But, totally worth it, especially when you got a free voucher for food. This is another trust exercise with myself, kind of like cliff jumping. I need to do sky diving next!

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Lesson Learned: Trust yourself. 


Tagaytay is a province right outside of Manila. i remembered the cool breeze and the nice little towns and houses. It’s definitely more commercialized and warmer now, with more malls and shopping centers. I’m still able to appreciate the view of the Taal volcano from this Filipino restaurant that we ate at. I thought that the food was good, but my grandmother kept saying that the food has “no flavor” or “it will not compare to the food I cook.” We also stopped by to grab some Sheperd’s ube (very famous) and espasol as goods to take back home for my parents.

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After Tagaytay, we fed some koi fishes at Nuvali at Santa Rosa. Although cute from a far and in small numbers, these kois are not cute anymore once people start feeding them constantly. I mean, I’ve never seen so much fish fighting for fish food in such an area! it gives me shivers trying to remember the fight for food and the sucking noises they make — ew. But it still makes for a cute photo!

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Nikki and I were excited to go to the nightclub located at City of Dreams called Chaos. I had such a high expectation, from looking at pictures and reviews about this place. My friends and I got into the guest list in order to have free cover and prepped everything for a great night. Unfortunately, although the place was absolutely stunning (even Pangea), the club was surprisingly empty. It was truly not what I have expected. By midnight, the place was barely a quarter full. It’s also a Saturday night. From the looks of people’s faces everyone seemed to be asking the same question, “where is everyone?” My patience ran out and I was absolutely disappointed. I thought this place would have a line entering in by midnight. I suppose this place is only great during concerts, but other than that, I don’t think I’ll ever come here to “party.” It was a total bummer. But to recover from it, my friends and I decided to go have some South Vibes instead, back to Dry Dock.

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Lesson Learned: No expectations, no disappointments. 

Dry Dock

This is the third time I’ve been to Dry Dock. They had an amazing band called, Chance Manila. During the nights they perform they invite “jammers” to come sing or play an instrument live with the band. I gathered enough courage to sing up front (considering it’s one of my last days in Manila). I really had a great time here! They have beer pong and billiards set up. It’s really a place to hang out, grab drinks with your friends. Although I’m still quite overwhelmed with the amount of cigarette smokers (or everywhere in Manila for that matter – might reflect on “Yosi time” on another post), the place isn’t that terrible. They do try to keep the vibes “chill” because the location of Dry Dock is also within a neighborhood – and the neighbors did complain. Apparently, last week’s Dance Off caused such a crazy commotion (proud to be a part of such a historic moment at that club) that the noise level was off the roof. According to a new found “soul sister”, Jem (who is also the lead singer of Chance), even the passerby’s, drivers were trying to get a glimpse of what was happening last week during the dance off. I was really really surprised that it became that big.

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After receiving such a bummy feeling from Chaos, my friends and I played beer pong and flip cup, girls vs. boys. The boys took the title for beer pong and as for flip cup, we ladies won (yes!). I had too much to drink and let’s just say the toilet bowl and I became best of friends by the end of the night. But thankfully, I got Angel and other good friends that took care of me (I’m so used to taking care of people, not the other way around!). When it comes to this type of “fun”, it’s really worth it to have trustful friend, a hair tie, and flats. Always be safe and responsible people! (I got a run down from Angel and her boyfriend on what happened that night; and I’m even more thankful that I got friends who got my back).

Lesson Learned: Have fun responsibly & know your limits. Be safe! 


Shopping in the Philippines is DEADLY. I have a constant problem thinking that things are “cheap” when converting pesos to dollars. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS. I must say, although I stayed under my budget for the whole trip here in Manila, I went a little crazy shopping, especially for clothes. I want to warn you, watch out for vendors, they can really sell a product or service to you. Remember, you can say no and trust your gut – which I failed to do at a hair salon (I need to correct these highlights I now have when I go back to Miami). My uncle was right, “you need what you want and you want what you need.” Purchases add up quickly and P1000 is so weak now.

Lesson Learned: It all adds up. It’s worth knowing what you want and what you need. 

Updates on Projects…

Project50Series: Manila 

I’m still selecting photos and going to edit the ones from Manila. I really want to have a clear head when selecting photos and editing it and not feel so rushed. I’ll release it within this month, same with Project50Series: Honolulu (which is completed). There’s tons of things for me to do back when I get back to Miami, like starting my nursing career at this amazing hospital and resting from such a long flight. Here’s a sneak peek pic.


Project: Redefining Me (Conclusion) 

These last few weeks have been amazing. It really made me more in tune with myself. The choices I make, the plans I have for the day are all my own. This really made me trust myself. Before traveling by myself, my plans are all pre-approved by my parents, or they have been planned for the whole family to enjoy. This trip was definitely for me.  I’ve learned so much about myself and how my past affects me in Manila. Back in Honolulu, it was all about moving forward and trying new things. In Manila, I’m learning more about the “what ifs”: What if I stayed here in the Philippines? What if I’ve never moved? It was quite interesting. I learned that I can be very patient, but I hate it when people test my patience. I learned that making new friends are great, I can be very social, but I’m never the first one to approach people. I learned that I shouldn’t have so much expectations on new things. You just need to accept it, roll with it; no expectations, no disappointments. When it comes to something new, I’m a very indecisive person, which makes me very rushed. I still like being a planner, but I appreciate spontaneity. I miss routines. I miss my bed, my family and being in the same time-zone as my boyfriend (actually, I miss him very much). We’ve never had such limited contact for a long-period of time (much respect to those who are in long-distance relationships as well). This was the first time I missed big occasions with my family, such as 4th of July, Father’s day and my dad’s birthday (so sorry Dad!). This makes me wonder, what other special events and occasions will I miss out on?

There’s still so much about me that I’m discovering and refining. But, can I say that I’ve found myself? No. I don’t think I’m there yet. As for this project, I can say that I have redefined myself. I wouldn’t say that I have completely changed, but I became just a better version of myself: one who knows a little bit more of who she is and what she is capable of.

I can’t put down all the things I’ve learned nor am I able to share my whole experience through this blog. And now, that I am going to start my career as a nurse when I return, there’s going to be so much more challenges to face. New experiences, new adventures are out there. But with everything new, we always learn.

Mahalo Hawaii and salamat Manila for helping me redefine myself.

Final Lesson Learned: Not all who wander are lost; they’re just trying to find themselves in new adventures. 

Until next time,



Lessons Learned in Manila: 

  1. Things don’t improve overnight. Somethings change for the better, and others for the worst. But we always must hope strive for the better constantly and consistently.
  2. Surprise people in one way or another. 
  3. Welcome new friendships. 
  4. 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.  
  5. Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. 
  6. Surprise yourself, be spontaneous. Remember you have friends that will always cheer you on. 
  7. Have a heart of a kid, but don’t be immature. 
  8. Have “me” time once in a while, you deserve it. It doesn’t mean when you’re alone that you are lonely.
  9. Even while growing up, growing old or growing distance apart, childhood friendships create memories that can never be replaced.
  10. Know that you’re worth it and stand up for yourself.
  11. Trust yourself. 
  12. No expectations, no disappointments. 
  13. Have fun responsibly & know your limits. Be safe! 
  14. It all adds up. It’s worth knowing what you want and what you need. 
  15. Not all who wander are lost; they’re just trying to find themselves in new adventures. 

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