4 full days in Manila

I cannot believe we got to Manila 4 days ago.  And if you’re wondering, no, it still hasn’t hit me that I have MOVED here.  That I won’t see my wonderful DC friends for two years (unless they get their butt in gear and visit me, of course).

Saturday, Sarah and her husband came to pick me up and take me to our future home in Makati.  The place is gorgeous!!!  Tall buildings, clean streets, everything brand new.  Imagine a few blocks of lower Manhattan.  Then make everything just a few years old, brand new buildings and everything (sidewalks, roads…) just CLEAN.  That’s Makati.

Sarah is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  Here she was dragging around a stranger, making her feel welcomed!

While there, we bumped into Michelle, who I had spoken with through Facebook, after our friend, Tessa, introduced us.  What are the odds?  So I got to see her apartment, that’s supposedly the same floor plan as ours, in the building we’ll be living in, and I about died.  Now knowing what I’m missing here on compound living, makes it much much harder to wait in temporary housing.  The Embassy had told us 3 weeks, and as soon as we arrived, that quickly changed to a month.  I don’t think I can’t wait a month.

Michelle tagged along for a tour around Makati (she arrived here just 2 weeks ago, so everything is still new to her).  And the tour included a Shiatsu Massage at The Spa.  Probably the nicest place I ever got a rubdown at.  And for those of you runners out there?  Shiatsu is the PERFECT post-workout massage.  Not only it’s deep pressure but they twist you like a spaghetti, in a way my marathon legs were craving for last year.  Stretching AND massage?  I can get used to this life…

Sunday, Karl and I ventured over to the Mall of Asia (the 4th largest mall in the WORLD), and after eating a very cheap lunch (it came out to about 2 bucks), we finally bought ourselves cellphones so we can again feel connected to the world.  We also bought groceries, which means now we have FOOD!

I’m not going to lie, and say life is great and dandy.  After the weekend was over and Monday dawned on us, Karl went to work and I was faced with a full day in compound-living with nothing to do.  A workout was out of the question as my body just wasn’t up for it (my stomach was not doing too good, I wasn’t going to be the one to test out its limits).  So here I was.  Alone.  In the middle of nowhere.  Knowing where I’m supposed to be living.  Knowing I’ll have to keep myself busy in this place for a month.  A MONTH!  And don’t get me wrong, I know we’ll move to countries where compound living is the only option.  Some, where we won’t even be allowed to leave the compound.  I’ll deal with that then.  But now it’s not the case — there’s a whole world to explore around me, and I just don’t know how to get there.

Last night we explored a bit of Pasay City, where we are, and I saw a glimpse of the Manila everyone warned me about:  ridiculous traffic of cars, jeepneys, buses, bikes, motorcycles, tuktuks (or whatever it’s called here)…  Seeing mothers on motorcycles, holding their toddler with one arm.  Sidewalks packed with people, garbage, stray dogs and cats.  It was terrifying, but a bit awesome to know that just a block from me, there’s all this life going on.  And I’m definitely going to wonder and explore around me…  Maybe even take my camera around, since images will portray this much better than words can.

Today?  I’m hoping to hop on the treadmill for a bit (nothing too crazy, probably just a half hour or so), and swim a few laps — I got a half mile in on Saturday morning, while I was sleep deprived and jetlagged, so want to take it easy and not burn myself out until my body gets used to the time difference, the humidity and the heat (but boy, I love the heat!).

Maybe boredom will be the best cure for those 10+ pounds I put in since December, while nursing my running injuries…


Filed under Foreign Service, Manila

16 responses to “4 full days in Manila

  1. I’m glad you arrived safely and I cannot wait to read all about your adventures. I think your blog is about to take a very interesting shift and I can’t wait to read along!

  2. Nomads By Nature

    YAY! You made it!!! I remember that feeling of day 1 when everybody heads of to their day and you are just sitting in a house/apartment with no internet, no tv, you don’t know your phone number, or anybody and tidying up the house takes only an hour … and then it’s you and your four walls and a day to just wander around trying to soak it in and remember how to get home/ where you live. A bit scary, but it will never be simpler. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures as you start to conquer and discover your new city!

    • Al

      Haha LOL about Pasay. Yup Pasay is like that and driving here is a frustration, but still prefer it than driving in North America which is boring 🙂 Here, all your senses will be on full alert.
      I have a friend from Toronto and loves to see the wirings on electric and telephone posts.

      Wait till you reach the slum area of Manila…Tondo!

      Keep yourself in Makati, Fort Bonifacio area they are one of the most civilized place here in the Philippines.

      Keep yourself guarded most of the time, some Filipinos tend to take advantage of tourists but in general people here are very heartwarming.

      If you want to try scuba diving Anilao Batangas is the closest from Manila. Cheap for getting certified. Then bring yourself to Palawan.


      • Al, Pasay was OVERWHELMING! And until then I thought the Mall of Asia was. Ha!

        Won’t move to Makati for another month (sad…), so right now I better get used to Pasay! Good to know about the diving. Any companies you can recommend? Trying to find stuff online has not been easy!

    • Yes, it’s been a bit of “what do I do with myself now?” I figured I’ll either get really fat or really fit in the next few weeks until we move to our permanent location, where there will actually be stuff to do!

      I need to start taking taxis and exploring a bit more!

      • Al

        I don’t know any good taxi companies here. I seldom ride them 🙂

        Stuffs online, try sulit.com.ph or ebay.ph (which is more safer) There are lots of scammers here too so be careful.

        Do you live near mall of asia? during saturdays and sundays early morning there are lot of joggers there. Till then, stay close there, its not safe running around at night in Pasay. When you move to Makati, around legazpi village you can run at night, there are lots of expats in those area. Its better if you move to the more posh villages like Dasmarinas village, Forbes Park, Magallanes, Bel-air or around the Rockwell area, you’ll be fine. Have fun exploring!

        In the meantime I have found some running dates here http://www.philrunners.netfirms.com/schedule.htm there’s an event coming May 1.

        or try to visit here http://takbo.ph/

        have fun!

  3. Jane

    Carla! You are very near where I stayed when I was there in January. I ran along Roxas Blvd (on the Bay side) and it was fine. People also run around the mall and Rizal Park. I’ll email you everything else we did.

  4. Good luck with everything!

  5. Jen

    So glad to see your new home posts! I love that the kitty and pup are with you too. Thank you for keeping the blog going with this shift in your life. This is fascinating for a woman who has only lived in two states in the US and only traveled outside the US into Mexico! 🙂 You already have two new friends there, so that’s got to be comforting. Have fun having nothing to do and exploring!

  6. Pingback: 50 Days | Carla Runs the World

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