Korea Livin'

this is a new chapter in my life...let's see where it takes me...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Manila, Philippines

Unfortunately, there isn't too much to report from this trip. Fortunately, it was spent laying in the sun with a good friend, RELAXING!

This trip was planned in a week. My friend/co-worker, Brigitte, brought to my attention at work one day, a 4-day weekend that was coming up for us. Other hagwons (private English academies) were not getting this long weekend because it wasn't an actual Korean holiday. Our CEO, Mr. Song, chose these days as a "thank you" for our hard work during intensives.

Anyway, I was thinking maybe a long weekend in Busan (one of my favorite places in Korea as it's located on the coast). However, Brig had a completely different idea. She said, "We're going to the Philippines." And all I had to say was, "Yes please!" We were planning it ourselves until she received a special deal through a Korean tour company called "R Tour." Their flight deal was $350 round trip. That solidified our decision. We bought our tickets. I was in charge of finding a resort for us to stay at...as my search went on, we decided to stay at the resort our friend Mel stayed at during her Christmas vacation. It's called "Sofitel Resort." Mel had only good things to say, therefore it made our decision easy. It was near the airport, shopping, food, and other tourist attractions. This was all we needed to plan as we wanted to make this trip a "no stress, do whatever we want when we want" kinda trip.

All I really have to report is that Brig and I truly enjoyed our relaxation weekend. As much as it would have been nice to learn a bit more about the history and culture, we really just needed the break. And that is exactly what we did our first day. We laid by the pool, where we were served lunch and drinks. We took naps, read, and had girl talk by the pool. When the sun started going down, we went back to our room to sit on our balcony to watch the sunset. We enjoyed a couple of drinks while getting to know each other and bond. Then we decided it was time to go explore the "nightlife." We went to an area called, "Greenbelt." It is a well-known shopping, eating, going out area. There are usually a lot of tourists. We met a nice man from Norway that was there on business. He picked up the tab - Thank you Norway man!! Then we made our way to a cafe bar. It had live music - the band was singing salsa music - and yes, I danced my night away. Not having experience with this kind of dancing, I was a bit nervous. Brig used to go to salsa dancing classes in Washington during her college years. She felt comfortable and was most ecstatic. For the first part, I sat and watched. It wasn't until a guy came to our table to ask me to dance that I finally did it. He was really nice, twirled me around, and made me feel like I was a professional. His name, I have forgotten, however I do remember he was there traveling as we were. He had studied in Brazil for a year and that's how he picked up the salsa technique. Needless to say, I am in love with salsa dancing and want to try it out when I get home. After dancing for a couple hours, we decided our beds were calling our name.

Our second day there, we went shopping at the Mall of Asia (aka SM Mall). It is HUGE! We didn't even make it through half of the mall...partly because we were wore out from trying clothes on, and we wanted to lay by the pool again. That's exactly what we did. We hailed a cab back to the resort, changed into our suits, and headed to the pool. This evening was laid back. We stayed at the resort, ate at the sports bar (which the food was delicious), played some cards, then went to our room. We watched a movie and fell asleep quite early.

The third and final day was a repeat of day 1. We had breakfast in our room, went to the pool, and literally consumed as much sun and heat as we could. By now, the lifeguards and servers of the pool knew our faces and what we liked to drink. When the sun started to set, we went inside to change into our travel clothes. Since we had a few hours before heading to the airport, we went back to the sports bar for food, drinks, and Speed (card game). As we sat there, we talked with the bartender who informed us of all the things we missed out on and suggested we come back to the Philippines when we have more time to travel.

Getting to the airport was painless, however being there was a different story. The whole trip Brig and I kept forgetting that the Philippines was an hour behind Korea's time. Our phones hadn't changed as they usually do automatically. We were there a little over 3 hours early. YUCK! The airport in Manila is small, hot, and humid. There isn't much to it and it was in the evening so the stores that ARE there, were mainly closed. We did what we could to make the most of those last few hours but we were definitely ready to get on the plane...or be back at the resort!

All in all, it was a successful trip. It was much needed. I'm so thankful I was able to have that experience.

1. People in the Philippines always referred to me as "ma'am" or "miss."
2. Getting TAN!!
3. Developing a new interest - salsa
4. Learning more about Brig
5. Filipino food is delicious!
6. Adding another country to my passport
7. Christian, our waiter at the resort
8. The time difference situation becoming a joke
9. Not spending as much as anticipated
10. Being able to relax 100%, completely careless of time.

Here are some pictures from the trip. Sorry there aren't more. We were by the pool most of the time...

"wang-wang"...after Googling this term...we learned that this basically means "cutting in line." this term was created and used by President Aquino (President of the Philippines) 

we're going to the Philippines!!

YES! Rm 911. Interesting.

if you know me...you know this is monumental!!

we made it!

there were always 2 lifeguards on duty. 

waking up to this was fantastic

oversized pillow cushions at the pool. best nap ever.

beautiful sunsets from our balcony

front of the resort...

Mall of Asia (SM Mall)

enjoying the sun before heading to the airport

about to say goodbye

going back to cold weather - big thumbs down!

she was equally saddened.

at the pool