Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 30, 2012 - Dormitory Dwellings

The Busy Streets of Molino

I totally forgot to introduce myself! My name’s Elisha Deogracias, and I’m a Canadian-born Filipino. My brother is Elijah, which may make it a bit confusing, but I’ll try and distinguish us both.
…But little did I know that I would wake up three hours later. While I felt exhausted, I was ready to continue the day. Today we were heading to my brother’s school, De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, in order to check out his dormitory while he was at orientation with Grace.
When we were getting out of the street to head to the university, I spotted a stray dog checking out the houses on the street. “There’s usually stray pets around,” my mom explained, “but they’re pretty street smart. He’s just looking for something to eat.” Throughout the ride, I spotted a lot of dogs and cats; it would be kind of cool to adopt one (although it would be a bit illogical). We arrived at the dormitory of the university after having lunch with my brother and Grace (who had a break from their orientation). Afterwards, we went up and made a checklist of things to buy for his room, and headed to the local SM (shoemart) mall to get supplies. I wasn’t confident with my Tagalog skills, so I decided to follow my parents and relatives to the supermarket.

Friday, June 1, 2012

May 29, 2012: An Arrival

My brother on a plane. Better than the Samuel L. Jackson film.

So I decided to try out a travel blog for this three week trip I'm having in the Philippines, I hope it works out! Perhaps I provide some context to this: my brother was accepted to Med school in the Philippines, so my family decided to take a vacation there. The beginning of the day was pretty hectic, since we were packing all night. By the time we arrived at the airport, we were all pretty exhausted. The plane ride gave us some much needed rest (but unfortunately I didn't get too much sleep with my brother and mom poking me from behind my seats.) It's been my first plane ride in five years, and my first trip back to my homeland (well my primary one, as you can tell from the blog I was born in Canada) in fifteen years. I wondered how everything would change as I was on the plane.
                Unfortunately, a fourteen hour plane ride can get a bit dry, so I was restricted to reading my books and using whatever I had brought in my backpack, which was almost exclusively books and graphic novels. I ended up getting through a couple of them before trying to doze off and listening to the music channels they had: I was excited to hear that there was a station Delta had that had nothing but Chinese and Japanese pop, so I jammed out to that for a couple of hours. However, I came to the sad realization that it was the same 30 or so songs looped on repeat, so after the third rotation I was forced to switch. On the other hand, there was an artist spotlight that had Andy Grammer as its subject, so I thoroughly enjoyed that. Plus, I began reading "A Beginner's Guide to Crossing Cultures", a book about trying to reach out to multicultural audiences. I thought it was a pretty good read from the material I finished, but I thought I could learn firsthand from this trip.
Airplane food, what's up with that?
                So by the time we reached the Japan airport (our stopover before heading to the Philippines), I was itching to get out; however, the next flight was in an hour, and customs were a bit long, so I didn't have time to explore the terminal. We went on the plane and headed to Manila. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was a bit of sweat from my forehead; it was humid even inside the Manila terminal! When we went out, it was a crowded and busy walk, with people everywhere and vendors with their doors open, selling food on the streets. We saw our relatives outside the terminal, tito (the Filipino term for uncle, which I will hereon use) Endong and Boga, as well as our tita (aunt) Edith. Our cousins, Grace and Paolo (related to tita Edith), were waiting as well, and when we came to their house, Gian was there as well. Before we went to the house, we decided to eat at a pretty awesome local restaurant: Chow King is a chain of Filipino noodle houses that serves noodle soup as well as a variety of other things. I was ecstatic to eat some beef ramen after getting off the plane.
                Of course, it isn't the Philippines without one trip to one of the most famous Filipino stores, Jolibee (which is the Filipino equivalent to McDonalds)! And of course, it isn't a signature Elisha Deogracias day without an awkward moment! If you know me, I'm Filipino, but I was born in Canada; this has a side-effect of me not knowing the native language of Tagalog. Yes, I can understand the language now, but I have monumental difficulty speaking it. So while we were getting some food for Gian (he was away), my dad told me to order him a float. Normally I wouldn't mind, but I didn't know what to say. It got off to a bad start since a couple of people cut me off in line because I didn't really say anything, and when I got to the counter I froze. I just said what I wanted ("chocolate float") and kept saying "opo" (yes, sir/ma'am) to whatever the cashier said, only to find out that there was no ice cream available... and after I paid. I went back to the table a bit embarrassed.
                Anyways, we unpacked our stuff and caught up with our cousins until the wee hours of the nighttime. I decided to talk with my friend David on Facebook and headed to bed at around 3:30. Hopefully I would be well rested for tomorrow...