Philippines, Day 1: Journey to the Other Side of the World

Seven years ago this month, I visited the Philippines with my dad and sister Jennifer. It was my first time back there since my parents were missionaries to the Philippines in 1990. While there in 2005, I took a long an old Pocket PC and wrote about my experiences each day. This year, I decided to look back and read it, and share my experience with you. Hopefully you learn something too as you read. Thanks!

We made really good time [driving to Minneapolis from Mason City] so we got to eat at Old Country Buffet. Uncle Don took us to the airport and we got everything and everyone all checked in. We found two carts and returned them for quarters. After looking around in a shop too long, we missed the first half of the boarding but we still got on- and our seats were all the way in the back (which means we should have been one of the first ones to board)! Our flight was on a Northwest airlines 757-200, seats 43a-c. Our flight left an hour later than scheduled at 7:52pm CST.

We arrived in Los Angeles, California, at 11:17pm CST- 9:17pm PST. We walked to the Tom Bradley terminal where we met Lola, Uncle James, Aunt Lisa, Jon-Jon, and Josiah (Joseph’s son). For the next few hours we talked with each other and watched as Uncle James got all of his things checked in.

Our longest flight of the trip finally commenced at about 1:30am PST (3:30am CST) Wednesday morning. This time we flew in an EVA Airlines 747-400(386). There were many things that were different about this flight that I have never seen on previous flights that I have been on. First of all, those working on the plane helped us find our exact seat and asked us if we needed anything. They also handed out wet paper towels to wipe our hands with. They used the TVs to explain all the safety stuff too. They also served two-and-a-half really good meals.

We arrived in Taipei at about 5:30am, Taiwan and Philippines time (6:30pm CST, 4:30pm PST). At the airport we saw some interesting things, such as a monorail and some double-decker buses. I also found a coin on the floor- I think it is Taiwanese. Our last flight was on an Eva airlines 767-53EER, flight number 271. It was only an hour-and-a-half flight, yet they still fed us a meal!

As we descended on Manila we started to notice the busy streets, the tin roof houses, and the fish farms in the water. When we got off the airplane, the first thing we noticed was the heat and humidity. On our way to the baggage claim we were met by a small string band that played music for us to welcome us to the Philippines.

After we got through all the immigration and security things we went outside to load up. There we met Bing-Bing, another one of Uncle Joseph’s sons.

As soon as we got on the road, the excitement of our vacation really began. I saw my first jeepney(s) and the traffic was crazy but fun to watch. At one time there was three rows of cars driving in two lanes- and we were in the middle. People would switch lanes without using their blinker and most of the time there was only a one- to two-foot gap between their car and the others’ cars that they squeezed in between. I also could not find any speed limit or stop signs.

At one time, when we had stopped at a real stoplight, I saw a man walk through the rows of cars selling chicharone. Since then I have seen many more people doing the same thing. They sell anything from water to cigarettes; from rags and bananas to flower necklaces and even motorcycle helmets!


When we arrived at Uncle James’s house, we unloaded our luggage and then looked around at the house. It is a very beautiful house and it’s going to look even nicer when they’re finished working on it. We were quite surprised to find a spiral staircase hidden behind our closet when Jon-Jon walked into our room from our closet.
Rest of the day we basically stayed in our room and did nothing.

Meals:
Lunch in Philippines- Rice, chicken soup, milkfish, ice-cold boiled water

Supper- Rice, fried chicken, milkfish, fried chicken, Chinese sausage, bitter melon with eggs, jackfruit ice cream, cheese ice cream

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