Days 8-9: Jan. 2 (Saturday)-Jan. 3 (Sunday)
We’re coming to the tailend of my trip to the Philippines. We woke up early because we were headed back to Manila. Since Auntie Liza was already awake before we were, they had already prepared breakfast. Mom and I each had a piece of bread while dad ate an omelette. After that, we did a final check of our room and then left.
The day before, on the way to Batangas, we passed by Tagaytay and specifically the new branch of Bag of Beans at Twin Lakes. On the way back to Manila, we passed by it again so we decided to have breakfast/brunch there. We had the pancakes, sausage, beef, omelettes, and we also ordered their famous/signature hot chocolate because who goes to Bag of Beans without ordering their hot chocolate? Not me. In hindsight, mom and I should’ve just shared a mug because it was a lot, and it was really rich and chocolate-y. We were super full after that meal. Dad liked the food too, which was a good sign. After eating, we went outside to enjoy Tagaytay’s cool breeze and to look at Taal Volcano from afar. Twin Lakes is a fairly new development in the area and so it didn’t have a very good view of the volcano because it was already toward the side. Nonetheless, we took some pictures and then continued our journey home.
We passed by Puregold before heading home to buy food as some of my college friends would come over for dinner to hangout. I basically bummed around in the afternoon and I think I even took a nap. At night, my friends came over, we ate dinner and talked a bit before starting to play board games that they brought. I forgot the name of the first game we played, but it’s been said to be pretty similar to Cards Against Humanity but G-rated. After a couple of rounds, we played another game – King of Tokyo. Then, we also played Walk the Plank and finished with Werewolf. I realized that it’s not good to play board games with people you haven’t seen in so long because you end up not having time to truly catch up with each other as everyone is engrossed in the game(s). That said, we had fun playing but I felt like I didn’t get to talk as much with everyone/we didn’t get to talk much.
The next day, I had sopas for breakfast! Yay, it was on my list of what I wanted to eat because I miss it. For lunch, we met up with Sa-I and Achi Sarah in Robinson’s Magnolia. Whenever we eat with them there, we would usually end up at Cibo and that’s exactly where we ended up eating again this time around. I’m not complaining as Cibo’s food is good and they have free Wi-Fi. After lunch, we went to the nearby Starbucks for coffee. I was originally planning on ordering the chai tea latte because I’m pretty sure they’d have it (unlike in Taiwan where they usually don’t have stock), but it was hot out so I decided to have the iced caramel macchiato instead. An hour or so later, they had to leave and we also had to leave because I had to do a last minute check of my luggage and all.
After packing, we had dinner and then it was time for me to leave. Mom and dad brought me to the airport, and then it was see you soon Philippines and hello once again Taiwan. When it was my turn in the Cebu Pacific check-in counter, the lady told me that apparently, OFWs get a refund on their travel tax (they include the amount in the ticket price) so I had to go to the refund counter after immigration. I find it ironic that they know very well that there’s a lot of OFWs flying to/from the Philippines that would claim their refund but they only have one small area for it. Therefore, it took me around 40 minutes of waiting in line before I was able to claim my refund. Good thing I got to the airport early and had a lot of time to kill. Good thing too that I printed out my receipt because they need you to show it in order to claim your refund. Without it, they’ll tell you to go back to your airline’s counter to ask for a copy, blah blah blah. Imagine yourself waiting in line for more than half an hour and once you get to the front of the line, the person tells you to show them a printed copy of the receipt (they won’t accept an electronic copy say from your smartphone – talk about waste of paper) by going back to your airline’s counter. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
I wasn’t able to go home at all in 2015 so this trip was much needed because I missed my friends and my family. Granted, my family and I went to visit my sister in Japan last March, and my family also came to visit me last August but it’s still different being in Manila. I’m glad I was able to meet with family and friends, eat at both old and new restaurants, explore and discover new places, and make new memories *cheesy*.