magandang umaga!

i’ve been lagging on updating this blog all august long, but with so many visitors, events, changes, and preparations, there was simply no time! when i finally had an opportunity, i lacked a crucial ingredient: internet connection. i’ve been here in the philippines for the past week, and for the first few days, i only had dial-up at my grand-uncle’s house. but then i discovered sbc – seattle’s best coffee – where they offer wireless internet and aircon. hallelujah!!

so here i am, in a sea of men (it seems only the men go out and chill at coffee shops in the phil), writing the update for my blog. i’ve only a week left in manila, which is a depressing thought. i love it here. i think maybe a part of me was meant to live in a 3rd world country, since many of the countries and cities i love are rather… um… on the ghetto side. but i like it, all those things that people might not like, things that i would probably normally dislike quite a bit – the congestion, the crowds, the dirt, the ghettoness. i like the slow pace of life. i like the fact that everyone spends inordinate amounts of time sitting on the street talking, sleeping, eating, doing nothing. i like the food. i like that all the buildings are painted incongruous colors, that almost nothing matches. i like that old people are so damn cool here. and hey, i can learn to tolerate having juana-pos around 😉

not to mention they’ve got everything here, and by everything, i really mean just everything. canada has zero in comparison. they’ve even got restaurants like cpk (california pizza kitchen) and chocolate by the bald man. and a few of those UK things i love – picnic bars, topshop…

of course, there’s tons that’s not so great about the phil. like the pollution, or the inequality, or the discrimination, or the crime. and especially the smell (i’m biased, clearly). but overall, i kind of love it. at least for the time being.

anyway, we’ve had some ridiculously good food since we’ve been here; it seems that all we do is eat. one of the best parts about having so many “aunts” and “uncles” is being taken out to eat all the time. i thought that i would have some digestion problems here and lose weight, but that clearly is not going to happen. happily, my stomach is behaving well. so here are some of the culinary highlights:

bangus, egg, garlic rice, and banana (not pictured)

filipino breakfast: bangus, egg, garlic rice, and banana (not pictured)

halo halo at razon - yumminess embodied.  not a lot of laman, but i like it that way.

halo halo at razon - yumminess embodied. not a lot of laman, but i like it that way.

interesting presentation of tilapia, a typical filipino fish dish

interesting presentation of tilapia, a typical filipino fish dish

ube ice cream with fried carmelized bananas at a resort in tagaytay

ube ice cream with fried carmelized bananas at a resort in tagaytay

sweet spaghetti + fried chicken = jolibee standard = yummm

sweet spaghetti + fried chicken = jolibee staple = yummm

apart from all the eating, my life has been fairly slow this past week. we don’t do much, and many mornings are spent waking early and reading a book. taking a siesta in the afternoon is probably the greatest idea anyone thought up. an exaggeration, but i really don’t understand how anyone here makes it through the day without sleeping at least once – the barely-tolerable heat and lack of activity ensure that lethargy sets in just after lunchtime. we frequently go out with our relatives and other unrelated uncles and aunts, but it all consists of leisurely walking and eating.

we also had the best massages ever. on this, i exaggerate not one bit. granted, my massage experience is limited to only a handful of really poor experiences, but this was just incredible. and when they say “full body massage”, um, they really mean full body. a tad bit shocking, more than a little bit discomfiting, but hey, it was still the most ridiculous massage.

i think i need another one. =D

do i miss toronto? not a bit. but i’m also not one of those who get particularly homesick while traveling, even when it’s for a significant period of time. the only thing i feel about toronto is a measure of agitated anticipation, knowing how much i’ll have to do when i return. in the meantime, i’m going to enjoy the remainder of this interlude while i can…

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