I started out this blog entry with “During my recent trip to Manila..” until I realized that the word recent does not mean a month ago. Curses for an un-updated blog!
So yes, I was in Manila last April. Unlike my other trips, this one has got to be my most memorable yet. It was the first time that I traveled on my own – like, really, alone and friendless. It was also one of the few times in my life where I felt that I had a place in this world, that there was nothing wrong with the way I grew up because even if majority of the people here on this earth don’t get the way I think and talk, there exists a bunch of great persons who always manages to bring out the best in me. Ugh, cheesy yes?
The hardest part of my trip would have to be the part where I had to meet, get to know and otherwise hobnob with strangers. I won’t lie. My experiences with conversations and meeting new people have always been nothing but excruciating. I sink fast in new waters.
But live and learn, right? I’ve been trying to overcome this particular social ineptitude of mine by saying yes and just being open to experiences – classic desensitization. I initiate conversations, I try to be part of the conversation. One time, I met an elementary classmate while buying some stuff in the drugstore. She asked if I wanted to hang out at her place – girl talk, gabfest – and I said yes. Even if every part of me wanted to go home, watch a movie and eat some junk food. It was a good experience. I also found out that I’m not really into the whole girl talk thing.
I managed to survive the seminar that I participated in, but just barely. I wanted to join conversations but I just couldn’t keep up with the pace, so mostly, I just sat down and listened (which worked for some of the people who liked talking a lot). On the bright side, I managed to have decent conversations. There were few and far in between, though, but it’s a start. I didn’t have a partner to share the room with. It was both a blessing and a curse – I could do whatever I want without having to consider the other occupant of the room. On the the other hand, I got so lonely because I had no one to talk to.
Which was why, after literally a day where I kept to myself and had low spirits, I was nearly in tears when I saw Pen, a friend from high school who graciously offered to house, host and tour me around during the rest of my stay in Manila. I have to say, the conversation we had while having pizza was the most honest one I’ve had with any person and the most cathartic/liberating to date. I’m glad that I found someone who was willing to listen to me talking about my insecurities.
It was also great timing that quite a number of my old high school classmates were also available. I don’t have many friends – but the current ones that I do have are the greatest. I don’t get to see them, as they all work in Manila.I can’t describe the feeling I had that night. All I know is that those were the kind of conversations, walks and dinners that I want to have all the time.
(Hey you lot out there in Manila – I don’t text a lot; heck, I don’t communicate with you a lot. But know this. You mean a lot to me. You are a part of my life and I treasure every moment we have together. End of cheesy moment. Bow.)
We spent that night alternating between Greenbelt and the Stock Exchange building. We had dinner at a Filipino restaurant (Kainan? I am so lame with names) that Pen swore was awesome – and it was. Or maybe we were just all so hungry that everything was delicious LOL. Anyhow, they had humungous servings of iced tea. I couldn’t finish mine.
Rhea and I, being the probinsiyanas of the group, gawked at the buildings. I love staring at buildings. It’s weird but I can spend an hour just staring at skyscrapers. I like to imagine the lives of people who live there. What do they do? Who are they? What are they feeling right now? What kind of dreams do they have?
Despite a tight budget, I managed to bring home with me a record of five books. The first four books I bought in PowerBooks. I went on a classic binge with Dostoyevsky, Doyle and Verne plus another book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez book. At the airport, I stopped by a National Bookstore where I found a copy of Farenheit 451 at 15% off. EESCORRR!
Insert awkward end here.