On my excel spreadsheet, I planned December to be a time where I meet old friends and family during the holiday season. I decided to stay at my best friend’s apartment in Manila. I know he was working but we’d hang out after work and on weekends. I’d be cool with that.
He warned me. Manila isn’t like any other big cities Ive visited – there are a lot of people and there isn’t much to see without trudging through gridlock traffic throughout the city. Meh! I lived in Beijing for 2.5 months – what’s traffic?!
My expectations of how “the Philippines would turn out” turned out to be totally different. I found myself questioning why I went there, bored out of my wits in Manila and my friend was working long hours and we didn’t have a chance to freely talk to each other. We were never truly alone and he was constantly on his phone reading reddit and we didn’t have much to say. This in itself was strange.
I expected that we hang out and goof around like we did as school kids but he has a fully formed life in Manila – with a longterm girlfriend, his mom visiting him during the holidays, a stacked work schedule, etc. It was hard to see myself fitting into his life anymore and that felt very foreign and strange especially since I was seeking for comfort and familiarity on the road.
I felt uncomfortable a lot of the times. As if I were burdening him and his schedule. I placed a lot of guilt on myself and wanted to over compensate by being peppy and paying for his bill at restaurants when we go out.
..and then we got into a big argument (while drunk) and it just got weird. I cried. He cried. His girlfriend watched us fight. He literally ran away. His girlfriend got us home by an Uber. I threw up in the toilet immediately in front of his mom.
It was a weird feeling, I guess since I’ve never been placed in that situation. I love his mom and his girlfriend but I just didnt know how to deal with conflicting emotions. It was a very weird scenario.
It is beautiful. Besides the weird emotional turmoil I felt like I was in, EL NIDO is absolutely gorgeous. I was even able to meet up with Vancouver friends for dinner for a night. It was incredible. I took a day off for myself to chill and ended up meeting a girl from Canada who whisked me on a waterfalls tour the next day with people she knew. Its one of those moments where I was like, I could totally be abducted and killed but ended up having the time of my life. That trip to the waterfalls solidified my experience there.
BORACAY. Again, another unreal experience. El Nido’s beaches were prime but Boracay was also unbelievable. It was more developed but that made our travels so much easier. Watching the sunset on White Sand Beach was insane. Absolutely beautiful.