Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Leaving Seattle Snow, Greeting Manila Sun OLA

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Leaving Seattle Snow, Greeting Manila Sun OLA

Cathay Pacific's Boeing 777 at SFO International Airport

Finally on February 22 after a day of sleet we left Seattle with a forecast of below freezing temperatures and snow for the next 10 days! We are so lucky because we were still given the chance to enjoy sunny, warm, tropical days, as we had intended for winter! At the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Bill relaxed as he settled down with a glorious Starbucks non-fat no-whip mocha grande (and his emails) while I had my good old large Calm (chamomile) tea and this blog.

Bill relaxing at SEATAC Int'l Airport
That night we landed in San Francisco for a quick layover. My sister, Cherry was so gracious, as usual, with an adobo dinner waiting for us. The next day she got up early to make a big breakfast before her daughter Zan brought us to the airport for our noon flight to Hong Kong and Manila.  It was sad to leave their cute African turtle, Jethro! At the airport the giant Cathay Pacific B777 jumbo jet jumped through the huge windows at us. Then I realized that the tension that gripped us for 6 months, with all the delays around the citizenship test and interview (especially in the cold weather to which we are no longer accustomed), was completely gone!  

Jethro, an African turtle in SFO
The Changi International Airport in Hong Kong has totally changed from the days when I spent half of the month working there (the other half in Manila). It is now one of the most completely modern airports in the world. And what I loooooved best about it before, duty-free shopping is still unbeatable.  We did not buy anything but looking at all the fancy stores (at every wing and every corner of the airport of perhaps the shopping capital of the world) while waiting for your flight is a feeling to die for!
Cherry and Zan and me in SFO

Around midnight of February 24, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the peaceful EDSA revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship (shades of the successful Egyptian revolution), our plane approached the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  This is where the protest moment began, when Ninoy Aquino, father of current President Noynoy Aquino and husband of the post revolution president Corazon Aquino, was gunned down on the tarmac upon arrival from exile in the US.
The International Airport in HK

Funny, but I still felt I had come back ‘home’, after 7 years in America.  The mix of emotions was expected. I was arriving in Manila for the first time as an American citizen but I was also secretly hoping that sometime during the next three months I would be able to establish a dual citizenship. Aside from truly feeling the dual nature of my allegiance, a Filipino returnee (Balikbayan) has advantages like bestowing Bill the same status and one-year stay in the country without the need for a visa.  
Bill having breakfast at Prince Plaza 2

April, my only daughter still remaining in Manila who works as a project manager at HP Philippines, picked us up and brought us post-haste to the Prince Plaza 2 Condominium where for a privileged rate of only $15 a day we will be staying at the 22nd floor in the comfort of a suite of our friend and father-in-law of my eldest daughter Patricia, Tavy Aberion. The condo is in the busy, plush, and trendy Greenbelt Park and Mall, right in the heart of the Philippines’ financial district, Makati.

But, after a grueling 20-hour airport-to-airport flight a slew of 6 movies (127 hours, Life As We Know It, Morning Glory, Experiment, Due Date, and Never Let Me Go), we dropped to what we thought would be a looooong restful sleep. But the brightness of the next morning and the busy-ness of the streets down below woke us up earlier than we had expected. And the sun is beckoning us to the massive shopping malls around the megalopolis of 16 cities such as the Mall of Asia, 3rd largest in the world! Watch for my post next week!