It has been 22 long years since I have not seen my Tita Sita as well as my cousins Charmaine and Lolita. With my Tita was his husband, Bruce. With Charmaine were her husband, Peter, and two lovely kids, PJ and Serenity. Lolita was by herself. They all flew yesterday and they were all staying at Sofitel except for Lolita who was staying at another hotel nearby.
I arrived at the Manila International Airport close to midnight of the 25th of April 2014. I left Philadelphia 7:00 in the morning of the 24th of April 2014 then connected to Chicago to Seoul, Korea then Manila. The total flight time was about 20 hours. We have to circle for about half an hour above Manila before we landed. The landing could be better because the plane was trying to level itself until the touchdown. It felt like the plane would have tipped over during landing, either the pilot just got his license or it was windy.
Once you walked through the tarmac, the heat and humidity heats you. Damn! I was still wearing my hoodie from the flight and I had t quickly take it off. Then the dreaded crowd to the immigration, it took almost an hour to clear customs, I don’t know why but I guess there was just no organization or everybody just arrived at the same time. After customs was the baggage claim. Another hour or so was wasted. One of the passengers who was making the connection to Davao was yet to see his bags.
I was walking down the ramp to the exit around 2 AM. I was looking for my parents, who were picking me up that time. There was a mad dash to the parking exit and we were able to clear that ordeal after more than half an hour or so. We had to pay the penalty because my father misplaced the parking ticket and that was an automatic 500 pesos plus the 100 pesos parking fee (about $15 total), it was not bad but in the Philippines that was a lot of money.
It was still about an hour drive away to get home but we have to stop to grab some quick eat. When we finally got home, I unpacked and slept because a few hours later we will going to see my Tita and cousins from Australia at Sofitel.
The picture above was taken by the pool side of Sofitel hotel. The first thing I noticed was the stench of the bay (it was the smell of the bay plus the pollution). No hotel guests swam in the bay, as expected, but I could not say the same thing for others who reside near the bay.
The hotel was built on a reclaimed area where Imelda Marcos built the Manila International Film Theater back in their time (which I believe was no longer used). There were a lot of stories about this theater but that will be for some other time. I think they need to build in reclaimed areas because Manila is already crowded, they need to tear down a lot to build hotels like Sofitel.
Click here or click the picture to see other pictures I took that day.