The check-out process went pretty smoothly. We gave some of the surplus small snack items we'd procured for our stay in the hotel to the hotel staff who always cleaned our rooms and he seemed genuinely thankful.
|The earring looks pretty good on me, I'd say :)|
|This place called "Miracle Art" is a good alternative to Art in Island|
After that, I wanted to look at some video games again.
After fumbling around with the layout of the mall a bit -- I haven't been here for years after all, I finally found the Datablitz store there and proceeded to check out their 3DS and Vita games. The 3DS games were a bit pricey, but I saw a few cheap titles that I was interested in for the Vita, namely: Batman Blackgate, Ys Celceta, and Child of Light. I decided that maybe none of these were really worth a purchase though. After walking around the mall a bit more, my mother saw some Hush Puppies shoes on a 40% sale that she seemed to like, but after trying them on, she was a bit undecided. I knew she liked them, but she didn't seem convinced enough to buy them.
At about 11:30 AM, we crossed over to SM Aura, which is just right across Market! Market! We were going to hear mass there. Just in case you're wondering, I'm an atheist, but my mother is not. She is aware of my lack of belief, but I do accompany her whenever she goes to Church... I also listen to the sermons because they're kinda interesting at times.
The mass began at 12:00 PM sharp and ended exactly one hour after that at 1:00 PM. We had lunch at SM Aura's foodcourt again just like last time... except there were tons of people there this time. We did find a good table though. We had lunch at the same Chinese place again. We really liked the food there last time and this time was no exception either. A funny incident occured in the table in front of us. There was an Indian family of four with two kids, a younger girl and an older boy aged around 6 and 8 respectively. The girl was complaining and pouting about her food and it was interesting to see how the father pacified her without shouting at her or resorting to violence -- both are almost default options for many Filipino parents regardless of their status in life... anyway, the girl eventually calmed down even though she was throwing a tantrum earlier. I found the scene quite fascinating... my mother had a different interpretation about how they were too cheap to buy any real food when they were obviously pretty well-off. Well... I'm not too sure about that. I mean, most Indians are Muslim after all, and the need to have this "halal" diet thing seriously limits your options.
After lunch, we went back to Market! Market! where my mother decided to go back to the Hush Puppies store and with one final push from me, she finally decided to buy those shoes she was looking at earlier. With that, I decided I was going to get one game as well, and I decided on Child of Light since I wasn't really that interested in the other two.
After that, we bought some water inside the supermarket and then it was time to take a taxi back to the hotel. A funny thing happened while we were hailing a taxi cab because my mother was getting paranoid about the time since it was already about 3:30. She was walking ahead at a very fast pace -- obviously getting a bit panicked about finding a taxi while I just used my eyes and saw that there were lots of empty taxis so I hailed one that was right in front of me... but when I called out to my mother in a loud voice, instead of turning around, she broke into a run while covering her head. She'd ran about 10 meters before she turned around to face me and saw that I was just calling her to get into the taxi. It turns out she thought that there might be a suspicious person behind her and that the tone of my voice seemed urgent and frantic, so she thought she was in some kind of danger.
We both had a good laugh at that inside the taxicab... speaking of the taxi ride, the driver knew that we were obviously not from Manila since we were speaking a different language than Tagalog and he decided to one-up us by pulling up to gasoline station (his tank really was near-empty) but not stopping his taxi's meter while he was filling up. People can be really pitifully petty.
We arrived back at the hotel by around 4:15 and after gathering our luggage, we took a taxi to the airport. It was time to say goodbye to Manila -- a place that is familiar to me, but will never be THAT familiar to me. By the way, the airport is only like 10 kilometers or so from our hotel.
|A little consideration is a lot to ask for, apparently|
Also, it was a good thing that we decided to relax for a bit because our 6:45 flight got delayed all the way back to 8:30. I spent most of the waiting time clearing songs in Project Mirai DX for the 3DS while my mother was chatting with some of her former students who were in the same flight as us.
At some point, an announcement came for the guests in the waiting lounge not to put their luggage on the seats to make room for other guests... which totally fell on deaf ears as far as this guest is concerned. I'll let the pic speak for itself.
After that, it was just the plane ride home... and that concludes our 5-day vacation in Manila. I hope you enjoyed reading this series of travel blog posts. I can't really promise to do this that often because I don't travel that often, but I do enjoy writing these.
|Our haul from Manila|
People tend to say that "traveling opens up new horizons." Or that it's something that will somehow change your perspective -- especially when you travel to a foreign land for the first time. I remember around this time last year, Hong Kong didn't change my perspective and my Manila trip just reinforces my beliefs more. Traveling simply reinforces my belief in the things that I've always known.
What I've personally learned from my meager list of places traveled in this vast yet insignificant speck of dust in the known Universe called Earth, is that its people and places really are the same the world over -- traveling to an unfamiliar land is a bit like using Windows with a different theme and someone else's custom settings. The places might seem visually different, but after all, a building is just a building, a bridge is just a bridge, a sunset is still a sunset no matter where you are. There are variations in the way they look visually, but that doesn't change what they are essentially. The same is true with people. People really are the same everywhere. We may look radically different due to coming from different racial descents, but human nature is really the same everywhere. No matter where you go, you WILL see the ugly side of people as well as the small, unobtrusive triumphs of everyday unsung heroes. The human experience is never ideally beautiful, but it is what it is -- and once you realize this, that is where lies its true beauty.