Rain in Manila, The Philippines.

Four days of rain.

Rainy days in Manila, Philippines.

It rained in Manila. For four days straight. For the entire time I was there. Most people had told me I could just skip the city altogether, it wasn’t worth it. But I had actually been looking forward to it.

First, because Manila was designed by Daniel Burnham, the same man who designed my beloved Chicago. I was interested in finding out if there was any familiarity.

Second, because I am a big city girl. So many people will say of any city that it’s “just another big city.” But for me, I thrive on them. I like looking out my window and seeing skyscrapers, mass transit. I like busyness, chaos. To those people I probably have a similar reaction to beaches, to me a beach is just another beach. They can be a little boring. Cities are alive.

Third, because I had a friend there. I met Jackie over four years ago in Amsterdam and when I told her I was coming she offered to pick me up at the airport and let me stay at her apartment.

It was wonderful to see her again. Though, unfortunately, we weren’t able to do much. Manila was being struck by some of the worst rain it had seen in years. It poured constantly. Parts of the city were flooded. Parts of the city were evacuated.

While where we were wasn’t flooding, it was still too wet to leave. And the flooding elsewhere made getting anywhere difficult.

We had planned to visit a nearby volcano. But, with the rain, we wouldn’t have been able to see anything.

We had planned to go to Chinatown. But, with the rain, we would have been miserable. Plus there were floods between us and there.

What we were able to do was eat. If I couldn’t experience culture outside of the apartment, I could at least experience it on my tongue and in my stomach.

Filipino food is good.

I don’t think I’d ever eaten it before. It’s salty and meaty. Much different than other Asian cuisines.

I had so many amazing home cooked meals it was hard to leave.

Sour pork soup from the Philippines.

Peanut stew from the Philippines.

And Jackie and her friends wanted me to try some other delicacies…like cheese ice cream…and banana ketchup…

Cheese ice cream from the Philippines.

Val eating cheese ice cream in the Philippines.

Banana ketchup from the Philippines.

Yes, yes world, those things both exist.

I’ll be back in Manila at the end of my stint here in the Philippines. Hopefully by then the skies will have cleared and I’ll get to see something…and eat a bit more…

Four days of rain. Rainy days in Manila, Philippines.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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