My story about living in Manila for 2 months last 2014. This is definitely a late blog post but the memories is still very fresh in my mind. Char. #Memorylane
“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.” I sang as I stepped outside in our house and put my bags inside the cab that we hailed going to the airport. It was in the 1st day of September 2014 that I decided to flew to Manila for my psychometrician board exam intensive review. It was one of the first that I had in my 20 years of existence–first plane ride, first dorm life, first time living in MNL. Even though I already experience living in Tarlac for about 2 months during the 2010 Palarong Pambansa, the thought of being away again from home was still foreign to me. But on the brighter side, it was like a blessing in disguise for a fresh grad who wanted to be independent.
Me and my dad took the first flight on that day (He accompanied me since he’s kinda familiar with MNL and me being the “unang sabak” in MNL needed a trusted guide). As we arrive at the Laguindingan Airport, all the realizations hit me. I’m going to live in MNL for real in a span of two months. At that time, I felt both excited and nervous. Excited because it’s a new environment; Nervous because I don’t know a thing or two about the place. Hahaha. I probably looked ignorant that time. Hahaha. I wonder if people notice something on me being stiff or what.
The thing is, it was never an opportunity trip to unwind but an exile to focused on my mission–to pass the 1st Psychometrician Board Exam. My future is the bet that I’m going to win. But just like any person who wished to explore new things, I had my fair share of misadventures while preparing for the board exam. Of course, I can’t just face my books 24/7, right?
The arrival and traffic welcome
Since our flight got delayed, we arrived in MNL past 10 am. Thankfully, Tito Rico (My dad’s friend and a lawyer) picked us up from NAIA. I can’t bear riding public transpo with all the baggage that I had that time (50% of my luggage were composed of textbooks. It was really heavy).
As we exit the premises of NAIA, I was welcomed by the famous Manila Traffic-the bumper to bumper traffic dilemma. I could finally relate to the rants of my friends in twitter about the traffic. And it wasn’t really a nice experience since we traveled from NAIA going to Sampaloc (where I stayed) for almost 3 hours. Imagine the sitting duration. Waah. Ang sakit talaga sa pwet at nagka leg cramps pa ako.
I arrived at my dorm past 1pm (My Dad and Tito had business to attend to so they just dropped me alone with my baggage). The dorm was okay yet it wasn’t what I expected but I can manage though.
The Tagalog way of Bisaya and Native Tagalog
After I settled down, I decided to go out and explore the nearby vicinity because I needed to do some grocery shopping for toiletries and locate PRC Manila Office. Good thing it was across from where I’m staying that night (I transferred on a new exclusive ladies dormitory at Dalupan St. the next day).
On my first 24 hours, the most challenging part about it was to get used on talking tagalog (my native tongue is the bisaya dialect). At first, I was very conscious not because I’m having a hard time on talking straight tagalog but in the exact way in delivering the words. The malumanay way as what I fondly called it. I can’t even distinguished the difference between a bisayan talking tagalog and a tagalog native on the way they talked. They’ve said that we, bisaya natives, have intonation on delivering tagalog dialect. It really got to my nerves about their distinction that day. Nabubulol kasi ako sa ibang words and may accent ata sila. The struggle of delivering tagalog in their own way was definitely real but I get used to it. My mom even joked about me having an accent when I got home. Maybe perks of graduating from a school who practice bilingual/multilingual setups, it was definitely an edge from getting used on language (or should I say dialect) switching within 24 hours.
Food and Friendly face
I decided to met Van (an old friend of mine and my older brother who studies in Arellano University as student-athlete in table tennis) over dinner since I don’t know where to eat. Unang sabak nga, remember? I have to be cautious pa naman since I can’t trust some stranger directly. (I’m not saying they’re bad people. Better be cautious lang naman).
I was not so fond about eating tapsilog anytime of the day until I stayed in Manila. It is one of the easiest yet affordable food to buy within my vicinity. Thank God for Manong who delivered most of our meals in our dormitory (My room mate, Faye who was the one who suggested to us to order from Manong for lutong bahay).
Going back to Van, I never expect that he was living far from my dorm yet he managed to visit us if he’s not busy with training or acads. He even manage to befriend my classmates and led us to one carenderia that I personally love their beef ampalaya. If we decided to dine out and far from our dorm, Van voluntarily escorted us. He even serve as my tour guide to roam around within the University Belt in my first night in Manila. #TrueFriend
One point: Independence on its finest. Definitely, one check for my bucket list. I always wanted to try Dorm life and it was a perfect opportunity for me then. I totally recommend Santa Barbara Ladies Dormitory near UE Manila and walking distance to San Beda Manila. This one is located in Dalupan Street. I might consider staying there again when I’m going to take the Bar exams in the near future if I can’t find a nice and secured dormitory near UST. It feels like a home away from home. The staffs are really friendly and approachable making my stay worthwhile.
Divisoria in Cagayan de Oro City is the center point while Divisoria in Manila is one of the places of affordable finds (as well as Baclaran). In my whole stay, my friends and I frequently gone to Divisoria to buy things that we need in our respective dorm rooms (hangers and other stuffs, for example) and of course, clothes since most of our baggage consists of review books and materials.
One of the memorable experience that I had with Divisoria was when I was able to buy 50 pesos blouse and 75 pesos leggings. Imagine of having an outfit of 125 pesos only plus the cloth quality is very nice like the ones you find in online shops. I also was able to do some “tawad” with some of the stuffs I bought.
UAAP Season 77 GAME (UST vs UE) in Araneta plus Kim Lo’s Birthday
For a UAAP fangirl from the province, it is one of our fangirl goals to watch UAAP game live and I totally lived that moment during my stay (Some of my friends also watched NCAA games since they are friends with Jio Jalalon who gave us free tickets. I regret that I didn’t gone to a NCAA game). To secure tickets for UAAP games played in Araneta or MOA is hard especially when the team playing is UST, ADMU or DLSU. Good thing, I have student-athlete friends from UST (Hi Rae and Happy!) who secured my ticket. It was really one for the books for a fangirl when you managed to rode in the UST Bus (not the one for the players). My heart is literally jumping for joy that time. I feel like a pseudo-thomasian. You gotta love the Thomasian Spirit in supporting UAAP.
Another memorable experience with UAAP is when I was able to meet KIMLOFANS admins Sara and Andrea who are supporting Kim Lo and UST team but they’re not from UST (Sara is from UP and Andrea BSU in Bulacan) then of course, the thomasian of the group, Eunice. After the game, we decided to meet again on Kim Lo’s birthday in UST where we got to meet Qylla (who is a friend of Kim Lo) and of course, surprised Kim Lo that I managed to stood beside him during the whole duration of Angelus (parang ako ang nagbirthday that time. Sayang, wala akong pic. Nauna ang kaba at starstruck namin. HAHAHAHA). Plus I got to see other UST Basketball players Aljon Mariano, Kevin Ferrer, Kent Lao, Louie Vigil, Ed Daquioag, Renzo Subido, Jamil Sheriff, Paulo Pe and Karim Abdul during the times I visited UST in different dates. [I posted on one of my previous posts about being stranded on a water refilling because of heavy rain. That happened after we meet up for Kim’s birthday in UST where we had our lunch in Dapitan]
I literally lived my fangirl moment (Fun fact: I even considered studying law in UST Civil Law. UST is one of my dream schools aside from UP, ADMU even if I enrolled in Ateneo de Cagayan, DLSU, and San Beda).
My two months stay in Manila last 2014 for the first Psychometrician board was really memorable and one for the books. I always have good memories with Manila especially when I passed the Psychometrician board exam where I took it in UE and filed my application in PRC Manila because it was denied in PRC CDO. (Fun fact: To check my assigned classroom in UE a day before the board exams, I told the guard that I just gonna inquire about their Law program on which I actually did)
Like the song goes, “…I keep coming back to Manila”. I always find my way back to Manila again.