Our first week in Manila – part 1

Nov 12, 2017 by

Day 1 – Sunday, 5 November 2017

Mabuhay! I was shocked when we went out from the airport terminal as the view was very… interesting.

Apartment, office buildings, elevated toll way, fly overs and enclosed bridge to a mall right there on your face. Extrimely hectic and crowded for a capital city airport.



We took Grab to our condo and along the way the scene changed a lot. From military compounds to modern BCG area where I spotted Mango, Pottery Barns (I want to go!!), Michael Kors and the like. Then we went into the infamous Manila traffic. Crowded streets dividing what looked like stone hills topped with poor housing areas. Then we passed through this ridiculously packed billboard street. Haha sorry to put it that way but it’s true. Billboards.. Billboards.. Billboards! Good way for Nathan to brush up his reading skill.


After beating the traffic we arrived at our new home. The kids were hangry (Nathan was yelling “I am hungry!!”) so we dashed to the shops area in front of our condo complex. Filled the kids with some Japanese where they shared a bowl of rice, chawanmushi and salmon salad. Well done kids.



Then we went to Rustan’s, a minimarket in the area to look around and I was impressed by the selection of meat, snacks and cheese they have there. Kinda excited because for the first time since Melbourne I’m living close to shop that sell lots (and reasonably priced) cheese. Haha.

Dashed back to the apartment to change the sheets, swipe the floor, shower the kids and by 8p.m. we’re all ready for bed. Life is good.. God is good.



Day 2 – Monday, 6 November 2017

We started the morning quite early as the kids woke up early. Showered then went to the shops (again!) for breakfast. Tried Filipino breakfast which was ok. The kids had a few spoon and decided that the french fries was better.


Then we went to SM Mall which located right across our apartment but pretty much impossible to walk there. Oh actually you could but pretty much everyone wouldn’t… just like in Indonesia. Haha. We shopped for groceries and I was shocked to see that the fresh produce area was like a wet market. Minus the bargaining. One area for each of pork, beef, chicken and seafood


We went back to the apartment, had some lunch then Phodi went to the office so for the first time in 4 months I was alone with 2 kids. Thankfully both were in good spirit. Few whining from N2 mostly because her toys were stolen, but most of the time they were happy little kids.


Ps. Jesse and Tita (Aunt) Gerri who are our neighbour came to visit. It was good seeing them again after our dinner in Bandung. It’s always nice to see people you’ve met. Unfortunately the kids were juuuuust about to nap right before the bell rang. Haha.


Phodi came home, we went to the lawn and it was really nice. The great lawn really lives up to its name. It’s hugeeeee. Big swimming pools, a well maintained lawn and clean playing areas for kids. I was introduced to Marty and Astrid who have kids of similar age to ours. They also live in the same tower as us.



As the sunsets, we headed to dinner at Max’s. Phodi wanted us to try Filipino dishes; sinagang and lauchon. We had pork and shrimp sinagang and I enjoyed it. It tasted familiar yet different… The taste didn’t click with my taste bud but I couldn’t stop eating it as well. Hahaha.


After dinner, Nathan passed out because he didn’t nap and had spent the last bit of this energy at the playground. We still need to buy some cleaning goods though. So we went to ACE Hardware where we had to deal with an overly excited toddler.


Nadine who woke up just before dinner started, had recharged her energy. She was all over the place, demanding to hold every broom and mop and colorful cleaning product. Grrrr.


Drama sorted, time to go home to do some mopping and sleep!!


Day 3 – Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Today I contacted some activities for the kids asking for a trial. I’m quite determine to get the kids involve in activities mainly because great activities are available nearby. And to get us into some routine faster.

In the afternoon we went to SM Megamall on a mission of vacuum cleaner hunt. Manila roads reminded me of Kuala Lumpur’s. Lots of fly overs which can be confusing. One trivia, cars in Manila are driven on the right side of the road. The driver is sitting on the left side of the car. Few times I was gasping as I thought my Uber driver was drunk. Haha.



Also another trivia, do you know that owning guns is legal in The Philippines? Each time you’re going in a mall, you’ll go through a metal detector. Much like in Indonesia but somehow I had this uneasy feeling knowing that somebody out there might have a gun that is ready to fire. I pray that nothing like such will ever happen.


Anyways, the mall was packed for a Tuesday night and when we headed home around 8pm, there was a queue in the entrance. Amazing! The crowd in the mall was like hmm… Central Park Mall in Jakarta on a weekend + hundred couple more. Not sure if I can cope with that.


On our way home, our Uber driver was stopped by a policeman. The problem was he was on the first lane but decided to go straight instead of left. Luckily the driver is a reserve sergeant so he went through. Then we interrogated him of what will happen if he got his licensed suspended.


He said that these days there are less corrupt police. It’s impossible to bribe the police on the road or at the office. Few of the good changes that happened since Duterte came to the office, just over a year ago. Great story that reminded me that my Indonesia is going through similar phase. A great leader will make a great change for a greater community.


Day 4 – Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Today I managed to finish cleaning the house and cooking macaroni bolognaise before 10. What an achievement! Pat pat my own shoulders for this.

My heart was full when Nathan said, “Yummy Mami.. This is very yummy!” and he ate quite a lot by himself.



In the afternoon we went to take Nathan for a gym class trial. Sadly, he slept in the car and it was only a 15 mins drive. Then he continued sleeping and we had a hard time waking him up. Grrrr. So he joined in for 30 minutes by which he cried, wet himself and sat down not wanting to do anything. Poor baby… But that was the only class he can try for the next 2 weeks.




Back to our condo, Phodi and Nathan went to the playground while Nadine napped. Then we went out for a ramen dinner under the condo. Both kids were starving so they ate well. Happy mommy here.

Overall today was a good day. As long as the kids are eating well, I’m all good.


Read part 2 here

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