Last summer a couple of my friends and I traveled to the Philippines to visit one of my friend’s grandpa and also to explore the island. This was my first time overseas, I’ve been to Canada and Mexico, but no where nearly this far from home. There was quite a culture shock when I landed, we were the only white people in the airport in Manilla. My friends and I are all over 6 feet, which also made us stand out because everyone over there average like 5’6″.
Just walking through the airport that first night it felt like all eyes were on us, it was a little intimidating. We made our way to the taxi area to wait for our ride and once those airport doors opened to the outside the humidity nearly knocked me over. It was around one in the morning and it was still around 85 degrees and 90% humidity. We spent the first night in a hotel in downtown Manilla and had to catch a bus ride the next morning that took us 12 hours north to Laoag City, where his grandpa lived.
This 12 hour bus ride was probably the most memorable part of the trip, and not in a good way. The bus left around 7 in the morning so we planned on sleeping for the first half of the trip since we were still jet lagged from the 16 hour flight. Little did we know that Filipino busses don’t enforce maximum capacities, because they crammed twice the amount of people that I think that bus allowed. My friend got stuck with a family of 3 sitting next to him in rows of only 2 seats. People were even sitting in the aisles! And the smell, the smell of that bus was awful, it probably didn’t help that I was sitting directly across from the bathroom that had a door that did’t shut, so I’d get constant whiffs of some potent port-a-potty type smells.
Then the rain came, and apparently the bus had more than one leak in the roof because about an hour after the rain started the whole floor had about a quarter inch of water swishing around, soaking my backpack and feet. When we finally arrived in Laoag City I couldn’t have been more happy. We found a taxi, threw our bags in the back, and headed to someplace familiar to get our minds off of that horrible experience, so we headed none other than McDonalds.
But overall I enjoyed my whole trip, I met some amazing people, tried some amazing food, and had an amazing experience!