As the airplane climbed my face was glued to the window much like a child that is flying for the first time. It was a beautiful sunny day to say goodbye to Manila one last time.
I watched our home for two years until it got smaller and smaller. I picked out Mall of Asia where we did most of our shopping, I spotted the Embassy next to the water, I saw people starting to mill around in the early morning sun as we flew past Chinatown, I saw the dust and smoke clouding the area around Smokey Mountain where we spent hours of service, I saw EDSA curling around the Metro area connecting the tall buildings of Makati, the Fort and Quezon City, I saw the glimmer of gold as we flew over the LDS Temple and Moroni’s statue welcomed the morning. The farther north we flew I watched as we passed the rice fields and saw the green folded green mountains of Benguet. So many memories. The Philippines will truly be a special place for us.
As I was checking out, the Ambassador asked me what was the best part about the Philippines. That was easy, it is the PEOPLE. I learned to love, laugh and enjoy the Filipino people. Lady Hiva and I made some wonderful friends that will be in contact for years to come. He then followed up by asking me what was the worst part about being here. I did not have an answer. It may sound trite, but we did really enjoy our assignment. Yes, there are things that are frustrating—customer service and the driving techniques (or lack of would be a better way to put it)—but we really cannot complain.
We will miss the ripe mangoes available all year. We will always start listening to Christmas music in September and decorate in October (I have to wait until after Halloween, per Lady Hiva’s instructions), we will always laugh when we hear Carly Ray Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” because our colleagues did a fantastic job with their music video. We will miss Thai food at People’s Palace and Indian food at Kashmir.We will be reminded, but not really miss, the constant loud music and the nightly fireworks that shake the windows like bombs!
We started this blog when we landed in Manila two years ago and have had a blast along our journey of discovery since then. We are thankful you were all willing to come along with us...we are leaving with 40,000+ hits on the blog. YIPPEE~!
We are off to our next adventure—with a stop in DC to learn a new language—and we are excited for it, but we are glad Manila will always be in our hearts.
Thank you Manila! Mahal na mahal naming kayo!