I am embarrassed to say that in my 5 years living in Manila, I can count with one hand the number of times I had filipino food. We tried it in our first few months but each time we were disappointed so we gave up.
Yesterday I didn’t have lunch plan, was working nonstop and one of my colleagues was going out for lunch. I joined her. I told her let’s go where you were planning to go, not those places that non-locals go for lunch. So she took me to where our local staff goes for lunch most of the days. They serve several meat dishes (chicken or pork), one vegetable dish, rice and noodles.
I went with double vegetables, chicken, and rice. It costed one dollar.
I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it but it was a good experience to live like locals and time to catch up with Karen.
In our office, 2/3 of staff are filipinos, 1/3 foreigners. The two groups don’t blend well in non-work context for several reasons. First, the foreigners like me stay only few years, so locals are hesitant to invest in the friendship. Second, local staff perceive us as being superior thus a bit hostile. Yet, I prefer to hang out with filipino colleagues because they are the kindest people. Such beautiful personality, always eager to help, and just good heart. I’ll miss them so much and glad that I developed few friendships that I will carry over even after I leave.
Update on Cookie: I’ve made my mind to bring her with us. She got the rabies vaccine a month ago so yesterday it was blood test for rabies. It costed 500 USD!!! Insanely expensive because they send the blood to UK for the testing. She was so calm when they injected the micro chip (to identify her) and withdraw blood sample.
After we get the blood result, we’ll have to get export permit, and import permit to enter Indonesia. Unfortunately she’ll be quarantine for 2 weeks somewhere, hope she survives being away from us.
Moving timeline (things are getting real)
August: wait to get Sofia’s new passport
September: get our Indonesia visa and sell/give away things we won’t take
September 30: packing for our shipment
October 6: vacate our unit and stay in a hotel with our luggage and essentials
October 8: departure day!!!