To kick off my adventures in Asia, I had the pleasure of spending time with my favorite person on earth, my Lola.  If you met her you’d know why.  She is always full of love and laughter for everyone she comes across and is extremely affectionate.  There is no other Grandma out there with more hugs and kisses for you.  Even at the young age of 90 she likes to dance, tell stories and observe the world as though she were a baby.  It may sound silly but while my sister and I visited her she would not go to sleep until we slept, so I would pretend to sleep so she would sleep and this occurred daily for afternoon naps!

Moy and I spent a week in Makati which is like the business district just outside of Manila.  Rather than driving 4-6 hours north in traffic and staying at my Lola’s province we opted to be near the city around all the excited and wanted the western lifestyle conveniences.  By lifestyle conveniences I mean a shower because at Lola’s you bathe by squatting and pouring buckets of water over yourself.  Being in Makati allowed us to be near our two Aunts and Uncles and two cousins.  Lola stayed with us in our rented condo in Makati and our days were filled with hearing Lola’s stories (sometimes on repeat), looking at family photos and eating a lot of rice.  

In no particular order, a few highlights that helped me kick off my trip in Asia:

  • Traveling to Tagatay, Taal Volcano and hiking up the volcano side to see the inside of the crater.  This was a good bonding experience for my sister and I, or so I think, Moy may say otherwise.
  • Visiting with Carmel, good friend and roommate from Seattle.  An entrepreneur starting her own fair trade coffee company in the Philippines which will bring honest wages to many farmers and her passion of coffee throughout the world.  She has been visiting farmers to cultivate relationships and meeting with descendants of presidents and CEO’s of banks for funding. For the 4th of July, she has been invited to the US embassy and will be bringing her coffee there to spread the buzz.  I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to hear of the progress she will make this summer.  
  • Visiting with my two cousins and going out to the bars with them as well as Sheryl, one cousins girlfriend and my possible future cousin 🙂  One just entered University as a pre-law student and the other just graduated law school.  My Uncle is a Judge in the Philippines, see the pattern?  My cousin who just graduated law school in Manila has been representing a politician and has even been in the news while we were in the Philippines.  How cool!  Clearly, my Lola has some smart grand kids and I better step it up in grad school.
  • Visiting with Lovell.  Lovell is a friend I knew from 6-8th grade in Chicago and moved to a province two hours from my Lola in the Philippines.  Every visit I make out I try to spend some time with her and love to hear her perspective on life in the Philippines.  Lovell has been working as an English teacher and I hope she moves back to the States soon.  She took a few days off from work to stay with us and we had some wonderful conversations poolside at the condo.  Such a treat to see her.
  • Eating a lot of Kare Kare, my favorite Filipino dish.  Beef or ox-tail in a peanut based broth with eggplant and green beans.

Lola wanted to show me her strength

Making sure Lola takes her daily naps

Lola’s favorite meal, Lechon Kawali

Scary boat ride to Taal Volcano, w/my Aunties

Moy and I at Taal Volcano

Moy Hiking Taal Volcano

Carmel and I in Makati

Lovell and I in Makati

Family Photo, imitating Lola showing off her Jewelry

Lola at dinner showing off her jewelry, it keeps her young she says

Kare Kare