Last week in the Philippines!

Hola! Apologies for not updating this more frequently. Unlike most other circumstances, i actually do have a little more free time now, i’ve just been rather lazy. People had been complaining about difficulties with reading the blog, and some issues with the background so decided to change it to a hopefully more easy to read format. Also, figured out how to put the twitter feed on the blog so has a bunch of my random thoughts going on in the right hand side. If you’re still having any issues just let me know!

The last week has flown by and i can’t believe that i only have two more days in the Philippines! We’re 12 hours ahead over here, so wanted to wish everyone a very happy 4th of July! Last summer, Katie and I went to Ollie’s grandma’s annual beach party in Bethany beach and had an absolutely amazing time, and really wish i could be able to attend the last 4th party there this year! This is the first 4th i can think of that i won’t be in the US, and although it is kinda weird i will be sure to rep America over here in the Philippines.

Even stranger is to think of all the remarkable things that i have been able to see and do form the last 4th of July, to today. In the short span of one year, so much has happened and changed in my life. I can’t wait to see where i’m at one year from now on the next 4th of july.

My Uncle happens to be coming to Manila for business tomorrow, and so we will be able to spend a day together over here and i can’t wait to see him! Such a crazy coincidence that we will be running into each other on the other side of the world, especially since we haven’t seen each other in nearly a year!

I’m heading off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a couple days on July 6th. Looking forward to my last couple days here, and then getting to explore a new country and culture!

The last week

After an interesting week, filled with long hours and tons of learning in the kitchen, i finally got an off day last sunday. After lazing around, i forced myself to get out and do something.

Walking around my Greenbelt neighborhood!

As i have been eating Outback steahouse food twice a day (Which is great) i was more than ready to try a different cuisine. Naturally, I had to try some thai food! Got some delicious Tom yum soup and basil chicken as per usual.

This is the meal where i met the two fascinating gentleman i wrote about in my last blog post. They actually came and visited me at work the other day, and believe i will actually be going out to dinner with them tomorrow night!

Little did i know that they would just be the start of the fascinating people who i’ve been meeting in the last few days.

Tom yum was yummy

Following my last day working in the kitchen as kitchen manager on monday, i moved on to the front of the house! I’ve been working in the front of the house for pretty much the last 4 years at my dads restaurant in some capacity from host to server to psuedo manager at times at the restaurant. As a result, i feel extremely comfortable on the floor, and so this past week has been far easier for me, and afforded me a good bit more free time.

After shadowing around a server on tuesday, a rather strange experience being that i had been serving for 3 years longer than her but she is super nice and helpful, the manager and i agreed i could move on to another area in the restaurant. That day, while working on the floor a really tall guy (must have been 6′ 6 plus) sat down and he was clearly american so i went over to talk to him. Turns out that he was a former Mississippi State Basketball player named Jason Forte, who was playing ball over here in the Phillipines Basketball Association. He’s traveled all over, and played with former Maryland star Juan Dixon overseas last year! He was an incredibly friendly guy, and was happy to have met him and exchanged contact info and stories about life overseas.

I was scheduled to start bartending on wednesday, and since i had never bartended before we decided that it would be in my best interests to spend more time at the bar!

With one of my lovely trainers, Ivy, at the bar!

As i had mentioned earlier, i had never worked at a bar before, but as i would have expected i’ve really enjoyed it! People mainly order beers and margaritas here, so not too many difficulties on the actual making of drinks and just talk to new people all day (one of my favorite things to do!)

Since outback steakhouse is an internationally recognized restaurant brand, the company draws all sorts of visitors from around the world. I would say that it is 50% Filipinos, 50% ex-pats. As much as i have enjoyed meeting new Filipino people, i have quickly learned that almost all of the ex-pats over here in Makati City are truly fascinating people.

Fascinating People

Going to run through some brief descriptions of the people i’ve been fortunate enough to meet over the past few days:

Mark – worked for a missile/bomb detection company that creates ridiculous tracking products that are used by the military and in airports around the world

Met a couple gentleman (Filipino who owns a shopping center in Dubai, and an Australian guy) at the bar who were foreign currency traders, and they literally set up shop at the bar for the evening. They brought their laptop, and set it up at the bar and got hammered while watching how their hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the market were doing for the day…talk about your traditional dayjob haha.

Met a super interesting regular named Andrew, an elder English or Scottish fellow (can’t remember but there’s tons of both here) who works for Japan Tobacco International, which is apparently the 3rd largest tobacco company in the world. He sets up factories around the world, and told me all about the ridiculous industry over the last few days and provided me with some very interesting insights on the tobacco trade.

A random guy named mike who used to work for Microsoft over here, but now randomly runs a resort in a beach town.

Met an 18 year old girl named Alison whose dad owns a large VOIP company, and used to be neighbors and go to church with good old George Bush in texas when she lived in the states

Two of the most interesting people i met had to be these two British secret service agents. Ok, i lied. They’re not exactly secret service agents, but they were so cool and suave they might as well have been. They work for the british child protection services, and hunt down child predators around the world. They were in Manila, as apparently they were doing strategic work because the city is where many of these creeps hideout and take refuge. The gentleman, from England, used to be a detective and the woman was from New Zealand. I talked extensively with these two for about an hour, and learned a great deal about the world and their fascinating, and troublesome line of work.

San miguel is the local beer here, and so they sent 3 girls to promote the new San Miguel beers that they just rolled out…Me with the San Miguel girls!

On thursday night after work, Transformers 3 had just come out so i decided to go check it out. I Loved it, and thought it was awesome. Action packed, 3d was ridiculous, and the new transformers girl is super hot. Not really a blonde guy, and a HUGE megan fox fan, but honestly i didn’t miss her because i found the new girl to be that attractive. The movie theatre was really nice, with comfortable seats and for a 3d ticket it was 300 pesos (Which was considered to be expensive by the Filipinos, but is around 6 bucks USD). It was the strangest experience when the movie ended, because i hadn’t gone to see a movie in nearly 6 months, and had been so engrossed in the nearly 3 hour film i had forgotten that i was in the Philippines. I’ve pretty much only watched movies in 2 main movie theatres throughout my life (Rio and the Kentlands) and so based on that just figured i was in one of those.
When the lights turned on, and the chatter in Tagalo resumed as the credits rolled it was a quick wake up call that i was living in a foreign country haha.

The movie ended very late, around 2am or so and i started walking back home. As i was nearing my hotel, i heard some great, funky music being blasted from nearby speakers. I couldn’t see the place where the music was coming from, but just decided to follow it wherever it took me. I hadn’t yet gone out really in Makati at all, as I had generally just been chillin in my room and been too lazy to go out (And i had never gone out by myself before either) so figured this would be a good opportunity to at least check something out.

The music led me to an awesome bar, called the Museum Cafe, which was right outside the Ayala Museum located in Greenbelt. It had a youngish, affluent ex-pat community consisting of people from all over the world and met some really interesting people. Started talking to a guy from Denver named Justin and he introduced me to his Australian friends and a couple who lived in Spain. LOVED talking to them about Feria in Sevilla, and Carnaval in Cadiz, and it’s great to see that my international experience living in Europe already opening the international doors of friendship so quickly after my experience there.

I had a great time at the M cafe, and was so happy that i had decided to venture out of my hotel room and got a small taste of the Filipino night life.

With some new friends at M Cafe!

The gentleman to the far right in the picture above, Ene, was an interesting guy i met at the bar. We started talking, and he told me that he works for Cirque de Soleil and that they had a performance in Manila for the next few weeks. We talked for a but longer, and after expressing my interest in watching a show and the fact that i’d never been before, he generously offered to provide me a free ticket to the show on saturday!

The next night, after a failed attempt to meet up with a couple friendly girls i met while at work that night, i met up with some of my new friends from the night before and headed to a Filipino nightclub in Makati.
I thought Spaniards stayed out late, but Filipinos take it to a whole nother level. They may not go as hard, but they definitely stay out just as late if not later. I left the pyrotechnic filled nightclub around 5:30am, which i thought was really late, and everyone kept telling me i was lame for leaving so early haha. Was rather strange going from the darkness of the club, into the sun rising in the morning haha

The next day, i saw the hilarious event below taking place below. In the mall, they’ve been doing these ridiculous live dance party demonstrations that i can’t get enough. Today, it was a group of about 10 filipino girls and some dude doing a dance to some terrible lady GaGa song, and all the while they were doing these synchronized moves as they followed the footsteps that the DDR like video game told them to do. Hard to describe in words, but one of the funnier things i’ve seen since i got over here haha.

Also, the little girl who posed for the pic and threw up the peace sign in the bottom is absolutely adorable!

Saturday morning, i was pleasantly surprised to see that i had an email in my inbox from my new friend Ene who worked at Cirque du Soleil. Ene is the box office supervisor, and managed to get me free tickets to the 7:30 primetime show of the Varekai performace of Cirque du soleil!

My boss reccomended that i take a trusted driver with me, so i hopped in the toyota camry and headed off into Manila to find the Quirino Grandstand, in Rizal Park where the event was taking place.

My drivers name was Dennis, and he was a very nice fellow from Manila who had some difficulties speaking english, making it hard to communicate. It was somewhat frustrating, as we could sense that we were both good people, interested in learning more about one another, however the language barrier was such that we both were unable to express our ideas or opinions in the others native tongue.

On my way to the show!

Traffic wasn’t as bad as expected, so i had some time to check out Rizal Park a bit before the show! In front of the Rizal park memorial statue or something like that

They had a pretty cool fountain light show that was going on in the park so decided to check it out.

In front of the light show!

I was starving, and so despite my reservations about Filipino food i decided to try some street food. It turned out to be delicious, and extremely cheap (The whole meal was under 1USD!). Glad i gave it a seocond chance, and definitely have a much more open mind in regards to Filipino food now!

Cool dude at the food stall, got the chicken curry, rice and noodles!

Finally made it to the Cirque du Soleil tent, and met up with my buddy Ene who was working the box office and gave me my tickets. Not only did he get me free tickets, but he gave me amazing seats in the premium section!

Ene and I outside of the Cirque du Soleil tents!

The version of the show that i was watching was called Varekai, and it was absolutely incredible!

Foto i managed to sneak in before being kindly reminded that no cameras were allowed before the show. Don’t think i’ve ever seen anything that cool in my life before. Erased many of my assumptions about human capabilities, and made me really feel like i need to start going to the gym and working out as the performers made me feel a teensy bit out of shape, and adventurous at the same time.

Sun Life Financial had a picture taking booth set up, so in line with my recent habit of awkwardly awkward pictures by myself i had to get one at the stand.

Me at Cirque du Soleil!

The last week has been awesome, and although i would have liked to be in the US to celebrate the 4th of July with good friends and family, i’m loving life over here in the Philippines.

I’ll be going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a couple days, so looking forward to getting over there. At the same time, excited to enjoy my last couple days here in Makati, and spend time with my mamu who will be here tomorrow night!

Hope everyone is doing well. If you haven’t already, hit me up on skype as it is always lovely to see and talk to a familiar face!

Cheers,

Sahil

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