Mamu in Manila & Adios Filipinos!

Hola amigos!

Finally made it to Malaysia after a super long day of travel last night. I’m living in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood which is this awesome, happening downtown neighborhood in KL,Malaysia and have a feeling this is going to be a super awesome 2 weeks, Full post to come soon!

Mamu in Manila & Adios Filipinos!

On monday night, my Mamu (Mom’s brother) just happened to be coming into Manila for the next week. His company sets up VPOs (Call outsourcing centers) and Makati has quickly become one of the world’s biggest hubs for call centers only behind India, as most of the population speaks relatively good English. The crazy thing is, people are jumping to snatch up the call center jobs, and they are considered to be very high paying. Imagine hundreds of Americans excited to get jobs at call centers…just another reminder of how good we really have it.

Anyways, to say our meeting in the Philippines was a coincidence or random just doesn’t seem to do the situation justice. My uncle and I haven’t seen each other in over a year, as he lives in Texas and we’re in Maryland. The fact that after so long, we were actually meeting up halfway across the world was so ridiculous and exciting haha. Really is becoming a global world..

I took a cab over to his hotel which was only a few minutes away, and we finally met up. It was so great to see him, and we headed down to the bar to grab a drink and catch up one one another’s lives.

There was a live band performing at the bar that night. The band was playing Shakira’s world cup song “Waka-Waka” as we walked in, further reinforce the fact it has become the theme song of my travels abroad along with “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce.

The next day, before i headed to work to say goodbye to my filipino friends and co-workers i swung by a store called Kultura Filipino in the mall to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family.

Naturally, i had to get a funky filipino shirt..

As i was walking to work, i finally managed to take a picture of just another one of the funny events that take place in the malls around here. They have these animal shaped car things that parents and kids sit on and ride around the open area lol

When i got to work, i made my rounds and performed a task that i’ve become all too accustomed with…saying goodbye. It was weird that i was leaving now, as i had finally begun to feel very comfortable with everyone at the staff and considered them all to be friends. I believe i learned a great deal from each and every one of them, and they provided with an experience i will never forget.

Gonna miss you guys!

As i was saying goodbye to everyone downstairs, one of the regulars (Mike, the guy to my right) offered to buy me a beer so i grabbed a pint and a pitcher with the gentleman who always kept things interesting for me while i was bartending.

Before i left, my bar trainer IVY made me hang around for a bit, and gave a HUGE envelope.

As you can see, this is huge!!!

They are all the sweetest people ever, and bought me a card and all signed it with personal notes! I had mentioned that i really wanted to get a Filipino flag before i left but hadn’t been able to find one…they bought me one and put it in the envelope as well!

Really put a huge smile on my face, and will be sure to bring the card and flag back home with me.

That evening, after saying my final goodbyes to the staff and beginning to pack a bit, i met up again with Mamu. We were searching around for a spot to eat for a bit, and then saw a malaysian place. Neither of us had ever had Malaysian, and it seemed only fitting that we try some as i would be heading off for the country the next morning.

Aside from some minor issues we had with our waiter, and a fish mix-up we had a great meal.

Was truly wonderful getting to see and spend time with mamu after so long. Was one of the first times that we’ve actually spent time together one and one, and really enjoyed talking about one another’s lives and whatnot.

Only picture of me and mamu in Manila haha

Overall, my trip to the Philippines was a very successful trip. Although i was only there for a couple weeks, it really felt like i was there for a couple months as i was so immersed into the culture. I was temporarily a chef in the Philippines, in an Outback Steakhouse of all places, which was an experience i never dreamt i would ever have, and loved every second of it. I learned so much about Filipino culture, people, human interaction and the world while i was over here. I met some absolutely fascinating people, who had the most interesting life stories to share that i will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.

More important than anything though, was i believe i really got to know myself really well in the past couple weeks. I’ve never really lived on my own before, let alone another country. When living alone, you have lots of time to think about life and put things in perspective. As i’m sure those who care enough to reads this know, I’m an extremely social creature, and love interacting with others and being around people constantly. As a result, the first week was pretty strange for me and was definitely an adjustment period. After that, i finally became very comfortable with myself, and becoming at peace with relaxing for once and spending time alone. Got a book on the Dalai Lama’s essential teachings a couple days ago, and have found it be pretty valuable info so far.
I also finally started getting out of my bedroom which was the most important thing. It was a bit weird going out solo at first, but am quickly realizing how much fun and liberating going out by yourself and meeting new people can be. Definitely provides a confidence booster, and if you’ve never done so i would recommend trying it sometime!

Next, I’m off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and can’t wait to see what else this adventure has in store for me!

My Filipino Family!

Cheeers mates,

Sahil

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