If you had asked me yesterday if I thought the day would be fun, my answer would have been a big fat NO. But, just like I was with so many other things, I was wrong.
It started with lunch with Chris at Shangri-la – he had steak and I had McDonald’s. We both refer to it as comfort food. Why he needed comfort food, I had no idea. At around 2 pm, we decided to move on. The plan, originally made while in Starbucks with Errolle and Marvin the night before, was to meet up with Mark then pick up Marovi from the airport. It was rather straightforward until we were actually living it.
We did meet up with Mark (Chris really, really wanted to meet him) in Ayala a little after 2 in the afternoon. After standing around in front of that building next to PBCOM, I finally convinced them to accompany me to the office because I wanted to pick up some stuff I had to use for the next day’s SMB session. Chris, wearing beige pants and slippers, opted to not go to the fourth floor with me mainly because he “felt so underdressed”. Thinking this was a good moment for him and Mark to start a conversation, I left them downstairs and proceeded to get my paraphernalia from my desk.
Thank the Goddess, no one was in our area when I arrived. I honestly did not want to have to explain why I was walking around the office wearing jeans (I was on leave) and why I was not able to report for work (this really wasn’t anybody’s business but Louie’s). So I snatched my corporate shoes and my very corporate blazer and before anyone else asides from Bobby noticed my presence, I left.
I found the boys making small talk, apparently discussing what had happened during videoke Saturday. It was a sudden need to drink something that finally got us walking. One thing I did notice about those hours in Ayala is that we had this habit of standing in one spot, start talking and not move. This particular phenomenon happened in front of the building next to PBCOM, outside my office building, the corner of Rufino and Dela Rosa, inside Mini-Stop and outside Mini-Stop. But I digress.
At the corner of Rufino and Dela Rosa, Chris was trying to decide where to get water – from 711 (wherein we had to cross the street to reach) or Mini-Stop (where just had to turn the corner and walk a little further). This is Chris we’re talking about – of course we ended up heading to Mini-Stop. He got his water, I got my Mountain Dew (and only because I knew I was going to topple over soon if I didn’t get any sugar in me) and Mark got some fruit juice in a bottle and we fell back into the habit of standing around some random area, talking and blocking the aisles.
At some point, Mark took a call, tried to naturally walk away from us and lowered his voice in an effort to not make us hear. Unfortunately for him, I have bionic ears. This obviously did not work. And so at this point, I had to ask, “What in the Goddess’s name was that lovely language he was using?” – I did really ask this, by the way. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this post, I have yet to get a straight answer. Ah, Mark, my apparently multi-talented, strange-eyed friend, your attempts at hiding so many things is so… strange. Endearing, time-consuming and a little funny, but strange. Asides from that particular question, the other most popular inquiry (which, by the way, is presently still unanswered) was, “Is that your natural eye color?” Chris and I spent many minutes trying to figure out whether or not Mark was wearing colored contact lenses.
Moving on… Our time with Mark comes to a close a little after this because he still opted to continue with his errands and I had opted to spare him from continuously trying to say no to me. I think he’s just really nice that way and, if left to my own devices, I would have bullied him endlessly. That said, between the time we left Mini-Stop and when Chris and I finally got a cab, I had somehow managed to get a door slammed in my face, almost losing my balance on a sidewalk and getting left behind on the other side of the street.
With Mark physically out of the picture, in comes Marovi. Marovi is Chris’s cousin from his mother’s side. She was scheduled to arrive at 5:00 pm at Terminal 2 and we were supposed to pick her up. The very first thing I thought of upon getting out of the cab was, “I’ve been here before.” It was the same terminal I had been in when I last left for Hong Kong in 2006. I loved being in the airport – I still think it’s one of the most hope-filled places in the world. Maybe because for me, it symbolizes the many, many possibilities and the many, many lives being lived all over the world and the many, many stories they tell. There is also that rush of adrenaline, brought about by the “what-ifs” and “what-coulds”. The airport is a portal… It is a gateway to a different place, a different culture… A different life.
Anywho. While waiting for Marovi to walk out into the arrival area, a former Sykes employee approached us and started a conversation. Chris, always the better people person, engaged in dialogue. Neither of us remembered who this girl was, but it was Chris who verbalized this. It turned out she was an SBRC agent named Divine and is now in Manulife. It truly is a small, small world. And sometimes, no matter how far apart we feel we’ve become, it’s surprising to find out how we are still somehow tied to one another. Manulife is currently a client of ours – a client wherein AdSup is being run. Divine, bless her soul, is currently attending the AdSup class being run by Abet. See? It’s like 6-degrees to Kevin Bacon all over again.
So the original plan was pick up Marovi and bring her to her cousin’s house in Cavite. What really happened was this – we did meet with Marovi at the arrival area of Terminal 2. She, however, also had two friends pick her up. It ended as all five of us – the two friends, Marovi, Chris and I – piling up in a car and driving to Blue Wave where we had “merienda” in Starbucks. Chris finally got to try the Grilled Ham and Three Cheese sandwich that I love so much. Now he loves it too. We also decided to split a venti Earl Grey and now I’ve discovered that I don’t particularly like Earl Grey. English Breakfast is still the best for me, except that I always get a bum tummy what I drink it.
After the afternoon snack, we ended up taking a cab to Bacoor. A cab. I wouldn’t have taken a cab to… well, anywhere. But then again, I wasn’t the one with the luggage, nor was I paying, so a cab it was. I was very amused by the fact that because I was with Ilonggo people, I remembered every single Ilonggo term I had ever learned. And all communication was done in our dialect. Not bad for someone who’s only ever been to Bacolod once.
We ended up having dinner in Judy’s house – fish, corned beef, cheese dogs, rice and soup. Any takers on who ate the most? Oh, wait, that’s a total giveaway. It was a nice dinner – very quiet, very homey, and very let’s-all-sit-down-and-eat-dinner-as-a-family. By this time, it was 9:00 pm and I could feel myself drooping. In the end, we decided to sleep over, accepting the fact that we would have to get up at 4:00 am to be ready to travel to Manila by 5:00 am. I went up early – mostly because I haven’t really slept and the pressure from the emotional roller coaster that is my life was taking its toll. Chris, who was playing catch-up with his cousin, later on told me they were still awake at 2:30 am. And yet he was the one who called me up at 4 am to make sure I was awake. That meant he had around an hour and a half of sleep.
Miraculously, though, we were done preparing by 4:30 am and were out of the house by a little before 5 am. At that early an hour, I really kind of thought it would be fairly easy to get a ride. I was wrong. In the end, we took a cab (again!). Chris decided to risk it because the fare would be metered anyway. We ended up paying Php205, which wasn’t bad. We got to Manila a little after 6 am. Because it was obviously too early for me to go waiting at The Podium, Chris decided that he would go home first. I agreed to this because it would allow me to apply make up and dress up and tie my hair. On the way to his apartment, however, we started seeing a lot of karinderias and ended up having breakfast at R & J’s. I finally got to order the tapsilog that I’ve wanted to try since the first time we tried eating there. The food, as usual, was AWESOME. As in AWESOME. Tapsilog and Beef Kaldereta. AWESOME.
I have to go back there soon. Anywhere, back to the real world. Until next time…