It was more than one year and a half since I left Manila, Philippines and moved here in Tokyo and since then I did not have the chance to visit my home country until last week...

Very early in the morning last Monday, my husband and I headed to Narita International Airport where I took a Cebu Pacific flight to Manila. The trip lasted for five hours but I did not feel the long flight because I slept and from time to time talked to my seat mate/new-found fellow Filipina friend. I was amazed with how fast I was able to get out of the new NAIA Terminal 3  including waiting for luggage and passing through immigration.

My family welcomed me at the airport and from there we rushed back home because my dad wanted to avoid the terrible traffic congestion especially along C-5 Road.  On our way home, we made a quick stop in Max's Restaurant in Marikina and had dinner. I was delighted to eat my  old-time favorites like Bangus belly (Milkfish); Sisig (stir-fried meat placed in a hot lava plate); and the restaurant's signature fried chicken.

Chicken Sisig
Chicken Sisig: A traditional Filipino food served on a hot lave plate   (photo credit: r0ckstarm0mma.com)

Since I only have less than a week vacation,  I spent most of my stay enjoying with family and meeting with friends within the Metro.

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Tuesday dinner with friends the boodle-fight way!
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My whole Thursday spent with my family and best friend in Manila Ocean Park
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First time to try Fish Spa
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Last time I am with this couple was during their wedding day (I was their wedding planner); their eldest son is now 8 years old.

I was also able to make short visits to my previous workplaces. It was a bit nostalgic to see familiar sights that I used to see everyday while I was working in Manila.

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The fountain that greets me every time I enter ADB
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The towering Makati City Hall (photo credit: skyscrapercity.com)

Despite my limited time, I made it sure that I would be able to visit Dangwa Flower Market in Manila. I bought some locally-grown flowers which I used for the Ikebana I made for a friend. I was lucky that my arrangements were placed in a hotel lobby where she is now working.

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The flowers of Dangwa
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A side-table arrangement made of orange Irises, Brid's Nest ferns, Eucalyptus, Carnations, and Torch flowers
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An all-rounder arrangement placed in the lobby of New York Hotel Miami, Cubao

Saying goodbye is bittersweet but I know that family and friends would always welcome me and my husband when we visit Manila again.