Growing up, I always looked forward to out-of-town trips with my parents, whether that’s through the provinces of the Visayas or a plane ride to Manila. ✈️
Manila was especially exciting because it was a completely different environment when compared to the relaxed and laid back city of Bacolod, my hometown. The capital was filled with skyscrapers, big malls, beautiful shops, and swanky hotels with their delicious breakfast buffets. 🍳
Eventually I moved to Manila for university, and its become a place embedded in my body and memory both for its wonders and its horrors. It’s this ugly, heavy-breathing beast that you have to make your way through on tip-toe and with a knife in your backpack. Despite its dangers, I continue to love it for its role as the country’s gateway to musicals, literary events, quality education, extravagant shopping, and a life of independence and adventure.
You can imagine how difficult it was to make the decision to move out. With two young children and a husband who wanted a safer life for them, I had to leave the city life behind to raise my family.
There was a lot of resistance during the first three months, so Jayson and I agreed to go on at least one trip to Manila every year to have something to look for. It eventually became a personal “tradition” to take one of my kids back to the city with me. I’ve taken my daughter, Holly, several times in the past, and each one gave her lots of memories to cherish that she always asked to come along whenever I’d have plans to visit again.
Bringing Cyrus to Manila
This year, I chose to bring Cyrus along with me for his 6th birthday. It’s to make up for not throwing him a birthday party or letting him celebrate with his classmates in school.
Cyrus was born in Manila. I was still studying at that time, and had given birth to him during one of my term breaks. He didn’t get to spend most of his life in the city though since we moved to Cagayan de Oro when he turned 1. What better way to let him sort of “get back to his origins” than to take him with me on a 3-day trip to the capital.
I chose to stay at an AirBnb in McKinley Hill, Taguig, which made it very convenient for us to find places to eat, visit some of my favorite malls, and just let Cyrus enjoy the better side of Manila.
For our first day, we spent the first six hours walking through the Venice Grand Mall while waiting to check-in at the AirBnb we rented. We had hot chocolate and apple pie at Mary Grace’s, gazed at the gliding gondolas and their passengers, fed pigeons, bought books at Fully Booked, and took photos with masked men and women adorning Venitian costumes.
When it was time to check in, we settled down, left our bags, and had dinner before retiring for the day. The next day, we visited my sister at Quezon City where he swam a bit before we headed back to Taguig to explore and shop for some of the things Cyrus’ siblings wanted us to bring home.
On our last day, I took Cyrus with me to Makati to visit a travel agency for information about the Japan visa application. Once we were done, we visited SM Makati and Greenbelt before heading back to the Taguig area. There we bought last-minute souvenirs, rode the gondola, spent one hour in this interactive play area, and had dinner before preparing for our trip back home.
While it was fun shopping and walking through familiar grounds again, the best thing about the trip was Cyrus.
Despite a bit of stubbornness and clumsiness, he was super manageable, behaved, and sweet. He was obedient when I asked him to help me with a few things, he always wanted to push the elevator buttons for me, and he didn’t throw a single tantrum whenever he couldn’t get what he wanted. And even though he was tired from all the walking we did, he channeled his boredom and exhaustion through play.
It made me realize how much my baby boy has grown, and that he deserved all the gifts and experiences he had in Manila. I hope he’ll still remember those three days we had, and many other travels we’ll soon have, throughout his life.