manila, philippines: the final days

I’m writing this back in Oslo, where the cold, snowy weather juxtaposes next to memories of my final nine days in Manila.

I arrived in Oslo two days ago, after a superb flight with Singapore Airlines (one of my short-term goals is to fly First or Business with them) and a sucky one with Scandinavian Airlines (dated crafts and service that pales in comparison to the former). These past two days the city has been covered in a white blanket of snow, so coming from a warm, humid climate, it’s actually a welcoming respite. Let’s see as the days roll around to the next two months if I could say the exact same thing. Haha!

My final days in Manila revolve around spending time with family, meeting old friends, and knowing new ones. Probably one of the highlights was when the family drove south to Tagaytay last Dec 30th, where we had lunch at Sonya’s Garden and dinner at Josephine’s. Sonya’s Garden is an oasis of organic food, a cozy bed & breakfast hotel, and endless trails reminiscent of a secret garden, where one feels in deep commune with nature.





As in the past years, I rang in the new year with my parents at our home in Manila and for dinner we prepared steak, buttered potatoes with salt, pepper and garlic (yummm!), sausages and pasta. I am grateful for the year that was, must be one of the best years of my life, and hopeful that the new one brings in good tidings and good health to all my loved ones.


On the eve of my departure back to Oslo, I met up with my closest college friends who were all blooming and beautiful that night. It felt good seeing all of you again! It’s good to know that after all this time, we still crack to the same kind of jokes and still jive to each other’s personalities. Thanks for coming and good luck to us all!



A few more snapshots before the parting photos for this lovely one-month trip.




Thank you, dear family and friends, for making my trip truly memorable! I will always have fond memories of Manila because of all of you.



Until I see your faces again!

P.S.  I’m twenty six today. :)


7 Responses to “manila, philippines: the final days”

  1. 1 zocalo January 6, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    these photos are in such sharp contrast to Norway, LOL. I left Jan 2 but I just heard that anywhere between 30-100cm of snow was dumped in Oslo/southern Norway in the last few days!!! CRAZY!!

    I’m glad 2007 was very good for you and hopefully the new job will mean feeling more settled in the new country!

  2. 2 tricia January 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    hi mark………happy new year….happy birthday!!! mwah!

  3. 3 RennyBA January 7, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Thanks for sharing all this pics from your stay with your family – happy to know your safely and sound back in Norway!

    Happy Birthday Mark!

  4. 4 Shigeki January 7, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Happy Birthday, Mark! I am sure you celebrated your B-day early when you were in Manila? I didn’t know the airport was named after the great president of your country! Aquino!

    Once again, the photos made me think it looks so warm… I hope you stay warm and the sudden temperature change can weaken you a little so wear things even if you want to take all of your clothes off which we do not mind to see (frontal nudity) hehe.

    Happy B-day!

  5. 5 sardonic nell January 7, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    happy birthday, mark. looks like your trip to manila was well worth it. imagine the smiles you put of your love ones faces when they got to see you again. and now that you’re back in oslo. i guess this means, we’re back to work. right?

  6. 6 chase January 8, 2008 at 2:50 am

    Hello darling! Belated Happy Birthday! I think it was also a blessing in disguise to be back in Philippines and staying here for a couple of months since I got to experience certain traditions and cultures that I will surely miss once I am back again in Norway

  7. 7 Mark January 9, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Hi Zocalo! I think the snow was worse in the periphery of Oslo. It’s not so bad here in the center, what with the underground-heated streets. Thanks for the well wishes on the new job!

    Thanks, Tricia! I hope you’re recuperating well.

    Thanks Renny! Glad to be back. :)

    Hello Shigeki! No, there wasn’t any early bday celebration in Manila, but every day spent there was a celebration, so that’s good enough for me. Ninoy Aquino didn’t make it to the presidency. He was a senator when he got assassinated. Hahaha on the frontal nudity! Are you sure you want to see me in that way?

    It was really nice spending Christmas with my family. It was worth the long journey and the expenses accumulated during the trip. No work here, still looking. :)

    Thank you Chase! That’s a nice way of seeing it. Hope to see you back here, soon!

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