Mabuhay! Jennifer has Landed!

Sa wakas, nakarating din sa lupang sinilangan! Thank you flag carrier for the safe trip back home.  I made sure to have a window seat and I was blessed with my early morning view of Manila.  They say Manila sunsets are beautiful but the sunrise is equally gorgeous. Oh it feels so good to be back home! So sorry to my seatmate in the airplane whose sleep I disturbed because I couldn’t keep myself quiet as my adventure finally begins!

I felt like a wide-eyed, giddy little girl when I stepped out of the terminal. It is such a relief that there’s a free shuttle ride to The Belmont Hotel courtesy of Resorts World Manila. Travel Tipid Tip 101 (thrift tip): Utilize the free shuttle services c/o the hotels, airports. It will save you a fortune. LOL.

So during the shuttle ride to The Belmont Hotel, I couldn’t help myself but smile from ear to ear. The first thing that struck me during the ride was how many buildings there were! There were several buses each fighting for passengers and this caused a traffic jam (hello, Manila traffic!).  And yes, the jeepneys! I have to ride one soon and be able to say “para po”.

Finally, we reached the hotel.  After checking-in, I made sure to call some family and friends to tell them I arrived safely. And then the excitement and the jet lag got the better of me and I fell asleep.  A few hours later, I was ready and back to my fighting, adventurer form!

Back in the ‘60s, the main sources of entertainment in my old town in Pangasinan were the fiesta and the perya (a traveling circus with various little makeshift shops selling odds and ends). Sometimes there would be a visiting band (okay, called a combo in those days) that played in our town hall.  Children played in the street in the summer heat and more so, under the pouring rain.  Men converged in simple get-togethers not so much to drink but to strum the lonely guitar, perchance to woo a lady love. We had balls and how!  We wore glamorous gowns and carried ourselves regally, like how Gloria Romero does it in her movies.  It was a simpler time and thinking about it makes me a bit nostalgic, like going through photographs in yellowed albums.

Now, I look outside the window of my Belmont Hotel in Newport City in Pasay and I see a lively, colorful scene. This is a modern Philippines and people are up and about – coming and going from a European-inspired residential condominium called Montecito. I see fancy SUVs on its way to The Marriott or Maxim’s Hotel (I have a limited budget but the Belmont Hotel more than satisfies my needs, plus it is new and the service is amazing).  I see excited kids pulling their parents’ hands, most likely on their way to catch a play at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre. I see many foreigners eager to experience the casino and restaurants at the Resorts World Manila.

I am amazed at this city within a city.  You really don’t have to go anywhere else. In the US kasi, especially where I’m from, I have to drive long distances to get to work, go to the mall, do the groceries, go to a nice restaurant, watch a movie or go to a theater. Dito sa Newport City, everything is here.  I’m not even worried that there may be a typhoon coming (typical of the Philippines!). I’m comfortably and conveniently inside a city where everything is here.  I’m really proud that the Philippines has these townships which somehow address the traffic situation.

It was really a good decision to spend my first few days in Manila here at Newport City.  My Kumare heard about it from a sales agent of Megaworld International and decided to make an investment at Belmont Hotel.  Yes, I’m actually staying at the exact condotel where my friend made her investment through Megaworld International because she wanted me to give her a full report! Hahaha.  Imagine, she really earns from the hotel bookings. Because she’s based abroad, she doesn’t have to worry about furnishings or who to lease it to.  At our age (I’m a few months older than her, I have to mention this in case she’s reading my blog), we really have to make the most out of our savings and pension so I believe she really hit the jackpot when she invested at Belmont Hotel.  I asked the Concierge kung mataas ang hotel occupancy rate and he said it’s at full capacity!

Belmont Hotel

Photo credit – Google Images

I attended a liturgical mass at the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus church which is located a few steps away from the hotel.  See what I mean by convenience?  Properties at Newport City by Megaworld are really a good real estate investment because of the value it offers.  As they say in real estate lingo: location, location, location!  Then I did a little pasalubong shopping at the Newport Mall.  I bought mostly clothes and shoes which come cheap in the Philippines.

The highlight of my day is a mini-reunion with a few of my high school classmates from DCHS.  We had a sumptuous Pinoy dinner, with bestsellers like “Bagumbayan Lechon” and “Sinigang ni Eva” at Crisostomo at the Atrium of Resorts World. The Atrium is a beauty, by the way, with a floor design that reminds me of Senado Square in Macau.

The Atrium Resorts World

Photo credit – Google Images

It’s fun to reminisce with my high school classmates.  Even though I wasn’t able to graduate HS because we had to migrate to the US when I was 15, I still kept in touch with them all these years! Thank you, Facebook! Kami yata ang pinaka-maingay na table sa Crisostomo! Would you believe we chatted for 3 hours?

We capped the night at Bar 360 because my classmates told me there’s ballroom dancing there.  Totoo nga! When we entered the bar, there were Dance Instructors or D.I.s waiting for us, golden girls.  It’s so nice to be able to dance the night away.  What a great start to my homecoming adventure!

Bar 360

Photo credit – Google Images

So now I am back to my superior room at the Belmont Hotel in Newport City, snuggled beneath cozy sheets, breathing a sweet sigh of contentment and ready to dream of my next big adventure in the Philippines.

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