Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First Day in Manila

I arrived in Manila almost exactly 24 hours ago, and I have been asleep for most of those hours. The time difference is 14 hours. If it's Tuesday May 14 at 9:00 a.m. in the US (central standard time), then in Manila it is Tuesday May 14 11:00 p.m.. It is currently midnight here, and I just woke up from an eight hour nap. My internal clock is still on United States time.

After we got picked up from the airport, we decided to try some Filipino food. We stopped at a place called Aristocrat. It was good for our first meal!

This is BBQ chicken served with yellow rice. You eat it with the sauce Eyen is holding in the background. It's called Java Sauce. It's soy sauce and peanut sauce mixed together. 

This is called Sagot Gulaman. (sa-goat ga-la-mahn).  It is shaved iced with tapioca and gulaman, which is like Filipino jello. The drink is sweet and reminded me of the taste of tea. 

This is Eyen and her Lola Yna. Lola means "grandma" in Filipino. It is also a term you use to define anyone's grandma. You meet someone and their grandma, you would call her grandma Lola. Yna is her name, (pronounced E-nah), short for Elena. The counter term for Lola is Lolo which means grandpa. 

This is Eyen, her Kuya Dylan, and her Lola Yna. Kuya (coo-yah) is a term that means older brother. You would also use it to define older male friends. Ate (ah-tay) is its counter word. You would use Ate for older female friends and sisters. 

Another picture of Eyen with her Kuya Dylan. We surprised him at the hospital he works at. It has been almost 5 years since they have seen each other in person! <3

This afternoon we went to a mall called Trinoma. If you live in the United States and don't really travel a lot, this mall will be a huge shock for you. It is HUGE. And when I say huge, I mean it's the biggest mall I have seen so far. One thing I noticed immediately was that for every clothing or accessory store you see, you see at least 3 places to eat. The mall has more eating places than places to shop. And when you walk around, you notice the people eating and not shopping. This is how you know Filipinos love their food! (I love it too hehe) Here are some pics from today!

We ate at Gerry's Grill today for lunch. It was super good!

For lunch, Eyen and I ordered Green Mango smoothies, and Lola Yna ordered Sarsi, which is a Filipino brand root beer. The smoothie was delicious; kind of sour and sweet at the same time. 

This is called Bangus Sisig. (bahng oos C cig). It's minced fish cooked in a sizzling plate with a distinct flavor. One of Filipinos favorite "pulutan" (polluten) which means like an appetizer. They usually eat this whenever they have a drink. I hear it goes great with beer!

This is sinigang (sini gahng) or sour soup. It has bangus belly (fish) with veggies. It has a really sour taste but goes well with rice!

This is laing (la-ing). Gabby leaves with coconut milk and chilies  It has a very spicy flavor. The gabby leaves taste a lot like spinach. The coconut milk is a nice opposite to the chili flavor. 

This is grilled tuna. I have never had tuna except for out of a can. This was very different and VERY GOOD! 

These are little grilled squids, my choice for lunch! They were yummy! They had a nice bbq flavor to them. When they brought them out, I just kept imagining how my mom would react to them. haha. 

This is some greenery inside of the mall. 

Eyen and I looking like some tourists. 

Eyen with her Taho. (ta-ho). This is a Filipino food that consists of softened tofu with melted sugar and tapioca. It is served warm. Eyen waited up all morning for the "Taho man" to come. In the mornings, a man will go door to door selling taho for breakfast. Apparently we missed him, so we decided to get her some taho at Trinoma. 

A close up pic of the taho. 

And finally, one of the things I was so excited to try... HALO HALO! (hollow hollow). Halo Halo actually stands for "mix mix". This specific halo halo was served without any ice cream, but it was still awesome! As you can see, it is filled with all kinds of goodies! It has tapioca, shaved iced with milk, leche flan, purple yum, corn flakes, etc. It is a super sweet snow cone type of dessert! I can't wait to try more. :)

After our 8 hour nap today, we woke up hungry. We decided to walk to a near-by place to eat. It is called 24 hour Pares. (pares is a Filipino soup). It was raining and dark, but it was a nice adventure. Here in Manila, you will find a lot of places open 24 hours a day. No matter what time it is, you will always find things to do here!

This is a Filipino dish we ordered. It is beef in a savory sauce. It reminds me of Salisbury steak. It is served with rice, and it was a specialty of the restaurant. 

This is Daing na Bangus (da-ing nah bahng oos) which stands for smoked fish. It was served with white rice and chop suey (mixed chinese veggies). The fish had a nice tangy flavor. 

We had to sneak the last two pictures because it isn't very safe to carry any valuables with you around the city. I am not allowed to carry anything; no purse, no money, no camera, and I cannot EVER be left alone. This is just to be sure that I am safe. Some people here think that since I am American, I automatically have money, which makes me an easier target. Not everyone is like this. If you are American, you will be surprised to know that almost all signs are in English, and a majority of people speak English. So far, I have seen they love to use their English with and around Americans! 

My next blog will be about driving in Manila, and it will be interesting. It is unlike ANYTHING I have ever experienced! Stay tuned!

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