Manila Hotel Staycation

With the impending arrival of Stella, Jaime and I figured it would be years again before he and I could enjoy a proper “vacation.” And by proper, we mean a vacation which may or may not involve consuming copious amounts of alcohol and waking up at noon the following day. A vacation which may or may not involve renting a Vespa scooter and zipping around an ancient European city’s crowded highways, with not much thought for safety. A vacation where we can actually sit down and enjoy a proper meal.

And so it was that Jaime and I found ourselves at the Manila Hotel during the APEC holidays. He and I have never stayed at the Manila Hotel, ever. We’ve only seen its facade, and I’ve only had a meeting there once or twice. Jaime has never even stepped foot inside it. We wanted to stay in a place just in Manila, where we could walk around and not just vegetate in a hotel. We heard that the Korean and Chilean Presidents were booked at the same hotel. Not Canadian PM Trudueau though, but oh well. We did miss him by 5 minutes when we arrived, dammit.

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There was no traffic either, hallelujah! We were even allowed to check in early. Upon dumping our bags, we set out for lunch at Ilustrado and some sightseeing at the San Agustin Church and Museum.

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My darling husband works in the curatorial team of one of the country's best museums. So it was like having a tour guide all to myself, for free!

My darling husband works in the curatorial team of one of the country’s best museums. So it was like having a tour guide all to myself, for free!

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The next day, we had lunch at Chinatown and shopped around for hopia. It was Thursday then and all roads were closed for the big APEC dinner that night. Thankfully, a kind Manila police officer escorted us back to our hotel in exchange for a small tip. Parang Apec delegate lang.

We went swimming that night, with me clad in a bikini that I will probably never get to wear again in this lifetime. Not with the stretchmarks and the not-so-few pounds I acquired during the course of this pregnancy, both of which I predict will remain with me for the rest of my life. After room service dinner, we passed out before 10 pm, like the old fogeys that we are.

Checking to see if the flowers were real. Like a true Pinoy turista.

Checking to see if the flowers were real. Like a true Pinoy turista.

After another buffet breakfast that day, we went swimming again. Swimming in a pool when one resembles an inflatable whale has its perks. I loved feeling buoyant, and were it not for the fact that we had to check out, I could have stayed in the pool all day. Jaime would drag me around the pool by my arms, like a child who was learning how to swim.

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I’ve never had a staycation before, but I think this was pretty much how I’d imagined a perfect staycation would be.

Before we become like ships

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I already know, when the baby is born, he or she will take over our entire life. Mornings will blend into evenings, and evenings will merge again with the day, and so on and so forth, until we can no longer tell the difference. I already know, when the baby is born, that there will come a point, between each and every sleep, and each and every waking moment, when my husband and I will become ships that merely pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, a distant voice in the darkness.

These are the things I would like to remember, before that happens, and before we forget that long before this child, there was only the two of us.

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Gold!

We celebrated Jaime’s birthday this year with a bang – by watching Spandau Ballet, live in Manila. Well if, like us and our tito tita standards, you define ‘bang’ as watching an 80s band perform their greatest hits and some new songs they have churned out over the years. We thoroughly enjoyed the concert, as did the hundreds of other titos and titas in the audience.

Spandau Ballet sang old favorites like Gold, Through the Barricades, Lifeline, Round and Round, and of course, True. We were thrilled that Fra Lippo Lippi was the opening act, too. Or at least one member of the band was. Yihee prom songs. The kids in the audience had absolutely no idea what was going on.

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Grisly little trivia: Spandau Ballet actually refers to the “dance” that Jewish prisoners made while they were being gassed or hanged at Nazi concentration camps. No wonder the band landed in the list of “World’s Worst Band Names,” a list that includes Dogs Die in Hot Cars and Crazy Penis.

It will be a couple more years before Jaime actually turns golden. Hopefully we’ll still have enough energy to watch concerts then.

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