RRB in the Philippines | By the Numbers


rrb, philippines, manila, cebu, baguio, by the numbersKail and I took our third RRB (regional rest break) to the Philippines. It wasn’t an ordinary vacation. It was my first trip to the Philippines in 30 years. I was born there, but when I was one year old, my family immigrated to the United States. It took three decades, but I finally made it back.manila, philippines, intramuros, fort santiagoNeedless to say, it was an amazing, exciting, emotional trip. I have a lot of extended family there, some of whom I had previously met in the U.S., but most of whom I only knew of through my parents and old photo albums — and then, with the advent of the internets, through Facebook.philippines, villa escudero, volcano, caribou cartI’ll write more about my Philippines “homecoming” in a future post, but for now I’ll just share a few photos and highlights, by the numbers. (See previous “By the Numbers” posts: First Year in El Salvador, R&R in Hawaii, RRB in NepalRRB in the Maldives and R&R in Thailand, Laos & Cambodia.)cebu, mactan, philippines, plantation bay resort & spa, plantation bay, lagoonOur trip to the Philippines was short — only 10 days — but we managed to do a lot so it felt like a longer (much-needed) break, which was nice. We spent three nights in Manila, one night in Baguio, a mountain town about five hours outside of Manila by car, another night in Manila and then four nights in Mactan, an island in Cebu Province.cebu, mactan, philippines, plantation bay resort & spa, plantation bay, diving, buceoWe spent our first two full days with my family, then took a road trip to Baguio with one of our Filipina colleagues, a TCN who used to work for USAID/Philippines. We visited “landmarks” from my infancy, like the hospital where I was born. We snorkeled with whale sharks.philippines, villa escudero, volcano, halo-halo, mix-mix, filipino cultural showHalo-halo, aka mix-mix.We ate so much delicious food (obviously I am going to dedicate at least one blog post entirely to food, possibly one dedicated solely to halo-halo). We got excellent massages. We even enjoyed mundane activities we don’t get a chance to do, like walking around the mall and getting haircuts (my hair is super-short now, much shorter than in these photos, because I got it cut toward the end of our trip).philippines, villa escuderoFamily.Of all the new places to which we’ve traveled over the last three years, the Philippines is the one I can say with absolute certainty we’ll visit again. And it won’t take 30 years this time. I would love to go back to El Salvador or the Maldives (yeah right — only if we do another tour in Afghanistan and that is definitely not happening) but in reality, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to make that happen, at least in the near future.Of all the places you’ve traveled, where’s the one place you would love to visit again?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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