Gilles: My first week in the Philippines
Date: November 7, 2023
From the moment I stepped foot in the Philippines, I was greeted by the warm and welcoming spirit of my colleagues (Maggie and Erwin) and the Filipino people in general. It’s been a great first week, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.
A warm Welcome
The friendliness and hospitality of my colleagues and the Filipino people in general have been truly heartwarming. From my very first day, I was welcomed with open arms and friendly smiles. The genuine interest in getting to know me made me feel right at home. It’s heartwarming to be part of such a welcoming community.
Maggie and Erwin, in particular, extended their warm hospitality by inviting me to Coffee Beans, a local café only can be found here in the Philippines. Over a cup of coffee, they not only shared their stories of their own experiences but also offered valuable insights into Filipino culture and traditions. They showed me the local ways and urged me to try different Filipino dishes from the lively food scene on my own time.
It became evident that for my colleagues, building connections and forming bonds is not just a formality; it’s a cherished aspect of Filipino culture.
Exploring Metro Manila
During my first week, I had the opportunity to explore the vibrant Metro Manila. I visited several exciting cities, including Makati, Taguig (specifically Bonifacio Global City), and Manila. Each of these places has its unique charm, but Makati stood out.
Makati is a city that has stolen my heart in just a short span of time. The architecture here is a breathtaking fusion of modern design and innovation. If you’re a fan of towering sky scrapers with curtain walls that form magnificent skylines, Makati is the place to be!
One of the things that struck me about Makati is how clean and safe it is. The streets are well-maintained, the city’s orderly arrangement ensures easy navigation and exploration, offering a reassuring sense of safety for newcomers like me.
In addition to its stunning architecture, Makati offers an array of activities and experiences. Whether you’re food enthusiast, a shopaholic, or a culture seeker, there’s something for everyone here. The local cuisine is a treat for the taste buds, and the shopping options are diverse and exciting. You can explore the rich history and culture of the Philippines through various museums and cultural sites in the city.
Exploring beyond Metro Manila
While my first week was primarily spent in Metro Manila, I also had the opportunity to explore other parts of this beautiful country. The first week that I was here, they celebrated Halloween.
On Tuesday evening, I decide to join the local festivities and found myself on a night out. It was during this Halloween celebration that I had the chance to meet a group of Filipino residents who are living in metro Manila.
These newfound friends invited me to join them on a road trip to Tagaytay, a city in the province of Cavite. Tagaytay is a stark contrast to the bustling Metro Manila. It’s a smaller city with a rich cultural ambiance.
On Friday we went on our journey to Tagaytay. We first visited Taal Lake, a lake with quite a view and with a small island in its center, which happens to be a volcano. The breathtaking view of the lake and the volcano was inspiring, making this visit a highlight of my week.
After our exploration, we stopped at the nearest restaurant to savor a local delicacy, Bulalo. Bulalo is a soup made from beef shanks and bone marrows. It’s a dish that’s widely enjoyed in the province, and it was a culinary delight. The flavors were rich and comforting, and it was a wonderful way to experience the local cuisine.
My first week in the Philippines has been an unforgettable adventure filled with warmth, stunning skylines, and endless opp
ortunities for exploration. I’m eagerly anticipating delving further into the culture, collaborating with my extraordinary colleagues, and continuing to explore the beauty of this remarkable country.
This is only the beginning of what promises to be an extraordinary experience, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Until next time!