Hello from Zambales

I’m currently sitting on my family’s porch, with an oscillating fan behind me and the sounds of tricycles just beyond the green gate.

I’ve just returned from walking to the local palengke and searching for a decent cup of iced coffee.

Here in the Philippines, it seems most people favor 3-in-1 or instant coffee mixes to the real thing. This is me roughing it, folks.

We arrived from the States on Monday and have been nonstop since then. We started in Manila > Olongapo City > Subic Bay > Santa Cruz province > Pangasinan/Hundred Islands > San Felipe, Zambales.

After lunch we’ll travel to Iba, also in Zambales. Tomorrow we return to Manila for a short time before we jet off to Bantayan, Cebu. Our final leg of the trip may find us in Thailand.

Apparently I’m not the type to take relaxing vacations. It’s always go, go, go. See and do as much as possible in the time I have.

I’m hoping to find the time to just sit on the sand and soak up the sun.

It’s been lovely spending time with family though. We are so very different but there are invisible ties that bind us. Blood, age, what have you.

It also gives me a chance to flex my poor Tagalog skills. I find I understand more than before I took classes, but I don’t think fast enough to speak it.

Life in the Philippines is simple compared to mine in San Francisco. Especially in the provinces. We spent two days in Santa Cruz. I couldn’t stand the bugs and slathered on insect repellent every night.

On our last day, there was a brown out and the power was shut off before 7 a.m. I woke up in a sweat because my fan stopped.

I sound like such a bougie prick. Perhaps I am. Being here certainly reminds me of how privileged I am to have been born and raised in the U.S.

As I grow older and learn more about my Filipino culture, I appreciate it so much more. It’s rich and vibrant and complex in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a child.

My biggest regret remains, though it was largely out of my control and I’m really trying to rectify it now. Speaking Tagalog or Ilocano would certainly enhance my experiences here all the more.

Anyway, I’m starting to sweat, even with the fan. I will now retreat to my air-conditioned room.

More to come.

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