Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where do you take a Balikbayan?

(This is a super late re-edited post... he he he)

My cousin AA arrived from Florida last week and stayed with me for a few days. Her trip has been planned weeks ahead and she had informed me of her arrival weeks in advance as well.

Prior to her arrival, I was at a loss on where to take her since she will only be staying with me for a couple of days. How can you jam pack the Philippines in a nutshell, so to speak.

I also had a few factors to consider when I planned our itinerary. One, my car was color coded on the first day of her arrival. Two, she would probably be jetlagged and may not have the stamina to see the sights. Three, I can't drive far distances because I will probably lose my sanity when I drive through Edsa to go somewhere in the North. Heaven forbid if cousin AA wanted me to drive all the way to Subic! Yikes!

Long story short, I had the following simplified itinerary:

First Day:

Since my car's color coded, we stayed within BF homes, there are actually a lot things to do in BF. We had brunch at Via Mare and had some Bibingka, Puto-bumbong and Pancit Bam-I, local dishes not readily available in the US. Sorry we have no pictures of that. We got too excited talking and catching up.

After brunch, we had a body scrub and massage treatment at Sisitra Day Spa, along Aguirre Avenue. The spa is clean, quiet and cousin AA and I shared a private room together. We were truly enjoying our treatment that we never managed to exchange a single word to each other. He he he. Sesitra's home made lemon tea was good, I liked it.

After a few hours at Sesitra Day Spa, we drove to my favorite salon in phase one, Simply G salon. The salon is just a small neighborhood salon but I always get the princess treatment whenever I am there. We had the works, a hair powerdose treatment for super soft hair, foot spa, back massage, manicure and pedicure.

By the time we finished our treatments at the salon, we were quite hungry and decided to have some Spanish Cuisine at Amalia's along Aguirre Avenue. Hubby was able to join us for dinner. We ordered baked oysters, callos, lengua and steak. We were so full!

For dessert, I recommended Canonigo, a soft pillowy cake made with egg whites and served with a milky sauce and fresh mango balls. Yummy!

When we arrived home, I called a home service masseuse and both cousin AA and I had a another blissfull massage for an hour each :-) Note that technically, that was our third massage for the day. He he he.

Second Day:

I dropped off cousin AA to Belo Medical Clinic in Alabang for some skin treatments and left her at Belo so that I can go back home and fetch Hubby who woke up late. Hubby was to be our designated driver for the day. When we returned to fetch cousin AA, she was still in treatment. When she was done, we waited for her bill for what seemed like hours. Buy the time she paid, it was almost 3:00 p.m.! I really don't understand why it took that long to process the bill! I almost lost my patience.

For late lunch, we decided to have lunch at Congo Grill since it was the only one open at 3:00 p.m. Most restaurants in the area close by 2:00 p.m. and resume operations around 5:00 p.m., for the dinner crowd.

At Congo Grill, we had the fat laden spread you see before you. It's not the healthiest but the food is something that most balikbayans crave for... pork sisig, crispy pata, chicharon bulaklak. We threw in pinakbet there to get some sort of nutrition in our system, he he he.

After a super-late lunch, we proceeded to Market Market to buy some local delicacies as pasalubong when cousin AA goes back to Florida.

We did some shopping too inside the mall, local magazines being the heaviest of our carry-on "luggage". The sales clerk at National Bookstore was astonished when we purchased a lot of magazines (Philippine magazines cost around $9 each in the US).

Before proceeding to the car, we saw this taho stand and ordered some hot taho. Taho is soft beancurd, made from soybeans (like silken tofu) served with arnibal (or sugar syrup) and sago (large tapioca).

For dinner, we drove to Macapagal Avenue and went to the wet market to buy some fresh lobsters, prawns, oysters and asparagus. We had them cooked at Robbie's. We had plenty leftovers.

By the time we got home, cousin AA and I were already so tired and went straight to bed. I thought we would still have the energy to get a massage but we were both too sleepy.

Third day:

Tagaytay! We drove to Sonya's garden to have a healthy lunch, looked around and took lots of pictures.

Lots of goofy pictures. Ha ha ha.

However though, cousin AA was jet lagging and had a bad reaction in her tummy and we had to cut short our trip and forego our planned itinerary for the rest of the day. We did manage to take a bathroom break in Nuvali and fed the koi for a little while before proceeding home.

Come dinnertime, cousin AA was fetched by our cousin Ria to spend a few days with her family. i think that they planned a grand shopping spree for the next few days.

Cousin AA's stay with me was short but sweet :-)

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