Flying in, watching a beautiful sunset from above the clouds, I had anticipated this moment all day. It had been a long morning and afternoon…we were scheduled to land at 7:30pm in Manila, and I couldn’t wait to crash at the hotel. An announcement over the radio said our landing would be delayed…and so began our hilarious streak of bad luck in the Philippines.
After about 45 minutes of aimlessly flying in the sky, we finally landed. We hurried to get our bags and requested an Uber that was 9 minutes away. I watched the little black car on my phone make it’s way to us…and then turn around, make it’s way towards us and then turn around. After almost 45 minutes, I cancelled the ride. It was after 9pm. Another ride request service was located outside the airport, and they quoted us a half hour for a driver to arrive. We broke down and got a taxi.
The driver was very nice and talked to us about where we were staying and where to go on the island. The hotel was only about 5 miles away…food, shower, then bed! I’m so close! I thought…
The traffic was the worst I had seen anywhere. Rush hour in LA would have been a godsend in comparison. Gone were the peaceful law abiding freeways of Taiwan, and into the madness we stumbled. It took us an hour to drive 5 miles. At 10:15pm, we checked into Amorsolo Hotel. After a 15 hour travel day…there’s nothing like finding out the hotel you booked online is located in a red light district. Great. We made plans to leave Manila in the morning.
After another failed Uber experience in the morning, we took a taxi to Victory Liner bus terminal and made our way out to Subic Bay at 11:30am. Our taxi driver from the airport had said it was about a 3 hour trip, and roughly 90 miles. It turns out the traffic is just constant and it took an additional hour and a half to get out of the city. We arrived in Subic Bay around 4pm.
We stayed at The Pub Hotel. Great reviews on line, right next to the beach, this was exactly what I was looking for. A few days on the beach would be the perfect send off back to the US. Funny though, none of the reviews mention that National Highway, where the hotel was located, was yet another (larger) red light district. I laughed inside and let it go. You can’t win them all!
I tried to see the situation with as much humor as possible but the deathly energy of Subic Bay was very present. Young beautiful girls flaunted their bodies everywhere, and I felt their emptiness. Old men smoking in the streets, I felt their anger. There was a draw on my own energy. I exuded as much love and peace as I could and will never stop praying for the lost souls I encountered. I will never stop hoping that someday their eyes open and they see how much power and magic is within them.
We hid out at our hotel for the evening and left National Highway in the morning. We headed south to Olongapo and stayed at the Horizon Hotel for two more nights before heading back to Manila. The Horizon was located in a better area, very close to a large mall and water activity centers. It was another long bus ride back to Manila to catch our plane to Vancouver. It may not have been the perfect send off, but it had me itching to come back to the US.
No matter what the country or the experience had there, there is still purpose, understanding, adventure, and fun to be had. My adventures in Asia may have come to an end for now, but they will live within me forever. Growing up, I could have never grasped just how rich and fulfilling my life would become. I couldn’t be more grateful. Now off to plan the next chapter of this incredible journey we call life.
A special thank you to all the beautiful souls I encountered, this big wide world to explore, and YOU. Xox