A couple of days from now, Bernard and I will be turning 13. Yes, almost half of my life he’s there. You can definitely say we’ve been through A LOT of things. One of those that stand out is my Manila memories with him.
I think it was around 2010 when Bernard got a job that required 2 months’ training in Manila. For us, that’s the longest we’ll be away from each other (not counting the months we briefly broke up). Anyway, to make the long story short, I missed him a few weeks after he was gone that on the second month, I flew to live with him.
Bernard had to move out of a multi-room apartment, and together we squeezed into a very narrow unit that was around half the size of an average condo studio units in Cebu. It was that small. In fact, we didn’t have any kitchen, living room, and dining area, but only a bathroom and a standard-sized double deck. We slept below while our things were on top. There was only one white monoblock chair and a small desk, which worked as my teeny-weeny office. Most of the time, when it’s dinnertime, we’d squat on the floor. As almost everything in Manila is expensive, ours cost 8,000 a month, excluding water and electricity. By the time we left, we paid almost 15,000 pesos. Honestly, there were only two things that made me stay there: Internet and location.
We were far away from our parents–well, most of our family members–and friends. We had to rely on each other, on ourselves, and on meager human interactions with his colleagues, my brother, and a handful of Manila-based friends. I experienced eating lunches alone and being totally out of place as noisy college kids occupied the rest of the restaurant. I was really a tiny speck anyone can easily miss out.
Our short Manila living wasn’t the most comfortable, but for me it was the sweetest. I’d wake Bernard up at around 11:00 p.m. so we could catch the last full show in Greenbelt 3. Then we’ll head to Seattle’s Best for a nice warm cup of coffee for him and a delicious iced choco for me. Or if we started running out of budget, we’d simply walk and watch the time and people go by.
For dinners, we’d walk a few meters out of the gate and order a pair of silog that cost 50 pesos each. During the weekends, most of our lunches were spent on this cute Japanese-cuisine fast food restaurant called Sumibiyakid. We loved it a lot not just because of the food but the people who had become our friends as well.
We hadn’t traveled to other provinces such as Laguna, but we had a grand time around Makati and Quezon City. Sometimes we’d spend hours in Rockwell checking out celebrities. Or we’d listen to our next-door neighbor fight at different times of the day.
Those were our most care-free days. It’s not like we didn’t have any more responsibilities back home. We were still paying for our mortgage and other bills. I still had to work. But it never worried me because we’re experiencing new things together.
As we’re nearing our fifth year as a married couple, I still hope we can continue on with our mini adventures and relive our “happy Manila days” over and over.