|Photo cred: Photographer Jheck|
After I decided to come to the Philippines late this summer, I suddenly began to hear a lot about just how wonderful this hidden gem is. But in the overall description of the island, the overwhelming responses included raving about the beautiful beaches and sights to be seen.
I have been here for a week and have yet to see a beautiful beach, as the league, practices and where we are living are based in the capital, Manila. But the most valuable aspect that this country posses has come out in the people that live here; the Filipinos themselves.
Hospitality is a value that is highly valued in this culture. And when I say highly, that is an understatement. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome in their country as a foreigner. It is unlike anything I have ever seen.
The best way I can describe this is by giving the example of my birthday this past week.
Yes, I am in the social media capital of the world, but woah..I've never received so many messages, and from people I don't know to wish me a happy birthday and life. A crazy amount of genuine messages flooded my notifications on all forms of social media. #thankful
The night before my birthday, the Americans were invited over to a former teammate's of Kaylee Manns (who played here last year) house, for a seafood feast. And I was greeted with a huge chocolate cake, one of the best I've ever had. Talk about spongey goodness.
|My first birthday cake of year 27!|
|Thanks Charo for an awesome night at your home with your family :)|
The next day, the actual day of my birthday, we were in our room at the hotel and we got a knock at the door. When I opened it, one of the maids, with a huge smile on her face, was holding up a towel made in the shape of an elephant and a note attached to the front! The maids. At the hotel. Amazing.
|'We wish you all the best in your life and more candles to blow!" Your Room Attendant <3|
That night we had plans to get together with all of the other Americans for dinner but low and behold, another rain storm took the island by storm and caused the streets to turn into grid lock. Some of our fellow Americans playing on other teams, were stuck in traffic for 4 hours! Thankfully it was our day off and we did not have to get in the car that day. #happybirthdaytome
Lindsay and I went to a mexican restaurant by request from a friend, La Chupacabra, near our hotel. It was bursting with flavor, inside my mouth and belly, good! My favorite type of food on my birthday and quite possibly the best tacos I have ever had..real life. Happy happy!
|The best soft tacos, not an exaggeration. So good we went for lunch the next day. Must. Go. Back.|
The next day we had practice and I was greeted with my teammates surprising me with another cake, gifts and singing me happy birthday about 12 times, I loved it. They are the sweetest. We literally met a few days ago and I already feel beyond welcomed.
|My new team with my second birthday cake! Go Cignal! Team Awesome! #justlookatthosefaces|
|The cake box with awesome notes from my new teammates :)|
The most special thing about the Philippines are indeed the people.
After this week I am going to go ahead and recommend moving to a new country, adding a new passport stamp to the log, joining a new team and having a birthday all in one week. If you want to feel loved from all over the world, this is the way to live.
Salamat (thank you) to everyone who made my birthday in a new foreign land a special one and to all my friends and family who sent me love from afar! You made me feel like a very special person, in a very big world.