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trip report: manila

trip report: manila

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This past summer, two of my favorite cousins from Manila came to visit during a whirlwind tour of the States. GP, who is a crazily successful restaurant and club owner in Manila, was throwing a massive birthday party for himself in November at his newest club. And it was a white party! One of my favorite things.

"You guys should come!" he said. "Get in touch with your roots." And it's true: I hadn't been back to the P.I. since I was two years old. And according to my mother, I was pretty inconsolable the entire time. "You hated the sun. And the sand. And the food," she observed. It was time for a redo.

So, even though we went on a two-and-a-half week honeymoon this year and even though we had already booked our December trip to Chile (write up on that forthcoming), we said, "You know what? Yes." This year has taught me that grabbing life by the big, fat bullhorns is important.

Once we booked our trip, it wasn't long before we convinced my sister, my niece, my parents and even Mike's dad to join us for an incredibly fast but insane trip through Asia.

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Mike and I landed, passed out for a few hours, and then immediately got changed for the party at Valkyrie, GP's gargantuan palace of a club. This was probably the first and only time I will find myself at 2 AM in a banquette with my parents and in-law, but I have to say, I was impressed by their party skills.

selfie evidence

The next morning we drove out to near Tagaytay, which I suppose is a bit like the Hamptons of Manila since many people that live in the city have weekend houses out here. My dad's friends' home was more of a compound: every room was actually its own structure. One of the coolest properties I've see in quite some time.

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As is the Filipino tradition, we ate. A lot. This day's barbecue consisted of lechon (spit-roasted pork), along with fishes, curries, and the ever-present jumbo bowl of rice.

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There was even a make your own halo-halo bar!

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Many pork buns were consumed, but none as enjoyably as these beauties from Tim Ho Wan, a chain of dim sum restaurants that are billed as the cheapest Michelin-starred spots on the planet. I also mentioned these in my Best Foods round up.

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My sister and I also took advantage of the many beauty services Manila has to offer, including our sweet matching sets of eyelash extensions, which you can see here. That's my niece Parker in the middle. Yes, she is taller than I am and no, I don't want to talk about it.

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My Aunt Daisy was an excellent tour guide and took us absolutely everywhere. We had a lot of fun hunting for freshwater pearls and wacky Asian iPhone accessories at Green Hills.

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And while jet lag kept us from being huge night owls, we did make it out on the last night. GP, I promise next time we come we'll stay up later.

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It was, unfortunately, a fast trip, but I'm so glad we decided to go. Almost half of my immediate family lives halfway around the world and I hadn't been to see what life was like there in over 2 decades. I feel like I have a new frame of reference for not only Manila, but my own DNA.

Thank you to all of the Izons for an incredible week.

trip report: hong kong

trip report: hong kong

the best things i ate in 2014

the best things i ate in 2014