When I was young I though India was very, very far away. I just may have had heard the words Philippines and Manila but I never really thought about the words. So when we received a postcard from Manila in 1976 from my brother in law, saying he’s still in Manila, we had to look it up on the map. The view in the postcard was the Pagsanjan Rapids.
Twelve years later, in December 1988, his wife took us to ride the Pagsanjan Rapids.
Brother In Law Visit
My brother in law liked the Philippines very much and stayed there. He met a girl who he married. They have two wonderful children. During the years he visited his parents many times. In 1988, in the summer, he brought his wife and his 9 months old son with him.
“Lola”, “lolo”, Ufa’s and us.
It was so nice to meet them all. We all had a wonderful time together. When they left they told us to someday come and visit them in Manila. I wonder had they told us to if they had had any idea that right after we waved them goodbye at the airport I began to plan a trip to visit them.
Planning the trip
It was the beginning of August and I was ready to get on a plane right the way. It was of course impossible for many reasons. First of all we both had our works. Our son was eleven years old and the school was about to start. I was talking about going to Manila all the time. Leif tried to cool me down. After telling him all the reasons why I thought we should go I, NOW, finally had talked him over. Yeaaah !
I think we called my sister in law to ask if it would be OK for us to come and stay for two weeks. At least I hope we did.
Anyway, the next day I called a travel agencies and we I set up an appointment for the next day. Leif said, heeey ‘c’mon , it’s way too early to book the flights. Still plenty of time, four months, as we are going to go there in the middle of December.
There was a very nice women in the travel agency. I told her we would like to go as soon as our son, then twelve years old, would be on Christmas vacation from school and return in time for him to go back to school in the beginning of January. She told me all about all the different possibilities there was to fly to Manila. She would do her utmost to find the best and cheapest one for us. She called us a couple of times to tell us you are still on the waiting lists.
Finally green light
After weeks of anxiously waiting we finally had a call from the travel agent telling us the good news. You are going to fly Lufthansa Helsinki-Frankfurt-Hong Kong-Manila and back home Manila-Hong Kong-Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt-Helsinki. Yabadabadoooo ! All three of us were jumping up and down of excitment. WOW !
We immediately looked up all the mentioned places on the map. Well, of course, we knew where they are but this was different. We are actually going via these, to us, excotic sounding places so we wanted to check the route to really understand the distances and that we are soon to be on our way.
Flying to Manila
We woke to my sister in law calling from Manila. She was making a last check up on when the plane is landing in Manila. Odd thing was not having our two cats there in the morning. We had taken them to a cat hotel in the evening. Oh my poor cats. They must think they have to stay there for the rest of their lives. We had a quick cup of coffee and called for a taxi to take us to the airport. It was a gray winter day. The plane, Helsinki-Frankfurt, was delayed for some technical reason. Not to worry. We would still have time for the change in Frankfurt for the Frankfurt-Hong Kong plane. This, by the way, was our very first time flying!
There was a thunderstorm over Frankfurt. Very rough and bumpy! Still rough weather at take off from Frankfurt but the rest of the flight was OK. Approaching landing in Hong Kong was amazing. There were high beautiful mountains and the skyscrapers. Just in no time we were able to see the runway. You could see the sea coming running towards you. I was afraid the plane would not be able to stop. Well, it stopped in time. It was a nice warm day in Hong Kong. Very much like summer in Finland. Soon, in a couple of hours we would be in Manila. The flight Hong Kong Manila was nice and smooth. Stepping out from the plane in Manila you could feel it was hot as in a sauna. Our sister-in-law was there to pick us up.
to be continued . . .