Two things about being in Manila…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to the Philippines unexpectedly last month. It was a quick trip – just a week and a half. In that short period of time, I realised:

(And no this is not the ‘typical’ balikbayan moaning of “OMG traffic is so bad”.)

One, I really miss calamansi. I’ve always been a calamansi addict — I used to drink calamansi juice nearly every day. It was in all my sawsawan. I’d even squeeze it into dishes that didn’t traditionally have it. I love sour things, and I especially love the flavour of calamansi.

Sadly, there is no calamansi here in Australia. I used to buy concentrated calamansi juice from Filipino stores til I gave up — it was too sweet, and didn’t taste like the real thing. Some of my friends have had luck with calamondin trees; maybe one of these days, I’ll have a tree on my balcony too…

But anyway, I digress. When I first arrived in the Philippines, and I saw a bowl of calamansi sitting innocently on a counter, I almost cried with joy. There were the calamansi halves, neatly sliced, sitting next to the pancit — seeing it made me inexplicably happy. I had several glasses of calamansi juice each day during that trip. I didn’t realise how much I missed it. Maybe I really should get a calamondin tree…

Two, I kept thinking I saw people I knew. I left the Philippines adult enough to remember people in their more-or-less grown states, but I’ve been away long enough that I’m not quite sure how people look like now, and my mind was growing crazy with calculations and assumptions.

And my eyes would always flick through the crowd. That guy looked like M from behind; that woman has the same build as V — could it be them? I hadn’t seen them in years, it very well could be — except most times, it wasn’t.

I did run into a few people unexpectedly, then again that’s a testament to how Manila is such a small, small world.

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