Arrived in Manila at around 0530, and as expected, coming out of the airport was a free trip to the sauna! It was so humid, I was already profusely perspiring the moment I stepped off the plane. I was grateful though that I already burnt tons of calories that I knew I was going to gain again in this whole trip. I immensely missed eating authentic Filipino food! When I got home, I rapidly opened my balikbayan boxes (luggages) and distributed my pasalubongs (gifts) to my family members. Afterward, my parents drove me around the streets of Manila to check out the sights and run some errands. Little did I know that I will spend the rest of the evening trapped inside our car along the streets of downtown Manila in ankle-deep flood waters. June to August is rainy season in the Philippines. Rain in Manila, even short heavy downpours, always causes severe widespread floodings in almost all city streets, which in turn create massive gridlocks of stranded vehicles and commuters alike. It’s one chaotic city on a perfect sunny day, and more so in a day like this. That’s why I think Manila is a city that is very difficult to like and enjoy. You really have to live here in order to see its charm. Only then can you find out why 1 out of every 4 Filipinos try to squeeze themselves in a city with such very limited space. Manila really does have some good points. In this trip, I’m going to use the city where I was born only as a hub for my travels around South East Asia. But before I fly out of the country, I’ll bring my family to Bohol, a southern island in the Visayas.