Navigating My First Time in Asia
Last month, I traveled to Asia for the very first time. I’m a proud hapa, which is basically anyone who is half Pacific Islander or of Asian descent, mixed with something else. I'm half Filipino, German and Irish (Filipino on my mom's side) so it was a cool experience to get to go and feel a little reconnected with my roots.
I traveled with my boyfriend to attend our friend’s wedding. Not to sound cliché, but the trip had major Crazy Rich Asians vibes, in the best way.
We spent the first week there just settling in with my boyfriend’s family at his Lolo’s house, eating amazing food and probably gaining like five pounds each (the struggle was real). I got to experience my first Filipino massage, which was basically a very in-depth deep tissue massage all over. Luckily, I got to experience this twice which was super necessary after working tirelessly at our jobs to prepare for the trip!
In typically Filipino fashion, we had a huge family party where I met all of my boyfriend’s relatives. There was endless food and lots of karaoke involved. Basically, it was like any Filipino party I had been to at home, except times 100 (more food, more family, more singing haha).
I even got to meet some of my cousins and relatives in Manila, where my mom was from. It was such a surreal experience to meet them, after only knowing some of them from social media for so long (what a time to be alive). They were super sweet and we ate way too much at the famous Kamayan Buffet.
Then after spending some quality time with family, we settled in Manila for the wedding. The ceremony was gorgeous with the complete package of fireworks, beautiful decor and even a celebrity host (although I don’t recall his name as he is popular mostly in Asia). After a long day of celebrating love, we got ready to pack our things to our next destination: Boracay.
Boracay was pretty much the epitome of what I would expect from an island vacation. I was actually surprised we were able to get that close to the beach from our hotel (walking distance was probably 25 steps tops). One dollar equals about ~50 pesos in the Philippines, so we were able to drink and eat comfortably. My favorite was their Barman’s Kiss which was some type of smoothie mixed in with coconut and rum - the best!
We pretty much lounged around, walked the beach and enjoyed everything Boracay had to offer. The three things I’d recommend for sure are:
Enjoying a seafood feast (so cheap!)
These were all amazing experiences that really made our vacation - I wish we could’ve done more but our time was pretty limited.
After that, we went to Nobu for one last fancy meal before heading back to the states. As someone who’s never taken a two-week vacation before in her life, it was an amazing, fulfilling experience. There were definitely times were I was homesick or just felt like I was out of place, but overall to see the kind of culture and lifestyle there - it was well worth it.
I didn’t get to check Palawan out - but it was highly recommended by our other friends if you plan on making a trip out there. And the newlyweds also planned to go to Bali after, which is only a 6 hour plane trip from Manila, so if you’re in Asia anyways, it’s definitely something to think about!
Hope one day I get to go back with my family.. and probably spend like 99% of my time on the islands. Until then!