- Best Virtual Mailboxes

Death & Despedidas: Pre-departure Week in Manila

The other morning, over my scrumptious vegan breakfast here at Hariharalaya, my “housemates” Joel & Nick briefly conversed about death, and how for some people, speaking about it is taboo, when in fact it is an idea we should embrace. Personally, I believe that the acknowledgment of death around the corner just helps us live our lives more fully.

Ready to Fly or Die

This may sound a bit melodramatic to more seasoned solo and/or long-term travelers, but in the last week prior to my departure for my 2.5-month solo trip around Asia, I really felt like I was preparing for my demise.

I got all my personal and business accounts in order, turned over bank, investment and insurance accounts to my mother. Made sure all of my travel and life insurance documents were in order. Spent time with family; spent time with friends. Repeatedly told the important people in my life that I care about them and I love them.

I had even intended to create handwritten letters for those I care for the most, and a last will and testament of sorts, but my frazzled brain and last-minute to-do’s really kept me from really setting the time and sitting down to do so.

My Family’s Despedida

My family and I spent my last full Sunday on a trip to Tagaytay. We went to Rowena’s for tarts and sylvanas and dilis, bought bee products from Ilog Maria, had a lunch feast with consumables at Tagaytay Highlands, then capped it off with coffee and cheese bread at Bag of Beans. I could have been with them anywhere and it wouldn’t have mattered. What ultimately mattered is we had that time to spend with each other.

My mother even made me give a speech, and I acceded and started my speech off with:

“I only have two sentences: Una, wag kayo magaalala masyado. Pangalawa, kung mamatay man ako, at least ginagawa ko yung gusto ko / masaya ako.” [In English, that means: First, don’t worry too much. Second, if I die, at least I was doing what I wanted to do / I was happy.”]

Then I laughed afterwards.

They then proceeded with their own speeches for me, saying “take care / ingat” mostly, and I was surprised to find myself tearing up when my mother spoke (though she didn’t get emotional at all). I decided I would spend a day with her within the week to go shopping in Greenhills. That was a good day too. 🙂

My Friends’ Despedida

Monday night on my last week, Karlo also set us to have a date. When he came by, however, he was driving his car with busted A/C so we took my car instead, into which he carried four massive and fragrant Brooklyn Pizza boxes, and he gave a bad excuse about his sister asking him to buy them for him. So I immediately knew something was up.

Since I was driving, I asked where we were headed and he said “Maginhawa”, a street I associate with only 2 things: hanging out with his friends at Pino, or Moonleaf. I figured that if we were going to Pino, our friends Kitty and Bert would surely be there. But if we past Pino, I figured Nica and possibly Jonver and Thysz would be waiting for us at Moonleaf.

I had good deduction skills, so I found Nica, Jonver, Thysz, Kitty, Bert, AND my barkada waiting for me at Moonleaf. 🙂 It’s good to know that Karlo is a bad liar. 🙂

Pictures c/o Jonver
[(Semi) SURPRISE!] 

[Three out of the four massive pizzas Karlo bought, with Thysz & Maria]


[Red velvet cupcaaaaaaakes….]

[With Nica and Thysz]

[With some of my barkada]

[With my Punchdrunk Panda girls]

[Puyat-looking much?]

[With Karlo’s friends at Pino]

[Happy camper :)]

I may not be rich in money, but I’ve got plenty of love.

Now more than ever, I am on the way to Brokebank Mountain, and really, that’s okay, because now more than ever, I’ve realized how truly fortunate I am to be surrounded by some of the sweetest, most thoughtful and caring people and I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve them because I can be quite the bitch at times.

I don’t really think I’m going to die while on my trip, but one never knows what will happen (whether I’m in the Philippines or not, really), and it’s just better to be prepared either way. Besides, in the case of telling our loved ones how much they mean to us, I’d rather “err” in doing it more than less.

So yes, you know all your names. I love you, guys. 🙂


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