The day after my first semester of college ended, I left for the Philippines December 17, 2016 - January 5, 2017. December was truly a hectic month preparing for the trip that was talked about for years. I saw relatives that I haven't seen in forever, and to finally be reunited during this vacation was truly a blessing, especially since we all come from different places in the US. The first time I went to the Philippines was in 2010 at 12 years old. Now that I'm 18, I was able to take in and fully experience much more of what was going on around me as opposed to 6 years ago.
We stayed in Ungka, Iloilo City--my dad's hometown. My Lola and Lolo (grandparents) built a beautiful house on their land there in 2005. It's like a home away from home, except you see 20+ people in the same house every morning till night...kind of like a huge never ending sleepover. Besides complaining about getting kicked out of the WiFi that everyone was using, my family and I did many activities in the 2 1/2 weeks we were there--everything from island hopping, night swimming, going to the mall like every single day, fabric sourcing, zip-lining, and my brother and I even got confirmed! With fun also came sickness...about 90% of our house came down with something and it wasn't pretty. If you weren't throwing up, coughing, having a headache/fever...you were hoping you wouldn't get sick.
The main reason why we went to the Philippines? My Lola and Lolo's 50th wedding anniversary and vow renewal on Christmas Day. Being able to witness that along with hundreds of other family members is an incredible, moving experience. You could feel the love in the air! My mom and Lola are also Christmas day babies, so it was just a day full of celebration.
Of course...I had to wear something I made at least once throughout this trip. I finished this velvet rose embossed jumpsuit a couple of hours before my flight to the Philippines. Call me crazy, but I had 5 finals that week so I had no choice. Although it was rushed, I loved the way it turned out. I also had to make my mom a matching top because the fabric is gorgeous!
My favorite part of this trip was definitely just being able to spend time with my cousins. I don't have many cousins here in SoCal since they moved away years ago; however, when we were all together, it was like all those years we spent away from each other never happened. It gets lonely time to time at my family parties here, but in the Philippines, it was like a family party everyday. We literally ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together at the "cool kids" table in the kitchen.
Am I currently missing the Philippines? Sure, just certain aspects, but definitely not the heat--the whole time I was there I missed the cold weather!
I ended last year and began this year with memories that'll last a lifetime. I can't wait for the next family reunion...it's between Hawaii, Guam, or an East Coast trip! ;)