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Tomorrow, I celebrate seven years of living in Australia. Yeah, seven years. It’s been good. Actually, no, it’s been amazing. I got to do things that I didn’t think I’d be capable of and I got to visit places that I never thought I would. As most of you know, I officially gave up my Philippine citizenship last year. While I am grateful to Australia for taking me in, the Philippines will always be my homeland.

It is said that you only come to appreciate your country when you no longer reside there. I reckon that’s true. And because I like pretty pictures, indulge me as I post a few photos from my beloved homeland. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the statue of the St. Sepulcro at the Paco Church. As a child, I have very vivid memories of lining up to say a little prayer at the foot of Jesus. Back then, I was too short to reach up and touch the statue’s feet and so either my mom or my grandmother would carry me as I kissed His feet. I need only to conjure up the memory of the scent of that particular part of the church and I am transported back to my childhood. When I visited our old home town with my grandmother a couple of years ago, it was the first time that I was actually able to reach Jesus’s feet without having to be carried by an adult.

The streets of Manila will not be the same without the jeepney. All through my school life, I’ve ridden these noisy, carbon monoxide emitting, traffic rules breaking mode of transport. Until of course, the FX made it’s appearance on the roads. My best jeepney ride was when some friends and I rode on top of the jeepney. I think we were on our way to (or was it from?) Imelda Falls. It was absolutely fun!

Food! Where do I even begin? Pinoy food is the best. I am biased, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mt. Pinatubo. How can you not fall in love with that view? In one of my visits back to the Philippines, I dragged one of my cousins to do the Pinatubo trek. It is a must-do when in the Philippines!

Not quite the Harbour Bridge but good enough for Manila. My grandmother and I rode the ferry from Sta. Ana, Manila to Pasig. What an experience! I loved it. I just wish there would be a stronger push to clean up Pasig River to its former glory. And I’m sorry but I really think those big billboards are eye sores.

We have a saying: “Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.” My family has been living in Taytay, Rizal for nearly 20 years now and I still haven’t seen most of Rizal Province. Again, on one of my many trips back to Manila, my mom and I went to the much talked about restaurant Balaw-Balaw in Angono, Rizal. They serve good Pinoy food (see photo above) and they also have art works all around the place. This is one of my favourites. It just has that Pinoy fiesta feel.

Just because I can, more yum-yum food!

Brewed coffee served with condensed milk. No sugar needed.ย I still think Philippine coffee is one of the best in the world, if not the best. Again, I’m being biased.

Pinoy desserts FTW!

Nothing beats Christmas in the Philippines. Spending it with family is priceless.

Now, let’s forget London and Paris and Sibiu and Dresden for a moment because this December, Manila’s where I’m headed. I can’t wait!

*Next time, I’ll find more photos from my travels across the Philippines.*