|Statue of Jose Rizal|
Following the visit to Luneta Park, I had to go pick up my Filipiniana dress that I'd bought the day before which was being altered overnight. My nieces wanted to pick up a few more things at the tiangge so my cousin Albert drove us back to Green Hills and we agreed to split up to do our respective shopping and meet back again in half an hour. Unfortunately, when I went back to the store, to my dismay, they were closed. I was dumbfounded. Um, hello, you told me to pick up the dress today at a certain time and you're not even open? Worse, they had taken my name and phone number down but I'd never gotten a warning call that they would be close during my pickup time.
Our last night was New Year’s Eve. If you’ve never spent New Year’s Eve in Manila or its surrounding metropolitan area, you’re in for a loud time. Seriously loud. They say Manila beat out New York, London and Sydney in its fireworks – I believe it. Fireworks are a big deal in the Philippines and it doesn’t get any bigger than fireworks on New Year’s Eve. In my town, they started at 8 pm and kept on until well past 1 am. I tried to nap so I could be wide awake to usher in the new year but that proved impossible. Even my noise-canceling headphones couldn’t withstand the relentless fireworks for 5 straight hours. No, I’m not exaggerating and yes I had a pounding headache before the last Judas Belt and Anaconda were set off. They were beautiful when exploding in the sky and it was too bad I didn’t get any good pictures of them; they didn’t come out on my camera or my phone.
Fortunately our flight didn’t leave until the following night so we had an acceptably late start the next morning and a mellow day packing and saying our goodbyes. I discovered a treasure of a painting of my paternal grandparents sitting in the living room tucked into a corner that I took a snapshot of. A good memento to end the trip with. Goodbye, Philippines, thanks for a great trip.