We woke up early on Monday (6AM) because we expected to be checking out of the hotel, visiting an orphanage outside of Mnila (not John’s orphanage), then touring a rather famous (in the Philippines) volcano nearby, then taking the bus north to Ilocos Norte overnight. We were a little stressed about the whole thing for two reasons: 1) the bus ride was rumored to take about 13 hours, and I was a bit nervous that it wouldn’t be airconditioned – visions of riding between the chickens and the goat on a jeepney kept me up at night – and 2) we didn’t know what to do with ourselves between the early afternoon (when we assumed the tours would end) and 7:30PM (when the bus left for the north).
After breakfast, we called Che, an employee of our adoption agency’s partner in Manila, who coordinated all the details of our trip, including providing guides for outings like the one planned on Monday. Without giving much of a reason, she postponed the trip to the orphanage and the volcano. We were a bit surprised, but not put out. It was nice not to have to worry about the logistics of dealing with all that in one day. So, instead, a day of rest.
We both got computer time in the business center, to play with Facebook primarily. Then we went swimming for a couple hours. Jeff got a touch of sunburn, but just a little bit. Faith’s native American genes protected her as usual. Jeff also worked with the travel desk at the hotel in the continuing saga of making sure that John’s reservation / plane ticket back to the States was foolproof.
Che met us at the hotel, and introduced us to a couple who had just adopted a sibling group of three beautiful children. We invited her to have lunch with us, and she took us to this local chain Asian buffet. It was mostly Philippino food, but some Chinese and Japanese as well. It was huge and inexpensive, but the food was mediocre quality. Definitely plenty of pork to keep the tradition alive.
After lunch, Faith took a nap while Jeff re-packed for the trip to Ilocos Norte. We then hung by the pool a bit longer, and got to visit with the new adoptive parents we’d met earlier in the day. Che was awseome in that she arranged with the hotel to give us a 7PM checkout time with no extra fee to stay late. That was very convenient, since Jackie met us at about 7:30PM to head to the bus station. There we caught the 10PM bus to Laoag City.