Butterbeer and Basketball in Manila

The Philippines has been my home for the past three weeks and will continue to be for the next three. I’m here conducting research for my master’s thesis and working as a communication intern for the organization Viva Manila! (More on that soon–Promise!)

This trip differs greatly from my past visits to the homeland. For one, I’m usually here solely for family and Project PEARLS. Never have I gone here with my own agenda– let alone, a job! Secondly, this is my longest trip! What’s great about being in the Philippines longer than ever is the ability to do more without stress and jam-packing schedules. (Eh… Actually, my schedule is still pretty darn full. Let’s just stick to less stress.)

With that being said, because of a newfound freedom in the homeland as well as more time, I finally got to hang out with one of my best friends while here!

Nana– 1/2 of my middle school best friends– went to University of the Philippines. However, although I’ve gone to Manila several times while she was studying here, we never got to see each other because of how brisk my stays were. Not this time! Nana happened to be back here with her family last week and we finally took advantage of the chance to kick it in a different country.

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Together, with her cousin Angela, they showed me around the UP college town for some good eats and sweets.

Our first destination was Pino— a restaurant that served traditional Filipino dishes as well as vegetarian and vegan alternatives to Pinoy favorites.DSC02825

In this pinoy tummy galore photo is: seafood kare-kare, chicken sisig, and tofu sisig. Nana and I couldn’t decide which sisig we wanted more so we ordered both. Sisig is the sh*t, we love veggie options, why not?!
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I do recommend Pino for fellow veggie lovers who have meat-eater friends. The dishes stay true to the heart of Filipinos while still appealing to the growing trend among Filipino millennials for veggies over meat. DSC02821

Our next stop was a place full of magic, nostalgia, and Hogwarts memorabilia. Otherwise known as The Nook.

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The Nook is Metro Manila’s place of gathering for Harry Potter fanatics.

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This cozy-sized cafe stayed true to Rowling’s universe with a Harry Potter themed menu,

a set-up reminiscent of Hogwarts students stroll around Hogsmeade shops,

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and decor to detail the cafe with more butter beer-like warmth,

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I left my own little bit of my love for Harry Potter in The Nook with this doodle:

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We topped off our overdue Manila-day together with basketball.

Simon, a friend of ours from middle school days plays for the Philippine Basketball Association and he invited the three of us to watch him play! None of us have ever attended a PBA game before so it was an exciting experience for all of us. Plus, thanks to Simon, we got pretty darn good seats.

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T’was a great ending to a great Metro Manila day.

-ChiChai@Empire

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