Points to Ponder:
Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. - Anais Nin
Hello Manila, we are coming in. There are disruptions in our onward trip to Malaysia due to the Volcano eruption in Bali. The airport has opened today and the first opportunity for us to get out is Manila.
And thus changed the direction of our trip in Asia which was originally planned months ago to attend a wedding of a longtime friend’s son in Penang. Since we were going that far from home, we had decided to spend a few days in Bali. During our stay, Mt. Agung, an active volcano, got into action and changed plans of over 100,000 tourists there.
Our friends from Manila responded: Welcome, We are looking forward to you coming over.
I met Filex Wu in 1980 during my expat assignment for Raytheon Semiconductor in Manila. His wife Beth and their children have been our family’s close friends since then. Sunil Banwari is the person I met in 1999 at Intel and also worked together for several years after that. We also got to know his wife Lavina during that time. They are currently expats in Manila.
Within minutes of receiving our message from Bali, both families sent us messages asking to stay with them in Manila. We spent 11 days with them. We shared many memories, had big fiestas, enjoyed our long conversations in Manila traffic, and shared beautiful experiences of Philippines and its friendly hospitable people. (Captured in the video link on top of the document).
Lavina arranged a tour of Intramurous for all of us with a guide who gave wonderful educational perspective of Philippine history from the Filipino point of view, not the occupiers' point of view shared in other travel guides.
Another very touching moment during the visit was when one evening Beth pulled out a carefully preserved Album and showed us pictures of a visit to Manila Zoo with our children in 1983, our many outings together, family celebrations through the years and every letter that our family had written to them. Here is one from our daughter to their children.
My wife’s childhood friend Helen Tan, one of the two persons responsible for introducing us when we were teenagers came over and rekindled fond memories.
For Luisa and I, the trip was like Yesterday Once More: Meeting longtime friends, visiting places from the past, memories of our wonderful times in Manila.
Reflection: The entire experience in Manila brought back a memory of a very important lesson I had learned in my younger days from my father: Most important business relations are personal ones. My childhood years were filled with meeting people from all walks of life; the people my father had met in his business dealings, from his theatrical interests, during his travels and from his childhood and college days.
Our original trip to Singapore and Malaysia was to spend time with close to 50 people that we had met in university, during 40 years of work in high tech industry and in my various travels. Irony of fate or what, the volcano blew our trip in other direction but we still ended up being with friends.