I have been missing Manila these past few days. #ManilaSeries has just started to roll out with my Marikina post(which you can read here), and Holy Week is just around the corner which means another opportunity for me to go around my comfort place, again.
What is it with Manila that I cannot seem to get over with? It is rowdy, it is always packing with millions of people but somehow I am still dazzled, like I am under a spell or something. Intramuros is where I want to roam around next. I have been there countless of times, since I studied college in Manila. But this time around, I want to roam around with my Mom.
Browsing booking.com, I stumble upon The Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros, a premiere suite inside Intramuros. Since it’s relatively cheap, I hurriedly snag a deluxe room for two.
Fast forward to Saturday—the day of our booked staycation. Seeing The Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros unravel in front of me as our grab car drives towards it, feels rather amusing. It is old-fashioned—like one of those medieval structures you only get to see in the movies. Old Manila really is the real deal. I wish more of the buildings were preserved, though.
I hold the hotel room card which I then place gently in front of the door knob. As soon as I insert the keycard onto the holder, like a magical scene, the room’s lights turn on, revealing itself to us.
The walls are covered in luscious green, almost teal. Two beds are separated by a wide pearly-white wall shelf with a rectangular lamp. Against the headboard is a wall etched with hourglass-shaped carvings that makes it more opulent.
Out of curiosity, the first thing I did is to open the window curtains. Countless roofs of universities align horizontally across our room’s window. We settle our stuff onto the beds, quickly lay down and just relax for a bit. My mom quickly fell asleep and so do I. Our reservation for the Sky Deck dinner is not until 5:30pm, meaning there’s more time to indulge ourselves into the beds. Staycations are meant for relaxing—Not worrying about your real life for a day.
There are times where I want to open up my laptop and look at my back logs, but I end up shrugging it off. In the end, I placed my laptop where I can hardly reach it. Out of sight, out of mind.
At exactly five-thirty, my Mom and I ride the elevator and press “P”. The sky deck is actually located above the penthouse. As we climb the stairs, I know that the view will be majestic because I am having glimpses of it as I walk. The sun rays creep in between the spaces and light the al fresco dining area. The wind is gentle but not too weak that it will be unnoticeable. Instrumental songs are playing in the background while the chatters fill the air like its lyrics.
The view unveils when I almost reach the edge of the deck. I almost forgot how beautiful Manila is. This view pacified my weary mind. For a moment, my Mom and I were genuinely in awe.
Buildings spring from every direction, cars and jeepneys fill the barren roads and trees divide the city into sections. Don’t even get me started to how blue the sky is. It almost feels like the atmosphere is the sea and Manila is the Atlantis.
Carbonara is my favorite amongst all the food out of their menu. The Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros has well-crafted an ensemble but I must say that the carbonara stomps all over them. I might be a bit biased because I am so in love with pastas, but theirs is creamy, the meat is well-cooked and the cheese seals the deal for me.
Tokwa’t bagnet, where do I start describing this bowl of pure bliss? The tofu (tokwa) complements the crispy lechon. The blandness of it pefectly mashes with the briny deep-fried meat. And the sauce of soy sauce and with chopped onions and spring onions ties them together.
Garlic milkfish belly, on the other hand, might be a little too pungent for my taste. It’s actually the only dish we are not able to finish. Maybe it’s the amount of garlic drizzled on top or maybe there’s something in the sauce that does not seem to jive with my tastebuds.
While I have not yet to figure what I want to do in life, seeing Manila made one thing certain, I want to see more of picturesque scenes like this. One day, one week, even if it eats up my whole life, I won’t really mind at all. This is the only thing I know I will not regret as I tend to regret every other decision I have made in life.
Holy Week is just so timely. It did not come to me how much time I needed to just relax. Work has slowly made its way into my system and it is eating my time to be in solidarity with my creativity. I did not realize that standing here on top of a viewing deck will help me re-evaluate my outlook in life—to realize that I am just a small speck of dust in this vast universe. It really is a humbling moment—one of the many effects of travelling.