DAY 1: I arrive in New York just after noon and head straight to my cousin Chris's house where, of course, the first thing I do is dig into an old-fashioned Filipino meal cooked no less by (yay!) Lola, who's been visiting. And oh lord, if that wasn't enough, I finally had my favorite Knorr seasoning (how I missed you Knorr!) and UFC banana ketchup (sorry Heinz, but you just cannot compare) to complete the meal. Mm-mm. More than made up for that paltry bag of peanuts they gave me on the plane. All this, of course, while the Filipino channel blares away in the background of the living room, playing Kris and Boy's latest show. I swear, it's like I never left home.
DAY 2: We meet up with our cousins who live in New Jersey and convoy all the way to Philadelphia to attend Charles's (Chris's older brother) graduation. Charles just got his Master's degree in Digital Media something (visual/graphic design, that sort of thing). Best part of the day is the look on my family's face when, after dressing up in their formal best, they see my cousin wearing under his toga only *gasp* shorts and old black shoes. And without socks no less! Incriminating picture on the right.
DAY 3: Shopping at the King of Prussia Mall. At the end of the day, we drive back to New York.
DAY 4: We hang out in New Jersey. And I get indoctrinated into the confusing world of Lobo. I also find out that my old classmate, Marc Abaya, is now acting in a teleserye. As one of the male leads. Weird.
DAY 5: I insist on watching Iron Man, which everyone in the entire world has already seen. Lola insists on making binignit. And Chris insists on skipping Don't Mess with the Zohan to catch Lobo. Everyone is happy. Except for me. I'd rather have listened to Adam Sandler make jokes in an Israeli accent than Piolo explicate his love for Angel Locsin. But I am quickly placated by binignit. :)
DAY 6: My cousins give me a walking tour of Manhattan before catching a musical. At Times Square, we see the Naked Cowboy strutting his guitar and I whip out my camera to take a pic. But I'm too slow to catch him. Frustrated, I start practicing taking solo shots of myself a la Mackie. I do this all the way to Broadway where the lady behind us, feeling sorry for me probably, offers to take a pic of us three.
Mario Lopez, who's in A Chorus Line, the musical we go to see, is all kinds of scrumptious. I'm a little disappointed he doesn't actually sing but he does dance. WOW. I walk out of the theater half in love with Slater (though it was always Zack for me) and singing 'What I Did For Love" in my head.
DAY 7: Tito Chester, Charles, and Lola fly back to the Philippines. The rest of us console ourselves by going shopping and stuffing ourselves with the diniguan, callos, and mango float Lola made just before she left.
DAY 8: I take a train ride, by myself, to Connecticut to visit Chocopolgie, where I hear the world's most expensive chocolate is sold. I buy the "cheaper" chocolates of course. One bite of their coconut white chocolate truffle and I think I'm in love again. Mario who? I spend the rest of the day exploring posh Norwalk before catching a train back to New York.