November is a special month for me as I was born on this month. But this year, November had been extra kind to me as I embarked on a practically month-long trip on the other side of the world. And everything about it was unexpected.
Earlier this year, I received news that I may be going back to the USA for a business trip. The schedule kept moving and moving until I kept it out of my head until it was finalized. And with so many delays, it eventually fell during my birth month, November. That meant that I’ll be spending my birthday outside the Philippines for the very first time.
My itinerary was a mess until a few weeks before my actual flight. But as the details became clear, I realized that this trip would be one of my most epic! For one, it would be one of my longest trip ever outside the country. And two, I’ll be having my most number of flights ever in a month. With that, I’ll be visiting quite a few cities, some for the first time and some to revisit. It would be my first time to revisit any city outside the Philippines so that’s something new.
My very long flight to the USA started at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. It’s been around eight and a half years since I was last here and back then I was taking my first ever international flight, going to the US as well. And to my delight, T1 now looks brighter and more like a “real” airport with all the shops inside. It’s just that T1 is really small and they could hardly fit anything inside. Even the business class lounge is shared among numerous airlines!
My first stop is Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (桃園國際機場). It’s the shortest international flight I’ve ever had (and probably ever will) at just a little over 2 hours as Taipei (TPE) is one of the closest capital cities to Manila (MNL). I arrived just as Taiwan had given visa-free entries to Philippine passport holders. I also had a seven-hour layover so it would have been a perfect excuse to quickly explore the city—but I opted not to.
Business before leisure. While I certainly can go out of the airport and explore the city, I thought shouldn’t jeopardize my business trip for the sake of a quick thrill. I really wanted to, but if anything goes wrong there’d be too much at stake. Besides, the weather was particularly gloomy that day and rains were in the forecast so it’s not exactly that enticing. That, plus the lines to immigration going out and back in again, and buying local currencies, etc. One day, I promise myself, I shall return to this island to explore what it has to offer! For the meantime, I’ll just explore what the airport has in store…
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- A Journey of Superlatives
- Taoyuan International and EVA Air Infinity Lounge
- Houston, We’ve Arrived!
- Exploring Houston
- Space Center Houston
- Hello Again, San Francisco!
- Delayed in Detroit
- New York City
- The Statue of Liberty
- Niagara Falls
- Washington, D.C.
- The High Line
- Central Park
- More of NYC