Welcome Home Manila – Getting Settled in to a New Life

Welcome Home Manila – Getting Settled in to a New Life

I’ve been back home in Manila (Bonifacio Global City) for just over two weeks now, trying to get settled in to a new life here in Asia. Wow, time sure does fly! Although I would have much preferred to have been more active blogging lately, quite frankly, I didn’t realize how much running around town I was going to have to do, right from the start!

These are kind of the moments you live for, though, so despite all the “stress” of trying to get done the way you want them to be, it’s been a ton of fun as well.

For starters, here’s me getting out of the airport… upon first arriving to MNL airport.

excited to start my new life in Manila

And I’ve got to tell you, it was so AWESOME checking into the apartment after such a long flight and coming home to this nice “surprise”…

Happy birthday and the start of a new life in Manila

Definitely, above and beyond anything I could have ever expected…

Rico’s Lechon, right from the jump!

With that said, really, the first second order of business for me here in Manila was just trying to re-visit some familiar spots, re-embracing some personal “favorites” that I hadn’t experienced since this past April.

Something about Tim Hortons’ iced coffee that does the trick…

Oh yeah, and last time I was here, Shake Shack was still under construction and not yet ready for launch…

Well, six months or so later (which is a really long time), and voila!

I’m sure the lines used to be a lot longer during the really early days post-launch, but I visited around noon time on a weekday, and it wasn’t too bad at all.

It’s ~$5 USD for a single ShackBurger.

We went ahead and made it a combo order, adding fries and a drink.

Kinda “smallish” but pretty tasty!

Strolling around BGC, it was really cool to see some new shops opening up, or on the verge of opening up…

Pan de Manila (in Uptown).

Panda Cleaners (also in Uptown). Woohoo!!! FINALLY, laundry service nearby!

Romantic Baboy, because you know, this whole Korean BBQ thang has taken over the world!

Speaking of Korean BBQ, Samgyupsalamat just opened up another new restaurant in BGC (Uptown ftw!).

With all that said, next up, I had the cravings for some local dishes, such as Abe (one of my favorite local restaurants out here in Manila, they’ve got branches everywhere, but we went to the one found on High Street).

The crispy adobo has become a “go to” dish to order when I’m here…

And the stuffed crab (Rellenong Alimasag) are delicious too!

Add in some rice and it’s about ~$20 USD “all in”, which is not bad (relative to how much it costs to dine out in Cali these days).

celebration of a new life in Manila

Here’s some more local dishes for you; the following dishes were from an Ilonggo restaruant in BGC.

Good ol’ batchoy, usually hits the spot!

After dining out the first few days, I set my focus on continuing to furnish my apartment unit (which I had barely started working on in April)…

So, we went shopping for appliances!

Picked up a new LG refrigerator for less than $400 USD.

A nice electric oven for about ~$60 USD.

And a really basic rice cooker for about ~$50 USD.

Add in a decent frying pan…

And what we have below is the first “home cooked” meal at Baboy Inc!

Humble beginnings… Yup, for sure, it feels like a new life… once again.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

Eventually, I did finally get around to grocery shopping, so I could make some fried rice.

I still don’t have a “real” kitchen, but I can still make do, for the time being, anyway, with what I’ve got (which isn’t much!).

See, there’s an oven sitting on top of the fridge right now *GASP* (yes, I am currently a total loser)!

But fried rice is still fried rice…


Of course, it hasn’t been all fun and games, as in the Game of Life, there’s ALWAYS bound to be challenges and surprises (that you never anticipate for in advance) that creep up on you… For instance, I sure didn’t think the contractor who worked on my bathroom (while I was away in Cali) was going to do the following when installing the new bathtub spout…

So, I had to scramble like mad looking for parts (that are exceptionally difficult to find here in BGC) to fix the problem…

I sure wish there was Amazon here, but there really isn’t (shipping and import fees/taxes are way too insane to make it worthwhile, and Lazada is very much hit/miss)…

So, off to Ortigas we had to go to find parts… They have a very nice Handyman store at Robinsons Galleria Shopping Mall, which is well stocked with goodies!

Only had a stainless steel solution (no PVC or brass), but it beats rusted water (the old galvanized *RUSTED* pipe), any day of the week…

Working shower with NO GAPS for water to seep into (and no rusted water), that’s all I’m asking for!


And speaking of Lazada, I’ve purchased many items from there to help get my new life started in BGC, and some sellers are really AWESOME, and others, well, I guess they don’t do any QA/QC checks, and have no qualms with shipping you packages with missing parts…

Check out my “lovely” shock rack… Umm, just ignore the missing stainless steel rod at the top because, yeah, I only received 19x of them from the seller when I need 20x to complete the installation…

Gotta improvise, I guess… So, I grabbed whatever “spare parts” I could find, scattered throughout the apartment… Luckily, I had something that kinda worked…

I really don’t even remember where the white anchor (shown below) came from, but it was available, so I used it to help complete the shoe rack…

Not ideal, but it’ll work for now (it’s holding firm in place and not moving around), in any case…

In addition to appliance shopping, I’ve also been busy trying to furnish the living room. So far, we’ve picked up a 65″ TV… you know, for Netflix purposes…

And accompanying stand (the TV JUST BARELY fits!).

A really cheap (but it looks decent) sofa set, for ~$520 USD.

new furniture to start a new life

And there you have it (but I still need a coffee table, see below)!

Oh yeah, and got me a new bed too!

Slumberland ftw (Dunlopillo bed frame was purchased previously in April, which I’m also loving)!

new bed for a new life in Manila

This new life abroad is starting to feel more cozy and less “alien”, slowly but surely…

I’d say the unit is ~80% complete (the kitchen remodel is the remaining big ticket item that needs to be slayed over the next 1-2 months, hopefully).

new life furnishings for a studio unit in Manila

Remember, we started from this (bare bones) back in April.

the beginnings of a new life in BGC, Manila

“I have bought a house in a foreign country.”

new life needs new furniture, like a TV

Now it’s time to enjoy it!


Yup, this is my new life in Manila!


Smooth sailing?

No way!

But that’s just the way it goes… Find a way to adapt and have fun!


Until next time!


Keep up the fight!

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11 months ago

Hi Jay, wish you all the best in settling down over there.

Out of this story, what I found most amazing is that your girl was OK with waiting for you for 6 months? Prime of her life and all that…