Excerpted from private journal, 20 April 2007, Friday:
There are about 900 people here in the domestic terminal for Cebu Pacific Airlines. Lots of noise. A cacophony of voices. It’s the most # of non-Asians I’ve seen in 3 days. Passengers are loading for places like Boracay and Cagayan de Oro and Legaspi. Our driver from the Manila Hotel to Cebu Pacific told us it was summer vacation. All the schools are out and everyone’s heading out to the provinces. (The line to the women’s CR/Comfort Room is 25 people long!)
Standing in line earlier waiting 40 minutes to check in, I felt like I was in an Isabel Allende novel. There was a Catholic nun in full habit. Muslim women who wrapped their hair in beautiful floral scarves and wore long skirts. This whole crowd seems overtly religious, more than what I’m used to in the States. Even here, in the boarding area, there is a lit shrine to Mama Mary flanked on the right by a portrait of Jesus and on the left by 2 other religious portraits. I ran into an Australian fiction writer, a beautiful young Caucasian woman who teaches yoga in Quezon City. Most of the foreigners, most everyone really, look ready for vacation — sunglasses and broad-rimmed straw hats, fanny packs. For the Euro/American/Australian travelers, there are IPOD’s. There’s a group of 13-year-old-looking girls and boys from a national javelin throwing team. Lots of families with babies sucking water from plastic bottles.
So far, on our travels, we’ve personally seen 1 major Filipino actress-singer, Vina Morales, and a senatorial hopeful named Richard Gomez, nicknamed Richard “Goma” (like rubberband in Tagalog) who looked a head taller than most of us Filipinos and waltzed into the terminal like a movie star touting glam sunglasses and flanked by an entourage. Most of the time, I don’t know who the celebrity is (since I am not local). But this is how I recognize them: First, an excited buzz starts in the throng. You hear 2 or 3 people say the star’s name excitedly. When folks start pulling out their cell phone cameras for pics with the person, then you know it’s someone famous. Hmmm…that’s 2 plane rides and 2 famous people. We’re 2 for 2! *laugh*