Getting homesick is common among all those who work abroad, especially balikbayans. There’s nothing like living in another country that makes you think of all the things you want to do back home, making you look forward to returning even more. But how do you begin? We’ve put together this article as a quick and handy guide to fun activities to celebrate your return back to the Philippines:
- Hotel Staycation
Staycations have been growing in popularity these days, as the urban jungle continues to grow and people are seeking more forms of relaxation to occupy themselves with in their free time. Several hotels have caught on and are offering tempting packages that are especially friendly for balikbayans. Kabayan Hotel is a budget-friendly hotel in Pasay that offers affordable packages for balikbayans: breakfast for two, roundtrip airport transfers, discounted meals, complimentary luggage storage, as well as early and late check-in options. Having a hotel staycation means you have all the luxuries of home and a hotel all in one place and, because many great hotels are situated in urban centers, you can simply head to malls and other nearby establishments if you want a change of pace.
- Go on a Culture Trip
Being exposed to other cultures abroad will make you want to know more about your own culture. Metro Manila alone is home to a variety of cultural hubs that will help you learn more about the history of the Philippines while having fun at the same time. Go on a tour of the historic walled city of Intramuros and cap off the day with refreshing Sampaguita ice cream at Ilustrado restaurant, or go museum hopping at the Museum Complex and take selfies next to the vast canvases of the country’s national heroes and artists.
- Go on a Food Trip
If a balikbayan can miss anything else as badly as family, it would probably be food. Filipino food is at its best when cooked in the Philippines, so going on a foodtrip is probably one of the best activities a balikbayan can do upon getting home. Nothing beats an obligatory trip to Jollibee of course, but Manila is home to several dining spots that can inspire nostalgia, as well as time-tested favorites that newbies will be sure to love. Head over to Binondo and eat while exploring; the location is famous for toasted siopao, handmade soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, and dozens of other delectable Chinese dishes. Bring the family to Banawe to dine in the many acclaimed family restaurants there, or duck into the renowned Original Pares House for a hearty pares meal. You can also try Kabayan Hotel Pasay’s Salu-salo Package, which offers a selection of mouthwatering Filipino dishes at a discounted price. And that’s just in Manila; there are more remarkable dining spots the farther out you go!
- Spend a Relaxed Day Outdoors
You might not know it, but you can go outdoors in Manila without being blasted in the face by pollution. Places like the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City offer a clean and green getaway from the hubbub of the urban jungle. You can easily plop down for a picnic, teach your children how to play your favorite childhood games on the many open grass fields or under the tall trees that line the campus streets, or grab student-priced snacks and street food. There is also the La Mesa Eco Park for more nature-tripping: there are swimming pools, bike trails, fishing ponds, bird-watching sites, and more. Of course, if time and expenses allow, there are numerous beaches, islands, and hiking spots waiting for you around the country.
- Go Shopping
Of course, there are so many local favorites that you just can’t buy abroad. A full day consisting primarily of shopping for pasalubong or for simple creature comforts is a must on any balikbayan’s itinerary. Thankfully, many specialty shops like Kultura have popped up in shopping malls to provide tourists and balikbayans alike a haven where they can get their Pinoy pasalubong fix. SM Mall of Asia, which is just 10 minutes away from Kabayan Hotel Pasay, has many shops that showcase local crafts and products. Here, you can choose from a wide selection of clothes, food stuff, and accessories sourced from different parts of the country.
You may have missed a lot of things while you were out of the country, but a short celebration with your loved ones can help you catch up on what you’ve missed and remind you of the things that make the Philippines worth coming back to.