I took this photo as my flight approached Doha, Qatar, where I had a layover en route to Manila. The serene picture captures how this journey has been thus far. Let me give you some details.

On the second flight I made a friend A, who sat next to me. I learned that she works for Qatar Airways. We chatted about ourselves–where we’re going and why. She was going home to attend a friend’s wedding. I told her about GSK PULSE program and my assignment with Save the Children, Manila, for the next six months. Being a flight attendant, A has travelled through Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) numerous times.  She is familiar with Terminal 1 as well, which is where our flight landed.  She told me where the ATM machines and booths that sell local SIM cards are. Lastly, she gave me her contact information, promising to connect me with her cousin. He owns a hotel in Baguio, a mountain town about 250 km away from Manila. A insisted this is a must-see place! I had heard great things about  Filipino hospitality–now I am experiencing that.

I had no problems at the airport and with finding the Nissan rent a car office. (Thanks to RM and MB for the detailed instructions on how to get to the Nissan booth.) The car ride from airport to the hotel, reminded me of my India trips. There was pretty good traffic even at that late hour. I reached the hotel in Makati around 1 pm and tried to get some sleep.

I have spent my last few days wandering through the neighborhood and looking for an apartment. While exploring, I found snacks that I can live on, meals or no meals…hehe! However, I am still determined to find a place that serves good vegetarian food.

Filipino snacks

My first day of work at Save the Children, Makati, will be Tuesday, June 27. Wednesday is our face-to face team meeting “for all PDQ staff”. I am looking forward to meeting my colleagues and learning what PDQ stands for!


  1. Sounds like a great start to what will be an incredible experience!! Love the picture. You give David a run for his money as a photographer!

    1. Haha! I cannot take full credit for the photo; I had to ask my fellow passenger, who had the window seat, to take the photo.

      How is your vacation going?

  2. Looks like you are approaching your new assignment with an extroverted passion; God love you for that! I look forward to reading your blogs.

  3. What a lovely start to a 6 month assignment. Those snacks, especially the dried mango and tamarind look really yummy. I am loving these blogs and while I know you don’t enjoy writing these please do carry on for those of us living vicariously through you.

    1. You are too kind Indrani. Come visit Philippines while I am here. We can enjoy the snacks together.

      1. Let’s go Indrani. Let’s go visit A’s cousin in Baguio with Nandita. Great blogs Nandita. Looking forward to more.

  4. So happy to hear that you have arrived safely and found some wonderful local snacks. You should also check for drinks made of tamarind, they are lovely.

  5. Yikes – hot and spicy peanuts! Great start, the place in the mountains sounds like a must do! Good luck with your first day in the office tomorrow. They are a very lucky group indeed having you join them for the next 6 months….keep blogging!

  6. This is such a fun start to a Monday – thank you for writing a blog 🙂

    I completely agree that you need to go to the mountains for a weekend while you’re there… and I really hope your first day goes well tomorrow 🙂 enjoy the exploring!!

    1. 🙂 Happy to contribute to a fun start to the week, Allison! I am waiting for a colleague/friend/family member to visit me. So we can visit places within Philippines together. Hint, hint!

  7. Nandita, By the end of 6 months. you will be a great writer too! Looks like your friend A is from Philippines? Amazing how we connect with people around the world as we travel and step out of our comfort zones. By the way, I assume the rented car comes with a renter “chauffeur” too. Good luck with the work experience, I am sure they all are eagerly waiting for you too in the office!

    1. Fortunately, the car came with a chauffeur. I would not dare to drive here. Thanks for your good wishes Aparna.

      1. I had the same question when I first read the blog. I assumed that you are driving there. So I told myself that I need to do something to get out of my ‘terrible driver’ state.
        Anyway, glad to know that you are enjoying your new country and everything that comes with it. But I am not quite sure of your quest for vegetarian food there. Good luck.

  8. Thanks for sharing with us through your blog, Nandita! Sounds like you have some guardian angels watching out for you & ensuring a safe, smooth transition 🙂 Keep spreading and seeing the positivity – it will breed more positivity all around you! Wishing you all the very best!! xx

    1. Ahsiya, I agree with you that positive energy attracts more positivity. I am lucky to be surrounded by positive people like you.

  9. Your story reminds me that there are good people everywhere!! And I am sure your kindness attracts kindness. I am excited for you to start your first day tomorrow – you will be awesome! I can’t wait to hear what PDQ stands for too! Good luck with the food situation – you’ll need more than nuts to survive!! Be well!

  10. What a nice way to document your trip! Bookmarked for easy access hehe. Baguio is anything like Pemayangtse, it definitely sounds like a must.
    Best wishes for your first day!

  11. Nandita – it is so nice and entertaining to read your story and how you are getting to know gradually a new country! Wow! A car with a driver! Sounds like the “Queen Nandita”, a very special person! Hope you enjoy your new assignment!

  12. Wow that’s awesome. I probably would have been reading the entire time and missed that connection. This is a good reminder to take the time and talk to other people. Have an amazing first day!! You’ll do an amazing job in your assignment 🙂

    1. Thanks Christina. Based on the three days I spent with you at training, I know you are going to make many friends. Your bubbly personality is attractive!

  13. Today is your first day! I hope everything went very well, and they you are off to a great start in the group. We are all thinking of you. Beautiful photograph, that might be the last dry air you experience for awhile!! Hope you have been able to find some fresh ripe mangos. Overripe is the best.

    1. Thanks for checking on me David. First two days of work went well. I am hoping I will have better understanding in a month. I will elaborate in my next blog.
      Overripe mango?! I will try that once I move to an apartment. I don’t want to make a mess in the hotel room.

  14. I truly enjoyed reading your blog. Felt like I was there :). Waiting for more blogs. Have a wonderful time.

    1. Nandita, glad to know the work has started smoothly too. We will be eager to know more about your work. Have you found vegetarian food you like? How far are you from your work place? Tell us more about all those small things of everyday life. How do you go to office?

  15. Glad to hear that you arrived safely in Makati. Hope you had a great first day. Looking forward to reading about your next adventure. Happy hunting for yummy vegetarian food!

    1. I will write about my first few days at work in my next blog. Today I had vegetable stew and rice at a Persian restaurant. 🙂

  16. Dear Nandita: thanks for continue to share your experience with all of us. I am sure your first day at work went well on Tuesday. All the best wishes to you on your new experience in A new country.

  17. Lovely to hear that you had a smooth journey and have found some snacks to keep you going. It’s the little things that make you feel more at home. The dried mango is delicious. I brought back a selection of snacks for my team when I came back to the UK. They were stunned by the sweetness. You are going to have fun exploring the range of snacks available in the Philippines! Sounds like you’ve already experienced the warmth of the Filipino people. That was one of the highlights of my trip. Look out for people bursting into song at any opportunity! 🙂

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