Rating: 4 out of 5.
My friend, Ariane, is a rare creature in these parts. She’s a young, attractive, highly-educated and highly self-aware Pinay in this part of the world. I was lucky enough to meet her for a time when we both worked for the same company not too many moons ago, and while she moved on to other adventures, we luckily kept in touch and more than a few times got together to catch up on the latest gossip and reminisce for old time’s sake.
Since her abode is in somewhat distant, lofty Laren, it was a nice surprise to receive a text a few days ago that she was going to be in town. With nothing on my schedule, we met up on a strangely brilliant, sunny afternoon and settled down for the evening in the terrace outside of a none-too-shabby restaurant close to Central Station. Comfortable in our semi-private corner, with chilled wine in hand, great weather, and even greater company, it all seemed to fall into place.

There’s a lot to be said about being with someone with a shared cultural experience, something not just limited to words and syllables. Over three glasses of wine and a dinner of artisanal hamburger and fries, we got to be our true-blue albeit transplanted Pinoy selves laughing about our fortunes and misfortunes, talking animatedly – and even loudly – in our near-secret Tagalog language, quite aware of our shared and at times tragic history living amidst the tall masses of the Low Countries. We got caught up on recent events while at the same time savoring the last few breaths of summer in this part of the hemisphere. Hours passed and soon enough the sun was setting and the clouds started lording over the horizon. Our little summer reunion had come to an end.
Thank you, my dear, for a fun and nostalgic evening. And as a Mennen Skin Bracer commercial famously said – Thanks, I needed that!

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