From then on I concertrated my chat with Filipinas since they knew English. Over a few weeks I found a few ladies I was interested in and would chat frequently. As we got to know each other better, I would find things that was not compatible with my needs, my philosophy in life or different from my needs. At the time I had a 2 bedroom townhouse. Some women had a few small children and I was thinking, I would need a bigger home that I could not afford at the time. Others would tell me, even though they had children, they would leave them with their mother or family member with no intention to ever bring to the US.
There was one that was very religious and felt, no matter what, God would provide. I am not an atheist but I do not feel God will help anyone that doesn’t help themselves.
Well one Saturday morning, I was in the site and looking at the photos of ladies online and I saw Elena’s photo. I thought she was beautiful and then read her profile. She was single, no kids, had a college degree, a good job and owned her own home.
Elena had her own computer at home, so it was not waiting for a lady to go to the Internet Café. We started chatting and got to know each other. At first we would chat 2 or 3 times a week on Yahoo Messenger . Then it became every evening for me, morning for her, before she left for work. After a few weeks it was every morning and evening.
Over the next months we would talk about everything, life, loves, and feelings. Nothing was kept secret. About 6 months later, I decided to fly to the Philippines for 10 days and meet Elena in person. Elena lived in a city on Mindanao that was not too safe for a foreigner to visit, so we decided we meet in Manila. So I went online and found a good deal on Continental Airlines.
What a trip. It started in Florida at about 9am, my next stop was Newark, New Jersey with a 4 hour layover. Then from there the next flight went over the North Pole to a stop in Hong Kong, China. Then a switch to Cathay Airlines to Manila. I did not arrive until 11:45PM. All in all I think it was about 17 hours of travel.
Elena arrived earlier than my long flight. When I got to the exit, I looked for Elena and then was informed security will not allow Filipinos to enter the airport to meet arriving passengers so I found my driver from the hotel and he called Elena on his Cell. Next thing I know I see Elena crossing the street and my first thought, she was more beautiful in person than her photos or the lady I looked at for months on a web cam.
After traveling for about 18 hours and not being able to sleep on the flights, we went to the hotel, checked in and then just talked a little before I needed to sleep. What a first night, Elena having to listen to my snoring through the night.
Because both Elena and I were strangers to Manila we did not know what to do with our days. Each morning Elena would make me a cup of the complementary coffee in the room and once showered and dressed we would go down to the buffet breakfast. The buffet had foods for all types of foreigners. I would usually have eggs and either French toast, pancakes or waffles.
We became friendly with the Assistant Manager Chona. She would always watch over us and when I needed ore coffee, instead of the pot used for most, she would make me a fresh cup. That was one of the beginning signs of the hospitality of Filipinos especially if you are nice to them.
One morning, talking to Chona, we talked about things to see in the city. I wanted to see Corregidor, a small rocky island which is at the entrance of Manila Bay. Growing up watching all the WWII movies, I wanted to see such a historical place.
We hired a driver from the hotel to take us to the dock where you take a boat to the island. When you arrive you are brought to the Corregidor Hotel where you are severed a buffet lunch. Waiting for the tour to arrive I met Sheila, one of the tour guides. She was fun and liked to joke. So we made sure we got on her tour bus. We saw the place General McArthur said the famous words “I shall return.”
It was a fun day especially with the joking from Sheila. There was also a Filipina on the tour whose father was on the Baatan Death March and related a story. He survived the march because of Filipinos would toss down to the marching captives water and foods wrapped in Banana leaf parcels.
In the evenings we usually went to the lobby where they had a bar, seating and some form of live music.
All in all, Elena showed me the loving hospitality a Filipina has for her man. From making me coffee in the room, helping me with my clothes in the room, always concerned with me for my comfort, eating, beverages. What to do or not do being a stranger in her country.
The day we were to fly back to our perspective homes, there was tears in our eyes as I got out of the taxi at the International departure area at the airport.