I went to Manila last July to lodge my Schengen visa application. My appointment was on the morning of the 6th so I booked a flight a day earlier than my schedule. I’ve learned my lesson in 2010 when I missed my appointment at the China embassy in Makati. This was because my early morning flight to Manila got cancelled due to a typhoon.
It was drizzling when I arrived in Manila. There was a typhoon somewhere in Luzon but there was no storm signal raised in the area. Still, it rained non-stop the whole time I was there. Despite the bad weather, there were friends who went out of their way to spend time with me. One of them even hosted me at their home. It was after I got home that I realized that these friends had one thing in common — they were all Virgos.
Virgo friend #1
My Virgo friend/sorority sister and our brod said they would meet me for lunch at Mega Mall. I chose the place because I wanted to eat at a Japanese restaurant there. The resto’s owned by a Manila-based senpai in Kendo who I’ve recently met.
Given the nasty weather, I was half-expecting my sis to cancel. My flight arrived at past 1PM. While it was a Sunday and traffic was lighter than usual, it still took me long to get there. I was really touched that they waited to have a late lunch with me. They were even there already hours earlier than our scheduled meet-up.
I couldn’t stay long at that time because another friend was waiting for me in Makati. The rain was also getting heavier. In my mind, I began worrying that I might have a hard time getting a cab. To my surprise, my sis volunteered to drive me and my brod to Makati. I know that it was not easy for her because she still had a long drive back to Quezon City as the rain continued relentlessly.
Virgo friend #2
My club teammate and I became close when she joined the women’s crew we formed for the Asian Championships in Japan in 2002. It was a great experience that bonded us together. Since then, she’s always been there through thick and thin. She’s the type who never forgets and makes time to connect. She even sent me emails when I was staying abroad for a few months many years ago.
I initially planned to book a room in a hotel near the embassy to make sure that I’m early for my appointment. She volunteered to host me when she heard about it. She said that she always leaves early for office since her dad has to drop her and her brother off to work before 7AM. I was happy to accept the offer. We found out later that it was actually a great plan since her office is just about 200 meters away from the embassy. Suffice to say, it was a most convenient arrangement.
Virgo friend #3
I met Virgo friend #3 during my national team days. She lived in the same tower where the women’s athletes quarters (dorm) were at that time. She has been a friend for quite a long time and we’ve shared a lot of things together over the years.
One memorable experience I’ve had with her was when a strong typhoon battered Manila several years ago. I was on my way to training when the storm got worse. The flood was already waist-high when I arrived at the corner of the street near Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC). She braved the howling wind, heavy rains, and rising floodwaters to meet me and help me get to the safety of RMSC.
In last July’s trip, we planned to meet in Makati after I finished my visa appointment. But the weather was getting worse by the time I was done. I was totally okay with it if she cancelled. Instead, she told me that she’ll just meet me at the airport. This was after I told her that I plan to go there already because I didn’t want to risk getting caught in traffic. It was past 10AM and my flight was at 6PM. I was willing to wait for hours at the airport than risk missing my flight.
My friend arrived only a few minutes after me. And she stayed with me until I had to go to the gate to wait for boarding.
Looking back in those two days, I feel grateful for having great friends who continue to surprise me. I went to Manila hoping to get a Schengen visa. And I got more than what I came for.