Mabuhay (Mah-boo-hi): it means “long live” in Tagalog. It’s a saying used in greetings, celebrations, departures. “Mabuhay and thank you for flying Philippine Airlines”.
Manila is a popular layover destination to Shanghai especially among other UCLA students since Philippine Airlines is generally cheaper. I have family in Manila so I opted for an overnight layover to stay in a hotel with my cousin. If you choose a layover in Manila and decide to explore the city, I find it pretty safe to do so in Makati City (downtown Manila) where there is excellent shopping and Filipino cuisine at the Glorietta mall or SM Mall of Asia (very close to airport). The people are genuinely friendly, funny, and extremely polite – always addressing you as “ma’am” or “sir”. Just make sure when you enter the taxi, agree on a reasonable price before driving, and check to make sure the driver has started the meter (this is a common tourist trap).
Traditional Filipino breakfast: chicken longonisa (sausage-like), scrambled eggs, garlic rice, fruit, chilled mango juice. This really hit the spot before leaving for the next leg of travel on my way to Shanghai.
Although I was a bit nervous about navigating my way through the airport and to East China Normal University, I found it pretty simple to find the taxi line, hand the driver a print-out translation of the address and ride one hour to ECNU from Pudong airport. Word of caution: use the official airport taxi line. Do not accept a ride offer from anyone to approach you in the airport; you will get overcharged.
The “International Exchange Service Center” is the 15-story tall residence building for international students. In these halls, I have come across mostly American and French students.
As soon as I put my bags down in the dorm room, my new roommate, Jingyi, and her friend, Philix invited me to join them and their other friends living in Shanghai to dinner at Hai Di Loao, an extremely popular hot pot restaurant – meaning you cook meat yourself in a single hot pot of broth at the middle of the table.
Believe it or not, this is actually a mall filled with everything from cheap and delicious eats to vintage shops to high-end luxury goods.
Since Hai Di Loao is so popular in Shanghai, the lines here can extend for hours. In order to keep business, the restaurant has waiting rooms (the size of a restaurant alone) with complimentary fresh fruit for snacking, free manicures/massages, and board games for playing with your party. We didn’t have to wait long, but I wish we could’ve gotten in a free manicure!
After snacking on arguably the sweetest watermelon I have ever tasted, we were seated, and it was time to create sauces for dipping at this bar for the meat and vegetables. I whipped up a concoction of sweet sesame cream sauce with green onions, chili pepper, and crushed peanuts.
Similar to Korean BBQ, they will bring you raw beef brisket for your table to cook in the broth. It’s a truly fun and interactive dining experience to gather around a hot pot with new friends, throw in delicious meats, mushrooms, and other vegetables, and fish out your cooked creation.