28 Hours in Manila: Crunchy Mommy-ing, All Alone
When I found out that I was pregnant, one of the first things I told the partner was that he was to take care of our baby, even if it meant that I would work my ass off.
I had no experience with children – I am the youngest of two kids and grew up the baby in the family.
The other day, I had the chance to test out my mommy skills when I, and our little man, flew to Manila – albeit for just 36 hours. We initially planned to bring the whole family and grab the chance to go on a quick road trip when we go back to Cebu but decided against it at the last minute. We were notified about the flight about 1-2 weeks prior and had no extra budget for the trip. Plus, their tickets had tripled the day after I had my own flights confirmed.
So, came D-Day. And it was a whole lot of fun.
4 hours prior to our flight…
There I was, fast asleep, quite excited what lies ahead.
Then a client sent a quick chat asking for something to be done and to have it sent over the day after. By that time, I’d still be in Manila. I decided to leave my laptop because I was going to bring the baby. According to the partner, I will have no time to do any sort of work. (Spoiler: He was right.) I ran down quickly and set to work…I wanted to leave a great impression as this was a newly acquired client.
2 hours prior to our flight…
I was never the early bird. The little man asked to be nursed and so I did…before rushing off to finish my work (thankfully it was a quick one!) and changing my clothes to leave.
As luck would have it, our Grab and Uber rides were nowhere to be found. It should have been boarding time already but I was still at home, walking my way outside of the subdivision because I could not book a ride. At all.
And did I mention that it was rush hour and that there were a gazillion schools along the highway near where we live? Of course, I didn’t factor that out. But, what the heck, I love thrilling adventures, don’t I?
I was thankfully able to book a ride, who was still eight minutes away, stuck in traffic. About three minutes later, I was able to hail a taxi and had to cancel the previous booking.
Mad dash to the airport
I made sure to tell the driver that my flight was by 8:15am (and silently telling him to get the vehicle flying already haha).
We got stalled in a few places but thankfully, most of the areas had moving traffic. We took a route that was not frequently used by private vehicles and got to the airport around 7am.
I had to dash inside to withdraw some money from the ATM and go back to the driver. He actually followed me with my luggage so I didn’t have to run back with my infant in tow.
And then I found out that our flight has been pushed back 20 minutes later. Whew.
Bookings and more problems
This crazy Manila trip was my six-month-old’s first airplane ride. And it was one hell of an experience for me as a mom.
For starters, I had to squeeze in a bit more time to book a ticket for my lap child. (I wasn’t able to book one for him prior because my tickets were booked by the sponsors and if I made a separate booking, they would be asking for additional charges for the unaccompanied minor.)
All was well – except the booking lady took so much time to get that sale through. She hasn’t finished her coffee and it wasn’t 8am yet so it was probably that. She made a mistake with my son’s name and I guess, his birthday also. We probably spent a good 20 minutes inside the ticketing office.
But of course, that was only the start. When I went inside to check in, I soon realized that I brought along the wrong live birth certificate. Yep – I found out, through the check-in lady, that I brought along my daughter’s documents and not my son’s.
Even worse, my 1-year-old phone had about 15% battery remaining. I had to call home to ask for photos of the document but I couldn’t text anyone because gasp our household only had one cellphone and it was with me. The people were very kind to accommodate my needs: I had to go to their back office to use their landline and call home. Thank goodness the partner and daughter didn’t decide to go out of the house that early (they had something planned already).
I went back to the check-in counter, still unsure if the documents were already found. I had 5% of battery remaining. The airline crew, who had assisted me, was talking to me about some things when he saw that there was an image sent to my phone. I was ecstatic for a good five seconds – only to have it cut short because it was actually my daughter’s (again). It was crazy scary just thinking about it – I tried to laugh it off. It was perhaps the longest 10-15 minutes of my life.
Eventually, the partner managed to find it and send the photo over – all while the phone was with 4% juice. For some reason, our old phone cooperated: it gave us a few more minutes enough to show the images to the check-in crew (who said they’d allow it for now but I have to find a clearer snapshot for when we come back) even while we were having a call on Facebook.
I had thought that the universe conspired to not allow my son to have his first plane ride that day.
And then of course, I found out yet again that the flight had been further delayed. That’s a total of 1 hour delay from the original schedule.
I think the universe was telling us to calm down first? And maybe grab some breakfast?
We finally boarded after grabbing a bite and nursing the kid. Whew. All’s well that ends well.
And we arrived!
Well it wasn’t really anything special when we arrived in Manila.
The only thing about this trip – the reason why it was a whole lot easier for me to travel with an infant, all alone, was that it was a sponsored trip. And that meant that we had a private van to take us to and fro locations and that we had a beautiful and comfortable hotel to stay in.
But goodness, it’s always a struggle to do anything with both hands when you have an infant and no one to really help you out. We grabbed some lunch and then waited by the hotel lobby until we finally got to check in at 2pm. By this time, I was pooped – but there was still a full schedule to follow so I had to gather all the energy I could possibly get.
In fact, we had around 30 minutes to get ourselves ready: settle inside the room, freshen up, and then go back down the lobby and make our way to the event venue, which was the reason why we flew to Manila.
Breastfeeding and cloth diapering
My daughter was breastfed for a good three months, and it wasn’t an exclusive arrangement. And, while we traveled some when she was younger, I had someone around to help me.
This time, it was a lot easier to travel with the son because I only had my boobs to bring along LOL. However, we made it more challenging by exclusively cloth diapering him – it’s fun but also not for the faint-hearted.
Our entire Manila trip had been spurts of trips so I didn’t have to bring a spare diaper to change him in between. I just had to make sure he was in fresh, clean diapers before we left and that I changed him right away when we arrived in our room.
The event we went to ended a little after dinner and, by the time we went back to the hotel, I was darn exhausted. So much going on in just a day. After changing my son, nursing and putting him to sleep, and showering myself and changing into fresh clothes, I called it a day. My legs and arms felt sore, as if I had been hiking on a mountain or doing a gazillion routines in the gym.
To think I had initially planned to bring my laptop to squeeze in a bit of work – how ambitious!
The day after…
We started our day slightly late. The hotel room’s cold AC made me want to sleep in but my son had started to feel uncomfortable. Of course I became too lazy to change his diapers in the middle of the night and so it was all soaked through, including the mattress. Haha!
After bathing, changing and nursing him, we went down and grabbed some breakfast. He now eats solids so I tried to feed him some papaya.
The entire morning, after breakfast, we just spent inside the hotel room. I let him sleep while I finished packing up our things (I actually did most of it the night before). I wasn’t entirely sure what to do so I just did some Facebook Lives for my pages (yes, with an S). Just in time, the little man woke up with a lot of poop. Haha!
I guess things happen the way they should. I changed him at around 11:00am – the driver was going to pick us up by 11:30am so we could head to the airport before noon.
I went hyper mode and packed everything up, checked out, and left our luggage at the lobby. Then we went outside of the hotel and looked for some pasalubong to bring home. Yay! I felt super empowered bringing along my son, all alone, while doing things as people normally would. I guess the only difference was that my shoulders and back already started to hurt.
When I finally got everything I needed, I went back to the hotel – around 12noon – to find out that I was the first person to go down and that my companions were still finishing up. Way to go, super momma! 😉
Finally at the airport
Checking in and waiting for our flight back to Cebu had been uneventful. In fact, we got really bored waiting for more than two hours – and the airport’s AC wasn’t very cold. 🙁
Except for a few minutes of near tantrums with my son (he was sleepy), we made it through just fine. He definitely was better on our way to Manila though – he just looked outside and slept from take off to landing. During our flight home, he nearly had a fit before sleeping for maybe 30 minutes and then tried to chat with the passenger beside me.
The truth is that, I never thought I’d be able to pull it off on my own. I always had the partner with me to help me with things – and this was my first solo trip and with an infant at that.
Would I want to do it again? Maybe, if the opportunity arises. But I missed my daughter and partner so much, there’s a good 90% chance it won’t happen again. I’d rather have an even crazier adventure with my happy bunch.
I’m just glad I had the experience and proved to myself that I can do things. 🙂
Key takeaways? Well, let’s keep this as a narrative – I’ll let you in on some tips and tricks on how to survive traveling alone with a baby on some other post. Thanks for reading!
Oh, hello there!
Pam is an outdoors-loving millennial momma who loves to hike, trek and camp in the beaches and mountains with her partner and their kiddos. When not exploring the great outdoors, she works with bloggers, coaches and solopreneurs to free up their time so they can work on the things that they love and enjoy the most.