I finally, finally, got the spelling of Philippines down. I could never remember if it was a double L, or double P, or was it a double N? I thought that I would learn it by osmosis from Amos, but that was NOT the case. Don't fret, the situation has been corrected and it's imprinted on my little dyslexic brain (or is it brian?)
I learned that the Philippine culture is decidedly different than Japan's. People are eavesdroppers, affectionate, outgoing, casual, and a bit in each other's business. It was definitely more my speed; I loved it.
I learned that cousins are cousins are cousins, even if they live halfway around the world and not down the block. Amos' cousins were sweet and wonderful and you could feel they had a special bond, even if they hadn't been able to see each other in 10 years.
I also learned that traffic rules are decidedly fluid. Oh, and honking. You should honk all the time in the Philippines. Honk to pass, honk to be passed, honk to tell someone hurry up, to slow down, to ask if the other driver sees you, to say hello. When in doubt, honk.
I learned that non-touristy trips can have their own delightful white sand beaches and infinity pools.
I've learned that even when you know someone really, really well, you still catch on to new aspects of their person when you meet their family. Yup, I'm talking about you Amos.
I learned that my MIL is a great travel companion for a 13 hour layover. I kept track of the tour group by watching her red beanie. She saved me from being lost in Korea forever.