I entered a cafe with a noticable “CNN Recommended” sign at the entrance. Picked a table facing down the street of Binondo, the Manila Chinatown.

I ordered pork congee with century egg for my lunch. Their special is actually SOUP NO. 5, the buffalo torpedo soup. I didn’t dare to try. 😅 Worried I couldn’t finish it as that will be a waste. Right?

I enjoyed that slow lunch moment. I wasn’t sure where to go after this.

When I was thinking, i overheard the next table, yes, that table with granny and (i think) her grand daughter sitting. There was a middle-aged woman too. She went out for a while and was not captured in the photo.

They were conversing in language that sounded familiar to me. Very much familiar I can’t believe I heard it in Manila.

“Our style of hokkien. Yes, very similar. They are speaking in Hokkien”, I remembered my thought when I tried to catch every words and sentences from them.

When they were paying for the bill, the waitress spoke tagalog to them. I couldn’t help but started the conversation.

“Are you local?”, I sparked the question. I smiled at the mom and she smiled back and said, “Yes, we were born here”.

Me: “Ah okay. I am hokkien myself. From Indonesia”

Mom: “Really? From Indonesia?”, she gave me that surprise look.

Me: “Yes”

Granny: “Are you here alone?”

Me: “Yes. I travel here alone”

Granny: “Just becareful when you walk here”

Me: “I will”

Both Granny and Mom did not really know where in China their family was originated from. I guess they have been in the Philippines for many generations. They are filipino at heart but still speak the language and maintain the traditions.

Granny: “Is it safe there in Indonesia?”

Me: “Yes, it is safe. Indonesia is a safe place.”

Granny and mom looked at me before looking at each other. They have deeply-concerned and disbelief look. As if I said something contrary to whatever their heard about Indonesia.

Granny took the change and gathered her bags. “I’ll take my leave now. You enjoy your meal”, she said. “Take care ahma”, i replied and smiled to mom and daughter.