I woke up today at around 6:30 am to the sound of my nephew, Antione, screaming, “Tita Amanda!” at the top of his lungs. It was so loud that I thought he was right outside my room, but he was actually downstairs and outside. I joined them for breakfast where I ate a chicken empanada, which was a lot different that I’m used to because It had bits of hardboiled egg inside but it was still good. KaEstella, still looking the same, came over during breakfast and we talked a little bit. She mostly just kept saying how similar we all looked to each other. Then, we got ready to go to Antione’s doctor’s appointment at a health clinic in Bulacan. I wanted to go because I was interested to go because Ate Ara told me the story of how she went to several doctors and this doctor was the only one who was able to detect his heart problem and direct her to the best cardiologist.
It was extremely traffic on the way to the clinic and it was just in Bulacan. Ninong Andrew was the one driving us, so he wasn’t used to driving in such narrow and traffic areas. It was also his first time driving Ate Ara there, so he kept telling us how much he didn’t like it there. The health clinics here are nothing compared to the ones in America. I expected to be an enclosed building, but it was all open, where healthy people could be exposed to the sick ones because there were only two doctor’s office: one for adults and one for kids. Ate Ara didn’t want me to get exposed, so we waited in a separate corner of the office.
Above: The front entrance of the health clinic for kids. There is only one doctor and it’s all first come, first serve. Nothing is by appointment. Since Antione has a heart condition, he’s first priority so we had to just wait for the previous appointment to finish and then we were next. The door and the charts are elevated in case of flooding. The charts also aren’t in any cabinet whatsoever, so if it floods they’re all gone.
When we went into the room, it was a cramped and narrow. In the states, it’d be the size of a room for one patient, but here, it’s a room for one patient, the family of the patient,the doctor’s office, the doctor’s supplies – including the desk and other files, the medical machines all in that one space. Also, the doctor did everything. There was no nurse to assist her in doing anything like checking height and weight. It was also surprising that they do not even use computers for even a doctor’s office. The doctor manually computed Antione’s BMI and hand wrote his measurements, prescriptions, blood pressure, etc all on a piece of binder paper and depended on a booklet that Ate Ara kept to keep his immunization records up to date. His chart contained only his personal information sheet and then several binder papers stapled to it. Above: I was sitting against the wall, so this is other side of the office. To my right was only the patient bed. And to the left was the cabinets. They use a poster taped to a wall, to measure the height.
Above: The doctor and Antione getting his height measured with the poster.
The doctor said Antione’s heart was fine for now but to schedule an appointment with his cardiologist next week to have a 2D echo, which is basically an ultrasound but for his heart. She told Ate Ara that he needed to get shots, which Ate Ara said she’d get today but the doctor jokingly suggested not today because this was the only appointment that her and Antione got along. Ate Ara agreed and decided to wait until next week for the Varicella and flu shots.
While driving back, Ninang Evelyn got a call from Kuya Aron that he was at Fontana, with his in-laws, trying to get a villa but they weren’t accepting his membership. Apparently, when you’re a member you get 50% off of everything like the villa and food. He also wasn’t accepted because he was a member under the name of Ninong Andrew and Ninang Evelyn but since he’s over 25 now, he’s no longer considered part of it. So, Ninong Andrew and Ninang Evelyn had to be there in order for his to get the discount. As a result, we had a surprise trip to Fontana.
We drove back to Bulacan to get our things and then we drove three hours to Fontana, which was completely different from what I remembered. They recently built a really fancy hotel lobby, which was pretty much palace-like. While waiting for Ninang Evelyn and Kuya Aron to settle everything, the rest of us ate at their international restaurant. The food was priced insanely high but since Ninong Andrew was a member, they got 50% everything. Ninong Andrew ordered me a salmon steak, which was good but was also drenched in butter. The kids each only ate half a plate of mashed potatoes and then they ate cake and cupcakes for their meals.
Above: My salmon steak – that’s not gravy, that’s butter.
After resting a bit, we went to go swimming. Fontana recently made a new addition to their water park by adding a hotsprings section. Antione doesn’t like the cold water, so he preferred swimming at the hotsprings, which I found funny because it’s already so hot in the Philippines and the reason to go swimming is to cool down but he wants to stay warm. Anyway, since we were only registered to swim at the hotsprings, it was way too hot for me. So, I opted out of it and just sat in the cool shade and talked with Ate Glenda, Antione’s Yaya. She told me that Fontana is nice but it’s only a place for the rich because it costs more than 1 million pesos a year for membership to Fontana, which is $20,905.07 approximately and that’s not including entrance to the waterparks or the food. It’s that much to just be a member. Since Ninong Andrew and Ninang Evelyn were members a long time before that, they only pay about 50 thousand pesos. Ate Glenda and I talked while the kids swam, which was only for about 1 and 30 minutes and then we headed back home, because Ninong Andrew was anxious about driving in the dark. The drive took another 3 hours or so back, where we arrived at around 8pm. We were all tired from the trip, so we ate KFC for dinner and then we all went to bed.
Above: Fontana Entrance of the hot springs.
Above: Shallow hotsprings for the kids. We went to another one too, which had actually bubbles but there were too many people for me to picture.
Above and below: Waterfall themed pool, which Zavier was too scared to swim in so we didn’t go in.