after a harrowing week at the office preparing for the third philippine trade policy review, i was off to rome for a singles for christ conference. but during that hell week at work, i went home sometimes at 10 p.m., helping out with the preparations of the paperwork which yielded a 161-page report. i mostly did clerical work but i really got to see the dynamics of how a trade policy review was being conducted complete with people from capital (philippine authorities) who were present to respond to questions from various wto members.
that was the week before and during 5 & 7 july.
after what seemed to be a tireless schedule, my family had to get on a plane early saturday morning en route to rome. we were there for the 10th year anniversary of the couples for christ in europe. since it was an anniversary, the organizers decided to make into a mega-conference including all its ministries (couples, handmaids, servants, singles, youth, kids). the delegates numbered over 2,100 people. the conference proper was from 14-17 july so we had a few days to galivant and shop till we dropped! (which happened to be the case)
on july 9, we were so tired from the work week that we just lounged around our host's house watching dvds from his 500+ collection. on july 10, we were blessed by the pope at the st. peter's square. we continued to walk for a straight eight hours that day. we found ourselves with the burgeoning tourist population in the sunny city of rome making our pilgrimage to the piazza navona, the spanish steps, the trevi fountain (yup, i threw my three coins in the fountain!), looking at the massive pantheon and just enjoying the streets of rome. of course, the experience would not be complete without pizzas, pastas and the ever famous and very italian gelato ice cream. we had our fill at the san crispino gelateria where new york times claims that it is THE best in town. there was a kabayan there who didn't hesitate to give us more than our share of gelato. thank you kabayan!
filipinos were scattered in rome. if not for the language and the foreigners, you'd think you were in the philippines. the summer weather was almost the same. the traffic was the same. the people were as warm. but nothing beats the graffiti and garbage that seems to pile up. but praises for the buses who don't come on schedule. so, if you're going somewhere, make sure to alot a few minutes up to an hour to get to where you're going in rome.
overall, seeing st. peter's square, being blessed by the pope, seeing the massive frescos of michaelangelo on the ceiling of the sistine chapel, not to mention the coliseum, and witnessing roman life...it was a great trip! and remember the clichéish saying "WHEN IN ROME, DO AS THE ROMANS DO." for if you don't, you might just miss out on the fun of the whole roman experience.
i will try to publish my pics in the photo blog as soon as i have more time.