October 9th 2020
It was one year ago that we landed in Cebu. After several months of planning and many trials and delays it finally happened. Definitely a case of Expectations VS Reality. We had originally planned on flying PAL from LAX to CEB direct when they started the route in May of that year. I had just been in Cebu going back with Papa and Mama then getting my annual check in done for my 13A visa.
Then it struck, life as we know it came to a crashing halt. Worldwide lockdowns started happening and travel restrictions were being put in place. Masks became the normal, here in the Philippines even face shields were required. But we were told it was only going to be for a few weeks to flatten the curve. Cindy had gotten her US Citizenship the previous Sept just after the consular outreach for Phoenix, but we figured there would be one in the spring, so no big deal. Were we ever wrong!Now the outreach was canceled and the LA consulate was closed until further notice, and Cindy didn't have her Philippines citizenship. By the end of April she couldn't even get into the Philippines. Most international flights to the Philippines were canceled so PAL wouldn't even accept tickets for the LAX to CEB flight. Then Finally in June the consulate started to accept limited appointments. Cindy tried a couple times and was able to get an appointment for mid July!! We were finally making progress. We had an fun little get away for a couple days in LA while getting her dual citizenship.
One thing down, now to get tickets and figure out what we were taking with us. During this time we had some "intense discussions" about different things. One of the big ones was what to do with things in AZ. At first we had discussed selling off and cutting ties to AZ. In the end we decided to keep the house and car and let a friend and my son rent the house while we were gone. That way we had a place to keep stuff until we knew better what the reality of living in the Philippines was going to look like. We managed to book tickets with PAL to Cebu nonstop so we started packing bags and Balikbayan Boxes. By this point the stress was taking a toll on us too. Then PAL sent an email letting us know the flight had been rerouted to MNL then CEB. We did not want that so we called and we rebooked tickets for early Sept. This was ok, it let Cindy spend her birthday with friends in AZ.
They had an amazing weekend in Sedona, she even caught her first trout!
So many wonderful memories were made with her friends but they were all excited for her to begin a new adventure in their home country.
Well, Pal sent another email that weekend again rerouting to MNL. Again after a call we were able to rebook for a couple weeks later. This gave some extra time to get a few more things done, Cindy was able to get her drivers license!
Well Pal emailed again, and by this time we had found out that there were only a few international flights into CEB weekly. Pal finally admitted that they had no flights direct to CEB from anywhere out of country. We talked it over and decided to book a different airline. After some searching we found tickets with EVA Air for Oct 7th Phoenix to Cebu via SEA & TPE. A little more round about than we were expecting but at least it got us there! We were able to say some final goodbyes and even voted the morning we left.
Three virtually empty airports later on the morning of October 9th 2020 we did it, we arrived in Cebu!!!
And now the adventure continues.