fter another nap, I returned to the airport via taxi. Another 200 pesos bit the dust. I headed for the arrival area to wait for Emelda. As I soon discovered, one cannot wait for an arriving passenger in the arrival area of Mactan-Cebu Airport. I found a lounge that overlooked the arrival area where a matronly lady sat behind a small desk. The lounge was completely deserted. She asked me if I was waiting for an arriving passenger and told me that I could wait in the lounge for 10 pesos ($0.38). She also told me about the observation deck on the roof from where I could watch the planes land at no extra charge. I paid the small fee and headed up to the roof.

The extremely large observation deck overlooked the runways and was bordered by chain link fencing (to prevent people from walking off of the roof I presume). It was completely deserted also. I felt strange being the only person there, but I watched a few planes land and before long, the arrival monitor told me that Emelda's plane would soon be there. A few minutes later, I watched the twin propeller Fokker 50 aircraft land and head toward the terminal. I quickly dashed down to the street where I could look into the arrival area and hopefully attract Emelda's attention when she passed through there.

Around ten minutes later, several passengers began entering the arrival area and passing right in front of me. The windows were tinted, so I was worried that Emelda might not see me and the security guys would not allow me inside, so I remained there, mostly due to a lack of any other choice. Before long, Emelda entered the area. My heart began beating faster. She looked beautiful as she walked right by me, oblivious to my presence. I watched as Emelda walked down a hallway and completely out of sight.

I walked in the general direction of Emelda's disappearance. In doing so, I became part of a large crowd of people waiting for loved ones. I walked around, hoping that Emelda would appear at some point. After fifteen or so fruitless minutes of this, I headed back toward the area where I first spotted Emelda. As I did this, several porters tried to get my attention so that they could lead me to taxis. I kept waving them off and became frustrated at the airport's confusing layout.

After a few moments, a particularly insistent porter repeatedly tried to get my attention. I waved him off as he approached from across the street. When he got close, he pointed to someone across the street. It turned out to be Emelda, who was now standing about thirty feet in front of me. My frustration turned to joy as I crossed the street. Our reunion was at hand!

Public displays of affection are a no-no in The Philippines, so the music didn't fade up and we didn't run into each other's arms in slow motion. Our reunion was limited to a demure half-hug. Since the porter was shadowing us, we sucked our desire to clench each other inside as he led us to a waiting taxi.

Twenty pesos later, we were on our way to the hotel. We giggled quietly as we stared into each other's eyes. Before long, I was holding Emelda tightly in my arms. I even stole a few kisses when the taxi driver was really busy navigating traffic. My heart swelled. I was so happy to be with my beautiful fiancée again!

Once the door to the hotel room was closed, we sat down on the bed and clutched each other like there was no tomorrow. The tears began falling and the kissing began. We were both beside ourselves with delight. When the moment was right, I fetched a certain little black box from my suitcase and asked Emelda to close her eyes. When she finally complied, I slipped the engagement ring onto the appropriate finger and told her to open her eyes. She lit up when she saw the ring and we resumed our embrace.

We spent the rest of the evening catching up and enjoying each other's company. Emelda told me about her flight which had been her first time ever on an airplane (she prayed the rosary before takeoff). In fact, this had been her first time away from home without her family. The time flew by and before long, we were ready for bed. We had to get up early in the morning to head over to the American consulate where we would be applying for a form entitled 'Legal Capacity To Contract Marriage.' Foreigners wishing to marry Filipino citizens must obtain this form with which, one can apply for a marriage license. We fell asleep in each other's arms.

In the morning, Emelda took the very first hot shower of her life (after I explained how to work the mystery device). She enjoyed the heated cleansing and I followed suit. I was getting the hang of the heater and we checked out of the hotel ahead of schedule.