Archive for November, 2008

h1

Stuff I Like in Manila #2: Bookstores

November 22, 2008

Stacked inside Manila, often found in shopping malls, are sanctuaries to Knowledge.
Their sizes range from tiny chapels to grand cathedrals. They have different ways of recruiting the devotion of buyers. Some sell overpriced coffee and food as a message that they offer books of high quality. Some merely stack the books into their respective genres, silently telling buyers that the stores also belong to them. Yet there is one offer that is particularly tempting: reading chairs.

These chairs are like relaxing pews that give a pilgrim respite from his physical wanderings and a boost for his mental wanderings. On them he is able to settle comfortably as his mind is transported to the worlds inscribed in books. The books, btw, can be had around him without charge. He merely has to grab any unsealed item, and he is free to do whatever he wants short of damaging it.
When I traveled inside a mall in Manila, I was like a pilgrim seeking an oasis to ease my mind in my wanderings. I rested for a while in Powerbooks, Mall of Asia. The place was like a temple dedicated not just to knowledge, but also to those who sought whatever kind knowledge. I looked around for the knowledge that I could barely find in Iligan. I found books under the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.


Then I realized that my mind was no longer a pilgrim. It had found its home…

h1

Stuff I Like in Manila #1: Malls

November 14, 2008

For someone who lives in a city that officially has one shopping mall, but in actuality has only less than a quarter of a mall, Manila shopping malls are must-see places.
Yet if someone were to strip away those malls’ fancy building designs, air conditioning, security guards, and cleaning staff; what would be left would be hot, dirty, and smelly stalls manned by loud vendors. Those stalls would fit in the marketplace environment, because the truth is that shopping malls are nothing but glorified marketplaces.
Not to disparage malls, I think they are way better than marketplaces. Buying necessities and luxuries with convenience and at comparable prices to market prices is a great improvement. In malls, the customer is no longer confronted with offensive smells, dirty streets, and untrustworthy goods’ prices.
Btw, here are a few pics I took in the Mall of Asia while I was waiting for my brother to pick me up.



Yet, to be always confronted with a good thing is to lose appreciation with that thing. For me, one mall is as good as another. It’s just like in the saying that if you’ve been to one, then you’ve been to all. I was not struck with the architecture of Trinoma because I had already been to the Mall of Asia. These were malls I didn’t have opportunity to visit when I still studied in Manila. Yet when I stepped into them, I realized that they were no longer “big deals” to me. I didn’t even visit Glorietta and Greenbelt again.
They were just malls. They were just places where people buy and sell. They were just marketplaces, but just a little bit glorified.

h1

Stuff I Hate in Manila #4: Poverty

November 2, 2008

The poor are flooding Manila.
They flock to the city hoping for a better life than what they had in the provinces. Too often they are greeted by a harsher life in Manila. They cramp themselves in squatter settlements, risking life and health under squalor conditions. Very few of their children grow up to escape the cycle of poverty. They and many of their children fall prey to crime, or succumb to a life of crime. Thus the city is filled with drug traffickers, petty thieves, hold uppers, rapists, kidnappers, and two-headed-vampires.


Squatter Settlement near the Recto LRT2 Station.

Same Squatter Settlement, Different Angle.

The Very Same Squatter Settlement, which also doubles as an arsonist fantasy.