Monday, June 29, 2009

Manila State Visit: Day 3

Manila, Philippines
20 June 2009

Still not much sleep. Still operating at Bay Area time. So after that crazy night, Here I am up at the ungodly hour of 9am. had my nephew buy some hot pandesal at Pan de Manila and enjoyed every gooey, soft, chewy madness that is pandesal.


The day was relatively quiet, just took the nephews and nieces to SM Southmall. Took a tricycle ride (weeeee!) to Southland, (which reminded me of my path going to high school in Las Pinas) and boarded a short airconditioned bus ride to SM Southmall.


Needless to say the traffic was horrific. You would think they would have widened Zapote-Alabang road by now huh? But no. They still do the same counterflow whatever where they would stop one direction so those going to the other direction could use four lanes of traffic. Let me spell it out.. R-O-A-D W-I-D-E-N-I-N-G!!


Ahh SM. Dunno, its just a huge piece of commercial real estate. Being in Greenbelt the day before this place just does not hold a candle, or a gasera, or even a posporo. I guess I should not compare but I guess its fair to say that SM is marketed towards the lower social classes. From those annoying credit card vendors and the place itself, all I wanted to do there was to get in, and get out as fast as I can.

This place was also the first time I experienced falling in line to get inside a mall. The hell? This is not just an ordinary line mind you, this was a line where they separate men from women. LMAO!!! Another thing that does not make sense. I smell an executive order coming.

You think this kind of shit is going to fly in the United States? Can you imagine how many lawsuits the management of SM would get from this? This was just funny.

But of course a trip to SM is never complete unless you get to the food court. When SM was I guess cool back in the day at least, I would never fail to stop by its food court specifically Sizzling Plate. Who would not love a plate of that sizzling porkchop with Java rice??? So there I was staring at that plate of porkchop while reminiscing of those days I would ask my mom for money to go to Makati (via Lovebus BF-Greenbelt route) to buy shoes at Mendrez, then whatever left over cash I had was spent to eat at Sizzling Plate!


Although the meat looked smaller, (maybe I was bigger or I'm just used to having servings of American sized meat) it was the same as when I last had it. Hot, Sizzling and Good!!

Went back to SM to get some puto molds to bring back with me to the states then I hear their announcement that they were closing. Did not think much of it until I witness their closing procedure.

I do not know if Henry Sy is still a follower of Chairman Mao, but witnessing them close SM for the day makes you wonder if you were in Tiananmen Square.

Half of the employees were lined up towards the exits, reciting their closing creed. It was just like a flag ceremony, employees reciting the creed word for word. They were lined up like good soldiers while half of the employees were unfurling those white cloths used to cover merchandise in unison. It was like watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympic games. A sight to behold. There was precision, a well oiled choreographed dance! I guess if the Philippines manages to host an Olympic event anytime soon, the best people to hire for the job are SM people.

Look I used to work in retail (Nordstrom's) and I was trained in customer service, but it was never like this. This is bordering to the extreme. It is probably safe to assume that SM is the only retailer in the world who subjects its employees to this kind of madness. From the same type of makeup all their sales ladies wear, to the annoying and robotic "Good Morning Sir, Maam" and to their people who follow you in every inch of the store, now I know why my sister refuses to go there.

To their credit, their stuff is cheap, and really everything you would ever need is under one roof. Also, they provide a service to all Filipinos, no not jobs, but a big air conditioned place where people could cool off. Being in that kind of weather, having a place to cool off for free I guess is commendable enough.

Was happy to get out of SM, and after a futile attempt to go from SM Southmall to San Andres Bukid, (which we had to postpone because of you guessed it, traffic!) we went home.


When darkness fell, I thought of what I used to do as a kid when I was back in the Philippines. Oh yes, ISAW!! I did see a BBQ stall just a few blocks from our house, so I asked my sister if it was safe to eat there. I guess for people living there it was, but I guess she would not want to risk me suffering from Hepatitis A so she suggested to take me to a place called CENTRAL BBQ BOY.

The tricycle ride to Central showed me how much BF Paranaque has changed. Even Freddie Webb's old house was now a restaurant. I'd say 75% of the houses in Aguirre avenue were now all commercial establishments. I mean if I owned a house there I would move away too! Oh and of those 75% commercial establishments, 60% of them were Korean!!! What the heck? The Koreans have invaded! The Koreans have invaded!

So we get to Central Boy BBQ, and oh BOY did it rock my world. Shit, so this is where my peoples are at. Those people I was looking for the night before at Hard Rock were all here. Although they looked like high school students, the vibe was cool. Just what I was looking for, a place to slum without being in a slum. I guess this is the place where the conyos wants to be jologs. The music was pumping, it was loud (a little too loud for me I must admit) and the food was good. What beats a good ISAW without the threat of having diarrhea in the morning?

At around 1 am, we had to call it a night as we had to get ready for an early flight out of Manila. Where were we going? BORACAY BABY!!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog man.

    Sm makes 2 seperate lines for men and women so that the male customers in line and especially the male security guards wouldn't "accidentally" brush off against the female customer's body.
    This was when they were strick with security, after 9/11. They used a metal detector and even pat you down. Nowadays, its more of a "let me poke inspection stick in your bag and you can come in".

    It's one of the reasons why the MRT/LRT segregate male and females. There's alot of perverts in Manila appratently.