May 25, 2014

Escolta X Binondo X Malate

Friendships are amazing, it comes in different ways. There are some you see everyday, some you meet every week. Some once a month, I have one who I meet at least every 7 months (It's coincidence, I swear) and then there is a friend who I last saw four years ago, and four years later, we met again.

The first time I met Mari was in 2010, it was game seven of the NBA Finals between the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics, I was in school and I asked my friend if I could borrow the PC inside the admissions office to look at the score online. Mari was one of the On-The-Job trainees there and so she saw me celebrate when the Lakers won. A few days after I asked about her and then I added her on Facebook.

Since that day I never saw her again but we talked through chat and messages, to cut the long story short, we kept communication every once in a while. 

So last April, there was the "Saturday Future Market" in the famed street of Escolta in Manila. It was perfect, I liked old stuff and she likes the artsy side of life, which I like too anyway so there you go, we already have a place to go, I just had to show up. 

Four years talking online, what do I say to her when I see her? How do I close four years into a split second? It was running inside my mind all the way to our meet-up place. It was 2PM, April, in the Philippines, you know what I'm talking about, right? The sun was beyond scorching! And when we finally met, it looked like I just finished a triathlon! 

I'm not going to lie, it felt awkward (I'm sorry Mari, I know you'll be reading this anyway, don't get me wrong, I'm just really socially awkward!) I mean it's been four years, online conversations are way different than in person. But I had to shrug it off and just went with it. 

The heat of the day wasn't helpful at all, I had to constantly wipe off the sweat on my head, on my back, but not on my armpits because I use Axe Sport, it keeps me dry, 60 Pesos only! (That's not a free ad placement Axe, pay me please.) 

We went around the event and everything was just awesome, old advertisement posters from the 1960s to up to early 1990s, artwork, some vinyls, some CDs, some old photos of celebrities, shirts, novels, and the others are too awesome to mention. As you can notice I didn't post everything that was in there, so that you have to go to see for yourself! 

Mari bought bracelets and other things while I settled with stickers that only costed me only 90 Pesos! What I loved so much about the sticker is that it doesn't only states the historic districts and places inside Manila, but what made it different was putting that hashtag! That "#" right there for me has a deeper meaning. Those places are the places of the past, right? I mean those were the fancy districts before but had fallen to the city's decay. Today we use hashtags to make something trending, and those stickers say that these places need to trend again, #Manila has to happen again! 

Mari in the light

After we went around the event twice to make sure we didn't leave any stone unturned, we walked around Escolta, just admiring the old buildings, I imagined how it was in this very street back in its heydays. We then went to the Lucky Chinatown Mall, it was my first time going in and the first thing I noticed there was how cold the air-conditioning was! (Now, that's free ad placement for you because I loved the temperature inside the mall.)

Since she brought me first at the Lucky Chinatown Mall, I wanted her to try my favorite noodle place in all of Binondo.

I wanted her to try the other food I usually eat in Binondo like the best vegetable lumpia place, the dumplings, the fried siopao and everything that was in there! But since it was dinner time and the other food places close early, we went straight to the noodle place.

I ordered my favorite "Beef Kan Pan La Mien" and she ordered, umm (What did you order anyway, Mari? Haha!) and we shared a plate of steamed dumplings.

The meal was awesome as always, you can see also watch there how they prepare their in-house-made noodles which is very very chewy and soft. What I also love about this place is their generous amount of serving, if you don't have much of an appetite, you can already share one plate.

After that delicious and heavy dinner, guess what? We now wanted coffee, and Mari knows a place where to get one. It was first a choice between Cafe Adriatico, a favorite place to go to when in Malate District and the world-famous Starbucks, and of course, Cafe Adriatico won. Yes, I do love to try out the new things, whatever the result may be.

 She had coffee and I had beer and shared through a slice of cake that was very sweet, I thought I was diagnosed with diabetes after one bite. Here was when the catching up really began, asked what up in each other's universe and plans and things of the past, present and future.

After coffee we took a stroll around Malate and went to the baywalk area, don't worry, this side of the bay didn't smell...that much. We watched bike exhibitionists and eavesdropped to people talking about how their relative doesn't have a work and other stories about their neighbors while we blew plastic balloons which I bought earlier at Escolta and I almost forgot I had it.

It was awesome to see Mari again after four years, plus I got to buy those cool stickers and got to blow a few plastic balloons. Awesome wandering with an awesome friend, or should I say, SUPER? Cheers!