Tuesday, December 13, 2005

[Blog Entry] Stalking Manila

Stalking Manila

My life really revolves around a small hemisphere: from Cubao to Libis, Greenhills to Ortigas, Rockwell to Makati. Anywhere else, I’m a clueless tourist, appearing as dumb and helpless as I look.

Yesterday I was in Cubao, scavenging books from the mythical floor of the National Bookstore branch there. Cheap books abound, and gazing at the shelves was like staring into the depthless ocean. Unfortunately, I like my books neatly arranged. This one was simply erratic. I’d see the same authors appearing in the next shelf at a random place, and honestly, aside from their price tag, there’s no real sense of order. While I appreciate book scavenges as much as the next book worm, I don’t want to scavenge several dozen shelves in the span of an hour. I had to use my mutant powers of looking for books at a distance. And the real trick there is to have an eye for book spines. Like any other fantasy fan, I dislike the common “fantasy art” style prominent in most American-published SF&F book. The only thing worse would probably be the covers of romance books. Thankfully, this atrocity helps you sort out which are the fantasy books and which aren’t. Similarity of design aided me in my search.

Four years ago, I probably would have emptied my pockets. There were tons of Katherine Kerr, Mercedes Lackey, and David Eddings books. There was even the occasional Sean Russel and George R. R. Martin. But by now, I’ve read the good books, and the rest are just, suffice to say, guilty pleasures. National Bookstore Cubao just lost its mythical attractiveness. Unless, of course, you plan on buying books as Christmas presents.

I may not look like it (being skinny and all), but I like food. Despite urging my companions to pay a visit to Taco Bell and their mouth-watering Margarita Slush (no, it’s not alcoholic), I was ignored. Thankfully, Taco Bell will be opening its 2nd branch near the Tomas Morato area, in front of St. Luke’s hospital to be specific. It’s a strange marketing strategy though. Beside the new Taco Bell is Pizza Hut’s classifier variant, Pizza Hut Bistro, giving the impression that the place is a high-end dining area. So people who get sick go to St. Luke’s to recover, then give themselves a heart attack by dining at Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Bistro.

One of the shops in the same street as St. Luke’s sells Fruits in Ice Cream (FIC), one of the country’s best locally-made ice cream. Of course in my experience, the best place to buy FIC would be at the 3rd floor of Robinsons Galleria. For P40, you get a cone with a huge serving of ice cream. Technically the sign says it’s just one scoop, but take my word for it and go and buy from Robinsons Galleria. “One scoop” doesn’t begin to describe how big the serving really is. And the saleslady always serves it with a smile.


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