So, this happens to be the penultimate day of our vacation here. We leave at 6:45 PM tomorrow.
Today, my Aunt came early to our hotel room and after breakfast, we immediately took a taxi to the Greenhills Shopping center where my mother planned to buy some cheap bling-blings.
I love this place and I always make sure to visit it every time I'm in manila because inside one of the interconnected malls, there's a small wing with nothing but otaku and hobbyist-related shops -- not that I planned to buy anything unless I saw a Nagi figure that I didn't already have. Unfortunately, they only had a whole bunch of Love Live figures and tons of expensive Miku ones.
In any case, while I was tempted to buy a Ranka Lee swimsuit figure, I decided that it was either going to be a cheap, but authentic Miku or Nagi figure or nothing... so I ended up with nothing.
I went searching for my mother and aunt after that and stumbled upon a small stall selling self-defense equipment and knives. I ended up buying a cheap but really nicely made "balisong" or butterfly knife. I like collecting and practicing with weapons, you know.
|This thing is called a "balisong"|
|I love knives! This one is cheap but really nice-looking.|
|I know someone who'd love the name of this store.|
The Pena's were family of four with two teenaged kids aged 16 and 15. We took the hotel's transport service to the Greenbelt shopping center where we had dinner at a restaurant named "Contis." It was a pretty standard western-influenced restaurant with none-too-fancy dishes, which suited me just fine since I hate complicated flavors... and seafood.
Anyway, the Pena's were quite an interesting bunch. The father was a rather talkative man who liked to joke around while his wife was a bit more reserved. The two kids seemed quite shy since they could only communicate in English because they grew up in Brunei and didn't understand either Tagalog or Hiligaynon very well -- much less speak it. I reminisced a bit about my law school days with Mr. Pena who seemed quite interested in what law school was like. My mother seemed to get along well with the couple as well.
While having dinner, I overheard a mother scolding her kid, who seemed to be around 6-8 years old because he apparently wanted to stay in the restaurant forever. What she said (in English because people who are rich here distinguish themselves that way by speaking in English) sort of struck a chord with me. She said, "Do you know what your work will be if you want to stay here forever? They're going to make you wash the dirty dishes here all the time. You'll be like them (pointing at the waiters in the restaurant with a demeaning tone of voice)."
I thought that this reprimand was a bit inappropriate since it just emphasizes the culture of class-based shaming that is really prevalent in the Philippine. Basically, being a janitor, waiter, or a taxi driver denotes that you are from a lower class and that it's shameful to be that way -- and this is the message that this parent was trying to impart to her child, I would assume. Still, maybe I was just reading too much into this.
Anyway, after dinner, we took a walk around the Greenbelt, SM and Glorietta malls -- which were interconnected. One of the security guards at the entrance to SM greeted us with enthusiastic but a bit broken English. My mother found this amusing -- she being a strict English and speech teacher... I didn't. I didn't want to laugh nor make fun of this man because he was simply doing his job and being enthusiastic about it. I'm sure my mother realizes this as well, but it just felt wrong to me because I was already influenced by the scene from earlier in the restaurant.
We parted with the Pena family after we were ready to go back to the hotel. They were actually staying in the same hotel, but we had to take separate taxis because we couldn't all fit into a single sedan-type car.
Back at the hotel, we finished packing up our stuff since we were checking out tomorrow.
That ends day 4. Tomorrow is our last day here. It's been a really nice vacation so far -- even though we didn't really see too many new things. I believe that it's caused not by my limited knowledge of the place, but also because of the fact that age is starting to catch up with my mother and her legs really aren't as good as they were about a decade ago, so we can't really walk for long distances -- even just to find our bearings and go exploring for a bit... that's not really a loss though. Even if we are jut visiting mostly familiar places, the important thing is to have a good time and to unwind, de-stress and relax.