|The hotel left a small memo pad with a pencil in our room, so...|
After that, it was time for breakfast. We went downstairs to see which restaurants were open. Luckily, there was one called "The Pancake House" just across the street. There were actually two branches of this restaurant back in Iloilo, but they closed down for some reason. I think it's because their prices aren't exactly very competitive. Ilonggos prefer cheap, quality food over food that's been expensively priced to make them seem premium -- anyway, that's just an opinion. Could have been mismanagement or something else entirely.
In any case, we always liked their food, so breakfast was pretty good. I had waffles with some bacon and eggs and I think my mother had the same. After that, we went back to our hotel room and got ready to hit the pool. We called in the front desk via a public area phone at the roof deck where the pool was located. After a short wait, the guard with the keys to the pool area arrived. There weren't many rules, but there was no lifeguard either. There were two people already in the pool. I got in first to test the height of the water since my mother couldn't swim and I could barely swim as well. It went up to about my chin area, so I figured it was probably about 5" ft. I'm 5'7" (around 170-ish CM), so I informed my mother of this so she could just cling to the sides of the pool.
At that moment, a rather big kid about 8-9 years old decided to jump into the pool -- I guess he wasn't prepared for how cold the water was because he started crying for help soon afterwards. He was right in the middle of the water. Good thing the pool was pretty small. One of the people in the pool, a guy about 20-30-ish, started swimming towards him right away. I waded over to the kid as well. The guy managed to reach him before his head went under and I arrived just half a second later and latched onto one of his arms. We assisted him in getting to the side of the pool.
His mother, who had been panicking at the side of the pool thanked us. It seems the kid could actually swim but his mother couldn't. It was probably as a I suspected, the pool water was a bit cold and took him by surprise. This reminded me of my 9 year-old niece who is a much, much better swimmer than me. I don't think I could imagine her ever being in that situation, drowning and gasping for air unless she had cramps or something.
The video is vertical coz my mother took it, obviously.
Anyway, we spent about 2-3 hours in the pool give or take. I took the opportunity to try out a few swimming techniques. For the life of me, I'll never learn how to breathe using the freestyle stroke -- or any other stroke that requires you to pull your head out of the water to take in air. I just can't time it right -- hmm... maybe if I had more time and privacy to experiment, I might just get it. Meanwhile, I can do this... which I also learned from watching my niece. She does this sometimes. Starts with a freestyle stroke and then rolls over on her back completely to do a backstroke or just rest. Eh, in any case, I doubt I'll drown in deep water as long as I know how to relax and float... I guess that's good enough for now.
|Hmm.. maybe I should have taken those bangles off. She looks great either way~|
So after drying off, it was back to our hotel room to change and then we made our way to the Greenbelt Mall for lunch. Good thing we spent such a long time in the pool. Greenbelt doesn't open until 11 AM. After walking around for a bit and not finding any restaurant to our liking (there are tons of them lined up all over the Greenbelt Mall), we settled for a simple meal at Wendy's.
After that, it was back to the hotel to freshen up a bit and rest. Swimming around in the pool all day was a bit tiring. By 3:30 PM, we were well-rested, so we decided to visit Megamall for today since there was no itinerary anyway. Megamall is currently the biggest mall in the Philippines, by the way.
We booked a GRAB car again to take us there. By the way, we used to use UBER, but complications happened and UBER was shut down by the government for some kinda legality or whatever.
Funny thing I noticed is that our taxi driver had mounted an ABS-CBN TV Plus digital TV receiver to the heads-up display unit of his car, so he was actually watching TV while driving... hehe -- can't say I blame him. I mean, we do the same in our car -- except I use pre-recorded videos from a USB stick.
So we arrived at SM Megamall by about 4:00 PM. It was the same as ever except I noticed that some new shops had opened and quite a few had closed down ever since we were last here just a year ago. I guess this is a sign of our bustling economy! CHANGE IS COMING and all that~
Heh... sarcasm aside, we went hunting for those coveted Liquitex paints again. I asked Google and it seems there was a Deovir art supply store at the top floor of one of the buildings. We located it easily enough and asked about the Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints that my mother's co-teacher/friend wanted. Unfortunately, they didn't carry that particular brand of paint. My mother set off to leave at once, but I asked her to wait. I asked them what kind of artist grade watercolors they had and they presented me with a White Nights set... exactly what I'd been looking for. Actually, I already checked their website way before coming here, so I knew they had this particular set :D.
So yeah, bought it for 1018 PHP (12 palette field sketch version) and I was pretty happy~
After leaving the store, we decided to check out the National Bookstore branch in Megamall if they had any of those elusive Liquitex acrylics. It took us some time to find the store because it was hidden in one of the alleys in the mall and the directions from the digital map made no sense whatsoever.
Also, they didn't have any more of the particular colors that my mother's friend wanted.
So we didn't have any more itineraries after that and just leisurely walked around inside the mall. My mother bought a pair of shoes from a Payless Shoe Source store at some point.
By 5:30, we decided to go to SM Mall of Asia (abbreviated locally as SM MOA. You pronounce the letters S and M and then the MOA phonetically as "MOWA.") We went to the least populated entrance/exit point by the Fashion Hall of the mall and booked a GRAB car again. Yup, GRAB would be our main means of transportation from here. It's worth noting that we could actually have made it to this place a bit faster via MRT, but then we'd have to deal with the crowds and the asthmatic airconditioning system of the MRT box cars nowadays. I swear, the MRT was still a pretty decent experience despite rush hour back when I was living here.
Traffic was kinda heavy so it was already getting about 7:00 by the time we arrived. My mother suggested that we go to Ramen Nagi for dinner since a lot of people recommended it and it had the same name as my Nagi. Of course, this was an opportunity for another picture. I also scribbled Nagi onto the paper place mat while waiting~
|Good use of some quality blank space~|
One thing I found really annoying was that in order to accommodate a lot of customers at once, they had table sharing. Like, you had to share a table with two other people if there were only two of you. Yeah, yeah, I know it's part of authentic Japanese culture... but you know what? I don't really like Japanese culture in the first place.
|Nagi inside of Ramen Nagi|
It could have been any number of things such as the jewels my mother was wearing or perhaps it was the fact that we were using Hiligaynon to communicate -- still, I don't think it was the Hiligyanon. I did experience how people from Manila would often look down on people who spoke anything other than Tagalog as "probinsyanos or probinsayanas" (People from the provinces. We have gender-specific nouns.) long ago, but this was more than 2 decades ago back when Manila wasn't such a hub of different people from the Philippines. Nowdays, the stigma of "people who are probinsyanos are backwards" is no longer prevalent and most people from Manila don't really care what kind of language you speak as long as you can converse in Tagalog. So anyway, I'm betting it was just my mother's appearance with all of her jewels. Well, we were just touring the malls most of the time and using a car-sharing service to get around the high-end areas of Manila, so it was hardly dangerous.
Well, with that experience aside, it was time to go back home after dinner -- and also after swearing that we'd never set foot in that place again. The ramen bowl was super expensive for an average Filipino's standards at PHP 390 a bowl, and you had to deal with the annoying table-sharing for that "authentic Japanese culture" feel. Blech~ I know what Nagi would say: "Hayate, there are too many people here. Let's go home!"
It was still a bit early when we got back to the hotel at 8:30, so we took a short walk around Greenbelt Mall for some window shopping before walking back to our hotel.
That concludes day 2. See you next time for day 3 of our trip.