Jul 24 - Aug 20, 2014
Back in Quezon City
GPS waypoint: 14°39'04.5"N 121°02'57.4"E
Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
A New Old Place
After 2 years of absence, I'm back in Quezon City. It's my Dad's birthday and he's not getting any younger (so am I). A bonding needs to happen again. If not for this occasion, I would have stayed longer in Davao. But this trip was planned months before. Also, as I always say, when the gods roll the dice and beckon for me to hit the open road again, I don't say no. I just do my due-diligence in wrapping up the loose ends and I'm off. I have fond memories of Quezon City but that was years ago. I don't have too many friends here now and the watering holes I like are not around anymore. In a way, this sets the stage for new things to happen...new people to meet and new places to visit. That's what it's all about.
Quezon Memorial Circle
Back in the day, this prime piece of property was nothing but neglected real estate. A place for lovers who had no motel money. But it has since seen its renaissance. People workout here in the morning. They have outdoor gym equipment, eating places, a park system and it's safe. I usually go here for my rope skipping and inversions - headstand and handstand. If you haven't been here in a long time, it's time for another visit.
I like the fact that a new skating rink opened up in SM Mega Mall. The one in MOA is a cross country coming from Quezon City. This new rink has some ice bumps - a flaw in their ice-making process! You don't want to hit it at speed. Nowhere else in the country can I go ice skating so I make it a point to use my hockey skates when I'm here. It was fun gliding on ice again. The 2nd time, my childhood friend Lea was with me - too bad she had to leave the rink on a wheelchair. C'est la vie. Her bad fall was a stunning reminder for me that things can drastically change from fun to horror. Lesson learned? Be fit when you do something you're not specifically skilled at. Ice particularly, is not forgiving. But we were already drinking that same night.
Blues Music at Black King's Bar and H & J Bar
Again, nowhere else in the country can you find the Blues except in Metro Manila. I'm a blues guy. I'd walk a mile for it. When Backdoor Blues closed down a few years back, I felt like I had to be in mourning. Now, hooking up with Bluesman Elwyn, I was a kid lost in a toy store. Every 2nd Monday night is blues jam at Black King's Bar (West Avenue). Musicians simply take turns in playing their intruments into the wee hours. It's a very chill crowd - they all know each other. Wednesday nights at H & J Bar (Makati Ave area) would be the Ian Lofamia Band. Ian, this new kid with a harmonica gives John Mayall a run for his money. Check him out.
I thought I could pursue my yoga here and meet members of the community, but P450 for a promo? And P500 as the cheapest rate I could find in a middle class neighborhood? Clearly, yoga has become the indulgence of the monied few. I offered my service to teach karma yoga (free yoga), but no one seems to be interestd in that. I ended up doing my own practice in Quezon Circle with my inversions.
I left Manila for good 4 years ago because as what Krishnamurti said, "It is not a measure of health to be well-adjusted to a dysfunctional city". This hasn't changed. The congestion is more so than ever, traffic is more snarled than ever - the moment I leave the house, it's a snail's pace until I reach my destination. People have a shorter fuse. People from this place say I'm just not used to things anymore, but I hear them complain about traffic almost on a daily basis. Break-ins is all too common from the limited social circle I have. Movies are painful at P200 a pop (at Robinsons Gen San, first run movies in a new movie house go as low as P89!).
Having said all those negatives, Manila remains the one place where you get an abundance of urban indulgence - the night life, the cultural events, the fancy restaurants, the big bucks, etc. To those who can't live without them, Manila is a blessing.
True, people here are resilient - they'll adapt to the morphing challenges of urban decay. But if there is an option elsewhere, why put up with it? Given all the different cities I've been to just within the country, I've seen places offering a better balance of life - an urban environment without traffic where people are still cordial and considerate about others. Destinations are just 10 minutes away. You can have an afternoon teach in the city and still have time to go scuba diving in the morning. I'm still fortunate to have the option to choose my current-city. I can't say the same thing for most.
I'll come away from Manila with good memories of the people I've shared my moments with...the blues experience...ice skating...the urban scene, etc. As much as I love to hate this place, I actually love it. In my birds and the bees analogy, Manila is a tempestuous woman you have an affair with (not marriage material), who leaves you bent, twisted and tattered...and you swear never again....but find yourself asking for more. C'est la vie!
For now, I pack up again and disappear for 11 days where there is no phone, no internet....nothing! Just you and your mind - 24/7 for the next 10 days.
- The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino May 28, 2016
- Goodbye Manila Feb 22, 2016
- Exploring Guijo Street (Makati) Area Feb 17-21, 2016
- Conducting a Half-Day Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation Workshop in Makati Feb 13, 2016
- Bernie Sanders, US Presidential Candidate 2016 Feb 9, 2016
- Yoga Modeling for the Feati School of Fine Arts Feb 4, 2016
- Blues with Hoochie Coochie Mikkie at Catch 272 Boho Jan 30, 2016
- Julia Clarette's Farewell Performance at 12 Monkeys Jan 26, 2016
- We Don't Care Jan 23, 2016
- Catching-up with Chikoy Pura and Julia Clarette at My Bro's Mustache Jan 21, 2016
- Dong Abay Rocks 70s Bistro Jan 19, 2016
- Blues is Alive and Kickin' in Manila Jan 6, 2016
- Yuletide Season in Manila Dec 20, 2015 - Dec 31, 2015
- 16 Days in Quezon City Sep 1-16, 2014
- Manila Blues Scene Sep 10, 2014
- Back in Quezon City Jul 24 - Aug 20, 2014
- Black is Back Aug 4, 2014
- The Bill July 30, 2014
- Hooking-Up with Friends in Manila Sep 29 - Oct. 3, 2012
- Manila Jul 24 - Aug 2, 2012
- Manila State of Mind Mar 16-26, 2012
- Manila Dec 7-14 Coffee Anyone? Dec 7-14, 2011
- Passing Thru Manila Jun 8, 2011
- Manila: Tying up Loose Ends Jan 13-18, 2011
- Manila, Manila, I Keep Coming Back to Manila Jul 21, 2010
- Goodbye Manila Apr 11, 2010
- America: The Manila Concert Jul 31, 2009
- Manila Sojourn Sep 10, 2008
- Manila Life Sep 13, 2007
Jul 24 - Aug 20, 2014
»» next story: Vipassana 5: Seeing the Bigger Picture
»» next Traveling story: Manila Blues Scene
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage