2005 November | baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

A Return to Greenhills

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the November 29th, 2005

It was my nephew’s birthday a few days ago and I decided to accompany him to his tutor class. The idea was to buy him something after his session. So I filed the leave forms and was free for the day. While waiting for him to finish his class, I went to the nearest mall, this was Greenhills.

It had been a long time since I had a real proper walk around Greenhills. This was the place where I grew up. So much had change and still so much had remained the same.

For one thing Virra Mall was gone. In its heyday, Virra Mall had two cinemas and several shops to cater to one’s pastime. I remember the stalls that used to sell PX (Imported) goods, the video shop where you can buy the latest pirated movies on VHS and betamax. You can actually buy porn video and exchange it for a new one each week, if you bought the machine from their shop. There were also several computer shops and nestled among them was a shop called Shop & Lift, where you can buy magazines and rent video of classic movies - I remember renting Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo from this store. There were even a couple of pet shops Tetra, Bio-research and Fins & Furs.

Virra Mall is gone now. And the Greenhills theatre has been cut and diced into a mall and two cinemas. Greenhills Arcade has undergone a transformation no more Fun House and the place where you can buy comics and chewing gums with Star Wars card. Shoppesville and Unimart are still there. And it would seem the large UFO-shaped lights that illuminated the parking lot are gone. During idle moments, I used to imagine them as space ships over Greenhills. The big canal that demarcated the commercial center from the houses are now gone.

Greenhills changed with the times. At first it was mostly PX goods and computers. Then came the shops selling video, pets, toys, comics, and books. Then came the cellphones, the pearl market and the ever-changing baratillos. Soon Greenhills, not surprisingly, really Greenhills became the bazaar of pirated software, vcds and DVDs.

And a few years later, Greenhills transformed itself. A major rebranding was in progress. New structures were being built and old structures were being refurbished. Now it looks like a different place.

But … a walk around the place revealed that it still had the old stores around, one way or the other. Over at Shoppesville they were still selling comics, action figures, animes and other collectibles. And in the new parking lot several cellphone and computer resellers were there. Now that the canals were covered, stores like National and the Chinese Deli Decs were just outside. New cinemas were built and new restaurants as well. And in due time they would opening the new Virra Mall.

Some of the old and reliable establishments were still around. Unimart Grocery stood virtually unchanged. And there still is the Old Orange Julius stand, although I do not think it is named differently now. The two Le Chings are still around and so is the old Aristocrat Restaurant, which had the distinction of being the only restaurant open during the EDSA I revolt.

As I walked along the cellphone stores I heard a familiar set of voices chanting, “DVD, DVD, Boss?”

Yup, it would seem the more things change the more they stay the same.

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Buying Second Hand Books

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Buying Second Hand Books

Posted in Readings by juned on the November 29th, 2005

Several weeks ago, I found myself at the middle of Marikina Shoe Expo - the U-shaped complex on the fringes of Cubao’s commercial district. As I mentioned in my past post the place is being transformed into a place uncommon to Cubao. Some of the old shoe shops were or have morphed into restaurants, curiosity shops, record shops, teahouses and even bookstores.

Yes, the old shoe district seemed to be developing an artistic bent.

Anyway, my salary had just come in and I decided to go to the bookshop called Datelines. The bookstore has an interesting collection of books from Filipiniana to comics. So there I was browsing through the bookrack that had all the second hand books. On the topside was the paperback edition of Philip J Caputo’s a “Rumor of War”. Then I saw it. The book that I would buy that day. It was one of those old antonym and synonym books, quite useful when one is at a loss for words. And it was priced at thirty pesos. Very cheap. Its pages were a bit yellowish, showing the usual decay of paperback paper, but still its pages were not yet brittle. The book would probably last another three years.

Then and there I bought the thing. Happy with my purchase I proceeded on my journey for the day.

There was another shop that looked interesting, right up front of its window was an action figure of a flame creature one of the main characters in the anime Howl’s Moving Castle. There were several things that looked interesting. However, the store was closed for the day. It would have been interesting to see the items for sale inside that shop.

Night time came and I found myself flipping over the book that I got. It came after a minutes of perusing the pages. A faint odor that was neither pungent nor irritating but gave the essence that the book had not been read for several years. It was just like opening the tomb of Tutankhamen. I smelled the odor of age. Not irritating really, I still use the book, but I do not read for long.

I guess when buying second hand books be mindful of the condition of the books, paperbacks do not really age well. Papers were never designed to last that long. Not all of them anyway.

Snapshots and a project

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the November 24th, 2005

I have been busy for a couple of days with a small pet project. Hopefully, it will be up and running by next week. Interesting stuff.

It is nearing the end of November.

And Christmas is just around the corner.

Took these snapshots after watching the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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