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lucid thoughts

84September 13, 2007


It started with a midnight call last June 16 as I was doing my routine in Sagada, "...I had chest pains...saw a doctor early today...can you take the first trip to Manila?". With that very disturbing request, I dropped everything and was on my way to Manila. Upon arrival, to my relief, no one was really sick. More likely, the message should have been, "...miss you, how about coming down and spend some time here?" Hmmm....somebody cried wolf!

New Ground
Little did I know then that my unplanned trip would last me 3 months. Even though I spent 2 years in Manila before moving to Sagada, this time however, Manila is new ground - I'll have to rediscover it...alone. A few opportunities presented itself. Like proverbial doors opening to let me in, I entered - all of them. Hmmm....well, almost all of them - there are lines I will not cross.

Getting Around
As a lonerider, I met more people this time than I would have. Unexpected connections and disconnections happened, like the shifting desert sands. I was in time for CineMalaya's annual offering and even met the cast and director of the winning film, Tribu. I attended a spiritual workshop where I gained new insight on what this journey is all about. I helped myself to movies I missed at the UP Film Center (the closest movie house from Sagada is 7 hours away!).

Covering the Bases
I took advantage of my presence in Manila by getting my bases covered - preventive maintenance; got my teeth fixed, physical check up, and my little operation, which kept me from working out. I gained 22 pounds, my waistline expanded by 4 inches. Had I stayed a little longer, I'd have my own zip code. Abs? What abs?

The Music Bar Scene
Hugely though, I became a part of the night scene. It was an easy progression. Where I stayed, close to UP (University of the Philippines), there were 7 or 8 music bars to chill at. Stone's throw would be Mag:net Café, Conspiracy Garden Café, 70s Bistro, and Freedom Bar. A little further and you have Big Sky Mind, Route 196, Xymaca and My Bro's Moustache. For P150, you get to chill out with a beer. That's not even factoring-in whatever concert is happening within UP itself. Given all those alternatives, there's always a good band playing somewhere - no bad night.

180o Reversal
It was Sagada in reverse. In Sagada, it's lights out at 9pm, I hardly touch liquor, and I spend a great deal of time working out - mountain biking, yoga, hiking. In Manila, I'd sleep during the day, and go out at night, doing my rounds on the music bars and drinking beer until the wee hours. At times, like on auto pilot, I'd leave the house at 10 pm with no specific destination but any of the music bars available. I'd find myself drifting aimlessly hoping I'd catch a flow somewhere. This went on everyday...and I was beginning to like it.

Ending Thoughts
Manila is hot, humid, congested and polluted. But you know what? After the first 2 months, all that became part of the landscape. I become too familiar with it, I hardly noticed it anymore. Add to that the nightly sojourn...and the booze. That's when I got scared. It's the life I walked away from. And now, like the sirens of the Iliad, I am lured back to its den. It was time to pack up and head north to my beloved Sagada.

--- TheLoneRider

Metro Manila Blogs by TheLoneRider

September 13, 2007

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Manila Bar, Cafe and Resto:

Trigo Bakery and Cafe

Serye cafe resto

Black Kings Bar music bar


Coffee | Food

Serye cafe resto
Cafe | Resto
Quezon Memorial Circle

Trigo Bakery, Guijo Street, Makati
Trigo Bakery
9629 Kamagong
San Antonio Village

Music Bars

Black Kings Bar music bar
Black Kings Bar
Bar | Cafe
107 West Ave., QC

Mag:net Cafe

BackDoor Blues Bar

70s Bistro

Conspiracy Garden and Cafe