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Back in Quezon City 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 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.


Ice Skating
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.

Ending Thoughts
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 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.

--- TheLoneRider

not just Quezon City but every city in the country has bad air rope skipping at Quezon Circle a get together with Armin, Vehm and Aya at Z Bar celebrating Dad's birthday at Vikings
MRT rush hour crowd a rare get-together with New York friend, Oma Z Bar along Malingap Street in UP, hip and trendy plus good eats straying into the old neighborhood
getting together with Ayee and meeting her friends, Bryan and Orly inspired by BU Tapas of Davao, I now create my own pizza making more pizza, recycling dish leftovers and making it a gastronomic indulgence couldn't stand the is back
ice skating at the new rink at SM Mega Mall get together with Leslie get together with the Hutchinsons - Greg and Viveca handstand at the Quezon Circle
working out with Dad catching a Joey Ayala gig at Conspiracy Garden Cafe Abs showdown photo entry...the showdown lasts until Sept at Jim Ward's birthday bash at Tiannamen Resto with Paul and Pia
meeting new friends at Jim's bash - Jess and friend with Vipassana buddy, Jan, at the Ugnayan Wellness gathering treated to a steak dinner at Alfredo's by Vehm and Max...thank you!!! bluesman Elwyn at Black King's Bar
Ian Lofamia on harmonica Ian Lofamia Band at H and J Bar on Wednesday nights one-on-one yoga with Jan at her posh Bonifacio Global City digs with my Vipassana batchmates - Claire, Rem and Jan
mood pictorial at a nearly park in BGC get together with Marist High School batchmates at Greg and Sally's Garden Cafe ice skating with childhood friend, Lea get together with UP Mountaineer batchmate, PJ and friend

Metro Manila Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Jul 24 - Aug 20, 2014

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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