Fighting mall culture pt. 1

In a fit of boredom, I recently did an online search of “must-visit places in Metro Manila.” The expected hits (Ayala Museum, Intramuros, Divisoria, and Quiapo) turned up, but also making it to every Top Ten list and photo compilation were… shopping malls.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. We’ve got Mall of Asia, the 4th largest mall in the world, the Greenbelt complex, awarded for its architecture, and an SM everywhere you turn. In general, the well-to-do Manilenyos of today have very much become a mall rat people, so naturally a shopping mall is what comes to mind when we think of our cities. But I refuse to believe that a look into our consumerist culture is the best of what Manila has to offer. Surely we have more to boast about than our concern for name brands and luxury, opulence and airconditioning. And so the search is on for places I can show off to both non-Manilenyos as well as Manilenyos who are tourists in their own city.

First stop: East Kapitolyo Drive, Pasig.

Kapitolyo is best known for Charlie’s Grind and Grill, but just down the street is a place called Poco Deli. Like its car wash-cum-grillery neighbor, Poco Deli’s outside looks nothing short of sketchy, an image aided by their having a doorman armed with a golf club (security budget’s tight). This inside is spacious and warmly lit though, and it feels homy without trying too hard (That’s you, Mary Grace).

Dan pondering the significance of mini chocolate chips in her life.

Dan and I shared the salmon pasta that didn't have much salmon. Still good, but I wish I had gone with the recommended 4 Cheese Pizza.

Andrew's German Nuemberger Sausage. Looks like an Offbeat Burger, but makes so much more sense.

Camille had the steak sandwich. One of their bestsellers, it's mozzarella cheese and grilled steak jammed between a bagel. It was suuuperduper.

Then we walked further down the street to Mad Mark’s Man Sandwich and Frozen Desserts, where they serve homemade ice cream at reasonable prices (P68 per scoop, in relation to Gelatissimo’s cringe-worthy P110).

Clockwise from top: Half-baked Madagascar, Madagascar Crumble, Javan Cocoa Hot Chocolate, and Dark Roast Sumatra.

Cams with her Dark Roast Sumatra and Andrew with his Madagascar Crumble

Ending it a little poorer, stuffed to bursting, and ready to go to bed (baboy reflex), I thought the evening was an encouraging start to what I really need to be an adventurous summer.


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