BY JULLIE Y. DAZA
Christmas is bustin’ out all over, but nowhere as robustly as the malls have it.
I promised I’d visit every SM mall in sight and compare how each tries to outdo the other, only to retreat at the first wave of traffic jitters. In any case, where some malls pull out all the stops with their Christmas trees and other treats but only as part of their interiors, SM’s style is to festoon both interiors and exteriors, beginning with the frontage. Along EDSA or out there in Taguig, the malls have their facades covered with as much illumination as the velvety night can hold.
A wish for Christmas is to see all 17 Metro Manila mayors acting as one to light up their cities like it was Christmas every night long after Christmas has gone.
At the edge of Manila Bay – “white dolomite beach” not visible from here – the seafood restaurant of Bernie Ang, secretary to Manila Mayor Isko, has wrapped up three seasons in one site. Harbor View, popular with visitors from the probinsiya and tourists from Korea and China, welcomes diners with red lanterns in advance of the Chinese New Year, au courant Christmas ornaments, and a gigantic heart of artificial flowers presaging Valentine’s Day. Corny? Not to those posing for their selfies.
My first out-of-town trip in eight months was a day trip to Tagaytay. We drove out because the weather was perfect. After a chain of typhoons and in anticipation of an all-clear, with maximum temperatures hovering between 31 and 32, we didn’t bargain for clouds, but there they were, fluffily opaque. Stopping at a turo-turo for lunch, I half expected the security guard to dare ask me for my age. He did not. I asked him why not. He said, “Seniors have money to spend, you are welcome.” I told him he should work in a bank.
Days later, I drove to Taguig to buy my car her second RFID pass. (One metro, two stickers for north and south; neat, huh?) On the way home at sunset time, half a rainbow painted half the sky in pink, lavender, and streaks of gold. Just for that, I forgave the Toll Regulatory Bored – so bored they’ve to force two stickers on us.