Trip to Cubao Expo

Racquel Bruno, one of my dearest friends in residency, went to Cubao Expo with me. The place—an old but not dilapidated square of local shoe shops, antique stores, and restaurants—was a welcome respite from all the commercial establishments now undergoing construction at the Araneta Center. I suppose time will come when the rest of Manila will become a city of malls and condominiums.

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Cubao Expo has a hipster vibe to it, a lot like Singapore’s Tiong Baru, where artisanal coffee shops and independent bookstores flourish. Or maybe like Montmartre, the artists’ district in Paris. Or maybe the Left Bank? But I’m probably stretching the comparisons too far.

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We ate at Bellini’s, a restaurant famous for its pizza and pasta, but Racquel Bruno and I were too full from the conference we had attended at a nearby hotel. We only had appetizers and a glass of chardonnay each. Mr. Bellini was in the house and was too busy going through the menu—at least, that was my impression. A chair had Julius Babao and Tin Bersola’s name on it. Another table bore the note: “One More Chance Part 2: John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.” I’ve never been a fan of those two, but I’d seen the movie, and it was bearable.

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The acoustics was good. I have the best conversations with Rac, who, the dear friend that she is, brings me to my senses and keeps me humble. “Hoy, Catedral—bagsak ka sa Renal [exam].” And then we laugh, which is my statements’ punctuation when I’m with her.

We could hear the fun conversations of what looked like office mates in another table. It’s rare to hear happy things in restaurants these days. Because I mostly eat alone (which is how I’ll probably spend my life when I grow old, a fact I’d gotten used to and come to like), I overhear people who talk about problems, or who speak ill of someone from work or home.

I’ll be back.

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2 thoughts on “Trip to Cubao Expo”

  1. Also check out SiningSaysay at the Gateway Tower 5F. It's the history of the Philippines in large paintings. The exhibit will move to UPD sometime but might as well see it in an airconditioned place. If you have time, stop to watch the video about how the paintings came about.

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