Monday, April 11, 2005


I was going to go to Baguio alone this past weekend (wala, trip lang—as in, trip literally) when I told Jong about it. He asked that I postpone my Baguio trip and go instead to Joe in LB. We also invited Phillip to come along. But Jong had a change of heart—how about a Binondo food trip? Phillip opted not to join though.

The last time I went around Binondo was—drum-roll—twenty years ago. Gasp! Okay, strictly speaking the last time I was there was last year with Nelz, but we just went to have dimsum at this particular restaurant whose name I now forget. We never got around to roam the streets because [1] it was already night, and [2] Nelz only wanted to eat at that particular hole-in-the-wall. But going around Binondo, as in roaming, well, the last time was in 1985 when my first year Filipino class went on a field trip together with our college professor. He wanted us kids to experience eating at the estero and visiting the shops. Today that particular college professor is bed-ridden because of a stroke many years ago, but Binondo is still standing.

First stop was the makki and siomai at this hole-in-the-wall resto. Then we went to Ramon Lee’s Freid Chicken House for some tender, juicy, tasty chicken. That’s the same resto where they shot the Piolo/Vilma rendezvous scene in Dekada ‘70. Then we had fresh lumpia in another hole-in-the-wall, before having coffee in Lord Stowe’s (we obviously had no more room for their sumptuous egg tarts).

And for the first time, I saw the renovated Avenida. They’ve converted it into a walkway/park underneath the LRT train. What a great idea! One can admire the old movie houses and buildings along the street without worrying about vehicular traffic. I was tempted to take pictures but the fear of pickpockets and snatchers kept my camera inside my bag.

We also ended up in SM Manila (by car, not by foot) where I had a foot scrub for the first time. At first it felt weird having a stranger hold my stinky feet up close. I thought I’d be tickled when she started scrubbing my feet harshly. But I soon found out that I can withstand tickling of the feet like I can endure dental pain. All I have to do is accept the sensation then focus on something else: mind over feeling, so to speak.

Aside from eating, window-shopping and walking around, I was also able to buy the VCDs of two gay movies, Lan Yu and Rice Rhapsody. The former is a Chinese movie which I was able to watch when it was featured in the last year’s Pink Film Festival. The latter is a movie set in Singapore about a mother with two gay sons who’s doing her best to prevent her youngest son from turning gay too. I haven’t watched that movie yet, though.

What I did watch immediately upon returning home was the DVD of the Korean soap opera Oh Pil-seung, Boon Sun-young! It’s the “kimchinovella” I was talking about a few episodes ago. Now I’m able to watch all the episodes and fill in the blanks. What’s infuriating about the DVD version is that they edited out the closing credits. But that’s where they show certain important back stories not tackled in the main body of the episodes. I’m thinking that’s what one gets when one buys pirated DVDs (okay, okay, this is one of the few times when I’m willing to buy a non-original—I mean, what are the chances of finding the DVD of a Korean TV series that’s never aired on Philippine television being sold locally, eh?) Oh well, win some, lose some.

So for the next week I’ll be watching at least an episode a night of Oh Pil-seung, Boon Sun-young! Mental note to myself: must go back to Binondo. Food trip na, movie trip pa! Panalo. Thank you Jong, for being an excellent guide as well as a funny one. Bell-curve ka e-vur! Ahahahahahaha! Yan ang tatalo sa intonation ala-Nora Aunor.

Next trip: Baguio.