My Pasay City immersion program has ended and now the whole family is settled in our two-bedroom apartment in Malate, the heart of Manila’s tourist district.
What else can I say… while I loved my own bedroom with its own spacious bathroom in Pasay, the city itself had become unbearable for me with its filth and all those kids romping around in the streets. It was in Pasay that I was suddenly transformed into a rabid supporter of the population control program. I couldn’t even make a decent walk in the evening because there were all these kids -either dirty or naked – crowding the streets and shouting expletives at each other. The parents couldn’t be found because they were either procreating some more, engaging in idle chatter or peddling/using drugs openly without a care as to what future awaits them in the world. The place had simply lost any semblance of “governance” and I know that if I had stayed there some more, me and my kids would have lost our sanity. We definitely deserved better.
Moving out was another matter. It literally takes physical strength and determination to make the move. For one, I realized I had too many stuff and so most of it had to be given away to my Pasay neighbors who were, in fairness, very nice and helpful to me. Looking at all the clutter, I realized I had to many reading materials and the clothes in my closet were good enough for setting up an ukay-ukay shop. As a result, I am now a self-confessed minimalist. I learned that I could live better without all of life’s material distractions.
Of course I love the fact that my new sanctuary is overly quiet compared to the chaos of my former surroundings. But what I dig most about it is its “ancient” flavor. The owner said the building was built way back in the 50s by her father who studied architecture in Cornell University. I knew I had to get the apartment the moment I saw it because I was enthralled by its wooden corridors and the eerie-ness of the hallways which reminded me of New York. Yay! Even the basin in the washroom dates back to the 50s or 60s.
Being in Malate means my world has even become smaller. I could now walk to my office which is what I wanted in the first place. There’s no way I could suffer the traffic of Manila because then I would migrate soonest to Canada or New Zealand. There’s no way I’d waste a couple of hours or so being stuck on the road when I’d rather be with my kids or doing something productive.
So for now, everything is so near me… my office, the schools, the market, the 24-hour convenience shops, the church, the LRT and of course, I get to keep my much-treasured sanity. C’est la vie!