My home internet’s down for eight days now so I’ve resorted to staying in my city apartment on weekdays. What used to be an hour of driving from the suburbs to the CBD now takes about 20 minutes. Though there is a bit of traffic buildup here and there, the drive is still easy – it feels like it’s a holiday everyday in Metro Manila because the roads aren’t congested at all. Been like that since March 2020, but it still feels surreal every single time. Not to mention I feel like a stormtrooper every time I leave the house because of this face mask and now a face shield to top it all that we’re all required to wear.
On weekdays it’s just mostly me in the apartment as D keeps our dogs company at home. Our apartment is right smack in the middle of Makati City, but because buildings are still mostly empty as majority of the workforce are working from home, I can afford to keep my curtain windows open as I dance to the beat of my YouTube workouts. At night, my curtains are closed – I like watching horror films so I tend to imagine I might see a ghost or two in one of the office buildings nearby if I keep my windows open.
Although I get homesick and miss D and the boys so much whenever I’m in the apartment, one of the things I consider as a perk is the availability of more restaurants for takeout and delivery in Makati. When I feel like I need to catch up on my steps I’d place an order for pick up, but generally I prefer having food delivered because I think in a way I can be able to help the Food Panda and Grabfood delivery folks whenever I do.
One weeknight when D visited we felt a bit adventurous and walked to Greenbelt 3, a popular shopping mall a few hundred meters away. It used to be a bustling place as a big area is composed mostly of restaurants. I remember when Din Tai Fung opened its doors there’s always a queue outside. There was a window where we could watch the xialongbaos being made, and my friend from work and I would regularly make time despite the queue to dine in because we had several of their dishes we always craved for. Nowadays the restaurant is open, but there’s but there’s only a handful of staff and diners, and the announcement system for the table numbers have not been heard for months now.
That trip to Greenbelt 3 brought my spirits down. The cinemas, TimeZone (the game arcade), and some of my favorite food kiosks like Chimara (where I get my popcorn from), Falafel Yo!, Jamba Juice, BlueSmith and many more have closed their doors – some, I fear, permanently. Because of this the place is dimly lit, and after seeing it I think I’d go back to just food delivery service.
Now I don’t want to end this blog on a downer. Makati City is eerily quiet – especially after rush hour and on weekends, but the few people I meet on the streets are generally more friendly these days. It’s like everyone’s yearning to mingle, and go back to the way things were, but we understand we are all in this together and so for now a respectful distance or a polite nod to one another are enough to help each other stay safe.