Today was a national holiday in the Philippines, Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramedan for Muslims. Best wishes to my Muslim friends and compatriots!
So last night it occured to me that I should travel around Southeast Asia while I’m here, I’ve got a bunch of free time, and some money in my pocket, and I might never get this chance again. So I booked myself some flights and a hotel. More details when we get there.
Today I met Kalyespeak Cris, K and M in Makati and we Ūbered down to the National Museum. We saw most of the art in the art building, which is the old senate building, where the Philippine Senate voted to ditch the American Bases in the early 90s. So we saw all kinds of seminal painting by filipino artists and I’ve already forgotten most of them now. There was of course plenty of portraiture, but also quite a bit of study, where filipino artists were studying and reinterpreting the Impressionists, and other movements by setting them in filipino contexts. I was also into the modern and contemporary stuff; as always I like the works on a grand scale with national themes and easy visual language. So even though Dimasalang didn’t have a lot to prove to the Europeans, I enjoyed the shapes, colors, and themes of his grand scale paintings. Cheerful, charming, well composed.
After the museum we Ùbered up to Binondo, the world’s first Chinatown. I saw four different Chinatown gates. We had dimsum at a narrow dimsum cafe, that was delicious. It was all the same stuff I usually see at dimsum, but their 糯米雞 was a perfect cube, the 蘿蔔糕 was deep fried, and they had “Japanese siumai” which is just the same 燒賣 except wrapped in nori. It was yum!
AFter lunch we were painfully full (one of us wanted to rest against the wall, and it wasn’t me). So we walked until we saw a foot massage place, and then got excited about getting a foot spa.
So here’s how this went down. The foot soak had some kind of beads in the water that felt like tapioca pearls. Halfway through the soak, they poured in more beads. It was wild and squishy and super awesome. They made us change out of our shorts, and of course I went PANTS OFF immediately. Later they asked us to remove our shirts as well, and I was like, you’re the boss. After that it was pretty standard stuff: scalp, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, feet, and then back. At one point the masseuses left the room and came back with HOT BEAN BAGS that were amazing and I want one now. They also powdered us up and offered us iced tea and pears.
The funniest part about the foot spa was that the TV was blaring the entire time on a Chinese show called 爸爸去哪兒？ which is a reality show in which famous, handsome men are forced to spend time with their own kids. There was quite a lot of cheering and screaming and crying and it was not remotely spa-appropriate, which made it perfect.
After the massage, we strolled over to Sta. Cruz, the main church in Binondo, poked our heads in. Then we walked down Escolta Street and tried to imagine how it must have been back in the day. We ended up at the Polland Hopia store and then Übered from there back to Makati.
I said goodbye to my new friends and then spent a couple of hours in the Internet Cafe to straighten out my travel plans, after that ate steak at a hole in the wall. Not sure what tomorrow will bring.