Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Megamall

I was at the SM Megamall the other day to get something. JC plans to replace his plastic hangers with wooden ones. Since my partner's demanding job eats up even his free time, I thought of buying the hangers myself and giving it to him.

It took me less than an hour to find the hangers and buy them. It did help that I got my leads online. Stepping out of the Julia Vargas overpass, I went straight to the department store and headed to the basement. The attendants were a helpful bunch. Not only did they lead me to where the items were, they were quite convincing in telling me that the ten-piece pack was a sound bargain. I bought the cedar hangers with stainless metal hooks and left the store without checking the other items on display.

A lifetime ago, my mall habits were quite different. A trip to Megamall was a day-long event. Sometimes, the excursion lasted well into the night. I don't splurge there. I didn't even develop the habit of retail therapy. I went to the mall like a kid going on a field trip. With dreamy eyes and empty pockets, what I brought home were pleasant memories and fresh ideas from the shops I checked out. 

My journey often begins at the Music One-Powerbooks store. There, I would spend hours sampling audio CDs and enriching myself with songs from distant shores. When I got tired of listening to jazz, trance and world music, books became my soulful companion. I didn't read novels or tomes. Instead, I basked in local poetry and tried to sing the lines penned by De Ungria, Suarez, and even De Vera. These poets were my inspiration in crafting my first real words. 

After Music One, I made it a point to stop in front of Bio Research and see the pets behind the glass window. I was drawn to the cuteness, particularly of the cats that are for sale. Sometimes I go inside and get lost watching the schools of ornamental fish making circles in their aquariums. The bright colors, the graceful fins, and even their leisurely swim had this calming effect. There is something about their movement that leaves me spellbound.

From Papelmelroti to Comic Quest to Oxygen. Swift might be the change of scenery, but each boutique carried a part of who I used to be. I loved how Papier-mâché felt on my skin, and how it made my room look more organic. Comic Quest was my anime fix. Strange as it may sound, but the store once had in its shelves graphic novels which awakened my dormant homosexuality. As for Oxygen, it breathed life into my ego. How I found their line appealing is already lost to memory. But it became my fashion of choice as I tried to fit in and look cool during my years in the university.  

The mall stroll would go on, crossing the opposite ends, covering every floor and every space, until I got used to the linear layout, my feet ceased hurting. I didn't have this same feeling when I found myself in other malls - except maybe in Glorietta, which at that time appealed to my pretentiousness. I never truly understood why I kept returning, and doing the same pilgrimage over and over at Megamall, But as I wind down my journey - in front of the art galleries and antique shops on the 4th level,

I felt sheer joy. It is as if I've accomplished something without buying anything at all.

Many years later, this memory would resurface as I exit the supermarket on my way to Edsa. The concrete parking lot in front of Megamall is no more, and in its place are backhoe machines digging the foundation of the mall's newest wing. We had to make a detour, close to the fringes of the mall. Meanwhile, across the perimeter wall, kangaroo cranes race toward the sky as a pair of ritzy towers rise from what used to be Shangri-La's old parking space. With the noise coming from the belly of the construction, the ugly and seemingly out-of-place parking building in front of Mega Building A, and suffocating dust floating around me, I cannot help but lament the days when a self-exile at Megamall used to be exciting.

"So much for a skyline."

I continued walking, dazed and confused, like all others before me.


Mac Callister said...

naalala ko pa na isa sa route ng field trip namin ang megamall nung high school haha kalokaw at true na mananakit ang paa mo sa pag iikot!

Pipo del Rosario said...

I go to Megamall at least once a week. I stroll until my feet hurt. But I spend most of my time in Cyberzone.

Just sharing. :)

Drama King said...

Napangiti naman ako sa ibang mga detalye. Bilang batang-Megamall eh masasabi kong ang dami na ngang pinagbago. Namimiss ko magbasa sa Powerbooks at hintayin ang mga kasama ko. 'Yung makinig sa Music One ay naging hobby ko rin. Ang saya maalala. :D

sin at work said...

wow really made me look back at the things that i used to do there. ako naman isa pa sa mga ginagawa ko is panuorin yung mganagii-skate dun. na tipong kahit 30 mins late na mga kasamako eh keri lang. basta may cute na nagii-skate. haha chos :)
di pa ako nakakabalik dyan sa megamall since nagsimula ang construction nyang bagong wing na yan. di pa ako uli nakakapasyal dyan, tagal na.

Anonymous said...

Your comment about that parking building is spot on. Whenever I pass by Megamall I'm like, what is that monstrosity? =/