11 July 2006

Books in the Walled City

My wife went to Manila at around the same time I left Baguio last Monday early morning. She's off to a business trip: there's a Book Fair at Intramuros running until Friday this week and she's off with some of the library staff to purchase books and update the school's collection.

Yesterday afternoon, most of her colleagues went back to Baguio, and her only companion left decided to stay in the place of one of the book agencies. So I asked her to spend the night in the pad instead. She was concerned about how to get to Intramuros today because she did not want to take a cab by her lonesome. So I volunteered to go with her before I went to work. Yipee!

So after breakfast, we were off to Intramuros, the Walled City. I have been there a couple of times before but each time the place gives me thrill. It's like walking into the past. Old-style houses, the Churches, security personnel clothed looking like it was the Spanish era still (guardia sibil!), and cobblestone streets greet you.
I was thinking of staying only for a short while but when we entered the Book Fair, oh wow! Books and books everywhere! Sure, most are meant for academic institutions, but still there are loads of reference and craft books, general science and art, literature and documentaries! I started to roam around while my wife went around to choose books and pay for purchases. It felt so good to be around books again. Yeah, I can be quite a nerd sometimes.
I asked my wife to buy this book (sorry, no budget right now) with the promise to pay her back on salary day: The Idiot's Guide to winning Customer Loyalty at P1,062.00 and Beadwork and Ribbons (this is for her) at P1,800.00. Yeah, the prices are quite steep but they give bulk discount to schools. And a couple of Discovery Channel video CDs. Wait, I don't have a TV and player at home... good thing I have this laptop I can bring along at home ;-).
Whoops! It's lunchtime! Time flies when you're having fun! One of the book agents went with us to lunch and whisked us off to Barbara's, a rather fancy restaurant. Oooh. It's has a nice, old-fashioned ambience about it: from the stairs going to the restaurant proper, to the chairs and decor.

When we savoured the sumptous sinigang (sour soup) to start the meal, I knew we were in for a flavorful treat. And it was. A variety of pancit, fried lumpia, seaweed salad, eggplant with fish paste, caldereta, fish, and guinataan and pichi-pichi for desert.

After a quick stop to the Book Fair to say my goodbyes, we visited nearby San Agustin Church. Whoopeedoo. I forgot to take a photo of the facade. The church was spacious and exuded solemnity. Outside, some rosary vendors tried selling us some of their wares while nearby foreign tourists listened to their tour guide while they slowly exited the Church.

A couple of SMS messages and calls from the office reminded me that I should really be heading back. So here I am, blogging about this not-so-ordinary day!
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