Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Out of my comfort zone
Ever since I started dating D, I've been more adventurous and spontaneous. I've come out of my isolated little cocoon. I, the pampered spoiled brat is now confident enough to take the MRT. I've walked miles even though I perspire like crazy. I've ventured into unfamiliar territories, unscathed. Of course, I survive all of these endeavours with the able guidance of D who always asks me before hand, several times if I'm up to the task. He knows it is way out of my little comfort zone.

Last Sunday after we heard the 11 am Mass at the Edsa Shrine with my parents, I was excited and all geared up for our latest adventure. I wore my most comfortable jeans, a loose peasant blouse which doesn't 'bleed' when I sweat. I had my walking shoes, a body bag slung across my chest, my cellphone and money in my jeans pocket. My wallet devoid of my credit cards. No flashy rings and dangling earrings just a battered wrist watch. I tied my hair in a tight ponytail. Ehem I know I sound paranoid you would think I was entering a thieves haven but you can never be sure, right?

Our destination was the row of jewelry shops in the Binondo area. We were advised by some friends of my sister, wedding rings there are much cheaper than at the malls. D had the taxi drop us off in the Escolta area so he can show me around the places he frequented when he was much younger. The Bureau of Lands where his father used to work. The old buildings dating back to the American occupation and being the frustrated architect that he is, he diligently pointed out the elaborate architecture of those ancient edifices. The original Savory chicken restaurant. The PNB building where both my parents worked during their Department of Commerce days. It was a nostalgic walk back in time tour of the Escolta area. Places I hardly remember even though my parents would tell me tales of their 'pasyalan' in that locale when I was a mere toddler.

We reached the Binondo church then entered the arch which I believe is the start of the Chinatown area. We then proceeded to Ongpin Street which was teeming with several jewelry shops. I am very particular about the type of rings I want for our wedding bands. I want them to be light in weight and color, not too flashy with minimal design. It should also be thin, without any stones and look and feel like a wedding ring. At first I was leaning towards the yellow gold 14K ones but as we hopped from one shop to another, I developed a liking for the white gold 14K variety. Prices are really cheaper in Binondo and surprisingly as we moved towards the Santa Cruz area, the cost of the rings were reduced remarkably.

For instance, the first shop we entered quoted a set of 14K rings at P8,000. By the time we reached the very last store at this jewelry mall near the Santa Cruz church, the sales lady was willing to sell us a set of 14K white gold with a simple design for only P3,000! I was telling D what the heck? How much do these wedding rings really cost? How come when we first asked her, she said P4,500 when she saw our hesitation, she said ok you can have it for P3,200. Then as we were heading for the door, she suddenly said "Ok sir, ma'am you can have it for only P3,000!" I don't know it just didn't seem right. Probably it wasn't even white gold but white glass or something. Besides we were only canvassing and we were not really going to buy just yet. We will go back next year nearer to the wedding date.

Anyways, our sojourn to Binondo and Santa Cruz won't been complete without pasalubongs. The thing is every time my father and D have their after dinner conversations when D drops by the house, they always talk about the old jaunts in the Santa Cruz area. Or what I call their "Avenida Rizal" chats. So D thought it would be a good idea if we bought Eng Bee Tin hopia for merienda and 1 whole Ramon Lee chicken for dinner. Yes he bought them specifically for my father and yes he was making sipsip. Teehee!

I had a great time during our latest adventure. I was able to pray at both the Binondo (San Lorenzo Ruiz church) and the Santa Cruz churches. I got to explore the rows of jewelry shops in Chinatown. The weather was pretty pleasant and a bit windy I didn't perspire. The walk was light and easy since it wasn't crowded. Best of all I was happy that D shared with me some of his fondest memories of his childhood. Next year, our target will be Divisoria to buy wedding items like the cord, veil and the arrhae. Now that should be interesting!

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