T decided to throw an impromptu lunch party for three in the heart of Cubao last Saturday. She had something brewing and was raring to involve us as her co-conspirators. In keeping with the holiday spirit (this happened a day before June 12), she laid out decidedly Filipino fares that were enough to kill a small army. Yes, KILL! The adobong pusit con baboy was floating in fat and the other food on the menu were equally artery-clogging and politically incorrect.  Needless to say, we enjoyed the sumptuous buffet thoroughly!

We finished the meal with a cup of brewed coffee that was just strong enough to pull me out of a calorie-induced coma. The brew came with cupcakes but I had no more room for one and so I let them sit forlornly at the center of the round table. “May oras din kayo!”, I told them.

The rest of the afternoon was spent discussing “the project,” sharing the latest in political circles, and fighting the urge to doze off (not necessarily in this order). And then finally, the lunch meeting adjourned shortly before 5pm. But T would not let us off her hook just yet and asked us to accompany her to the Marikina Shoe Expo. I have been to this area several years back to sample the Italian fare from Bellini’s, one of Cubao’s best kept secrets. The food was divine but the location was, shall we say, seedy.

Boy, was I in for a major surprise! The area is now known under a different, hip-sounding name — Cubao X, and is home to novelty shops, galleries, bookstores and restaurants that are well-known in artsy circles. A number of shoe shops are still there but it was clear why they are on the ‘endangered species list.” I had no doubt about their being “tatak matibay” but some of the shoe designs were so yesterday.

I mean, only Jess Lapid and Jun Aristorenas will be caught dead wearing this, lol!

Our next stop was the Genshiken Anime toy shop where T bought some Betty Boop items for her collection. A glass-encased Voltes V can be had for a whooping P50K. There were Astroboy and Batman items as well but these were in glass cabinets and did not register well on camera, sorry.  There were several Japanese dolls on display and the salesladies were generous enough to allow me to take photos.

We decided to end the long day by buying some books from Libreria, a charming bookstore located in a quiet nook in Cubao X. The store is owned by our former colleague, Triccie Cantero. It was almost closing time when we got there so we barely had time to scan the titles. We just made a mental note to visit and spend more time in the shop (and in Cubao X) in the future.


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