Monday, February 06, 2006


While cleaning out my files recently, I came across this old essay I wrote about my mom. It was written on October 23, 1998, almost eight years ago, but it still made me smile. At 74, my mom is still a mall rat to this day.

My mother

Every day at the stroke of nine in the morning, she pretties herself up, putting on lipstick and touching up her hair, before carefully choosing her wardrobe for the day. It's time for her daily exercise, and my mother's going to the mall.

Since she experienced all those pains due to a slipped disk years ago requiring her to see a physical therapist, my mother has made it a point to walk the whole length of SM City North EDSA every day. She'd start from where the supermarket is, pause and sip coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, walk again, go up the second level and have a slice of pizza at Greenwich or munch on a burger at Burger King, then go down and end up at the other end, where Goldilocks is.

The daily walks have made her a perfect walking SM Info Center. Ask her where the nearest restroom is and she'll tell you where in an instant. She knows which store is located where, and what they offer. She knows where the ATMs are. She's up to date with what's on sale at SM Department Store, and until when that sale will be. And for me, best of all, she gives the best food reviews in town.

She told me once, for instance, that she had soy chicken with rice at Chopstix Express on the second floor, and found it too salty [Note: this resto is now closed.]. She told me, too, that Racks, also on the second level, had budget-sized pork ribs value meal, and at P45 with rice and softdrinks, was the best deal they ever had [Note: This Racks is now gone too.]. She advised me to be at Kenny Rogers no later than 11 am if I wanted to have a seat for lunch. The best coffee in the mall is served by Dunkin' Donuts and St. Cinnamon [St. Cinnamon vanished already.]. The best ensaimadas are sold by Red Ribbon. Sarciadong isda (sweet and sour fish) is tops at Goldilocks. And forget the Food Court at the basement, she said, since most of the time they only serve reheated food.

Coming from the mall, she'd go home and tell Alec what toys are on sale. Her eyes would light up, as Alec's would, too, as she would recount the latest Mega Bloks and Lego exhibits on display. She would also buy Alec a Happy Meal or a Jollibee Kiddie Meal, for the free toy. Then she would rave about the rest of the free toys in the meal series for the month, with a promise to buy another Happy/Kiddie Meal for Alec.

It was my mother who warned me against parking in the carpark building, for several kidnappings and robberies happened there. The best place to park, she said, would be in the wide open area fronting Goldilocks, where everyone can see you and you can see everyone [This parking lot is no more, and a Hypermart is being built on it.].

My mother is 67, and still as strong as can be. When I was hospitalized a month ago and had surgery to remove an inflammed appendix, she sat up by my bed at the ward waiting for me until midnight when I was wheeled in from the recovery room. The next day, she assisted me as I took one painful step after another for my required exercise. To this day she would go out every day, and feel invigorated each time she came back.

Sometime in the future, I'd probably find myself doing the same things she is doing now. I would pretty myself up at 10 am each day, saunter off to the mall, and come back with tales of new toys for my little grandchild. She hasn't said it, but I've learned from her that life is worth living each day.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: I've had Confessions of a Q.C. House-husband and Other Privacies by Alfed "Krip" Yuson for so many years now, but it's only this week that I found time to read it. His writing is brilliant, but he shines more when he writes about his "privacies." Telephone cords, doorknobs, palengkes -- these may seem like ordinary stuff, but stuff that good writing can be made of, in Yuson's hands.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11