There’s a mall in the Ortigas section of Manila called Podium. It’s a five minute walk from SM’s Mega Mall. It was one of their first attempts to do something a bit higher end. One side of the mall has some restaurants that have their own entrances – good for bypassing the security check at the front door and also good for getting in and out for a quick smoke. These doors open to the street that runs to their parking lot. Then there’s a wall, and on the other side of that wall is a huge outdoor car park. The construction workers for the tower above Podium (seems like they’ve been working on this on and off for close to ten years now) dump their trash here.
One of the restaurants in Podium with its own exit that I like is Borough. They do what they call NYC comfort food, and it’s not quite that, but they do a real nice fried chicken & waffles and a decent facsimile of a Philly cheesesteak. They’re open 24/7 and at night they have a DJ and it can get busy with people having a few drinks after work.
I went there today to meet a friend for lunch at 12:45. Weekday. Lunchtime. The place was stone cold empty. One of the waitresses was walking around with one of those fly-swatting electric tennis rackets and it was crackling non-stop.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “There’s a pile of garbage at the construction site and it’s attracting all these flies.” “Really?” “Yeah, every restaurant here is affected.” “Why don’t you call the police and complain?” “Hahahahaha.”
Really, that was her reaction. Laughter.
My friend arrived, I explained the situation, and we left to have lunch somewhere else.
So on one side you have a bunch of legitimate businesses in one of the more modern parts of the city. On the other side a bunch of idiot construction workers who do what they want without thinking about how it might affect others. And that’s it. Their lunchtime trade (and probably dinner too) is destroyed for at least a few days. I certainly won’t consider going back there for at least another week. And not only is there nothing they can do about it, but the suggestion that they actually try to do something about it is met with laughter.Published in