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Stepping out on a Sunday

I liked the scene best at The Podium. There were only a few people dining al fresco and they seemed to be talking softly.

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On a Sunday some weeks ago, my wife persuaded me to come along for a look-see at the Greenhills Shopping Center tiangge. But there’s nothing but fake goods, I reasoned, and shucks, that’s where the country’s first Covid-19 case was detected.

Al fresco dining at Shangri-La Plaza

Oh, come on, don’t be paranoid, she insisted, we won’t take long.

All right then, I thought to myself, might as well observe how people have regained the confidence to step out of their homes since the government did away with quarantines and instead measured the pandemic situation with alert levels.

Christmas cheer inside The Podium

There was a sense of normalcy as bargain hunters roamed around rows upon rows of stalls offering various replicas of popular branded goods. It was like old times — except that people were wearing masks and hardly talking

About 30 minutes later, I signaled the wifey it was time to move out. Walking along the Ortigas side of the shopping arcade, we saw the parking lot converted into a “night market.”
It was brimming with more people.

sign of life amid a decrease in Covid cases

Turned out, this was a market for the hungry — inside were stalls selling nothing but all sorts of street food.

Corn dogs and other street food for sale

At dusk we proceeded to
Shangri-La Plaza. The vibe was more relaxed, though people have, indeed, ventured out amid a decreasing number of virus cases.

sedate scene at The Podium

The al fresco bars and restaurants had customers enjoying the cool breeze of the approaching holiday season.

A sign proudly announced: “Welcome back! We’re fully vaxxed!”

tiangge back in business at Greenhills Shopping Center. / photographs by pocholo concepcion for the daily tribune

The message was loud and clear — everything is open for business again, though the threat of the virus lingers and there’s nothing we can do except treat it like any contagious disease that forces us to protect ourselves with a vaccine and a mask.

I liked the scene best at The Podium. There were only a few people dining al fresco and they seemed to be talking softly. Inside the mall, a giant, brightly-lit Christmas tree sparked hope for a better future.

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