So I went to the Christmas bazaar at Cuenca community center last Saturday, my second Saturday in a row. The resto that my sister Jacqui does marketing for has been camped out there for the last 2 weeks, so we drop by to check up on them. Or my sister drops by to check up on them, we just tag along.

This is not yet the St. James Christmas bazaar – that one is nearer Christmas and much crazier. I went once with Mikah, and it was like how I imagined the Market in Neverworld would look like, if only the wares were more bizarre. Also, the bazaar extended into the streets for a few blocks. This one was quite tame in comparison.

Last week, we were tasked to get gifts for my brother Quincy’s family as my Dad left for the US last Friday to visit them. Quincy has 2 adowable daughters, so Mom went a bit wild going through baby dresses. I got each of them a plushie – Violet gets an owl, my impending goddaughter Izzy gets a Totoro. The guy who sold them to me said their dollmaker was all about the Totoro, and I found a Totoro plushie ring for myself. He also said that for each plushie they sell, they give one to Cribs. Pretty good deal, I believe. He also said they have a store in Cubao X, and another in Baguio. I can’t remember the name of their store, but keep your eyes out for the Pinoy wallets and the Totoro plushies.

Last Saturday, I didn’t buy anything, I just ate some cheesesteak from The Cheesesteak Shop and Coolman halo halo. I’ve also been looking around for Christmas gift ideas. You need to plan these things.

Mom bought a plant. She takes to plants the way my sister and I take to dogs. It was a Milflores plant and she fell absolutely in love with it. My mom is practical and caustic, so it’s kinda weird when she gets all giddy over pretty things.

Going to Cuenca means going through Ayala Alabang Village, also commonly known as Alabang. We used to go through this village everyday because my siblings and I all went to De La Salle-Zobel till high school. Back then, I was a kid pretending not to impressed by the opulence of the houses we passed everyday, so much so that I believed my disinterest. Now, I can admit freely, those houses are divine. If I could go through Alabang more regularly just to look at the houses, I would do it.

I have always loved architecture – it’s the only reason why I would sit in a church: to look at the building. I think I understand buildings more than painting or sculpture. And like my mom, I do get quite giddy about pretty things.

The houses in Alabang are super amazing. Coming from a less impressive prefab world only a few villages away, there is an awesome difference. I don’t have pictures because I’m zooming in a car, just soaking up one beautiful house after another, plus I think it’s creepy if someone took pictures of my house and blogged about it, don’t you?

Now, I don’t want a mansion in Alabang. I wouldn’t know what to do with a large house, that’s too many rooms to clean and I have trouble keeping my bedroom in order. Also, despite the prefab, my house is awesome enough. I’m saying I like looking at beautiful houses, and beautiful buildings in general. If you saw me through these trips to Cuenca, you’d see me grinning like an idiot. But I believe I have the same smile on my face walking through Intramuros, Bacolod, Hong Kong, KL, Sydney, and Makati. At least, these are just places at the top of my head.

One place that reminds me a lot of Alabang is the area around the Goethe Haus in Jakarta, Indonesia. We would walk to Goethe every morning from our hotel, in time to see people pulling out of their driveways and showing us their houses through the open gates. I wonder if people are able to appreciate how pretty their house is from the outside. After all, they spend most of the time inside.

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