since guam is only 3.5 hours away from manila, and we arrived on the morning flight, we just dropped our bags at the condo in makati (metro manila), and headed straight for greenhills, a shopping complex in san juan, about half an hour away (still in manila). although it just looks like a typical older shopping center, it's actually mostly a tiangge, which is a bazaar, open marketplace.

greenhills is probably the biggest, cleanest and most organized of the tiangges i've been to, but if you're not used to third world conditions it may shock you once you go inside. the walkways are narrow and crowded, people everywhere, overwhelming heat (although it's airconditioned so mornings are okay), the stalls are tiny and filled with any sort of merchandise--cheap clothing and toys, bootleg dvds/software/mp3s, electronics and cell phones galore, antiques, native handicrafts, food, plants, and the two main attractions: freshwater pearls from mindanao, and counterfeit luxury brand items. i took a lot of surreptious cell phone photos, but i haven't downloaded them yet; i wanted to whip out the digital camera, but i was sure i'd freak out someone selling fake rolexes or louis vuitton bags, so i refrained. i love shopping here when i'm in a shopping mood, but i really wasn't in one. i am the type of person who normally gets all her xmas shopping done in august, but i couldn't be arsed this time around. also, my favourite chinese deli had disappeared. apparently they renovated and expanded only to have the whole store burned down. typical. i think there is a fire every couple of years that guts one of the wings. maybe it's arson, but i'm more inclined to believe it's faulty wiring. the building's a death trap. but don't let that stop you.

actually, i was disappointed to find a lot of tourists there and like, everyone from guam (sheeeeeesh). i guess everyone's discovered what a complete bargain it is, and that it's not pickpocket city (anymore), so it's cleaned up its act a bit. more security, a tourist information desk, and slightly higher prices for everything (although that could be inflation). no more secret shopping haven. also, a lot of the stall sellers are muslim, so there used to be this rather exotic air about the place, with the beautiful women in their headscarves stringing pearls, and the men doing their midday call to prayer anywhere they could lay a mat, but it's been slightly homogenized for commercial purposes. the pearl sellers are younger employees, and i don't know where they've made the men pray these days. however, it is still a bargain, and the upside is that there's a pretty nice (mostly) food mall next door, the promenade. we bought some small trinkets, grabbed some lunch, and then i went back and haggled for these lanterns, which have electric fixtures, and are quite large for this sort of thing, about 24-32 inches tall.

lanterns 2

in glorieta, the huge-o large-o shopping mall in makati, i saw the same lanterns and the shop wanted almost US$1000 for three of them!! huh. i got all of them for US$290, which is pricey, but they're not made locally, and there is some exquisite metalwork on the one ornate one. i'm sure i could've gotten them for less, but eh, i needed a nap. anyway, i bought a year's worth of socks for like $5, so i got my bargain of the day.


oh, and i found out where the chinese deli moved to, huzzah!