Provincial folks always have particular places to visit every time they go to Manila or Cebu. These are vital parts of their itinerary. Failure to visit these places sometimes renders their tour to these cities meaningless, or incomplete.
As expected, huge malls top the list. These include, of course, SM, Gaisano, Robinsons, Rustan, and other big department stores. But these are rather cool and beautiful places people frequent not necessarily for a shopping spree, but for convenient strolling, for window shopping, for mere sightseeing, knowing that the goods here sell quite highly and unaffordable.
But while a big number of people flock to these places then, it’s only the rich who do much of the buying. The poor are mostly like mere decorations providing a social background. It takes a grand sale, when items are given big discounts, for these financially handicapped people to go into serious and voluminous buying spree.
And where do you think the poorer majority go to for frantic shopping in the cities? Well, it’s these places called Carbon in Cebu, and Divisoria and Baclaran in Metro Manila. These are places that teem with people for almost 24 hours. Prices of goods here are too low compared to other places. That’s why people crowd there, buying plenty of items, taking advantage of the opportunity.
These may not, however, be enjoyable places to visit. In fact, what seems to be good about them is only the low prices of goods and nothing more. Because frankly speaking, these are terrible places to visit—perhaps the most inconvenient, critical, and dangerous. Here, you will meet the snatchers, the robbers, the criminals, and other bad elements looking for chances to unleash their horrendous plans that victimize helpless people.
These places, too, are home to people with various communicable diseases, to beggars, and to what are otherwise known as eyesores in society. Their presence there threatens the health of other people as they spread their wastes around, polluting the place, to include the air that people breathe.
As people crowd there during summertime, the heat becomes unbearable. Moreover, when the crowd is at its biggest, you could hardly move around as shoppers stand shoulder to shoulder. Mobility proves even harder when people start to carry various items that they bought. The whole place becomes an irritating mixture of vehicles and people and stalls, etc.
No matter how inconvenient visits to these places might be, people still go there for one reason—they get their money’s worth in the midst of today’s unabated price hikes. The places are friendly to their budgets, good enough for their lingering poverty.
By: Doms Pagliawan
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