Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday morning.

Unleaded : P38.37 / Liter
USD 1.00 : 50.01 Php

There was a time in my unmarried life when I never knew what Saturday morning looked like. I'd catch a sunrise or two now and again, but only because I was just getting in from a night of partying that had gone a little harder than usual. Noon was the earliest I'd get up -- to rehydrate, lunch a little (very little in fact), then veg out as kids today would say.

Needless to say, practically nothing got done on weekends. Rearranging my CDs would be the height of productivity. Having the car washed or getting a haircut was done only if it's reached a point where it was morally reprehensible to forego. For the most part I'd be hovering somewhere between catatonia and zombiedom till sundown. Holed up alone in my room all day with the tv, Saturday went quickly as it came. Fine by me.

Flashforward to this morning. Woke up at at 6:00 with the kids jumping on the bed, on me and on the wife. Horsed around a bit (literally; I'm on all fours with 2 kids on my back), washed up, got kids dressed. We're out of the house by 7:00 and heading for Emerald Garden on Roxas Boulevard for a congee and dimsum breakfast.

The place is teeming with early birds, mostly chinoys, a whole section in fact wearing their tai chi club shirt. Sen. Fred Lim has been holding court in a corner for hours it seems judging from the mess on the table and his SRO crowd. I have a mind to heckle him, but you don't want to start a brawl in a place like this. Think Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The food is unbloggably so-so but filling. The service is a rant blog entry that will write itself. That's ok, we didn't come all the way to Malate just for the lukewarm lugaw anyway. We came for the sea!

So, we drive north towards Luneta. Get a glimpse of Rizal with the sun behind him. Point out the huge flag to the kids. Make a left at Manila Hotel. See the floating restaurant docked behind it and wonder if people actually go there and if they do what kind of people they were. Slow down to a crawl in front of the Quirino grandstand and imagine ourselves in a parade among APVs and tanks and Metro Aides waving at the stage. We turn left at Kalaw then right, back to Roxas Boulevard. The sun is up, the traffic light and so the road is lousy with student drivers everywhere.

We park at the Baywalk and walk up and down the walk. The kids love the sea. They climb up the seawall, they point at the ships, they run to the men with fishing rods and look at the worms in the bait box. They see a dragonboat cutting through the water and jump up and down with excitement. They ask if we could buy one. They watch as a seabird lands on a rock and all the
ipis dagat scamper away for dear life. But one of them is too slow and is caught in the snapping beak. The seabird flies away with his breakfast and the kids say Wow! They look at me and wait for my comment, and all I can say is Wow, too.

When the kids finally agree to go home, we decide to stop at the kiddie barbers' on the way. It's early so there is no wait. The four-year-old got to go first while the younger one played on the slide. No hassle on the barbers' chair with the first customer: done in ten minutes. He's really a big boy now, we tell him. His kid sister on the other hand threw a fit the last time she was here. But this time, she sits still on her mother's lap while the barber cuts away. She's done in five. Maybe the full tummy inspired her good behavior.

Everybody climbs into the van. My daughter looks particularly nice in her new 'do. My son asks where else we're going, and I say home. He says ok, but only because his neck is itchy from the haircut. We reach home finally, and I look at the clock. It's 10:52.

There was a time in my life when Saturday morning did not exist and the rest of the day was a haze at best. Today, we've eaten chicken feet, taken the parade route around Luneta, smelled the sea, saw wildlife in action, had haircuts. And it isn't even lunchtime yet.

I feel like I'm making up for all the Satrudays I've wasted and it's fine by me. In fact I hope to be doing this the rest of my life, or at least until that morning when my son rides the A1 or Socialites car himself for his driving lessons. I hope that Saturday takes a long time coming.

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