Yes folks, after more than 4 years of being in and out this Queen City metropolis, I still do get lost – usually with a happy twist! This afternoon was one of those days.
But my 8-peso jeep ride from Pusok was breezing unusually fast, and I read some txt msgs on the phone (unusual for My Royal Highness when riding a jeep). Next thing I discerned, I knew I was past the gas station since I remembered we took a left turn as I read those phone messages. I still had the ‘patay-malisya’ courage to ask the driver “boss, Total?” and he suddenly stopped saying “aw lapas na sir”! So I got off thinking “now what the hell what” hehehe!
Before I made the first step to cross the road, I casually looked a bit to the side and up, where I read signage that said “Bridges Town Square” among others. Ah curious! I turned around to check what this “town square” might be. So I looked around… at one end (on the right) is a Rose Pharmacy and a lotto outlet. At the other end (left) is a Pan De Manila bakeshop. Hmm… I continued inwards and saw some new places am sure I will return to (one of these days). And I stumbled upon this “OTOP Store Tindahang Pinoy”! Whoa!
I said whoa because I know the OTOP concept. Not a Filipino original, but just the same a wonderful way to promote local products. Ah we have seen them at trade fairs and similar affairs, right? At Megamall, at MOA, etc? And if there’s an OTOP store, it surely will have some of the local best. I even immediately remembered I saw a similar store (was it Davao? or Clark? or both?), though I haven’t got to explore what it really was. So here I was… in an OTOP Store! Yeah!
Vino De Coco I encountered in Tacloban just a few clicks ago which I wrote a story about, right? Each bottle sells for P330, same price if you bought it at the winery itself! I asked the attentive young lady store assistant ‘which of the three tastes good’. She says her personal favorite is the white wine. I did not tell her, but in my mind, I was saying “me too”! And she added that, indeed the whites sell fast than the reds. Hmm, Mana Tila, make it sparkling please… I can assure you it will sell like crazy!
Done with the Vino De Coco topic, I moved around to see many things more. Trinkets, accessories, bags, mats, design pieces, too many things interesting. There are even stools made of abaca rope adorned with a cute coconut tree also made of the same abaca material. Sturdy ha?! There are paintings, there are shirts, fridge magnets, furniture, wall mountings, there is even a pair of Precious Moments Dolls clad in Pinoy Wedding Attire. Lovable!
These things they sell come from places near and far with all of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao represented. Proof? I am now eating Pili Cake from Allen Northern Samar as I write this; the Hopia De Pili (from Catarman Northern Samar) sits in waiting; I have a 100g packet of “Instant Ginger Powder Beverage” from Loboc, Bohol; and, a bottle of “Tanglad Distilled Lemon Grass” (whatever this beverage is!) from L.A. – that’s Km 13 Los Angeles, Butuan City hehe!
And did you notice I mentioned mainly just the edible things? But yes, there are wooden furniture and ornaments, shellcraft, hempcraft, there are even jars as tall as my waist and there 2 or 3-piece swimsuits I don’t know where from hehehe!
Go visit the place folks, you will like many things there!