Night markets - Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong. Where are Manila's night markets? Yes, we tout long night drinking spots and 24 hour McDonald delivery, but where can shoppers go at 11 p.m. to buy stuff in the middle of summer? I'd do more shopping if it were at night, it's cooler and interesting food finds are always more, well, interesting, late at night after finding a eureka tidbit.
At a recent embassy bazaar, I chose a long wooden bench and a Igorot/mountain province inspired ladder, paid for it and told the vendor I'd pick it up after two weeks. After a couple of days trying to contact the vendor with thoughts having been cheated of my money, the agreement was that I'd pick up my buys at their new outlets in Tiendesitas. A friend had emailed me about it, so I was ready to check out the new shopping haven in the city.
Tiendesitas is between Ortigas Avenue and J. Vargas Avenue, right behind Ortigas Center. I had seen it being built on the occasional venture out on C5, but paid it no mind. I'm too Makati-centric, and find it more convenient to do all my shopping here. But now that I live in New Manila, I've started exploring Cubao and now Ortigas.
What struck me going around Tiendesitas is the sheer gimmickry of the place, think theme shopping. Another friend said that it was built along the lines of Chatuchak in Bangkok, but I don't think this is anywhere near the scale of Chatuchak. I also hope they learn from the problems of their Bangkok brother since that market gives me a headache after an hour of wandering. Sizewise, Tiendesitas is only third of what you'd find in Chatuchak; the maze effect is missing, and perhaps when more vendors pack it in, there will be more of that joie de vivre, hustle and bustle, and pure sense of commerce. What Tiendesitas does bring to mind is a cleaner, more open Greenhills Shopping Center/Virra Mall layout. And when I spoke to a vendor, she told me that they are originally based in GSC, but find the business in the new location better (perhaps for the novelty than for anything else. Well, and the free parking).
Parking is, as I mentioned, free, but limited. If it turns into a Greenhills franchise, the space they have for parking will easily run out. It's not very accessible to public transport, perhaps to limit hoi polloi. One aspect I forgot to check out was the public bathrooms. For now, the green space is pleasant, and at 8:30 p.m., the breeze made it pleasant to stay out and wander around the open stores.
I picked up my bench, ladder, and was suckered into picking up two wooden trays. A 50% discount is too much for me to pass up, I have to admit to a weakness when the discount is larger than 30%. That makes the section of my brain controlled by primeval urges go "Buy! Buy! Buy!" I also couldn't resist a pomelo shake at one of the fruit vendors; my worry that it would be a saccharinely sweet concoction was all for naught, and trying to get all the pomelo bits was a nice alternative to canned juices. Give me pulp or give me a bargain.
My new finds are positioned (they fit) in their new home, giving some definition to my room. Now all I need is to find the space for the bookshelves I ordered.