A few days ago I went on a day trip to Batangas. The endless sari-sari shops and tourist articles got on my nerves and I really needed something shiny and modern and cool. I saw pictures of a Manilla Facebook friend in a mall and I felt a jealous sting. Life in the province looks a lot different from life in the big city.
Sometimes here in the village you are not sure whether the clothes in the shop are new or second hand, just because of all the dust. There are a lot of second hand shops here, selling clothes that are imported from the west. And sometimes that confuses me.
And the thing I was wondering about was books. The hotel has a bookshelf or two, but can I buy some good reads any where?
Not in Puerto Galera!
And one thing I really miss with all these beautiful views is a pair of binoculars. I should have brought them from home, I can;t find them anywhere. So I went on a mission to Batangas.
10 o’clock ferry – hour and a half boat trip – finding my way through the passengers terminal at Batangas Port to a tricycle gathering – half an hour tricycle ride since the bridge on the shortest route is under construction and the driver has to talk me through half the town to cross the river.
And there it is: SM City Batangas, a huge mall. As the website of SM Malls states:
SM Supermalls, the country’s largest shopping center operator, provides shopping, dining and entertainment options to millions of shoppers daily in over 50 malls in the Philippines and 6 in China. Delivering the ultimate in family fun mall experience is the brand promise. And as we partner with the best local and global retailers, we aim to provide affordable luxury shopping to all. At SM Supermalls, Everything’s Here.
Now the Batangs City Mall is not quite as big as the ones in Cebu or Manilla, but to me it looks like heaven!
When I pass through the security check I step into a two stories high shopping paradise with lots of shiny floors, 2 cinemas, wonderful cool A/C climate, and so many restaurants and……..OMG!! I need an extra pair of eyes to take it all in……..can I swap my ears for an extra pair of eyes? Because there is also noise, lots of noise, it is probably the noisiest place I have been ever. Loud music, kids screaming, people talking, a show going on right in the middle of it all, announcements…….gosh! Overwhelming!
Puerto Galera is such a quiet little town, I got used to that.
The holiday shoppings and promos have started and it is jingle bells all over the place. Friendly staff greeting me, asking me if they can offer help. Can I find what I’m looking for? Friendly guards at the door wishing me a happy day.
But I loved it.
I found a wonderful bookstore, even some scrapbook hobby items, I found a Fit Flops flag store (very expensive here!) and lots of nice tops and dresses (why is the largest available size XL??) Disposable contact lenses per month including fluid for 380 PHP (7.2 Euro).
There is a Starbucks, a KFC and huge department store.
But no binoculars.
On return to the port, going through security checks, I make it in time for the last ferry back to Puerto Galera with Minolo Shipping Lines, leaving at 5 o’clock.
A beautiful sunset as a present and closure of a very pleasant day trip.
I had a great day! I didn’t buy much, only two sheets of colourful scrapbook stickers and a box with brownies.
And a street-map of Batangas so next time I can find my own way around town.