La Vie Bohème

We  saw Mockingjay Part 1 last Sunday and on our way home, I finally got up close the display window of Rustan’s Makati.

Christmas 2014 display window of Rustan's Makati

Christmas 2014 display window of Rustan’s Makati

They undoubtedly have the best windows and they periodically change them after a couple of months. However, they always reserve the best decoration for December. This year, it looked like an enchanted winter forest that is very Tim Walker (a.k.a. Mr. Fairy Tale Fantasy) meets Narnia. Of course, Tim Walker is well-known for photographing very whimsical spreads and campaigns. However, what I do not like about these was the fact that you can no longer see the clothes. The branches by the glass were too busy or had they reduced the sides for about a foot each, it would have been much better. I still get envious of all the Ayala Avenue people because they have better Christmas decorations, compared to the bleak and sparsely decorated area of McKinley Hill. Do they know it’s Christmas? LOL Yes, I’m really claiming the Holiday Season this year, and I’m as giddy as my niece Brianna seeing glittering decors and blinking Christmas lights.

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A trip to Makati Cinema Square

We have been living in Makati for more than a year now, but I have never visited Makati Cinema Square. From what I’ve heard from people and read online, it is a treasure trove for secondhand goods – from clothes to home decoration. While our original plan was to visit the streets of Bangkal for used home stuff, the weather was too hot to to deal with and it was best to just stay in one place. I had to first ship a couple of items via JRS Express, and I was surprised that the branch was asking me for 4% additional payment for the declared value of the items. I would have foregone using their services, but one buyer specifically asked to have her items be picked-up in a JRS Express branch. Anyway, I was already itching to look around the ukays to see if maybe I’d get lucky with a couple of things.

If I were to assess the ukays in this building compared to the one in Anonas, the latter was easier to navigate since it was a single area dedicated to secondhand stores. We had a harder time jumping from one ukay to another because it was also like Farmers Plaza, with food stalls and pirated DVD stores in the mix. It was also unfortunate that the larger stores with airconditioning had new arrivals, hence had higher price for their items. LOL I love a good challenge on the heavily discounted ones, and it breaks my heart to pay “full price” for them.

Sounds like a Kris Aquino movie

Sounds like a Kris Aquino movie

Getting lost inside this labyrinth of vintage and secondhand home trinkets in Makati Cinema Square

Getting lost inside this labyrinth of vintage and secondhand home trinkets in Makati Cinema Square

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Surplus shopping!

I am not the person to shy away from a good buy, as I’m always in the process of looking for bargain items. *winks* I knew of two surplus shops in Araneta Center: one was HMR Surplus, while the other was MSM Surplus. The former was more “upscale” (due to airconditioning), while the latter was in a newly-occupied stall beside Farmers Market. I have never been inside both of them until today, and I was expecting to buy at least a reasonable price for a functional item we can use in the apartment.

First stop, HMR Surplus. They are occupying a really large space on the ground floor of Telus Buuilding, just behind Araneta Coliseum. They made me leave my bag in the counter, and I was not sure whether they allow usage of cameras inside, so I only have my cellphone camera to work with, thus the less-than-desirable resolution of the photos.

HMR Surplus in Telus, Araneta Center, Cubao

I am not a fan of buying electronic equipment from surplus/secondhand stores, because I’ve seen enough Imbestigador episodes where a fire has started from surplus-bought appliances. I was looking for sleek furniture (closet, storage box or table) because we can’t afford to have bulky pieces.  I beelined to the furniture section to see if they have interesting items, and I was happy to see the type of items we wish to have.

But when I searched for the price tag, I was shocked. They were not remotely cheap for a surplus item, and most of them are priced higher than what SM sells. It was not as if they were selling hardwood furniture, but they almost have the same type of modular, pre-assembled materials as SM. Not gonna happen.

Stackable storage drawers at Php 1,790 each --- yikes - HMR Surplus

But I found one item that I will most probably buy if money were not an issue. I found four stackable drawers on top of each other and they have the exact storage capacity that I needed. I imagined the type of things I would put inside, but at Php 1,790 each, I will not bother buying even one. however, It gave me a good idea of the type of storage I will use because we need as many multifunctional items in our small room.

So I left HMR Surplus and went next to MSM Surplus. I think they have opened barely three weeks month ago, because they still have that loud music playing, which was very typical of newly-opened stores in the Philippines. LOL

MSM Surplus in Farmers Market, Cubao
Trinkets found on the 2nd floor of MSM Surplus - Farmers, Cubao

They have toys, shoes, bags, picture frames, appliances, household goods and even clothes in their two-storey store. They have a membership of Php 100, which gives the member a 10% discount, but I’m not too sure how much of help that would be. Again, I went straight away to the household goods and saw old lighting fixtures, paintings, and kitchenware. They do not have a lot of furniture, though I saw a little table or two inside. But what caught my eye was this solid black frame from Melannco, which I considered as the perfect size to use as an exhaust fan frame. I don’t think we can do a lot of things inside the apartment, which includes making a hole in the wall big enough to accommodate an exhaust fan. We can use a little more of ventilation and I saw the smallest, 6-ince exhaust fan from Western appliances in farmers.

A solid Melannco frame I bought for Php 175

There was no problem taking photos inside this surplus shop, and as my hands were quite shaky, I did not bother getting macro/detailed shots of other items. I knew right away that I needed this frame, but how expensive this could be? So when I approached the lady upstairs, she took a look at it, flipped it up and down twice and priced in at Php 175. I was hoping it would be for sale at around Php 100, but it was clear that she can price it at php 200 and I’d still get it. And as if she was dubious I would do a small skullduggery, she made it a point to rush downstairs just to inform the cashier of the frame’s price. LOL

A 6-inch Imarflex exhaust fan for our small apartment

After securing the frame, I needed the exhaust fan. Another DIY project in the making and I hope I can do something to make it fit snugly  inside the frame.

I got the book I wanted!

The BookSale in UP Diliman did not have a world history textbook, which was quite a letdown because they have one of the best selections of foreign language literature books. But the BookSale in Cityland near our workplace had a hardbound world history textbook for sale. It was sold at Php 415, though, and I debated for a few minutes whether to buy it or not but a brand new book definitely costs more than Php 2,000 and photocopying an entire book from the library will cost me about the same as the secondhand one — that is if I can borrow one because I’m no longer enrolled, thus can’t borrow from the library.

A bunch of foreign language books in BookSale

So, I gave in and bought the book. I now have my own copy of Comprehensive World History – Fourth Edition. I even asked if I can have a discount but was told that it was originally tagged at Php 1000. Yikes. I also found a Complete Idiot’s Guide to American Government for only Php 45! I had no idea why I bought this book but I thought that I will have a good use for it in the future. LOL

Comprehensive World History Fourth Edition and Complete Idiot's Guide to American Government

I also had to notarize an application form and I first thought of getting it done in Marikina. But Mon mentioned that there were was a row of notary publics behind Makati Medical Center, just past McDonald’s in the Aegis Peoplesupport building. We walked to the area from our office and entered the first one, near the short bridge over the creek.

Notary Public behind Makati Medical Center

I presented my application form to the lady in the counter, and she asked me for a government-issued ID. I always have my Voter’s ID with me, but when she noticed the form, she suggested I present my passport. I did not have it with me but I recall having a spare photocopy of the first page containing my personal information in the office. I just asked Mon to wait for me in the Notary Public and I then walked back to our office and feverishly searched for that important piece of paper. When I at last found it, I ran back to the Notary Public. Done, all done! And best of all, I only paid Php 50 for the notarization fee! Bless this place!

ETA: 25 October 2017

This place above, as far as a I know, no longer exists. LOL But as this posts gets viewed a lot, let me recommend another notary public in Makati around the area. If you know Rodic’s in Salcedo Street, Makati (which, by the way, will close at the end of October 2017), the notary public was about 2-3 stalls to its right.

This is near Salcedo Street corner Rufino Street along the same side of Watsons and Slimmers World — practically walking distance from Makati Medical Center. It cost me less than Php 100.

Well, I’ll  just put a map here. Easier to follow, right?