An offshoot of this virtue is that business finishes quite early. Too early for dinner and, well, too late for an afternoon snack. That late afternoon in August carried dry winds with the weak sun. Quite unusual for the tropical ghost month.
The table prepared for us is taking a long time to clear. Long enough for them to mix and serve the cocktail and for me to leaf through a coffee table book on vernacular architecture by Manosa. But, really, far longer for my virtue.
He said it was important. He admitted as much that the extramarital affairs are taxing him.
Ok. That epiphany did not unveil any fresh insight for me. Nevertheless, I sit still, the window on my right, chatter all over the small dining space at the converted control tower.
He met her in a Saturday bazaar. She owned a stall of used children's books. That was what drawn him to her quiet space, out of all the cacophony of wannabe arts and craps. Everywhere, depending on one's persuasion, there was ukay-ukay jungle, creative chaos, brainstorm or palengke vibe.
It was his usual Saturday foray into the blight of Manila's sordid armpits. After getting his cheap supply of cords, copper wires and hardware, he began to wilt from the heat. He fled across the detritus of unwashed working and merchant class in Carriedo.
The flight took him a long detour to Sta. Cruz Church. It's a grand Jesuit church which sits on the opposite end of Ongpin and was enjoying a face-lift of mosaic tiles. Good taste and judicious use of funds lit her facade a coral gem against the four o'clock sun. She is, arguably, a far more arresting sister than the besieged Quiapo Church, which suffered a deft mangling of her classic lines and symmetry.
(to be continued)