After visiting ate fely at her father’s wake in their zambales residence, the group headed to subic to buy px goods. We went to royal subic mall, already a familiar ground, as i have been there countless times already—the last one, when the group had a team building at ate fely’s residence almost five years ago. I remember the group had a sumptuous dinner prepared by ate fely’s household after we had a blast partying, having a nearby beach all to ourselves that glorious, distant and golden afternoon of april 2004. On our way home, same as what the group did just hours ago, we went ballistic with shopping. Hehehe.
But my memory of royal subic mall goes all the way back to the 90s, when subic, the former base of naval operations of the US here in the Philippines, opened its doors to the Filipino people. Those were the years when tatay, with the whole extended family in tow—aunts and uncles galore—would take frequent trips to subic just to replenish their stash of px goods. With tatay, its always the corned beef. As i don’t have tatay’s purchasing power yet (and i doubt i ever will) i just picked up a few cans for old times sake, making a mental note to take ‘em home next weekend to pangasinan. Chocolates. Well. And chocolates, too. I breezed through shopping without so much stirring the tiniest hint of nostalgia in my bones.
I was done paying for my purchase and was headed for the vacant lot where our vehicle was parked when all of a sudden, an all too familiar scent of roasting hotdogs wafted through the open air. I closed my eyes and for a moment, i can hear a kid’s voice from the distant 90’s asking his dad to buy him hotdogs. The father obliges, gamely asking how many can one growling stomach devour; the kid chuckles and says “a whole lot, buy me a whole lot, ‘tay”.