Taking the Soul Train to Groovy Manila

Manila Travel Blog

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EDSA crossing: A quick one for the birdy!
Aaron Frankel, creator of the Groovy Map 'N' Guide series (Bali, Phuket, Hong Kong, etc.) had been launching his maps all throughout Southeast Asia in the typical fashion - gathering a bunch of local press people in a hotel function room, serving them some cocktails, sitting them down in a classroom setting, giving a quick product brief, and click-click, snap-snap, it's launched! He expected the same thing over here for the launch of the Manila map, only this time he hired tourism maven, Carlos Celdran, to take care of it. And boy, was he in for a big surprise!

If you've ever been on any of his tours, you know that Carlos never does anything ordinarily. And this was no exception.

A one time-only tour called X Marks the Spot, invitees were instructed to meet at the Starbucks by the Petron Station along the corner of Pasay Road and EDSA at 6pm.
Feeling John Cusack
We were told to dress groovy too as the best outfits would win a prize at the end of the night. As I had a full day, the platforms and polyester had to stay at home. But no matter, whatever he had in mind was bound to be fun anyway. I met up with a few friends there and while waiting for the others to arrive, free coffee and snacks were served! Not a bad start at all, this was completely unexpected given that the tour itself was free!

Most people arrived in regular, everyday clothing, but those who did dress for the occassion, did so with pizzazz. And I mean like, whoa. Totally bodacious, dude. When everybody finally showed up - there were maybe 30 or 40 of us in all, Carlos led the Love Parade to the groovy train - the groovy train being none other than the MRT. So we crossed EDSA and toward the station on Ayala together with the assistant he hired to carry his portable cd player so we'd have music playing in the background all the way to the end! What a cool touch that was, but of course, the group drew all sorts of looks from every direction!

But not that that mattered to anyone.
Entertaining passengers at the stop
Once at the station, another assistant handed us our tickets - cool, another freebie! Apparently, Carlos has made arrangements for the last car to be reserved for the group. While waiting for the train, I noticed a couple with us - a girl and her gay friend - who started to dance. And dance. And dance. My Katrina pointed out that they'd actually been dancing since Starbucks! It took a few minutes for the train to arrive so they provided some entertainment.

The train pulled up and we all got in, warding off people to get inside another car. They looked in bewilderment but probably figured that this was for the insane and borderline passengers, and moved on. The party continued on the train. The music was soft, but the couple still continued their dancing and were joined in by some others.
Poetry Man
The sound of laughter and chatter filled the car. Everytime we would reach a station, the people from our group would entertain and wave at the others in the next train. There may have been no booze but this definitely was a party!

We arrived at our designated stop at Farmers Market in Cubao. Carlos once again gathered all of us and led us on foot towards our final destination - the Mogwai bar at Cubao X. It was about a 15 minute walk, and unlike all his other tours, there were no long spiels here. This has got to be the mutest I've seen him! In the absence of his monologues, however, Carlos provided other sorts of entertainment along the way. As we crossed the street from the mall, a guy in an orange suit on a bike greeted us and rode with us for a few meters.
"This place here is Cubao!"
After a while, there was a man sitting on the sidewalk wearing a straw hat and holding a fishing rod with an aluminum fish dangling above a trash bin! Then, a lady lady in costume holding up some balloons. Further down was another man in a clown wig handing out bubble wrap, and as we got closer to the venue, we found another guy in a red suit and bedroom slippers, reading poetry out loud.

What would've been a mundane stroll turned out to be such a unique experience and before we even knew it, we were already at Mogwai, where more food and beer awaited us! We munched and gulped all night, and all without having to spend a single peso! The groove was certainly in the heart. The party ended early but it sure was one of the coolest events I'd ever been to - and I've been to a LOT.
Tabo's long lost!!!
My friend Katrina did win a prize and so did everyone who got decked out that night.

Now, I wonder if that guy Aaron will ever want to book a function room again!


Isabetlog says:
I know, I just wanted to capture the vibe which was basically due to the cool outfits they had. But I think I'm better at landscapes, pilit yung mga shots hehehe :D
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
jennethm says:
major comment - this blog is full of people, a big diff from your usual :D
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
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EDSA crossing: A quick one for the…
EDSA crossing: A quick one for th…
Feeling John Cusack
Feeling John Cusack
Entertaining passengers at the stop
Entertaining passengers at the stop
Poetry Man
Poetry Man
This place here is Cubao!
"This place here is Cubao!"
Tabos long lost!!!
Tabo's long lost!!!
Carlos checking on his followers
Carlos checking on his followers
Kat grooving it up
Kat grooving it up
Happy & friends
Happy & friends
Looking back to the future
Looking back to the future
Timewarped?
Timewarped?
Waiting
Waiting
Dancing divas
Dancing divas
Our groovy train
Our groovy train
Groovy train
Groovy train
Groovy train
Groovy train
Hippy chick
Hippy chick
The dancing continues
The dancing continues
Hippy chick
Hippy chick
Purple lady & friends
Purple lady & friends
Carlos signals the others to anoth…
Carlos signals the others to anot…
Looks like cotton candy!
Looks like cotton candy!
More dancing too
More dancing too
And down we go
And down we go
The Love Parade
The Love Parade
Biker man
Biker man
Fisherman
Fisherman
The Love Parade
The Love Parade
Balloon Lady
Balloon Lady
Plastic Bubble Wrap Clown
Plastic Bubble Wrap Clown
Man oh man
Man oh man
Mogwai
Mogwai
Dona Katrina
Dona Katrina
Nina
Nina
Mogwai
Mogwai
X marks the spot
X marks the spot
Nina & Pia
Nina & Pia
Mogwai
Mogwai
Street art
Street art
Street art
Street art
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photo by: Deats