Write Post

Featured Image

Since April 2021, the local government units in the Philippines have started offering COVID-19 vaccines to the residents. At first, only two brands, Sinovac and AstraZeneca were available. Then, the Philippines on May 10, 2021, received the first 193,050 doses of donated Pfizer vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX facility.

Photo above: vaccination center at Bonifacio High Street

One of our family member has comorbidity, so he was eligible to get a vaccine. However, since he was planning to go to Europe, which at that moment, only recognizes certain brands of vaccines, he decided to look for brands that are already approved by WHO.

Photo above: vehicular entrance of the Lakeshore COVID-19 Vaccination Center

Photo above: residents with prior appointment were to check in at the waiting area first.

Photo above: Parking area outside Lakeshore COVID-19 vaccination center

He went to check out the vaccination center at Lakeshore in mid May, as they were said to have Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. But apparently, that batch was quite small, and within a few days they were all gone.

Some people said they got vaccinated from the SM Aura vaccination center. But the only vaccine available as of early June, is Sinovac, which despite recently having been approved by the World Health Organization, is not yet approved in Europe or Canada, our travel destinations. 

Even though recently the government announced that vaccine priority group A4 is now eligible for vaccination, there does not seem to have ample supply for everyone. So our wait for vaccine continues.  We heard that at the end of June, millions of vaccine will arrive. Let's see.

Featured Image

I learned about the fresh taho vendor from a Facebook group for BGC residents. Someone said that the vendor would appear outside Uptown Mall on weekday mornings at around 7AM. 

Like many BGC residents, I crave for fresh taho from time to time, not the funny ones that are sold in convenience stores. I even have bought a slush drink with taho from a milk tea chain, just to get the taho. When I learned about this vendor, I could not wait to try.

This morning, I went to Uptown Mall area with my scooter, anxiously hoping that he had not left. I arrived at Uptown Mall at around 7:30AM, and lo and behold, a man with two metal buckets was standing at a street corner!

Kuya Alman, the taho vendor, told me that he is there every weekday from 5AM to 8AM, so that is great news for taho lovers who are also early birds. He offers the taho in two sizes, but I was only interested in the large one, which costs thirty pesos (P30).

I handed over my food container and he happily filled it up with soft taho, and asked me if I wanted sago balls or not. I said I only wanted the syrup, which is brown sugar syrup called 'arnibal' in Tagalog.

I stood there for a few more minutes to observe the business. Specifically, I wondered if it was normal for customers to give him their own food containers. Kuya Alman serves his taho in either plastic cups (for small size) or paper cups ( for large size), like most taho vendors do. I feel that taho is a food item that is very suitable for customers to adopt the Bring-Your-Own-Container style of buying food take-outs, so that we get our food without adding to the waste-disposal problem that contributes to environmental pollution.

To my pleasant surprise, quite a few customers brought their own containers. Out of the eight customers that he served in the five minutes that I was there, apart from me, two other customers handed over their own containers. 

Photo above: The taho vendor uses his cup to measure the correct quantity of taho before transferring it to the customer's own container

It was also interesting to notice that Kuya Alman's customers came from all walks of life. There were security guards, office workers and managers, as well as people who arrived in private cars to get their taho fix.

Kuya Alman remembered to spray his hands with sanitizer before touching the containers of his customers.

Photo above: Kuya Alman handed me back my food container after filling it with taho.

If more people will adopt the BYOC style for getting take-out food, we can make a small but important contribution to protecting our environment.

Maybe not all restaurants are willing to use customers' containers (such as Starbucks who now refuses to use customers' own cups to fill up their drinks), but I believe with caution, such as wiping the outside of the container if necessary with alcohol, COVID-19 should not necessarily be a good reason to refuse customer's container. At least one restaurant in Bonifacio High Street has accepted our food container for serving our own takeout. (Brotzeit).

Featured Image

How did the COVID-19 pandemic change the process of renewing the business permit for business operating in Bonifacio Global City?

In this blog, we record our experience in applying for the permit renewal in January 2021.

Other people may have a different experience especially regarding the waiting time. If you were able to have all the documents ready in the first week of January, for example, your waiting time would most likely to have been shorter than ours. But then not many businesses were likely to have been able to do that because of the large amount of documents required. 

Changes from last year's permit renewal experience: The location of the Taguig City's permit processing office had moved to a more remote place for BGC residents. One of the dozens of requirements for renewing a business permit, namely barangay clearance, could be done completely online (kudos to Fort Bonifacio barangay office). One more form had been added to the list of requirements - naming of a safety officer for COVID-19 measures (to comply with the requirement relating to Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (IDPRP), also known as the “Safe City Checklist".

Other than those, there were no changes. The overall process of business permit renewal can be described by 3-ALOs:

- a lot of documents 

- a lot of moving around different queues

- a lot of sitting in the various waiting areas


It would be a very time consuming mistake if you were to just go there to figure out what is needed. Check first the Facebook pages of Barangay Fort Bonifacio for information about barangay clearance, Taguig City, and its Business Permit and Licensing OfficeWebsite of Barangay Fort Bonifacio provided information about online renewal of barangay clearance for business permit, one of the numerous requirements for permit renewal.

Download the permit application form, fill it up and make three copies. There is free photocopying service at the BPLO location, but it takes extra time to make copies.

Check if you have the original and at least one copy of the required documents. Ours were:

- SEC certificate

- 2021 BIR annual registration;

- VAT filings for first 3 quarters in 2020;

- audited financial statements for 2019;

- certificate of employees;

- certificate of gross income for 2020;

- last year's business permit and receipt, community tax certificate, sanitary permit;

- new barangay clearance;

- new insurance policy to cover third party injured in the place of business;

- notarized renewal application form, three copies;

- documents showing map, your business's lease, permit of occupancy of the place of business

The insurance policy and notarization of the application form could be done at the BPLO off-site center.

On the way to the new off-site center for processing the renewal of business permit

Going to the new BPLO off site location

The new location was at a multi-storey parking building of Vista Mall, Camella Taguig Road. It is not far, but there was a detour and the road condition was not good. We got lost a couple of times even with the help of Google map. Once you reached Vista Mall, you had to go around the building to reach the parking building.

The new location was certainly spacious, and there was natural ventilation. In this regard, it was an improvement from the BPLO location at SM Aura. 

We left BGC at 7:20AM on a weekday, and arrived he BPLO off-site location at Vista Mall parking building at  8.10 AM. We could have got there faster had there been better road signage along the way from BGC. We first went to the second floor to fill in the COVID-19 contact tracing form.

The first stop was to submit the application form and documents. There was a queue number printing machine and we got a number. Instead of just sitting there and waiting there for our number to be called, we went to do notary public and get the new insurance policy. Both had a booth on site. Notarization was P200, and insurance policy was P1,870, as our registered office space was only 10 square meters.

We paid for the insurance policy, which was an insurance for injuries to third parties in relation to transactions made on the business premises, even though we knew this was a total waste of money because we do not meet clients in our office, and since the pandemic, we all are working from home. We were never given an option not to pay, and when inquired, were always told that this is a government requirement. 

After we finished these steps, our number on the first queue (the queue to submit the documents) had hardly moved. We inquired with the officials manning the queue number printing machine. They saw that we had gray hair, and gave us a number for senior citizens.

There were fewer number for the senior citizens queue, but we waited even longer in that queue than if we had stayed on our original queue, as a single counter was assigned to senior citizens, but somehow, it got stuck by one applicant for a very long time. So here is one tip. Even if you qualify for the senior citizen line, do not bother with it and get the number for the regular line, which is often faster.

At 9.51am, after waiting one and a half hour in line, we complained to the officials in charge of the queuing that the senior citizen's line was not moving. After about 15 minutes, they arranged for us to go to a regular counter. At 10.08am we finally got to submit our documents.

We did not ask for special treatment, and we wish the queuing system could be improved for everyone. We asked to talk to the manager, but instead, got fast-tracked a little. If the senior citizen lane were not confined to one counter, but blended into the regular queue, it would have been more useful. We never got to see the manager. 

After the official at the counter checked the documents, everything seemed to be in order, and we were told to wait for the printing of the bill (second queue). This would be the most time consuming part of this multi-step process, as someone would need to check our reported income and company size to make an estimate of how much the City Hall would charge the business.

We were told to sit somewhere and wait for the name of the company to be called. After more than an hour of waiting, we did not hear many companies called, so we asked the officials and were told that the counters for billing were still dealing with applications from the previous day. We had no idea how much longer we had to wait, but it looked unlikely to be soon.

We checked with an official in charge of the queues, and were told that we could come back the next day and go straight to the billing counters to get our bill. We knew it was not that simple, because at that time, we already saw people queuing up on rows of chairs for their turn for their bill, without being given any queue number or appointment time. We left anyway, as we could not be sitting there the whole day doing nothing.

Second visit

We went back two days later, and arrived on a Saturday at 10am. True enough, we went to the billing counters and were told to line up behind about a hundred fifty people to get billing. There were chairs for the queue, so as someone left to collect their bill, people moved up to the next chair. There was no queue number, or were people sorted by the date of submitting their documents.

After one and a half hours, 11.30am, we saw only about one third of the queue in front of us cleared. Occasionally, a small chaos was created when an official announced something to the others and made some people got up and went somewhere. We had no idea what went on, and continued waiting for a few minutes more, until we could not stand it any more and asked an official  about the progress.

At first, all he could do was to tell us to wait. We complained that we submitted our papers two days ago, and should not be waiting behind people who might have submitted their papers yesterday. Eventually, the official went to talk to someone in the billing counters and took us to a billing counter.

The lady there found our file and gave us the billing together with the pile of papers we submitted. We were told to go down stairs to get a number to pay.

Making payment took only a few minutes, and there was only a few numbers in front of us. We were told to copy the receipt and go to another counter with our pile of documents.

The counter was to submit the form for Safety checklist, which gave the information of the designated safety officer. Luckily we printed it out when we filled it in while doing the barangay clearance online. Still, there were a few people in front of us and we had to line up to get the Safe City Certification.

With the certificate, we went to another counter, presumably to check the Safe City Certificate and the receipt for payment. There, we also handed them the whole pile of documents that we submitted and checked at least two times already.

At this counter, they checked all the documents again. Luckily the queue there was short also. Then they told us to wait 20 min for them to print the permit and collect them at the release counter.

When we went to the release counter, we were told to wait three hours. When we told them that the previous counter told us to come in twenty minutes, the officer went to check the files that they had received from the previous counter, and told us to go back in 20 minutes. We went to get lunch first, and went back in an hour.

The releasing counter luckily was still not too crowded. After waiting for about ten minutes, they managed to find our files, checked all the submitted documents again, and released the new business permit to us. Finally.

What should have happened

There were a few hundred businesses each time we went to the BPLO office during this 16 day period (Jan 4th to 20th) for businesses to renew their business permits, so we estimate that there are nearly 10,000 businesses that have to go through this permit renewal process each year. Each one has to send someone there for nearly two days to get it done. Excluding the time for preparing the documents, some of which like last year's permit should already be in the record of BPLO, this means a cost of 20,000 human days. Many of those who sent there were small business owners like us.

With a little thought by the authorities, we reckon that the time needed to complete the process could have been halved, at least. We are not talking about the use of some high tech equipment. A simple email system would have worked.

After an applicant submitted the documents, the office would have done the first check. If there is anything missing, the applicant can be informed in the first visit. After this first check is passed, the applicant could have been given an option to receive notification for billing by email, either to inform the applicant of the billing amount, or the need for additional documents.

If billing can be done online, so much better. If not, the applicant can be given a time to come back and pay, and collect the new business permit. Better still is to issue the new business permit online, and any officer checking the business to see if the permit has been renewed should be able to do so online.

A little more sophisticated electronic workflow system would have allowed uploading of soft copy of documents as well as recording the documents that have been admitted into the system.  

We could only wish.

Business permit renewals in the future

The government seems to be trying to put up a web portal to unify the processing of business permits in the Philippines. See this: https://business.gov.ph/home

We hope they succeed. However, there are many obstacles. Cities that claim they have an online system are often unable to deliver a smooth user experience. Quezon City, for example, announced that they could now process business permit renewals online. On the Facebook page, we can see a lot of puzzled or angry applicants as the online system was not designed and did not function properly. Each city has its own requirements, and management capability and capacity. We hope the portal will not just be a site that provide lists of requirements but that the Anti-Red Tape Authority can assist the cities in simplifying their procedures so that businesses can spend more time on running their business..

Featured Image

This article was written by a BGC resident on March 11, about one month after Covid-19 became a global concern, and a few days before the start of the Community Quarantine of Metro Manila on March 15, 2020.

------ BEGIN ------

The effect of COVID-19 has seeped into our daily life in Manila. All three of my children have started distance learning due to the school closure. While I feel fortunate that our children can continue to learn amid school closure, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the load handed over to parents. Distance Learning is not as hands-off as you may imagine. In such disruptive environment, parents are required to stay strong in order to support our children.

Meanwhile, the fear seems to have taken over the minds of people all over the world. In such unstable time of news filled with negativity, I saw a light of hope when I encountered the following statement posted on a Facebook account which went viral.

Below is the Facebook post about COVID-19 that was written and published by Dr. Abdu Sharkawy in Toronto, Canada. I find it important that everyone read his message. Thus, I decided to share it here.

You might have already read it, but in case you haven’t, here it is.  If you don’t have the time, maybe you can see his interview on CBC.

Facebook Post That Everyone Should Read

I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis,TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping cough, Diphtheria…there is little I haven’t been exposed to in my profession. And with notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.

I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of Covid-19.

What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they ” probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games…that could be kyboshed, too. Can you even imagine?

I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.

But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

Covid-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and “fight for yourself above all else” attitude could prove disastrous.

I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.

Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.

Our children will thank us for it.

By Dr. Abdu Sharkawy

-------- END ----------

The article was originally posted in www.chuzailiving.com on March 11, 2020.

Featured Image

It is probably like living in a desert city. Like sand, the ash can be felt if you are on the street and a vehicle passes by, disturbing the ash on the ground.

Taal Volcano in Batangas, 90 kilometers from Fort Bonifacio, has been recording tremors as early as 11 am on Sunday, January 12. It started spewing thick ash from 5pm on January 12, 2020. It erupted at 3AM the following day.

We were playing near De Jesus Oval in Bonifacio Global City, near Pacific Plaza Towers, at around 4 pm on Jan 12, and did not feel anything unusual.

We went home and then only went out for a little at around 8 pm. At that time, we could feel something like a light drizzle on our hair, but ash fall was not visible. We went to a pharmacy at 1st Street to buy something, and kept seeing people asking for masks. They were told that masks were sold out. At night, we received news that there would be no school in the whole of Metro Manila the next day. 

This morning, we looked out of the window, and did not see any ash fall. We waited until 11am and decided to take a walk around BGC.

Some people were still wearing masks to filter out the ash.

A thin layer of ash could be seen on the street.

But we saw workers had started washing away the ash in some areas.

In the One Bonifacio Park, plants looked unaffected. Only a thin layer of ash covered the art installations.

In the swimming pool of our condominium, we could see and feel the ash that sunk to the bottom of the pool.

Then we went to lunch at One Bonifacio High Street, and saw the impact of the volcanic eruption in the retail sector. About 40 percent of the shops were closed. At the food court at basement, which usually would be packed with lunch goers, there were still a lot of empty tables. We had no trouble in getting a table.

In all, the impact of the eruption of Taal Volcano on the Fort is small, and hopefully it stays this way.

We actually checked the air quality a day after the volcanic eruption.

Featured Image

There is a looming waste management crisis in Metro Manila and if we do not do something about it now, one day when we wake up, we will find trash rotting at our doorsteps.

The best action is of course to reduce the production of waste. When that cannot be done, the next approach is to reuse or recycle the materials that we do not need any more. Many residents in the Fort are environmental conscious, but lack the information about the places that support recycling.

This blog is prepared by the Green Urban Network, a residents' group based in Bonifacio Global City, as a resource page for residents in the Fort who care about the environment.

Places to Recycle

In most buildings in the Fort, there is no proper garbage separation facilities. Thus, materials that, if kept clean and dry, could have been recycled are instead being transported to the landfills. Luckily, there are places in the Fort that we can bring our used items to, so that less goes into the landfill.

Plastics and Paper

1. SM Aura Premier

Materials to recycle: cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, metallic cookware

Collection point: "Trash for Cash" project, basement 1 of SM Aura Premier, first Friday and Saturday of each month during mall hours (not 8am to 2pm as shown in the banner). 

They pay a small amount for the materials accepted for recycling, such as 5 pesos per kilogram of plastic water bottles, 2 pesos for each kg of cardboard and so on.

They also collect Eco-Bricks, which are plastic bottles stuffed with shredded plastic wrappers and packaging that will be used as construction materials.

Next collections:

November 1 and 2, December 6 and 7, and subsequent first Friday and Saturday of each month.

2. R.O.X.

Materials to recycle: plastic wrappers and packaging materials. They need to be stuffed into used plastic bottles for use as Eco-bricks.

R.O.X. has a collection box for Eco-Bricks. SM Aura Premier Mall also collects Eco-Bricks on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. 

Clothes recycling

2. H&M store at Uptown Mall

Matierials accepted: H&M Foundation accepts clothings of all makes, not just their own.

Collection point: H&M at ground floor, Uptown Mall.

Printer cartridge

3. Canon at 4th floor of SM Aura accepts empty ink cartridges of their own brand.

4. Brother at Marajo Tower, 26th Street, BGC, takes back empty toner and other printer consumables from their printers.

Tetrapak recycling

5. Collection point is in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Bistro at 26th Street. See featured photo.

General Household items

6. Segunda Mana at 2nd floor of Market!Market! mall.

Segunda Mana accepts the following items:

– OLD ITEMS that can still be used

– USED ITEMS that still have value



They will resell the items and then use the proceeds to fund their charitable projects.

For inquiries and scheduling of pick up of the items you want to donate, you may call them at (632) 564-0205 to 562-0020 to 25 or email them at segunda_mana@yahoo.com.

Schools that facilitate recycling

Many schools in the Fort have set up mechanisms for students to practice recycling.

For example, Chinese International School Manila at McKinley Hill accepts clean and empty tetrapaks, plastic bottles, and cardboards. Plastics will go to Plastic Flamingo and Unilever. Paper and metal wastes will be given to Tsu Chi for recycling.

British School Manila has a Green Team After School Club. They collect and sort clean plastic for shredding, melting, sanding and these are made into new products. Email: communications@britishschoolmanila.org if you want to give them cleaned plastics.

If you have friends whose kids go to such schools, you may be able to give them your clean and dry empty tetrapaks, plastic bottles, paper and cardboards.

Visit the Facebook page of the Green Urban Network to participate in the discussion or work for a green environment.

Featured Image

There are household items that we need to replenish all the time, like cooking oil, clean agents and so on. Every time we replenish, we have to buy new bottles containing the stuff that we really need, and dispose of the old containers, many of which are made of plastic.

We know we need to reduce the use of plastic for environmental reason, but we often do not have a lot of choices. Until now. 

A producer and distributor of sauces and condiments in the Philippines, NutriAsia, has taken an initiative to give us the option to refill containers for cooking oil, and vinegar. Their pop-up store is in front of The Mind Museum, and is called "BYOB", as in Bring Your Own Bottle.

I have been looking for a facility like this for a while, so I was determined to give it my support by becoming its customer. This morning, the second day of its opening, I visited the pop-up store, bringing two empty bottles with me. I read their requirements for bottles the day before (it must be clean and dry, and previously contained food only and so on), so I was well prepared.

When I got there, the door was closed, because there was a media interview going on. Since I am a sort-of blogger, I asked to be allowed in as well. So I got in after their interview with GMA was done.

Lucky for me, NutriAsia's Corporate Marketing and Communications Head, Mr. James Lim, was at hand to guide me through the process of refilling. Not that it was complicated.

First the employees checked my bottles to make sure they are clean and so on. Then I had to sign a waiver on a digital device which basically says that they would not be responsible for problems caused by the containers.

Next they weighed my empty bottles to record the weight of the bottles. We should not have to pay for the weight of the bottles.

Then I chose the products to be put into the bottles. The price list was simple enough. Price per gram of weight ranges from P0.014 for vinegar, to P0.162 for corn oil. Currently, they only have 7 products to refill (vinegar, soy sauce, banana ketchup, palm oil, canola oil, soy oil and corn oil).

They filled each bottle according to my order, and then weighed them. My small bottle of vinegar came to 6 pesos, my soy sauce of about 750cc came to about P25, and my one liter of canola oil was P120. They were about 20% cheaper than if I purchase the items from a supermarket. 

Photo above : store worker filling up my bottle with vinegar. Inset is a poster on their plastics repurposing project.

Saving the environment while saving money! Actually, since they were doing a media promotion, they did not accept my money. But my positive view of this facility has nothing to do with their freebies to me.

Apart from refilling bottles, the pop-up store has another pro-environment function. It also serves as a drop-off point for plastic materials for repurposing. The BYOB store is made from eco-bricks produced from Arca South Eco Hub using plastic discards.

According to James Lim, all proceeds from BYOB, along with the plastic materials donated, will be used to produce upcycled furnishings for their beneficiary, GAT Andres Bonifacio High School.

BYOB is set to run only until September 12. It opens 7 days a week, 12 noon to 8PM, in front of the Mind Museum, Rizal Drive, Fort Bonifacio. I asked James if NutriAsia will open a permanent refilling store, and he was hesitant to reply. Perhaps NutriAsia is assessing the response from this store before making a decision. If so, we need to show our support for this initiative by buying from it as often as possible.

Photo above: I clicked the bottle counter. Inset is James Lim, NutriAsia's Corporate Marketing and Communications Head

Each time a bottle is refilled, the customer gets to press a button, and this will activate the counter outside the store that shows how many bottles have been saved.  When I finished my refill, I pressed it three times, and the number went up by 3 to 73. Let us show them we want the store to be permanent, by maxing out the counter!

Photo above: the counter for the number of bottles refilled. Let us max it out! Only 99,927 bottles to go!

Featured Image

What happens if you’re stuck in the Fort with hours to kill? I encountered this dilemma when my flight was delayed by 5 hours and had nothing to do. Luckily, however, I was stuck in one of the busiest cities in Manila with plenty of activities to do. 

For my first stop, I decided to spend my time catching up on the new movies in Central Square cinema. Always updated with the newest showings, this cinema is one of the best in the city, with affordable prices and delicious vendors and snacks for the movie. This was one of the most efficient ways of killing time without having to do much, as the movie took around 2 hours.


While watching a movie was efficient, it was a little too ordinary so I tried out Breakout in Serendra. Breakout is a unique experience where you and a group of friends work together to escape a room. The room and experience are themed depending on the one you choose. Luckily I was traveling with my friends and we took on the challenge to break out. This was a fun and thrilling experience but it wasn’t as efficient since the maximum time given was 45 minutes. Going with friends also has an advantage because, on Fridays to Sundays and Holidays, the price per person decreases as the number of people increases. However, the experience is more affordable on Mondays to Thursdays, when the price is fixed.

To finish, I visited one of the busiest areas in BGC with the best food, Mercato Centrale. Mercato Centrale is located on 25th St. and is a giant food market with tons of vendors serving delicious food. Open from 4pm to 2am on Thursdays and Fridays, it was the perfect place to grab some food before leaving. I was able to have a unique experience while tasting a variety of cuisines and food for an affordable price. 

Although it wasn’t available this week, another good option to kill time with is Gourmand Market in Central Square. Similar to Mercato Centrale, it’s a food market with numerous vendors and delicious food. However, the market isn't as regular as Mercato Centrale and only pops up occasionally.

While a long delay is normally terrible, I surprisingly had a pleasant experience. So maybe being stuck in a city for 5 hours isn’t as bad as it seems, especially if you’re lucky and stuck in the Fort where there’s plenty of activities to do and try.