It has been a few months since I was last in the place but henwhat changes time has wrought.
a. Chapel on the 7th floor. This can be accessed via an escalator or an elevator that starts on the 5th floor and goes only to the 7th. We took that as I wanted to see the chapel when lo and behold, when it landed on the 7th floor, I looked to my right, there were massgoers. When I looked to my left, the same. Behind me as well. And a mass was ongoing! The elevator stops right smack in the middle of the chapel! Jeepers! Ergo, don’t go there at 10 a.m. or 12 noon Sundays, nor 5 and 7 pm Sundays if all you want to do is to check it out. Weekdays mass is at 12:15 noon and I think 6 pm? Saturdays, two pm masses are scheduled but I cannot remember the time slots.
On the 6th floor is a Samsung theater that can be accessed via the regular mall elevator and the escalator. No performance has as yet taken place there.
On the fifth floor are some restos and the sky park. The restos include: Yabu, Lugang, Coca (chinese cuisine), Le Family (a Vietnamese resto), Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Happy Lemon (I think it was on the 5th? But I might be confused). There’s Mesa also. And Tamarind. If you don’t see the ones I mentioned, just ask where they are. Yabu is deep inside, sort of. Mesa too, In fact we didn’t see Mesa. And at Yabu where we ate, Adel patiently explained how we should prepare the Katsu sauce: grind the sesame seeds with the pestle then add the sauce that’s thick and golden brown. All the other sauces in tall bottles with a spout are for the cabbage. And there’s Himalayan salt for the fruits. And chili oil, chili pepper and one more item to make thinks hotter (more spicy). Brown rice is a choice and cabbage is organic. Tried the octopus appetizer and seaweed which Adel recommended. Both good. Any two appetizers may be chosen. Do not be constrained by the photos.
There’s now a National Bookstore, Bread Talk, Ovn (that’s not a typo), SM Appliance, Pylones, Marks & Spencer, etc. A whole lot. Almost all the spaces for stores are occupied. Tried the artisanal ice cream Bono on the UG level. I had the coffee flavored one with less sugar. quite good but the cone was a tad tough. I was scared my teeth would break so before I could finish the cone, I tried to get as much of the ice cream in it and threw the cone. Wasteful maybe, but I didn’t want to imperil my teeth.
Marks & Spencer in SM Aura has a promo. If you apply for a loyalty card, you get a diary for free. And for those with loyalty cards, if you spend P5k in a single receipt, you get one M&S umbrella. This privilege can be availed of just once.
SM Aura has a promo in conjunction with Mastercard. A virtual promo in that no raffle tickets are issued. Instead, one logs in/registers either at the mall or at home, inputs purchases made using Mastercard and other details like the approval code, the amount of the purchase, your card number, etc. Less messy, I think. And per the flyer one doesn’t need to keep receipts which I hate doing because I am so bad at it.
Taking the elevator was a problem. But before that, some stories.
a) In one of our trips, there was this young boy, maybe 5 years old, who kept asking his mother “What floor are we?” He’d ask in a loud voice each time the elevator would stop. And in a non-Filipino accent. After a while, he asked in Tagalog. Naubusan? So cute though a bit annoying because of the frequency of his questions.
b) There was a family of 4. Caucasians. The daughter aged maybe 5 or 6 was asking questions. When the family left, a Filipino mom remarked, “Nakakainis ang boses ng bata. Bakit ganun? Naku pag mag-asawa yan at magtatalak!” That peeved my husband who said as we were going out, “Sobra naman manlait yun.”
c) Just before we were to go to the parking level only one elevator was functioning. Sure, the two elevators are huge but just one in operation is not enough. Plus people don’t care about the sign “Give priority to the disabled, pregnant women and the elderly.” No they don’t. At one point the elevator girl looked pleadingly at the riders but only two bothered to go out. And the dad of one of the two waved his son in – reminds me of some Nestle commercial where the mom set a bad example to her child. The son must have been in his early 20s but he did as bidden. Oh well, so we waited again. The elevator couldn’t accommodate us thrice. When finally it could – it was going up, we were going down but we rode it nonetheless, I kidded the elevator girl – “Akala ko matutulog na kami dito.” A young lady who was with someone in a wheelchair guffawed. She could relate, apparently.