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A not so common adventure at the capitol

ILLUSTRATION BY DIN VILLAFUERTE

Pasig transformed into an aspirational address one evening, as I sat on a bench at Capitol Commons.

After work friends and I ate dinner nearby, we decided to cap the night with coffee at this place that I had only heard of. Since Starbucks was full at the time, we claimed our drinks then hung out at one of the benches. A few minutes later, coffee in hand, we were awestruck—people jogging; cliques eating together; streets generous and well lit, buildings magnificent. How could this exist, and in Pasig at that?

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It was a 180-degree turn for me. Growing up in the northern countryside, I would equate Pasig City with the eponymous river, which to my juvenile mind meant pollution and discord. The few times I visited, I either got lost or caught in traffic. I once rode a jeepney in Marikina headed for Pateros—and got stuck for over two hours in Pasig.

That evening with friends revolutionized my thinking of what this city holds. Envy then filled me. I felt jealous of the dwellers, workers and individuals from nearby who could easily access the offerings of this 10-hectare paradise of retail establishments, food hubs, dwellings, offices, open spaces and possibilities.

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The completeness of Capitol Commons is highly prized now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After severe limitations to mobility, we all itch to go out. I love my rural hometown but, stuck here for four months now due to the lockdown, what I would give to get to Capitol Commons—the perfect place to complete tasks and enjoy without having to commute or keep your guard up (currently, physical distancing and wearing face masks are promoted).

I’m imagining kicking off the morning with coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Tim Hortons. I scan my e-mails and get some work done, then put in a few steps to get to Estancia Mall and visit Lacoste, Old Navy, Sperry, Superga, Lush, GNC and L’Occitane. I drop by the National Book Store to see the bestseller list, Miniso to hunt for quirky home items and then Digital Walker to look at new gadgets. If I’m lucky, I chance upon bazaars and special events.

For late lunch, choices abound at the mall: Motorino brick-oven pizza, xiao long bao at Shi Lin, laing at Pinoy heritage bistro XO 46, ramen at Botejyu, crabmeat salad at Florabel, etc. Step outside and you find Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken. Beside it, Sentro 1771 serves Filipino delicacies with a twist. My mouth waters at the thought of the corned beef sinigang.

I now go to Unimart for groceries, my main purpose for visiting. I get fruits and veggies, then take instant noodles and canned goods, the go-to food for crunch time. I roam the aisles and pick up random items before checking out. A friend then texts to invite me to dinner so I decide to just get my shopping bags delivered at home. I walk to the Capitol Commons Park to pass the time in silence.

At dinnertime, I choose between Black Olive Cerveceria and Tipsy Pig Gastropub because I want beer. As my friend and I catch up at the latter, it crosses my mind that Capitol Commons, while already complete with experiences, is a work in progress. I envision myself owning a unit in the area, particularly in the 56-story Empress, the first wellness lifestyle real estate, boasting biophilic designs, quiet and active zones, and topnotch tech features. Maybe I start by getting a job at the offices here?

Oh, to reside in Capitol Commons and be the envy of many. Sorry if the mind wandered.

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