It was a first time after a long lockdown at home for this grandma to breathe natural fresh air in a comfortable and safe environment with her four-year-old grandson Disney. We brought along his yaya Imelda and our cook Nating and her son, eight-year-old MJ, my apo’s best friend. We ventured into the outdoor playground of the huge Ayala Malls by the Bay, past MOA by the way.
For months (two years), we dutifully stayed indoors, except for Christmas week, which we spent at Bella Vista, our home in Tagaytay. Some days, my son’s family of three (AJ, Ayet, and Disney) took weekends at the home of Ayet’s sister Jenny in Quezon City. Or I would take Disney for a ride around the MOA area just to see the ocean and trees.
Recently we dared bring him to the carnival behind MOA (but with his parents) and he enjoyed his rides and freedom to roam under the eagle eyes of his yaya and our daughter’s driver Gilbert whom we borrowed for that afternoon.
Then when the Alert Level dropped to 2, we decided to venture out and into the historic Paco Park in front of the Manila Fire Station on San Marcelino Street. Paco Park with its circular moss-covered walls, stone arches, chapel, and fountain has always been special to us.
My husband and I got married in that chapel, our youngest son was baptized there, and we celebrated our 25th anniversary mass there. I’m happy to report that the walls are intact, although the crypts have long been emptied out of their contents but the first burial place of our national hero, Jose Rizal is still there.
The park is kept clean and green and Sunday mass at 11 am is held at the chapel every Sunday. Weddings are allowed, but not receptions in the garden as before.
For us now the best place to shed off that “cabin fever feeling” of being confined indoors is the beautiful grounds of the huge Ayala Mall by the Bay. The playground is so spacious, well planned, and a delight for rambunctious kids. The mall is pet-friendly too! Just be sure to bring a bag to pick up the dog poo just in case. For this senior, I appreciate it that a clean restroom is nearby everywhere in the mall and there are benches to sit on under an awning. Caution: Bring a shawl. The wind is strong and can turn quite chilly by 5 pm.