Thursday, December 20, 2012

Park Square Memoirs

With all the hoopla about this being the last week of our lives thanks to the Mayans and their incomplete calendar,  I decided to pass by a shop in Park Square One, the multi-level parking lot in front of Dusit Hotel, to hang out and relax.  After a quick conversation with the shopkeeper I was shocked to find out that Park Square One (one of the last original buildings that used to be part of Ayala Quad Shopping Mall) is scheduled to be demolished January 2013.  If some of you guys are still too young to remember, this is what Glorietta today used to be then:

Quad Cinema back in the late 1980's.
I admit, Im old enough to remember what being a mall rat was during the late 80's, where the only legit comic shop Filbars used to be, or that Glico's was the pre-cursor of Timezone, and having a set of cinemas that had Surround Sound instead of Dolby.

The side facing Dusit Hotel
I decided to document this last bastion of Ayala Art Deco architecture as a sort of morbid memoirs to its last few days (or months if there are delays) and give some thoughts on the history of some of the establishments that frankly and surprisingly, lasted for years until today.
Tiangge since the early 90's.
Park Square One used to be like Virra Mall back in the day, and in those days you wont see any tiangge around.  The ambiance is comparable as walking through Glorietta 2, all the glitz and flash of a brand new mall showcasing the best a mall can offer.  Nowadays small tiangge's litter the place, making it look like an indoor flea market, probably to cater to those who want to sell their wares at a much cheaper price than what Glorietta usually offers to their tenants.

Golf Depot was one of the oldest specialty sports stores, even older than Toby's.  This used to be the premier sports shop, if you cant afford to go to its nearest competitor in Makati Cinema Square.  It used to sell not just golf equipment, but gym weights, bicycles, fishing gear and even camping gear.  Now they're slowly going back to just plain golf, and selling them at discounted prices.

Lyric Music Workshop used to be where Yamaha School of Music was, and it still offers music tutoring all year round (back then, my Mom would always try to convince me to enroll there for piano lessons, which never really came to light).  But I had friends who started their music there, mostly guitar lessons.
Kawloon House at the corner facing Pasay Road has been my favorite place to buy good quality yet very affordable siopao.  In fact, it was the only store that sells siopao by the pair that guarantees a full stomach despite being a "snack" food.  It still does, although a bit expensive these days at P60 a pair (it used to be P40 back in the 90's).  One of the most memorable thing about this place is that this is where I first learned the rumor about cats being part of the menu, with Kawloon being the top-of-mind store to be used as an example. But that still didnt stop me from eating them, if anything, it convinced me that cats are really good to eat.
 Back then, Magoos used to be one thing: 24 hours pizza! Before the advent of convenience stores like 7-11 and Ministop, Magoo's Pizza was the ONLY store that was open 24 hours.  And at the height of popularity of a certain mutant superhero turtles, this was the place to be to hang out after the movies, or after the malls closes and you still want to burn the night away with your barkada.

This particular store was most memorable because we hanged out here after Prom Night at Intercontinental Hotel back in day.  The pizza was way better than the crappy hotel food they served us then.

Another establishment that been there, like forever, Odyssey was my place to keep myself updated with music.  With no internet and mp3, cassette tapes were hot items in the store, and this is where you can ask the store keeper to open a cassette tape and play to check on quality.  Of course there were times we were acting like cheap douchbags and simply let them play until we got tired of it and leave without buying anything. XD  But its still surprising to see this still in business despite the internet and the mp3's.  But its not without saying that its already part of a dying breed.  
My friends used to record their songs here.  And they come home holding out cassettes with their band name written on it and pretend they bought it from Odyssey next door.  There were rumors that famous bands used to hang out here to do private sessions.  Even nastier were the supposed orgies.  Ah, High School and testosterone, best mix ever.

5th Avenue was the Octagon or CDR-King of its day, one of the first stores in Ayala to sell all sorts of electronics from portable radios, to pagers, 250mb ram desktops and the ridiculously priced Nokia 3210's.  Now they're pretty up-to-date but obviously could not compete with the more prolific branches of other popular electronic stores.

If there was a geek mecca I used to hang out before there was any Great Toys or Toy Conventions, there was this store.  Lil's was and until now the best place to buy original Tamiya stuff.  There are also tons of other things that you may find interesting that not within mainstream, like realistic flying paper plane models, ships, unusual kites, diorama parts and even weird chibi plane models kids.  There's very few selection of Gundam kits though because they are more of the plane, ship and tank types.  And they have the best selection of paint kits anywhere.
Im relieved to find out that they will be moving to Glorietta 2 real soon, so huge loss there.

Another shop that withstood the test of time, Island Photo was my choice of store because the crew there tend to be more helpful and friendlier than their rival, but that was back in the day where I used to take photos using film.  The also offered back then, the most affordable and best quality blow up pictures as well (and no, it has nothing to do with explosions, just making your 3R photos into posters.  Lets be honest, you're googling what a 3R is, arent you? XD)
Every time I look at this store, I keep asking myself why the hell did they remove the pile-as-high-and-all-you-can salads?   Nothing spells like A-M-E-R-I-C-A than Wendy's. Yes, this store beats that clown when it comes to feeling American when you come inside, with their American accents before Call Centers invaded the country.  Now they let their cashier ladies say their english with their accents.  But you have to admit, I always come back for the Frostee.

I decided to check out the parking lot area next.  Plenty of things changed since then, particularly when half of the space was allotted to having a jeepney terminal, which is all good since the area does need one after the supposed bombing of Park Square Two back in 2007 eliminated the bus terminal stationed there.
This used to be the spot where a bridge used to connect Park Square One to the old Glorietta 2.  Now I can only get a glimpse from this point.  The connecting bridge is now located at the 4th floor which leads to SM Department store.
I used to ply these walkways, and at one time in costume, when a cosplay convention was held at Glorietta One cinema.  The ceilings were so low, I can actually hit my head when I came in walking in my Robotech Cyclone suit.
On the 5th level you'd find the CityKart Racing circuit.  I never tried this place before but one day I might, before they demolish this.  This area used to be the TAMIYA RC Racing Circuit before CityKart took over.

So those were my thoughts on Park Square One.  People there tell me that the building will be replaced by one of those condo buildings that's so popular nowadays, perhaps to directly compete with Dusit Hotel across the street. Its a nostalgic trip for sure, but as we all know, the only thing that's constant is change.  Its pretty depressing to lose another icon of my childhood and high school years, but these things need to move on, and perhaps for the better.  Glorietta isnt so bad nowadays, and for sure, years from now, younger generations will also ponder on the days long past as they will bear witness to another set of building demolished to make way for new ones.

So I leave this article with another set of photos of Park Square One.  Its been a nostalgic journey, PS1, im going to miss you for sure.


  1. where did yamaha store from this park square one moved?

    1. Sorry for the late reply:

      GLORIETTA 4 MAKATI BRANCH (New Location)
      G4-319, Glorietta 4
      Ayala Center, Makati City, Philippines
      Telephone Nos. 815-2526; 816-0879