Souvenir shops in Manila are usually devoid of fanfare. These shops are boring, sedate and sell expensive items that rarely have any novelty value. Oftentimes we ultimately just skip the whole souvenir shop and just take whatever we can from the environment, not a very sustainable way for a very nature-loving country.
Last Valentines weekend, Tricia and I got to explore Intramuros. We did so to kill time while waiting for our walking tour to start. We were able to visit two interesting and I think the go-to shops in Intramuros. The second the “Silahis Center” also found along General Luna street (You may check my entry on the Papier Tole Shop here).
Entering the Silahis center, we were greeted by a wide variety of ornaments and wood works. Though I never knew it, I was pleasantly surprised with the wood work so prominently displayed. In fact we took some time in the first floor just looking at the different tables and chairs on display. Most of the wood products came from our country’s forests, wood products such as: kamagong, acacia, molave, narra, palochino are among the others being displayed. Though pricey, the craftsmanship was well done and I wouldn’t mind buying some of the chairs and tables from the center.
As we made our way inside this part of the store, the history buff in me wanted to buy selected books on Philippine history. There was this one book that I wanted to buy, it was titled the Historiography of the Philippines and had some pretty interesting chapters that made me want to buy it. Unfortunately money does not grow on trees and my pockets aren’t lined with gold, so I had to leave the book back where I saw it. I’m pretty sure that if invest a little more time in this section, I would have found some interesting books on Philippine history and other.
All of the products inside the Silahis Center are interesting, a mix of a little bit of the old, the traditional, the conventional and the modern. These are the kind of stores that we really should have more of. Places where every nook and cranny has something to tell, a surprise to give and an interesting experience to share. I guess, these are really those places where Manila still keeps a tight hold of the past and reminds us of our heritage.