Furniture Boulevard

We took a bike (motorcycle with enclosed sidecar and seats behind and beside) up to a certain point, but the motorbikes aren’t allowed to cross a couple of the busier highways, so then we had to get out and walk a few blocks to the other side, and we took a cab a few more blocks to the furniture stores. We are considering a bench/couch/fold out into a bed thing if we can afford it. The stores are working shops, really, with open fronts.  They are set down about two feet lower than the sidewalk. The steps down are steep and there are no handrails. It’s a busy area of town with a lot of businesses. while we were wandering I heard somebody calling “Brother, Brother!” rather insistently and it was English, so I looked around and there was a man from church. He’s a welder (in the green shirt) and works next to the furniture stores. He was super excited to see us and the next week at church he was even friendlier than usual (he’s always been super friendly, even though he has no English and we have no Visaya to speak of). He’s kind of a big guy, and his wife is this tiny little wisp of a lady. They come to church by Bicycle most of the time- his bike, just an old regular two wheeler. He has attached a board somehow, to the bar in front of his seat. It’s maybe three inches wide. He gets on the bike and then his pretty little wife perches on the board with her ankles demurely crossed, looking as comfortable and lady like there as she does in church or would if she were royalty riding on a howdah.  Here are some of the sights I took while we were shopping:

Men with roosters, waiting for a jeepney



Cool handcrafted furniture

hand made carts for kids

2nd story clothesline or maybe not, maybe this is the closet.


Nifty chaise lounge

bench/couch w/storage

home-made bed frame.  Guy in green shirt is our welder friend.

Tiny sari sari store.

Tiny SariSari store

Tiny SariSari store man hangs out here.


While I was waiting for the guys to talk prices and size, this baby in an apartment over the furniture store (the youngest child of the carpenter, I learned later) shouted to me and then flirted like an accomplished ladies’ man.

Rooftop Baby

Rooftop Baby close-up


What do you see? What’s happening? What do the pictures tell you about?  I don’t have answers, just questions, and an immense sense of wonder and curiosity.  Also, at this point in our outing, a deep and abiding need for some ice water and an air conditioned place to drink it and a desperate need to get out of the sun because I’m sweating so much my cotton blouse is about to be see-through.  Maybe that’s why the baby is laughing.

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  1. T.J.
    Posted August 18, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The first thing I thought of were those vintage pictures of baby window cages. Next I noticed the space at the bottom and wondered how often babies get a foot stuck. Then, dimples.

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Pretty much all the houses have window grills like that for a variety of reasons. We do and we’re in a single story, ground level house. You need the windows open because few people have air con and even those who do will often use open windows and fans instead because it’s so expensive (our electric bill was larger than our rent when we used the air con full time). I don’t think I’ve seen screens, although they must exist here. But from what I see, It’s all open windows with grills.
      The grills are, I think to prevent theft, which remains a common problem here, and going back further, protection against more violent crimes when Davao was the murder capital of the world. There’s a Spansih legacy as well, where your homes are courtyarded and gated and blocked off from the world. As for getting feet stuck- I’m sure it happens, but mostly I have been astonished at how nimble and coordinated the kids are, and adults, too. They’ve been redoing our street here, digging up the open ditch that runs down the side of the road (and directly across our entrance)=- for several weeks we all had to get from house to street by walking on a single board about six-eight inches wide, stretched across a ditch about three feet deep and three feet wide (well, we were given two because our daughter is disabled). Toddlers danced across, skipped across, and in some cases, ignored the boards and scampered back and forth over a piece of wood barely an inch across (it was there for a level, I think). Old ladies in their seventies just walked over as easily as if they were on a flat sidewalk three feet wide.

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