So, on one hectic day I was in Manila, I met a friend for lunch, met friends for merienda, went shopping for South Sea pearls (for my Mom!), and lastly, had a reunion with friends, who all used to live in Seoul, later that night.
Well, of the four things I scheduled that day, I am sure one was not like the other. Would the words friends, reunion and pearls go together? Ha-ha-ha!
(A light lunch at Italiannis)
I actually asked my friends to meet me at the Greenhills Shopping Center (in San Juan City, Metro Manila) as the pearl market is in there. And after having a light lunch with Alfa at an Italian restaurant, we roamed around the shopping complex before I met up with Nancy and her daughter Anna by merienda time.
(Puto bumbong merienda at Via Mare)
I know little about pearls and I would need all the help I could get when it came to quality and price range. That's why I had to meet up with Nancy. Having purchased pearls on several occasions from a favored vendor, Nancy would be able to tell me what was a good buy (or a good price!).
(Pearl necklaces to choke for! Ha-ha-ha!)
We told Mrs. Nawal what we wanted, and as I stood there being overwhelmed by these pearls of different sizes and colors (and of course, prices), I wondered whether a short visit and a purchase at the pearl market would make me now a pearl expert. Ha-ha-ha!
Just like most stalls, Mrs. Nawal had her pearls hanging from the ceiling, on small and big boxes, or just laid out. I told her I read somewhere that Queen Sofia of Spain visited this pearl market during her visit to the Philippines. Mrs. Nawal said that it was from her stall the Queen bought her pearls from. Hmm. I wonder whether Mrs. Nawal's pearls now form part of the Spanish royal family's jewels. A jeweler for royalty!
(How deep is your pearl?)
After zeroing in on what I wanted to buy with the help of Nancy and a lot of haggling (Thanks, Nancy!), I was able to buy South Sea pearl earrings and pearl necklaces for my Mom and sister, which would now form part of our own royal family jewels. Ha-ha-ha!
(Mrs. Nawal is a jeweler for royalty!)
The Philippines is known as Perlas ng Silanganan, or Pearl of the Orient, for its natural beauty. But at these times, it's not only the country's beautiful landscape and hideaways most international visitors come for. And based on stories of the Queen's visit, and international visitors and balikbayans search for a variety of fine (and comparably less expensive!) jewelry, it's the real perlas of the silanganan they come for, and most of them shop here at the pearl market of the Greenhills Shopping Center, where most pearl vendors (with the best quality pearls!) are gathered.
So, now that I am a pearl expert, I have to ask: how deep is your pearl? :-)