Being in a block where our schedules almost never meet, I had block mates who already took SA21 early on. The usual remarks are about how there are so many readings, so many papers and what not. Then there’s the field trip or cultural immersion of some sort. Because of the dread that came with my block mates’ stories, I began to think it would be a hassle.
Lo and behold, my SA21 professor decided to surprise us. Not only was the field trip NOT in China Town (as it seemed to be the hot spot for SA21 field trips) but we actually had some choices as to where we want to join – a gay bar, a girlie bar, a comedy bar or Enchanted Kingdom. I was supposed to go for the last one but a few days before the trip, my family decided to drop the bomb on me and said we had some family event that I have to be present in.
So I asked sir Skilty what my possible alternatives are, if it’s all right. “Observe any place that people crowd in for two hours or so.” That’s how I remember my possible alternative may be. And at first, I thought I should just go to a comedy bar. I live in Tomas Morato so it’s really convenient. But for some reason, I ended up in Chic-boy at Timog, a resto-bar. Unlike other Chic-boy outlets, this one is fairly a big place and an open place and quite leans more on the bar side of the establishment. Aside from being a place where people can gather to drink with their friends, people gather there to listen to bands performing on stage. Especially on Monday and Saturday nights where it’s the slot for a specific band performance – 201.
Because of them, Chic-boy is almost always sure to be a full house during then. My older sister said that she, along with most of the people present there, go there for the band more than anything. Drinking was already a given, however. And apparently, the turon too. I remember my sister prodding me to go there at 9p.m. at the very least even though the band’s performance starts at quarter to ten, the first time I went there. It’s because as early as 8p.m., people go there already to reserve seats and wait for the band to perform. Kudos to those who get the seats and table directly in front of the stage. My first time going there, my sisters and I got the kudos. The next time I went, no. I think we went there four times in total.
I’ve gathered some facts from the multiple times I’ve went there. On the band: one, the band play in three sets with each set lasting for 45 minutes. Two, it is easier to get your request for a song entertained in the first set. Three, people can jam with the band during the second and third set. Four, the band will smile and perform regardless of the riots and noises and other nuances of irritating actions the drunk audience may do. Five, the vocalist of the band goes table hopping during the intervals of the set performances. And six, since it’s more difficult to get a request entertained on the second and third set, giving the piece of paper with the requested song written on it along with money makes it so much easier. It’s usually a hundred bill that’s given. Sometimes, if the song is difficult to sing, the bigger the money given, the less reluctant the singer become to singing it.
On the audience: one, people have a bottomless thirst for alcohol. Two, drunk people are crazy – some in a good way, most not so much. Three, some people would leave immediately when the band’s performance is completely over but some would continue drinking. Four, there are more drinks on the table than there is food. Five, when there is a drunken group, other people would say things that may seem supportive but actually sarcastic. As though they are their own mini comedy set.
In this kind of crowd, the drunks are the ones who gather the spotlight. I remember that the vocalist was smiling and remarking something that brushed them off in a jokingly manner, but it was obvious to me that she was frustrated with how they were hogging the whole scene – not for the band, but for the other audience who wants a shot of their requests and jammers in on the fun too.
Drunks, as mostly portrayed by stereotypes, revolve a lot of vomiting and crazy acts. I don’t really unless there’s an occasion so events like those are not familiar to me. The drunks in Chic-boy were mostly noisy and have this seriously unimaginable big burst of confidence seething through them and are willing to pay chunks of money – this, I am not sure if they are completely aware that they are – to get away with dominating the stage and the attention of the whole place. Fortunately, the vocalist knew how to play around with those kinds of situations and it ended up in a good state. But this made me think. Maybe this is one of the reasons why parents don’t want their kids going to places like this. It’s only a resto-bar so what more on those places that are actually full-blown bars where everyone has their own hysteria, planet and universe? Still, it’s not as bad as I was warned. And sometimes, it felt like it was actually just normal – just with more cigarette smoke, alcohol smell and shouting added in.
That said, these kinds of places are where people gather to socialize in their own way, drink with their peers and enjoy the atmosphere and music provided. Here, though some people think may be dangerous and pointless, is just really a very informal and casual way of chilling out. Sure, there may be some rough ends here and there but in the end, it’s a place where people just want to unwind at.