Burgos has its decayed charm and is at that seesaw tipping balance between hip, seedy, magic, semi-tragic. A place of 40-year-old neon and even art deco (Clipper Hotel) that almost any artist without money can still barely afford.* In other words, beatniks of the early 1950s would have loved this place, so out of time and near to the financial graveyards of corporate and cosmic excess.
I walk alone across dark side alleys observing the growth of boutique bars and outdoor eateries that are a little too expensive for what you get, but have that buzz: El Chupacabra ($2.25 'street' tacos, a much better, more filling, vegetarian burrito), The Crying Tiger (similarly overpriced pad thai and satay skewers). I stop by B-Sides and watch the strangely hypnotic pole dancing with an old friend who I beat in Jenga three times straight. Lap dance victory.
I stumble across the Cathouse––distressed wood, Hemingwayesque animal hides on the wall, bar ladies in Flinstone-era microdresses–– maybe the first hipster bar-fine establishment ever. A couple beers in me, I muse that when everything seems to change, nothing changes at all. The sleeping mothers and children on the streets, vagrant kids, brought here by the eddies of poverty and apparently free-floating tourist currency.
Burgos: a fading vision of empire and Asiatic obsequience now taking on a museum patina, reclaimed by the artists, lovers, local yuppies. For them this 1am flute love sonnet to Makati the diverse. To passing backpackers, ladyboys, lesbian couples, non-nationality-specific sex tourists, hospitality workers, beggars, taxi drivers, wrong-way pizza delivery scooters, rats, cockroaches. To Makati the inexorable. Free jazz, pungent sewers of the mind.
SEO alert : Damon Shulenberger, i.e. Dr. Burgos of Intersection Cafe - EnduranceWriter, rarely done.
*Admittedly, the place may be out of reach of many lokals. I can just afford it––I am my own litmus.