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Mordor May 23, 2013

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.
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By Alex Sawit

May 23, 2013



The tower of the Eye of Sauron with Mount Doom in the background.


It’s a no brainer. Either because they live in our neighborhood or work here during office hours, a lot of Cyrano friends are based here in Makati, where our wine shop has been ever since we opened in 2004.

Makati is of course the country’s prestigious financial capital. To many locals, it’s the most glamorous of the major cities, boasting cosmopolitan looks and services that, at their best, give us the feeling of a first world metropolis. Not surprisingly, folks here regard it as THE nightlife town. Everything else is a knock-off. That’s why Makati folk rarely feel motivated to drive out and explore the rumored attractions of that other major town, Quezon City.

Mind you, this lack of motivation to check out Quezon City’s night life is more than just pride. Ask Makati folk to accompany you to some odd new bar in QC and many will react with palpable foreboding. QC is a place they fear to tread. It’s a fear that’s been seared into their brains through the years by that choking, smog cloaked inferno of motor vehicle combustion known as EDSA traffic.

Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue or “EDSA” is the main artery that connects the two major cities of Makati in the south and Quezon City in the north. If you know anything about driving in the sweltering heat of Metro Manila, then you know that EDSA traffic is a living hell. Also, factor in that QC lies at the opposite end from Makati. So you got undisciplined drivers…cars cutting in and out…buses clogging the lanes…far, faraway QC…you get the picture. To think that I live down south in the relatively peaceful countryside of Alabang, which is even farther from Makati than Quezon City is yet for me is a faster, more comfortable drive on the Skyway of 20 minutes or less.

Now, here’s where it gets funny.

Bev is one of our most loyal Cyrano friends and she lives a neighborly drive away in that posh gated community called Dasmariñas Village. She’s a passionate foodie who loves to regale us with tales from the tasty road – from the insane tablescapes of Hong Kong to that homey mom & pop trattoria in Rome where she acquired THE carbonara recipe (which Bev has lovingly cooked for us at the wine shop a few times already). Yup, this Makati girl will travel to anywhere in the world in search of gourmet adventure. Except QC.

“Quezon City is Mordor,” she said.

I can still recall the distaste in her mouth when the words rolled out after I tried to invite her to a possible food & wine event over there. Okay, I admit that I didn’t stop myself from chuckling when she said it. But neither did my Cyrano friends based in QC when I later told them about Bev’s comparison.

“Now I know why you call it Mordor,” one of them grinned in agreement after he drove one Sunday afternoon from QC to Alabang, then back to QC with me and another Cyrano friend, then back to Alabang, before he headed home to QC.

Here’s a quick note for those unfamiliar with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Mordor is the dark, distant, hellish land ruled by the evil overlord Sauron. In the story, the heroes journey from a peaceful, pastoral place called the Shire and pass through the magical realm of Rivendell, finally reaching Mordor where they destroy the Eye of Sauron.

Thanks to Bev, these days I often find myself educating Cyrano friends about the superficial similarity between Tolkien’s fantasy setting and the everyday reality of Metro Manila. To them, I say exactly this:

Alabang is the Shire.

Makati is Rivendell.

Quezon City is Mordor.

And…Quezon Memorial Shrine is the “Eye of Sauron”.





The “Eye” always clinches it when I explain the story to our QC friends, who react with laughter and amazement over the coincidence (they usually say something in Tagalog like, “Oo nga, ano!”). If you don’t believe me, just drive to QC and see it for yourself in all its Middle-earth awesomeness.

Unless, that is, you live in Makati.





1. Dian Yu - May 25, 2013

Hahahahahaha! Come to think of it… I did dread the few times I had to drive to QC for meetings. And that’s also the place where I saw a jeepney driver aimlessly run over and killed a dog like it was a normal thing. Mind you he was only running at 20kph but just refused to stop. QC is hell!!!

2. Lanie - May 29, 2013

But there’s so much good food in Mordor…

Alexander Sawit - May 29, 2013

Easy for you to say. Obviously, you don’t drive. 😛

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