I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

12 November, 2011

Stamps, the friendly Barangay Post Office, and going postal

     I still enjoy sending and receiving "snail" mail.  Luckily, I still have one (come to think of it just ONE) friend who regularly sends me something on my birthday every year, and on Christmas, even if she is Thai and doesn't really celebrate Christmas the way we do.  She is a stamp collector. Along with a pack of Nestle Thai iced milk tea powder sachets, a present such as bags shirts, or whatever she can send that doesn't cost more than 500 baht to send by mail, are sets of postage stamps. BEAUTIFUL Thai stamps.  Sadly, I am not into philately, though I admire and have cherished all the stamps she has sent me through the years.  I keep the envelopes too. I really have to set up some webpage and scan everything to show them!

     The very last time I had to pick up my parcel from Thailand at the MCPO (Makati City Post Office) on Buendia, I gave away a set of those stamps. Actually, I think it was the envelope I gave to the post man.  He was nice anyway, and remembered that I had been coming to pick up the same kind of parcel with gorgeous stamps inside.  Besides, he was a true collector and was shy to say so. Of course I could share.

     What saddens me is I have not been able to truly share, to return the favor, to my Thai friend.  I have sent her some of our stamps, I have even given her this book about Philippine stamps by the late Reynaldo G. Alejandro (may his soul rest in peace). But I cannot match the stamps she sends me.  Ours just pale, pale pale in comparison. I'm not too proud to send them.  Often, I read press releases about commemorative stamps I would like to own and send to her.  I have not been successful in purchasing any of these, as I could not travel to the main post office in Manila.

     At the MCPO, there is a department upstairs from which to purchase the stamps.  I did get to buy a few, but they did not have the stamps advertised.
It was always disappointing.  Even if the designs had potential or were significant to me, the printing was not as nice as my Thai ones.

     These photos are of the ones I received last month.  I have even better, more brilliant ones tucked away in a closet and bins...from 20 years of friendship.  As an aside, I made friends with her when she hosted me in her home as part of this Japanese-government sponsored program, The Ship for Southeast Asian Youth.  I was a participant during a time when we had no option but to send letters written on paper. There weren't even cellphones in 1991.  I am just so happy she continues to send me these. Oh, and she sent them right before the flooding got around her home in Bangkok, so I received them during.

    Anyway, I have listed my mailing address as one in Paranaque now, and not this one in Sta. Rosa.   I consider it 'safer' in a sense, because then I would not have to go to the bayan to pick up registered mail.  Also, I notice that I only saw the Philpost van twice in here, and that was on our first year. I even spoke to the mail men (because call me postal but I love the idea of mail, post, and stamps, really.), who said they actually deliver registered mail instead of waiting for us to pick them up.  I then learned where the nearest post office in Barangay Don Jose is.  It is just at gate 2 of the Laguna Technopark, at the pedestrian entrance.

   Once, I intentionally mailed something, for my toddler to experience the whole post office thing.  It turns out this little post office room is manned by one interesting lady, but then you can never tell if it's going to be open or shut for the day.  Or some days, half the day.  The friendly security guard will tell you the various reasons, too.  When we finally got lucky, we met the postal lady, who is interesting because of her accessories. She matches her outfits with bangles, necklaces and earrings of similar print/color.  On our first day, it was animal prints, and the other, wooden beads in summer limes and yellow to match her green outfit. I complimented her.

   So now my toddler has this impression that the lady who takes your letter to lola is fashion-conscious.  Really, the accessories did a lot to perk us up (and I'm sure her), in the little roomful of mail to sort.

   I still cannot obtain commemorative stamps from her though. I wanted the John Paul II one, but she said I would have to go to the main office in the bayan, or really, in Manila. My compliment got me a friendly response, but didn't get me the stamps.


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