Il Ponticello – Siyet, Ang Inet!

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Ponti – the place where all rites of passage happen for the young and uninitiated socialites. Ironically though, Il Ponticello (as it is never called) is situated within an office building in the heart of Makati. One would think that, in an obscure building in the business district, only yuppies frequent the place. However, when the clock strikes 12, the walls of Ponti bear witness to puberty at its peak, and you’ll find yourself within mainstream territory.

Nobody misses the Ponti experience when in their (relative) youth. It’s a serious “must” after extreme peer pressure from friends. And then there’s always that possibility of finding someone you know (perhaps your one true love). That’s one great thing about Ponti. There’s always that chance of finding a few friends to merge groups with, or meeting someone totally “new” (obviously a friend of a friend is what qualifies as “new” since kids aren’t allowed to talk to strangers).

It’s just a little weird having to enter the bar with all eyes on you. You won’t miss how people immediately size you up the moment you step in. The tension is palpable as you walk your way through the bar. You’ll feel like a ramp model with no clothes. And speaking of clothes, if you’re not up to date with the latest fashion, then you might as well hang out at the Seven Eleven downstairs. The eyes in this place are like lasers. Either that, or they’re checking to see if they know you. Or quietly mocking you, if you’re wearing a frickin’ beanie in a country with no snow (prolly to cover a bald spot).

After walking past the onlookers, the awkward feeling may just intensify because up until you reach the bar, the chance of meeting the stuck-ups, the feeling-close, the blasts-from-the-past and the forgotten may haunt you. When you’re out of harms way, you can finally relax and order your usual drink.

Il-Ponticello3Unfortunately, when you get to the bar, you’ll realize the missed opportunity of getting warmed-up (read: drunk) at a friend’s place instead because of the extreme prices they offer for drinks. The bar list contains the usual favorites like shots of Jose Cuervo and Patron Tequila or safer, girlier choices like Amaretto Sour. The local beers are insanely expensive and shots range from 150-250 pesos. But in Ponti, you wouldn’t dare be caught without holding a shot glass or any glass at all for that matter (even if it only contains ice). So if you have any intention of leaving the bar, you might as well buy whatever you can afford because attempting to even go back to the bar once the place is packed counts as mission impossible.

So what happens now that you’ve got a glass on hand (no alcohol, just ice for effect), stuck in the middle of the dance floor without a seat in sight or reasonable breathing space? Well, my friend, this is the point you shamelessly (or otherwise, depending on your mood) join the kids that bump and grind. Sounds gross, but apparently we’ve all got no choice.

You’ll end up “bumping” into all sorts of people, from the obvious regulars that seem to know what music’s up next to the timid newbies that are still trying to find their way into the crowd. You’ll also find teenage kids forcing themselves to look twenty-five and talk in straight english because obviously “I just made takas and I’ve got an effin’ credit card.” You may even hear conversations from dudes wearing tight, red skinny jeans that begin and end with the word “tengenuh,” contain “gagow” in every sentence, and a little “dude pare” in between.

Actual conversation overheard at Ponti:

 

 

 

Occasionally, you’ll see girls and guys inching closer to their partners (or prospects) since, really, there’s no space left to stand (properly). Of course, the older, apathetic ones (some, fresh yuppies) already have a table because they probably know the owner and believe to be above everyone else in their I-get-a-salary-not-an-allowance type outfits (No, they won’t admit they’ve graduated from Ponti and would rather chill at home after work). During Take Me Back Tuesdays, of course, this place is flush with these types. All sweaty and corporate.

Fortunately for the fashionably late, standing in the middle of a crowd will entitle you to dancing without choice. If you like to dance, then well and good. But if you don’t, you’ll have to continue bumping your way out. The music’s pretty good if you’re up to date with mainstream sounds and a little mix of house. Of course, Ponti won’t be Ponti without the hiphop beats that make groups of girls go crazy and start singing the complete lyrics to a song all at the same time (including the rap parts). However, if you stay long enough, you’ll realize just how mainstream the music can be. You’ll start asking yourself around 2 in the morning if you’ve already heard a particular song before because indeed, you have – at around 11pm. The variety of music isn’t great, but since there’s a chance you “know” the DJ, maybe you can make a special request to make you and your mamacitas happy.

By the end of night, you’ll catch yourself tired out of your wits with a bleeding voicebox after screaming to all your friends that you saw your crush, matched with aching feet from your insanely high stilettos after you’ve danced to all the songs (twice), and you’ll realize that it’s time to go home. If you’re lucky and rich, you’ll find yourself closer to a decent-looking acquaintance and quite buzzed. If not, you’ll find yourself nursing bruises from hitting side tables or a really sharp elbow, or maybe even from the shame of seeing your ex with a new chick (damn those common friends). Buzzed with battle scars or not, you might actually be relieved that you’re leaving a notch “cooler” for finally getting that Ponti experience.

TL;DR

The Good – Trendy, lots of “regulars” that you proably know already

The Bad – Insanely crowded, limited playlist and expensive drinks that you have to wade through a sea of humanity to get

What P500 will get you: 2 shots of tequila.

TAP’s recommendation for:

Amanda Francesca Soriano (AC ‘07, ADMU ‘11) – Pronounces “Oh my God” as “Whoa myyyy Gawwwd!”, ends every sentence with either “I knowwwwww, riiiiighhhht?” or “Ahr ya seryahhssss?”, can’t live without her yaya.

Stephanie Nicole Tantoco (Woodrose ‘06, ADMU ‘10) – Is driven around by Julio, her driver/bodyguard/shopping-bag-carrier, has read one book in her life before the Twilight saga came out. Now considers herself well-read.

Brian Marco “Tugs” Tugade (LSGH ‘04, Jones-Matthews-Vanderbilt Super Exclusive and Expensive International School ‘11) – Always wears a fedora, likes Sean Kingston and Fergie songs and actually brags about it, has been told by his guidance counselor that he “isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

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