110412 - The Urban Tracker (In Manila) : The Watch Mutator of San Marcelino

Not a day passes without a clutter in the work slot.
t's hardly a day without a clutter in the work slot for Mang Martin today at 7 -11 parking area. 

His customers kept pouring in especially during peak hours when student and regulars from PNU, TIP, Adamson scanning the area just a few steps from SM Manila. Replacing a battery was as cool easy as a gulp of coffee. He could also tell the watch problem by just a mere inspection with a smirk.

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A new shelf - a welcome investment
His new glass shelf, which he told me he invested first before moving in his new spot in San Marcelino corner Ayala in 711. The recent flood caused by Habagat almost threatened to wipe out all his stuff which inundated this shelf even 711 was not spared. Recovery didn't come easy again after that calamity, Mang Martin recalled, with his white hair dominating his crown and unshakable hands to carry on his scrutiny.

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The busy section outside 711 San Marcelino
That vigorous afternoon I made it to his stall after he made a call. The students were outpacing each other, the big trucks pounding their cargoes, the streets holed up for repairs causing blowing horns from traffic. But none of these matter to Mang Martin, his eye for detail unbreakable and spirits undampened like the opposite walls of mural paintings that kept shining bright or perhaps that 711 store operating 24 hours.

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With eye for detail and concentration, Mang Martin examines a piece
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Man of the hour in tinkering action
The small business kept him alive fending off for himself and the family he's still supporting in Mindanao. His lifelong mission -  to keep other people in touch in time by literally repairing their timepiece. I looked around for coffee and snacks while he attended to a new customer. He absorbingly examined the interiors to see the defects not without telling his customer if its machine make-up was original or not. He gave a quick estimate of battery price with a little haggling he could adjust. He then drew his tools using his eye magnifier and the rest was his trick. He then examined for the final time before returning it ticking on the wrist of a client.

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Watch batteries piling up
He returned in our chat and drew a card from the drawer. He challenged me for a tong-it game for some piece of good news. Everytime I asked him the status of my watch, he would always give an elusive reply. So he considered something alternative and experimental and that's when he drew something again...and he gave me the watch I have all the while waiting. The overhaul was so obvious. He replaced the whole bracelet and casing which of course he charged me but retaining the machine. My once Guess watch has now transformed into a ............ Fossil watch! Believe it or not!

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What used to be Swatch became.. A Guess watch
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