Earlier today, a plastic blue shark was spotted walking around the Trinoma-Vertis North Area in Quezon City. Shoppers awaiting to get into the Landmark supermarket were surprised a land shark was to join the Day 16 lockdown hoarding, este, shopping activity.
Turns out the shark was just an inveterate believer in the tradition of April Fools. The man inside the suit, Greg Aglipay, and the person filming him, Albert Labrador, were 2019’s Kamuning Summit hikers— climbing the top of the wildly steep pedestrian overpass in full mountaineer regalia this day last year.
We messaged Labrador about this morning’s peculiar amusement and he said it took awhile before he and Aglipay finally decided on what would top last year’s stunt. “We were stumped,” said Labrador. Good thing a relative recently gave his partner a shark suit —“but we were still in the dark as to how we would use it.”
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Up to last night, the duo was unsure how things would play out exactly. “We just knew that Greg needed to do his shopping in Trinoma and that he had the suit,” said Labrador. “In order to be compliant with social distancing rules we made sure that each of us really had an errand to run there. Greg to do the groceries, myself to go to the drugstore.”
But what was shark supposed to do? Or mean? Was he teaching us about social distancing with his plastic arms spread out? “There was no deep message intended except to help people smile in a difficult time and just do an April Fools gag. Times like these people really need a few distractions,” adds Labrador, “though we do admit there are very serious issues [facing us].”
So how was the shark received by his audience? “The shoppers, bored with the drudgery of the prospect of staying in line for the next hour were happy with the opportunity to take selfies,” offered Labrador. “The shark obliged but reminded everyone to keep their distance. I also reminded them to be careful as the shark might get hungry during the wait.”
Labrador runs “a military/historical/gaming tambayan and library that also is a drop off point for military surplus for gear collectors.” Aglipay is an airsoft buddy of Labrador and a fellow reenactor of the Philippine Living History Society.
Labrador and Aglipay were only too happy to have at least brought a dose of amusement and a few smiles to the area’s morning crowd. “We hope this does not trivialize the depth of the crisis we are in.” As it happened, things would make a turn for the real and depressing later in the day. “A few hours later, very close to where we pulled the prank, a hungry crowd was dispersed by security forces as they protested the lack of food and aid.”
Photographs by Albert Labador on Facebook