Manila moment:

Whoever thought of making signs for the sari-sari stores was a genius. Sari-sari stores are independent roadside shacks, approximately the size of a movie theatre ticket booths, where you can buy snacks, lighters, cheap toys, etc. from across a counter. You can't go inside because only the storekeeper will fit.

Anyway, most of these places are made of rusted corrugated metal and a patchwork of scrap wood or woven leaves. They also have huge, gorgeous, full-color, professionally printed signs.

The company prints their product ad  in big, bright colors across most of the sign. "<soda-brand> sarap ka na ba?" "Load (your cell phone with minutes) na dito!" The storekeepers put up their billboard and paint their store's name on the small blank strip at the bottom. This is usually "<firstname> Store' - "Alice Store," "Gloria Store" - and thanks to Filipino nicknames, things like "Baby Store" and "Boy-boy Store" as well. It's free advertising for both. Corporations get a customer (the sari-sari stores put up billboards of products they're selling) and the storekeepers get a good-looking, eye-catching sign for free.

Mmm, corporate symbiosis.

On a related note, most of my Tagalog vocabulary was picked up from ads. This leads to me saying things like "Pagkain walang katulad" to my Chinese teacher's brother, who owns the restaurant we ate at; literally, "Food without equal." ("Walang katulad" is the advertising slogan for San Miguel beer.)