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Zipping thru Manila

The Metropolitan Theater of Manila

Manila, once the address for three Davaoeño friends decades ago. A foodie-medical board reviewer in Harrison, Pasay, an art lover-flight attendant in Vito Cruz, Makati, and a wanderer-architecture student in Project 7, Quezon City. Since leaving, the city has become a transient stop for connecting flights. If lucky, visits longer than a couple of nights were rare. They all had their share of Manila. It’s too busy to handle for this bunch. 

After being cooped up for the duration of the pandemic, traveling out of the hometown is always a good idea. Manila, however, was last on the local destinations list. How did they end up there? 

The revisit was a split-second decision. It was prompted by chit-chat over an art exhibit in the National Museum. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for the ex-flight attendant to convince the other two, who were hungry to travel. 

Art and, most especially, cuisine are always good reasons to hop on a plane and dare the challenges of Manila. However, all should be in place, from the ideal accommodation to transportation. Age dictates that comfort is a must. You, dear reader, will be able to relate someday. 

Day 1 was out of Manila to Tagaytay. First time for one, do an ocular visit to a new bed and breakfast place, and of course, dine at the popular restos. 

Tagaytay on Day 1

Of all days to hold a company outing it had to be on the day they visited. All of three Antonio’s outlets were closed, add to that, first-timer’s picture of tree-lined country roads Tagaytay was crushed. 

But everything happens for a reason. The Girasol B&B menu was a discovery. The Angus Beef Tapa, Gourmet Girasol Sardines and the Imus Longganisa can rival the best breakfast offerings of the popular restos. The trio can attest to this claim. The rooms are gorgeous and spacious, too! 

Must stay, must eat. Girasol B&B

Girasol B&B Tagaytay discovery- Imus Longgania

Th wine cellar & private dining space at Girasol

Back in Manila after lunch with buko pie and other delicacies on hand, they killed time in IKEA while waiting for dinner time. Okada’s Medley Buffet over Sofitel’s Spiral was the appointed spot because of location. The offering wasn’t able to rival with the flavors of the catch-up stories, which was cut by closing time. 

Finding inspiration in IKEA's salon room design

Gathering of long-time friends in Okada

Day 2 was at the National Museum to view the exhibit of Magellan’s journey, the main purpose of the trip. But first, a visit to Juan Luna and Ang Kiukok’s murals at the entry hall. They wished they had more time to spare to visit the other galleries. 

National Museum, what inspired the trip to Manila

After feasting on visual arts it was time to feast at Manila Hotel’s Cafe Ylang-ylang. The foodie did his research and the reviews on the outlet’s buffet lunch were impressive. 

The lobby of the Grand Dame of Manila, Manila Hotel

Cafe Ylang-Ylang discovery- Pistachio Ice Cream

Before that happened, the wrong turn gave the trio a chance to reminisce about old times in Manila—Liwasang Bonifacio, the Metropolitan Theater, Jones Bridge, Quiapo, the Quinta Market, Recto and schools in the University Belt, and Luneta. Those were the jeepney-riding days in 80’s Manila. Nostalgic. 

When was the last time you've seen these?

Liwasang Bonifacio

Quiapo Church



The day ended with a so-so Japanese dinner in Makati. 

On the last day, Chinese for lunch at the neighborhood Jade Garden was in order. It was a hearty one. Then a visit to the Mary Grace Cafe for a bite of grilled ensaymada to end the trip. 

Cruising at 37,000 feet in an air-condition-challenged PAL aircraft filled to capacity with revenge travelers, sleep was evasive. Home, rest and sleep was not too far away though. It was the most comforting thought. 

When will the next visit to Manila be? That will remain a mystery (aka not in a long time). Grin. 

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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.