The Manila food scene is exploding. I grew up in the Philippines (Manila and Baguio) and visit my mom yearly. I am amazed that Manila has transformed into a food city with a myriad of international cuisines, brands and franchises. Local restauranteurs are also launching new concepts and Filipino food is being reinvented and served in new and innovative ways. In the 80's and 90's there were very good restaurants, but they were few. For me, the best food then was home cooking and many social gatherings were in people's houses.
Now, when I am in town, my friends and family usually eat out and explore the many new options.
My list of great restaurants and the dishes that I enjoyed..
It's funny how hashtags can influence behavior. Every #TBT aka Throwback Thursday or #FBF aka Flash Back Friday, I think of a past trip or look at an old family photo and have a desire to share it. For today's #FBF, I remember a special dinner.
I was in Manila last December to visit my Mom and had dinner at Mecha Uma in Global City. I heard a lot about culinary wunderkind Chef Bruce Ricketts who was making waves in the Manila food scene and studied in San Diego (his very lovely grandmother Tita Edith is a long time San Diego resident). His food is described as "global cuisine with Japanese inflections" and friends who ate at his restaurants raved about the quality of his ingredients. I was curious, intrigued and decided to take my mom for an early New Year's dinner before heading back to the States.
Unfortunately, I was not able to get a reservation for the omakase chef's tasting menu and sit at the interactive Chef's table but the a la carte menu was impressive and our server did a wonderful job explaining the dishes. The food is definitely worth the hype and I admire his creativity. The understated ambiance (the restaurant is small and intimate), the "oh my gosh absolutely delicious" food (Mecha Uma translates to "absurdly delicious"), plus the friendly and knowledgeable staff made our meal unforgettable. It was the perfect place for a mother daughter dinner.
25th Street, between 5th & 6th Ave.
RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center
Bonifacio South, Fort Bonifacio
I love looking at old travel photos. These are 2 of my favorites...my parents Amy and Macky Lopez, boarding a Philippine Airlines flight for their honeymoon in 1969. My grandparents gave them a 6 month trip and they departed from Manila and journeyed to Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Their first stop was San Francisco. I love that they dressed up to travel and that their shoes, with the Mod 60's buckles, were matching. They were young, talented with bright futures ahead. Of course life has it's twists, turns and dramas (they had their challenges) but at that moment when they were about to fly off and start their life together, what I see in the photos is the titillation and optimism of a new couple embarking on a great adventure and the jittery excitement of ineffable wanderlust.
Every time I see these photos, I want to hug my Dad, who passed away 8 years ago and book a flight to a place that I have never been to. On my travel bucket list...Berlin.
I fly to Manila yearly to visit my mom. We were there last April, flew to Vietnam for 10 days then back to Manila to finish errands. We were not planning to go to the beach but squeezed in a last minute trip to Bohol since a trip to the Philippines would not be complete without a beach trip. We booked a flight from Manila to Tagbilaran (less than 1 1/2 hour flight) and stayed a night at the Amarela Resort on Panglao Island. It was our first time there and it was incredible.