Across different worlds: Quiapo, then BGC

[January 30, 2016]

I started the day, fresh again from my night shift, ready for another caffeine-filled adventure across the Metro. Famished, I had breakfast at a nearby local restaurant before heading out.

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Hint: It starts with “Pancake” and ends with “House”.

After finishing my breakfast, I headed home and prepared my things. When doing a lengthy urban trek, it helps to be prepared. My first destination: Divisoria!

Going to Divisoria isn’t the hard part, as some of you may think. It’s the getting-out-of-there or the getting-through-the-hordes-of-people part that’s pretty intimidating. Looking for a certain store, I had to constantly check my smartphone map in secure places so that I wouldn’t be robbed of my belongings while bumping into the people outside. Thankfully, I was able to get a route thanks to my GPS, and so I started walking, although it would be a good kilometer or so away. Walking gives one the tendency to discover places you never would have, like this:

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Imagine my face when this suddenly showed up.

A Taoist temple. Seriously. I honestly didn’t expect this, given that I was in part of Manila full of modern, gray apartments and the like. Taking a moment for an appreciation of the architecture, I pressed on.

A bridge, several neighborhoods, and a friendly tricycle ride later, I found my destination. A tablea shop in the middle of Quiapo area, which is right next to Divisoria.

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It took me an hour to find this place. Talk about elusive.

La Resurreccion Chocolate Store! I hear that this is one of the few places in the metro that make tablea the traditional Filipino way. And that they’ve been around since the 1930s! Which is why I took the effort to find them (History makes me curious like that). They sell sweetened and unsweetened packs of tablea, at Php 80-85 per packs of ten, which is pretty cheap considering that you’ll be able to enjoy tablea hot chocolate using only two tablea pieces.

They used to be located along Ongpin St., but since they’ve moved out, the place has been very hard to find, even when using Google Maps or Waze (A Google Search won’t help you much, either).

So to save you the effort, I’ll tell you that they are now located in 913 Benavidez Street, in Quiapo, Manila City. Happy hunting!

Fast forward to the evening, and I went to one of the most urbanized and organized places in Metro Manila: Bonifacio Global City, or BGC for short. It’s a military fort-turned urban center full of high rise buildings, offices, apartments, hotels, restaurants, malls, and whatnot. It’s the perfect place for coffee shops to grow and prosper, as well.

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If only the rest of the Metro were as well-planned out as BGC.

I was intending on visiting two coffee shops in BGC: Toby’s Estate and LUNA.  Unfortunately, I was only able to visit LUNA since Toby’s Estate in BGC was located on the ground floor of an office building that was closed for the day. Thankfully, they have another branch in nearby Makati City, but I’ll have to postpone that to a later #BaristAdventure.

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As seen from the outside. I’ll get back to you soon enough! *shakes fist*

I proceeded directly to LUNA, instead to have coffee and dinner. First-timers may have some difficulty finding the place, since it’s located on the side of the building that’s not facing the main avenue. But believe me when I tell you that you’ll definitely know it when you see it.

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Told you so.

The place itself was pretty small but spacey. On the side was a recording room where I assume that the performers sing and play music every week. The walls were red bricks, so it game a homey feeling to the whole setup. Liquors were lined up on the front (which indicates that the place doubles as a bar), the coffee beans for sale are displayed on the side, and they have a notice that tells you when their beans were last roasted, as a way of their pride with serving you only freshly roasted coffee.

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Imagine yourself on a rainy Wednesday evening, sipping some whisky or a cappuccino while listening to OPM classics.
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It’s quite the lovely setup.

I got a table, and ordered a cappuccino for the coffee, and scrambled eggs and Vigan longganisa for dinner. I was expecting a normal-looking rice meal: a “longsilog” with an added twist or something. Apparently, I underestimated the twist.

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Imagine my surprise…and delight!

But I didn’t mind because it was delicious! The lack of rice made it a lighter meal, but the pita bread made up for it. Who knew that a supposed simple meal could look so fancy?

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Very fancy. It’s almost as if it’s looking at me expectantly.

The cappuccino was also to my liking. Not too hot, just warm, and the beans were very flavorful. It also came with a few pieces of hopia, which provided a chewy interlude to the coffee. Yum!

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I never thought hopia and cappuccino would be a match made in heaven.

After this I went to High Street to see the Pet Fair to kill some time.

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Time well-spent, if you ask me.
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A great time-killer.

After that, well, I took in the beautiful view of BGC at night…

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So many lights and so many people.

And then I took a cab home. 🙂

If you guys want to visit the places I’ve been to on this day, I’ve compiled them here:

LA RESURRECCION CHOCOLATE FACTORY: 913 Benavidez Street, Quiapo, Manila City, Metro Manila

TOBY’S ESTATE BGC: G/F, EcoTower, 32nd St, Taguig, Metro Manila

LUNA SPECIALTY COFFEE: Unit 3 & 4 GF NAC Tower, 32nd St, Taguig, Metro Manila

Happy Hunting!

-Ken

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