October 30, Saturday night (the official halloween party night in Manila, never mind if it is a day early for halloween - you know how it is in our culture, we prioritize convenience before meaning) I was in six places. No, no, not at the same time.
First I met up with some friends from school for early dinner (6:30 pm) at Quezon City. We had this really great food at my favorite restaurant (Uno). What I like about Uno is that in this place, food takes centerstage - the place is so devoid of clutter and decor. The walls are painted dark, there are hardly anything hanging, and the tablecloth is a simple white cloth. People come here to eat good food, not show off. And the food is always goooood. While I have nothing against themed restaurants (from ethnic to avant garde), sometimes one can not help but think that one is paying for the decor and the ambience than for the food. Goodness, if I wanted ambience, I would wangle an invitation from really rich people for me to hang out in their homes. I go to restaurants to eat, not to get distracted by their decor; but come to think of it, maybe that is the reason for the overall clutter in most restaurants: to take away your attention from the food?
There is this place at the CCP complex (an Italian restaurant). They have one of the greatest view in the world--Manila Bay lang naman. But on their walls are plastered hundreds of paintings of what passes off for the Manila Bay sunset - as in wall to wall collage of oranges and yellows and reds all screaming "this place has a great view of the Manila bay sunset." What were they thinking??? Anyway, one can take comfort in the fact that some people are obviously unacquainted with the words "subtlety" and "moderation" but what really got my gall the first and so far only time I was there was that many of the paintings are so devoid of artistry. Think Grade 1 art class where you were forced to do a literal interpretation of a sunset. It sure looks like they were in a hurry to fill up space and just picked any one who could hold a brush to a canvass.
I had to rush to another dinner party with some relatives (yeah, yeah...relatives have this annoying habit of competing for attention on really busy days). Why do relatives always assume that you need to be stuffed to the gills? Titas and Titos brought out the usual fare - yeah...greasy Spanish dishes with lots of tomato sauce and potatoes. Anyway, I picked on my food until it was reasonably okay to say goodbye.
Then I had to rush to Greenbelt 4 for dessert. Yeah. I really did not need any, but that was the appointment with another set of friends (this time peers from the academe) - have dinner somewhere, then meet up for dessert at Bizu. Now, Bizu is this restaurant that must be on top of the picketing list of the Diabetic Society of the Philippines. This place struck out the word "diet" from its dictionary. There's only one word to describe the cakes and pastries and other sinful delights they offer: decadent. I had a private tiramisu (supposedly good for one, but 4 of us shared it) and green tea. I actually wanted coffee, but I thought I needed something to assuage my guilt. So green tea it was. Yes, I also dip lechon in vats of vinegar with garlic in it to kill the cholesterol. We all have to deal with our guilt complexes in our own way.
Then it was off to destination number 4: Temple Bar in gb4. The kids at school had this fundraising thing in this bar (when I was in college, we sold newspapers and had raffles for fund raising; today the kids plunked in 60k for the bar guarantee and watched the gate for the suckers who paid P250 for the entrance). Anyway, part of the fun was watching a succession of bands play their original songs as well as covers. These were kids from school. But by the reaction of the crowd, you would think they were U2 or Red Hot Chili Peppers. Boy, were they...amateurs. At one point, I had to whisper to the Dean of our School that it was my fondest wish that night that the five instruments being played would at one point converge on the same note and pitch. But what the heck, these were our kids - I mean our college students, they could have played Bohemian Rhapsody like it was that really, truly, absolutely annoying Zombie song, we still would have applauded like crazy.
Just a note on the bar's concept. I am not Buddhist, but I have great respect for them. Temple bar has this giant image of Buddha right smack on the middle of the bar as if keeping watch at everything that happens there. I hope the owners truly have respect for that image and that they did not put it there simply for ambience. Otherwise, I see a picketline coming in the near future. Thank God Buddhists are not as hypocritical as the Catholics. If that was an image of Jesus Christ, the manangs would already have countless epileptic seizures.
At midnight, I had to rush to Malate to watch over my own kids who were in this bar. The teenager was going to participate in this marathon dance showdown. It wasnt a contest or anything - just kids being allowed to show off their talents. Hmmm...the teenager did not do so bad, in fact, I would think that he was one of the top 3 better dancers. No kidding.
The last stop was for adults only.