Spanish Baroque architecture, vantage view of the city, and perhaps some ghost sightings.
Patrons of fine gourmet back in the day when Manila had not many choices would remember Lolo Dad’s, an ancestral house in Leon Guinto turned into a restaurant where the discerning food patron would always frequent to get his or her fix of the famous duck confit plates. The restaurant had to move forward with time and it closed down a few years ago. Well, the hipster Poblacion kid welcomed Chef Ariel Manuel to its funky neighbourhood with three-concept punch restaurants. There is a proper tapas bar that serves Filipino-Spanish small plates called the Taperia, then of course Bistro Manuel and for the post-dinner game drinks– The Sippery.
It is actually our first time to try Chef Ariel’s food, but our snooty Titas in our family fondly shared their Lolo Dad’s wonderful dining experience back in the day.
As we traverse the weeknight traffic going towards Makati, Bianca and I were exchanging notes as to which dishes should be on our list to try.
That night that we arrived at Bistro Manuel, we saw Chef Manuel in their open kitchen doing what he does best- making sure that every plate that comes out is to the tipping point of perfection. When introductions were made, he casually discussed each dish that was coming out one by one, there wasn’t any bit of tenure arrogance , nor eh was anyone that we expected- as starry eyed as we were because of all the dedicated past culinary feature articles that we read about him — The Ariel Manuel’s stature in the industry. All our inhibitions were proven wrong! He was kind, warm, and ever so wise!
Lightly poached shrimps are sweet that is swimming in a light seafood bisque.
Double Espresso Soup
Combination of Tomato and Mushroom cream-based soups. Creamy with concentrated flavors of tomato and mushroom served in witty separate espresso cups.
Angel hair pasta, foie gras, oysters, and cheese
On the menu were Lolo Dad’s oysters, which were a favorite back in the day, so we immediately ordered added them to our “Must Try” roster. The oysters were baked on angel hair pasta with cheese and topped with foie gras.
Duck Leg Confit (Crispy duck leg with Mediterranean duck foie gras rice)
Chef Ariel’s crispy duck game is strong on this plate.
Home Fish Platter (Smoke salmon, salmon gravlax, condiments)
Lamb and Lamb with Lamb ( roast lamb rump, stewed lamb breast, and fried lamb sweetbread with sieved potatoes)
A gumbo of components found may be found on this dish, but you know once you have your fill it satisfies in that way only a good protein dish can.
Perfect in technique execution souffle with a crumbled cake on the side.
Declension of Mango and Mascarpone Cheese (Vanilla frozen cream and Dulce de Leche sauce)
This Napoleones dessert with vanilla frozen cream, mascarpone cheese, and dulce de leche.
Looking around the room we see patrons enjoying their time feeling excited and nostalgic with each bite of their meal. Then again, don’t come here just to reminisce about the past. Although the pillar that is Lolo Dad’s was able to set the fabric of expectation for Bistro Manuel, this restaurant is the perfect rebirth and it comes in three; Taperia, The Sippery, and Bistro Manuel.
Should you find yourself craving for proper European cooking, look for that non-descript building along the side streets of Burgos and seek out Chef Manuel’s cozy nook.
Bistro Manuel, Taperia, and The Sippery are all at 2/F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
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This experience crawl is a mixture of old and new. Come with us! as we re-introduce Manila to you from a different angle.
Manila may be both chaotic and crammed but never dull. New shopping malls are rising next to the slum areas, the poverty and the luxury coexist in some weird alignment just next to each other. This city may not be famous for its beauty, but its magnetic energy gives you a special feel. dissimilar and lively in so many ways, it’s a great city to explore even if you only have one day of time.
Although we’re presented with the BGC’s, Makati CBDs and new uprisen hip spots. We always go back to the core of the city. It is where we find its soul, the old funky vibe of what Manila should be.
This experience guide is a mixture of old and new. Come with us! as we re-introduce Manila to you on a different angle .
Come away with us as we show you Where to EAT, Where to GO, and What to DO in Manila!
This beautiful sanctuary has also served as burial sites of heroes, specifically the three Filipino martyr priests, namely Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora collectively known as GOMBURZA, who were executed by garrote on February 17, 1872. They were interred in unmarked graves near the outer wall of the cemetery.(photo from the right side).
The exact place where Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine National Hero was secretly buried after his execution on December 30, 1896 at Bagumbayan. When Rizal’s sisters discovered the site, they bribed a guardia civil veteran to mark the spot with the initials “RPJ” and was guarded for 15 days. His remains was exhumed on August 17, 1898, placed in an urn made by Teodoro Romualdo de Jesus, deposited in the house of his mother in Estraude Street, Bonondo. and on December 30, 1912 laid beneath his monument at Luneta.
Old Swiss Inn-Paco: A Culinary Landmark in the Heart of Manila
When asking those in the older generation about the Old Swiss Inn, they instantly say “in Paco?” Most of their seasoned patrons are more familiar with the Paco branch since it opened in the ’70s when it was moved from the Roxas Blvd. branch.
The Paco branch of the Old Swiss Inn is quite different from its younger brother in Makati that’s open 24/7. While similar in theme, the Paco branch still makes use of the old wooden doors, walls and stone interiors from the old Garden plaza hotel building.
EMBEDDED IN MANILA’S DINING SCENE SINCE 1946
Founded by Swiss national Emil Landert and now celebrating its 70th anniversary. This is their first branch was on Dewey Boulevard, now known as Roxas Boulevard. Many people were captivated by its authentic Swiss cuisine, quaint wood interiors, and service.
In the 1970s the restaurant was transferred to a larger location in Paco to accommodate more patrons. In the 1980s the Paco branch was destroyed in a fire but was eventually rebuilt and re-opened by Mr.Felix Limcaoco in 1990.
Through its history and consistency, the Old Swiss Inn Restaurant is able to continue being relevant from 1946 up to this very day while you are reading this content. Why? because it doesn’t follow and jump quickly to the latest fad. They stick to their vision and values: unapologetically serving comfort food that is neither haute or fusion. A culinary landmark in the heart of Manila.
The National Museum has a three-dimensional goal covering diverse fields of knowledge through various educational, scientific and cultural activities. The personal favorite will always be the preserved cultural significance art in history.
Aside from collections from different known National Artist like Juan Luna, they also showcase contemporary art and installs per time seasons. Making Art today as an open forum for visual statements available for aesthetic consumption.
- Location: The National Museum of Fine Arts
- Opens: 10:00am-5:00 pm
- Entrance: Free
- Address: P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Along the gritty district of Ermita is a hidden forest park, The Arroceros Forest. A 2.2- hectare of urban forest on the south bank of the Pasig River footing the Quezon Bridge. Having 61 different tree varieties, 8000 ornamental plants, and 10 unique bird species.
This forest park is “Manila’s Last Lung” and it needs our help as private citizens to raise awareness on how important landmarks like this should be preserved.
The park is located in the center of Manila, just north of the Manila City Hall adjacent to the walled district of Intramuros. It is within walking distance from the Central Terminal station and is right across from the Manila Metropolitan Theater.
Located in Intramuros, the museum is housed in a Bahay na Bato that then-CEO Julius Limpe acquired back in 1979. We initially had the impression that it was one of the original official sites where they actually conduct their business, but not to that extent. Former CEO envisioned building a company museum 40 years ago.
Over 166 years company, a good backstory, and having the Bahay the Bato as its showroom. Why not. We absolutely love the Manille Liqueur de Calamansi—a local take on Italian limoncello. Years back you’d see a woman riding gallantly a white horse on her red bikini on primetime local TV commercials and your friendly neighborhood sari-sari store’s calendars. White Castle Whisky stroke every man’s ego desires.
The Bahay the Bato exudes charm and is already inviting. There you will find young Gen Z’s explaining each part of the tour. The museum’s first floor exhibits show the actual process of making rum and whiskey, from fermentation and aging to bottling.
The guide will show you the process of making rum their mini tank of fermenting molasses and a distillation. You will be asked to open a jar and sniff to found out what fermented molasses smells like.
To culminate the tour, a fitting liquor tasting flight experience is a must! We personally would recommend sampling The Philippine Craft Spirit Collection- fine local fruit extracts that are infused with their blended liquors.
The Glory Days
Escolta in her glory years was known to be grand in its architecture and as a centralized location that houses malls, drugstores, stores, and stand-alone theaters. She was roaring lioness that commands respect and adoration in her time.
It was the commercial hub of Manila during the early 1900s and was a witness to many pioneering establishments in the country: first ice cream parlor, first movie house, first electric tram among others.
Commerce in the area was booming, large financial institutions, high-end boutiques, restaurants, and production houses. Neoclassical and Beaux artistry in its buildings built thru various visionaries of the world-renowned local and international architects.
First United Building
For the last three years, 98B COLLABoratory (98B) in partnership with the First United Building (FUB) have been organizing the Saturday X Future Market at Escolta a few years back and now they’re open during weekdays as well. Here you will find HUB: Make Lab is an incubation space for artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs. A project started by a collective community of artists, 98B the market aims to bring back the glory days of the former premier shopping district. Every weekend, most predominantly Saturdays. Where local artist makers of multidisciplinary design disciplines gather and sell their own products. Entrepreneurs gather here and set up shops to interact with the community and sell artist-made merchandise, crafts, and quirky vintage items.
Entrepreneurs gather here and set up shops to interact with the community and sell local artist-made merchandise, crafts, and quirky vintage items.
Cap off with a cup of joe or perhaps an ice cold beer
Aside from the maker’s market, here you can find a nifty specialty coffee shop; The Den. A nondescript space at the back of a classic Art Deco building hailing from the Queen- Escolta. The Den is your gracious host inviting you to come ins and enjoy a cup or two of their specialty coffee.
Fred’s Revolucion the Cubao Expo famous has its second branch opened in First United Building having the same operating hours as the Cubao Expo branch—Tuesdays to Sundays, 5 pm – 1 am.
Read more about Escolta Proj. Here: Escolta Resurrection
We Choose Manila, Always.
Most myriad attractions may look obscure and flawed by the people and lack of government support before, but we can now see that we are picking up slowly and both national gov’t and even private groups are making an effort to resurrect the spirit of the past that influences us now. We are a cultural gumbo of Spanish, American, and Chinese influences are heady and rich.
What we inherited from our ancestors is their resiliency, adaptability and the capacity to rebuild ourselves and our nation after centuries of being handed over from one colony to another.
For convenient and worry-free transportation visit Hertz Philippines to book your own car for your next Manila road trip!
Update: Would you like to experience this day with us? We’ve recently partnered up with Klook to provide Out of the Box activity tours like this. You may book your own tour here A Day in Manila with the Fat Girls Day Out.
The Fête de la Musique 2019 Experience Guide! What to expect, schedule and location of stages, and a few tips to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
The Poblacion neighborhood is filled with the burgeoning food scene and grungy bars where the crowd is rowdy and the ambiance is gritty. This neighbourhood is humid, has sketchy roads, and close to one to none parking space. A whole new dining world resurgence comes strongly into play and their playground is Poblacion. Amongst these numerous concepts, one interesting European bistro caught our attention- this Spanish-Italian restaurant called La Collina. Where both food and ambiance is KING. The kind of space that Poblacion needs to have that counterbalance.
La Collina is both Italian and Spanish, which means “The Hill”. The owner, Anita Celdran shared with us that originally they were opting to open in Tagaytay City, but due to unforeseen delays, she decided that put up the restaurant in Poblacion Makati and thank heavens she did.
A Beautiful Space
La Collina resurrected an old dormitory house and injected a whole new life into it.
Drive towards the upper west side of Brgy. Poblacion area where Siargao famous- Kermit Pizza is its neighbor alongside Chuck’s Deli and this beautifully revamped house turned into an oasis. Elegant, posh, and yet welcoming. The perfect counterbalance by B&C Design.
We went up to the 2nd floor and we were amazed by how open and beautiful everything is. Solid wood furniture, rattan lighting fixtures from Bicol, and lots of greenery both inside and out.
The spacious second floor is bright and airy thanks to large windows.
Slow Food Movement
La Collina is driven by its owner’s vision and passion for the environment. They practice the Slow Food adaptation by which in its very essence getting ingredients as a close radius from the restaurant as much as possible. Thus, a low carbon footprint impact and they get the freshest ingredients possible. Where it is sourced and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Celdran shares that cooking has always been her passion, even as she worked in environmental research. She shares her love for cooking and how the Celdran household would always be surrounded by Spanish-Italian food. She’s been exposed and has been re-creating the family recipe for years and she knew that one day she’d be putting up her own restaurant.
Spanish and Italian food is very festive in every sense and is engineered to be shared amongst loved ones. Plates that are star flavor-packed, salty ingredients, thanks to frequent cameos of umami-rich anchovies, piquant cheeses, and the nutty salinity of jamóns.
Start your meal with a glass of their Red or White Sangria. Mind these glasses as these sangrias are actually pretty strong.
Fritto Misto (450php)
The name of the dish roughly translates as; “Mixed Fry”, by which encompasses all sorts of frying sweetbreads, meats, and vegetables. La Collina’s version is the Venetian style of just using seafood. Lightly battered Frutti di mare – “Fruits of the Sea”. Lightly battered and you can taste how fresh these seafood assortments are. A squeeze of lemon juice, but it’s also wonderful with tartar sauce.
Arancina (350php). Risotto balls with mozzarella
A classic Sicilian snack. Arancini are a necessity for all good Sicilian cafés in Italy. Savory risotto stuffed with melted mozzarella cheese.
Cochinillo Black Pig-roast suckling pig ( price varies)
Organic and naturally raised black native pig from Sambali Beach Farm in Botolan, Zambales. All livestock from the farm is naturally raised and fed with natural food and other supplements. Wood vinegar products are also applied to the livestock to ensure that their pens are clean and without any pest. Learn more about Sambali with Hertz PH Travel Guide.
The act of cutting through the meat of the roast with a plate instead of a knife is meant to illustrate just how crispy the skin is and just how soft the meat is inside. The meat is so tender, juicy, smokey, and because it came from an organic farm.
Fabada Asturiana (320php)
This is comfort food in a bow. Rich Spanish bean stew with assortments of hams and chorizo.
A heritage recipe of the Celdran Family using Jamon Serrano from Pamplona and secret ingredients which made it stand out compared to other Fabadas.
Hearty, satisfying, and hits the right spot. The buttery, smooth beans have an uncanny ability to absorb the flavors brought in by the chorizo and sausages.
Blue Crab Ravioli with Picant Cherry Tomatoes (495php)
First, we noticed that La Collina’s ravioli is tender and delicate. These pillows of pasta perfectly pocket the fresh and sweet blue crabs. This pasta dish is truly stellar in every aspect. It’s drizzled with a light butter sage sauce. We wouldn’t mind ordering our second plate.
Linguini Vongole (380php)
Lightly crushed tomatoes and simmered in white wine, fresh Manila clams are added to its pan, then flavors are broken down to release each elements profile to the sauce. The pasta is al dente and the overall dish is so vibrant.
Paella Mixta (4 pax – 2,000php)
Creme Catalan with Strawberry Topping (230php)
A Spanish meal is not complete without crema Catalana to clean the palate and end on a sweet note.
The people behind La Collina radiates how passionate they are in advocating the Slow Food Movement, ensuring that every ingredient they use are sourced nearby. They are also thoughtful in every sense that each element used to build the restaurant from the tables, chandeliers, and even the coasters are all sourced locally from different provinces or cooperatives.
The next time you’re in the Poblacion neighbourhood look for that bright La Collina on quiet Molina Street. Eat well and be merry!
LA COLLINA RESTAURANT & BAR
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Black Sheep Coffee at the S’ Maison is one badass coffee nook and this place would top our most frequented coffee shop. Find out why. #FatGirlsDayOut