Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paseo de nom nom

I believe that woman writer who described ladies' lunches as pampahaba ng buhay.

Another semi-retired media colleague (the other being me) Angelina "Angge" Goloy can be counted to efficiently manage an event, even if it's just for five ladies who occasionally lunch. Our respective birthdays are spread out in the year so periodic reunions can be expected in the months of April, May, June, August, September, give or take a few delays when schedules can't be matched. In December, there is another goodwill and gift exchange lunch.

I've lost count of the number of years we've been doing this. What I clearly recall is how they all fall on a Monday, days off of the girls who're still deeply engaged in newspaper work.

For Corito Llamas' sexy-something natal day, we went on a day trip to Tagaytay's Bag of Beans, she wearing a blouse (Indian textile) that she herself sewed. Our journey, as they say, was more interesting than the destination. In fact, it was a barrel of laughs that our pit stops along the highway were meant to decompress, stretch our curled legs and giggle some more. To say we were packed like sardines in a can is an understatement.

At Bag of Beans' new extension area, the balcony, three of us had the bangsilog with atchara (daing na bangus, garlic rice, eggs), having left the city with hardly or no breakfast. The two others ordered steak, mashed potatoes, pasta and pizza like there was no tomorrow. That's Ester Dipasupil, me, Chato Garcellano, birthday girl Corito and Angge.

The security guard who took our pic wanted to include everything, especially his employer's sign board. Expectedly, the strict gourmet in Corito (she founded the magazine Food, now part of ABS-CBN Publishing) brooked no nonsense from the service staff. She frankly told them we were having our coffee and pastries elsewhere because their service was poor. So there!

In our search for a coffee shop with comfortable air conditioning (Tootsie's was closed - the staff had gone on an excursion), we found ourselves at Sonja's Garden, but it had a set menu. So we used the time to smell the flowers and wander in and out of the souvenir shops and garden pathways. That's Ester trying on an Ophelia wreath. And then we got rained in, but the quick rains cooled the air.

Angge and Corito underneath the gauzy whatchamacallit and twisted vines. Atmospheric and ambience-rich, it's the perfect spot for honeymooners, balikbayan visitors and tourists in their own country.

We found heaven in a petit cup and a platito of nom nom ensaymada, the best we've had outside Metro Manila (without prejudice to Hizon's and Cunanan's home-baked ensaymada). Antonio's Garden wasn't just clean, bright, spacious, with a splendid view of the volcano and the lake; the staff was attentive, too.


Smilingly satisfied, we pose for our last class picture before these Jills hit the road.

Living for more sights and Mondays like these. Happy birthday, Corito! Wishing you more!

Some photos by Babeth Lolarga
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