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A grand ‘Buffeast’ in Antipolo | Philstar.com
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A grand ‘Buffeast’ in Antipolo

RENDEVOUS - Christine S. Dayrit - The Philippine Star
A grand âBuffeastâ in Antipolo
Experience a tantalizing array of savory noodle dishes at the Grand Buffeast, featuring highlights like Ramen Nagi’s Black King, Manam’s Crispy Pancit Palabok, and Prime Steak House’s Shrimp Pesto.
STAR / File

They say the heart has a memory of its own.

As I embark on the winding road to Antipolo, memories cascade like a nostalgic waterfall, painting vivid scenes of joy and celebration from my past. This town, once the haven of our family vacation house, has blossomed into the Emerald Events Place, a vibrant hub set against the backdrop of an enchanting landscape.

Today, the spotlight is on Antipolo’s Robinsons Mall, a bustling haven of escapades, cinemas, shopping havens, and, my personal highlight, the grandest buffet this side of town has ever seen.

Antipolo, much like Hinulugan Taktak Falls, is a masterpiece of nature's beauty. It was once they say a place where ladies did their laundry. Today, upon the stewardship of the highly respected Ynares family, This popular tourist site, repurposed and improved, is a marvelous destination.

Maria Kristina Real-Lim, vice president for Lease at Robinsons Malls (right), and Roseann C. Villegas, director for Corporate Public Relations at Robinsons Land Corporation, led the Grand Buffeast event at Robinsons Antipolo.

Nestled on a hill, it dramatically overlooks the bustling city of Manila, offering a serene escape to cooler temperatures, greener surroundings, and heartier meals. The town has become a sanctuary for Marian devotees who trek to its hilly terrain to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, where the 17th-century black image of the Virgin Mary stands as the central figure of the cathedral.

But Antipolo is not just a haven of spirituality; it's a cultural and artistic haven as well. The Pinto Art Gallery, founded by Dr. Joven Cuanang, beckons art enthusiasts with its mesmerizing collection. Nestled near this gallery is a sanctuary of creativity, showcasing contemporary Filipino art against a backdrop of lush gardens and Mediterranean-inspired architecture. It's a testament to Antipolo's evolving identity —a blend of natural beauty and artistic expression.

Wrapping up my Antipolo food adventure, I took a bite of Nono’s Homestyle Chicken with Waffles, Mary Grace’s Mango Bene Cake, and Tiger Sugar’s Strawberry Taro Pudding.

Venturing into the town, one will surely encounter several resorts that seamlessly integrate with the landscape, providing serene getaways for those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life. These resorts have become an integral part of Antipolo's charm, offering not only a place to stay but an experience that resonates with the town's cultural and natural richness.

Amid these picturesque surroundings, the Gokongwei family, illustrious in their contributions to Philippine business, has unfolded a new chapter in Antipolo's narrative: Robinsons Mall Antipolo. A testament to their commitment to excellence, this mall stands as a diversified marvel, reflecting not only the family's business prowess but also their dedication to enhancing the town's lifestyle.

Robinsons Mall Antipolo was unveiled in 2014, and has evolved into more than just a shopping destination. Its recent expansion, doubling the floor area, embraces a modern tropical look. The architects and designers have meticulously considered the verdant surroundings, creating an environment that fosters the bayanihan spirit, a sense of space and modern mall lifestyle for the happy locals.

As one steps into this retail haven, it's not just the merchandise that captures attention; it's the unique offerings that make it a true local gem. Eat Street, four new digital cinemas, a Lingkod Pinoy Center, and over a hundred new stores and restaurants create an immersive experience. Locals, vocal in their appreciation, hail Robinsons Antipolo as more than just a mall; it's a hub that resonates with the town's essence.

One cannot overlook the mall's accessibility, featuring a public transport terminal that links with cities and towns in Rizal Province. This not only makes it convenient for Antipoleños but also transforms the mall into a central point for diverse communities, enriching the cultural tapestry of Antipolo.

Since last year, Robinsons Antipolo has proudly housed ARTablado, a platform for emerging and established artists. This initiative, born during the pandemic, has allowed artists to showcase their creations and reach a broader audience, contributing to the cultural vibrancy of Antipolo.

Now back to the grandest buffet this side of town, the crown jewel of Robinsons Antipolo. Picture entering this gastronomic wonderland where every aroma, color, and flavor converges to orchestrate a culinary symphony. The appetizer section, a vibrant palette of fresh salads, artisanal cheeses, and tantalizing dips, serves as a prelude to the flavor extravaganza.

Transitioning to the main dishes is a journey through diverse landscapes of culinary mastery. Sizzling grills with the irresistible scent of barbecue, aromatic curries that transport you to far-off places — each dish tells a story. Desserts, the grand finale, capture the essence of indulgence. Imagine a chocolate fountain gracefully flowing, surrounded by decadent cakes, pastries, and exotic fruits. The dessert section is a haven for the sweet tooth, leaving you feeling like a kid in a candy store.

Navigating this culinary wonderland, the lively chatter of fellow food enthusiasts adds to the festive ambiance. It's not just a meal; it's an immersive experience — a celebration of diverse flavors, shared joy, and an exploration of culinary artistry. Robinsons Antipolo's buffet feast transcends mere dining; it's a journey for the senses, leaving you with memories as rich as the flavors that tantalized your taste buds.

Mingling with a lively bunch of merchants and restaurant owners becomes a storytelling session. Razon, Ineng's, Peri Peri Chicken — each shares a unique chapter of their culinary journey. The taste adventure commences with piping-hot Ramen Nagi, the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Mary Grace cheese rolls, Shakey's crispy chicken providing a delightful crunch, and the heartwarming embrace of Kare-Kare and Sinigang soup. From Nonos' specialties to Manam's creative concoctions and the succulent offerings of the steakhouse, the variety becomes a sensory feast.

The fun doesn't end there; food containers appear, ready to transport these culinary treasures home to loved ones. It's not just a meal; it's a symphony of tastes and tales, an expedition into a world where every bite narrates a story of flavor and culture.

As the curtain falls on this gastronomic adventure, my heart echoes the memories of Robinsons Antipolo's buffet feast. The vibrant beginning and the flavorful finale, etched themselves into my heart and tummy's memory. Until next time, Robinsons Antipolo, see you for another delectable rendezvous. And remember, it's not only the heart that has a memory of its own; so does the tummy. Bon appétit!

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