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Food and Leisure

A food & culture fiesta to celebrate Quezon City’s 75th year

Joy Angelica Subido, Joy Angelica Subido, Karla Alindahao - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Everybody  loves a fiesta and everyone deserves a treat.  But in an urban setting where work schedules are so stressful that people are generally uptight, there has to be a good excuse for an entire city to figuratively let its hair down and celebrate en masse. Quezon City has much to celebrate as it commemorates its Diamond Jubilee on Oct. 12.  There is much to be thankful for as the city moves closer to realizing the dream of its founder, President Manuel L. Quezon to become “the working man’s paradise, a home for the industrious and a springboard of every Filipino’s dreams.”

Now is a good time to rediscover important historical and cultural landmarks in Quezon City. Apart from the national shrine at Quezon Memorial Circle where the remains of President Manuel L. Quezon and his wife Aurora are interred, take time out to visit their Bahay Pahingaan or rest house, which was relocated to the area from its original location in New Manila. While you’re there, take a walk in well-kept parks and visit the organic garden, a project of Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. If you’re lucky to be around during harvest time, you can get some vegetables for free. Alternatively, visit the memorial of Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora, who, as the “Grand Woman of the Revolution,” supported and fed the Katipuneros. Or make a pilgrimage to the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Parish Church in San Francisco del Monte to pray for blessings. The church was built by the Franciscans from 1696-1699 and the original structure remains.

 Events lined up to celebrate Quezon City’s Diamond Jubilee include arts festivals, concerts, health and wellness outreach programs, religious activities, sports and fitness programs, parades and even a beauty contest.  The most exciting activity for food lovers, however, would have to be a food festival that is scheduled to be held along Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village in Diliman.

On Oct. 11, which is the evening of the “Grand Welcome,” the entire length of Maginhawa street will become a food avenue where food outlets will serve their specialties. We managed to visit some of the restaurants in the area so that we could sample the fare. Here is a preview of some flavorsome delights that diners can expect.

 Roasterrific has truly terrific roasted pork (152 Maginhawa Street)

The “herb-a-licious” lechon pork belly is truly outstanding. With pork skin toasted and crunchy and meat that remains moist and tender, one can be easily tempted to have two or even more servings. What makes Roasterrific’s roasted pork belly stand out even more is a condiment made up of lemongrass and secret spices. Owner Valerie Chow tells us that both the recipe for the pork and the special condiment that goes with it are made following family recipe handed down to the family by her grandmother.

Healthy servings at Hillcrest Wellness Café (48 Malingap Street)

The café serves a delicious and refreshing Berzinger (green apple, cucumber and ginger) shake and a nutritious Moringanana (malunggay and banana) shake. For more substantial meals, order the chicken pesto or the beef and tomato pasta and assorted sandwiches. The portions are just the right size so  there is no danger of overeating. Hillcrest is a cozy café with inspirational quotes painted on the wallpaper. Its owners emphasize total (body, mind and spiritual) wellness.

Tasty lutong-bahay at Jek’s Ku Bo (77 Maginhawa Street)

Jek is the nickname of Jessica Frayco, who runs the restaurant with her son Miguel, while Ku Bo is derived from Kuya Boy, Jek’s brother who helped her start the business. Jek’s Ku Bo is best known for serving comforting bowls of bulalo soup, and is the best place to go for delicious home cooking. Choose from a variety of viands that are attractively displayed carinderia-style. The restaurant is both a popular dining spot for students of nearby universities. It is a go-to takeout place for people who appreciate good food but are too busy to cook.

 Philly Cheesesteak, Burgers and Shakes at RBy’s Steak & Shake (153A Maginhawa Street)

The Philly cheesesteak is expectedly the bestseller at RBy’s Steak & Shake. Another top favorite is the KnockOut Steak Burger, which is a quarter pounder loaded with bacon, crispy fried onions, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato. It’s also a good idea to try their thick, creamy milkshakes.  This tiny outlet owned by sisters Rowena and Bernadette Acuna serves food and shakes that are big on flavor.

Authentic Taiwanese Desserts at Snow Creme (2/F, 189 Maginhawa St. cor. Makadios Street)

Snow Crème is owned by newlywed entrepreneurs Bryan and Michelle Kho.  Bryan is an architect by profession while Michelle is a designer by avocation, so the interiors of their store are expectedly well thought-out, with a clean and functional look. Snow Crème serves flavored teas, smoothies and snow ice or finely shaved ice desserts (called baobing, tsua-bing or chhoah peng in Chinese) that are flavored and served with garnishes like jelly or fruit. Try the familiar Golden Mango snow cone or opt for an authentic Taiwan shaved ice dessert with grass jelly, taro and sweetened beans.

Of course, what we tried is just a smattering of choices that will be available during the festival.  More of the real fun and serious feasting will happen on the dates leading up to Oct. 12.

To know more about the activities lined up for Quezon City’s 75th jubilee, visit the Quezon City Diamond Jubilee secretariat at the Communications Coordination Center, 15th floor, Quezon City Hall, or call 988-4242 local 1209 or 1210.

CITY JEK KU BO MAGINHAWA STREET QUEZON QUEZON CITY
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