my malate

earlier i had the chance of strolling along the fabled lanes of this district called malate, just a few hours before sunrise, and saw the breadth of change since the last immersion. the point of reference was half a decade ago, back when i was still an endemic specie of this neighborhood. the characters julio nakpil, guerrero, vasquez, remedios, maria orosa were all too familiar street names, and back then, as i myself took temporary residence along adriatico, could walk around these alleys without fear of being mislaid. but after a career move, malate, who then was second home, became just now an uncommon passing lane. it was sad to see the iconoclasts that then defined my reputation of malate disappearing into the commercial row that it is now.

this is the malate that i grew to remember...

fine dining at alda's kitchen along adriatico (near padre faura) without leaving a gaping hole in your pocket. the menu was predominantly italian with all their selections for pizza and pasta. the cordon bleu and sausages were top choice for entre. pasted on its cobbled walls are vintage posters of theater acts during the time of the met theater's rennaisance.

any reason is worth walking towards twc or third world cafe. it was the watering hole of choice for my kind. the ambiance was relaxed and laid back (i just refuse to use nonchalant as a description). and they had a third floor rooftop view. the drug of choice was a house mix called submarine - concoted with one liter of draft beer and a shot of lambanog. served in a frozen mug straight from the chiller, a shot glass-filled coco-alcohol dunked inside the goblet. a typical inuman of 3-5 rounds with my barkada once ended up early with a barfing spree. as the bartender, without prior warning (and consent!), exchanged draft beer with the pulang kabayo as the former's stock was used up. this place is now demolished and used as a garage.

arts venue - this one is along taft avenue, near quirino. cheap alcohol. live, head-banging kind of rock genre. adjacent to a bilyaran. a mass of jologs audience. but it was still a hit. i remember that altercations would always be a common scene here.

who would forget the venti size donuts on sale at the midtown hotel lobby pastry shop? this defunct hotel resides where robinsons place midtown wing now stands. they had a very loyal following and a human line appeared at each time the pre-closing sale sign is posted. and two flights above the hotel lobby was the gym - where students received a preferential rate. with towel service and pool use, this was a come-on, drawing student from as far as the taft-vito cruz circle.

penguin cafe struck me as the ultimo symbol of bohemian malate. in parisian-esque motif, art splashed decor colored its walls vis-a-vis a regular stage for art performances, gigs and exhibitions. it was "classy" but not restrained. as you enter, you breathe a menage of coffee, tobacco and upholstery aged over time. what i remember most about this hole is their male restroom which had a ceramic min-tub as a male urinal. so the intent was for it to be shared. i didnt notice seeing that linux-ly statue and the neon sign at the mouth of remedios street approaching the circle last night.

speaking of parisian, cafe breton began its roots in this environ. packed in the middle of a row of dutch village stalls at maria orosa, it was where i had my taste of their crepe. and the scene where i took out most of dates for an after dinner night cap.

dc diner - think of the tv series true blood, with its southern american-style diner. this one is along padre faura, opposite the PAL learning center.

still speaking of food, hap chan at malvar near pan pacific and wok in beside remedios church - they say these were the original of those popular chinese food chain. singkit had their original to-go base here as well. and the cheesecake place at jed and julians along adriatico, just almost opposite the library, was also a draw.

8 comment/s:

  1. hugh says

    i've never been to those places yet...

    Knox Galen says

    This is the Malate I never knew.

    rudeboy says

    This is the Malate I first knew and loved.

    I relished the lengua at Alda's. Worked out at the Midtown gym. Learned about a lover's infidelity on the roofdeck of Third World Cafe. And spent many a happy night with friends and colleagues in Penguin.

    Thanks for the memories, ash.

    engel says

    I've been to Malate only twice in my life. Did not see what people are seeing there.

    Maybe it's because I'm a wallflower.

    Mac Callister says

    thanks for sharing all of that,nice to know about malate that im not very familiar with hehe

    ash says

    wok in is still there. one should not miss eating sipa, stuffed squid, oyster in tausi sauce and camaron while there. and hap chan and cafe breton are everywhere.

    if you are talking this decade then we might have crossed paths at the gym


    @mac callister
    thanks for dropping by

    engel says

    wallflower: during parties, the person who's always alone on one side, not joining the party. aka as an introvert.

    ash says

    they say that being an I has its own set of charms :)