Malate is very popular particularly among foreigners and the Pinoy party animal. For a brief period during my last days in college, the lights and sound captivated my young heart.
The place is very much alive at night especially during weekends and holidays. Malate is the perfect hangout for drinking sprees. Street parties aren’t rare. Several bars and restaurants catering international delicacies line the streets. But when my beloved Yeyette and I strolled there during Valentine’s eve, I noticed many Korean restaurants. And they’re not just many. It’s like they’ve taken over many streets there! I suddenly thought, “are we in Korea Town or what?”
I have to admit that I was a bit appalled by the fact that several Korean restaurants were all over the place. I have nothing against Koreans (except for their hilarious hairdo and corny pop music gimmickry), but perhaps I’m just getting fed up seeing them everyday in a country where they actually have no cultural ties. And it’s pretty alarming because up to now I still haven’t figured this “massive exodus” of Koreans to this Third World nation. What gives?
Anyway, my wife is a Korean fan. And so are two of my officemates, Louren and Clinton! But they’re not just fans. If given a chance, they are willing to become Koreans! My wife, who somehow resembles Korean ladies, is a Korean food addict. Louren knows how to speak and write Korean (aside from other languages). And Clinton even once quipped how he wished we Filipinos were Koreans! This fascination for Korea and Koreans boggles me. Boy and girl groups from that country have captivated a multitude of Filipinos. English tutorials for Koreans are everywhere. And the persona of Sandara Park still looms large (eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh…21!). Is Meteor Garden such a big influence and factor? LOL!
Strangely, while at the Manila Bay esplanade, a fisherman from the Manila Bay Angler’s Association asked Yeyette if I was Korean. Like, duh.
And after a fun and romantic evening stroll by the bayside, Yeyette had to look for a Korean restaurant which she used to patronize when she was still single. Man, that was like a decade ago! And so we walked around Malate like for almost half an hour.
Finally, she found what she was looking for:
I had qualms entering an Asian restaurant. I’m just not used to it. I saw a couple of Spanish and Filipino restaurants along the way. But for Valentine’s sake, I had to give in to the ever-powerful Wifey, LOL! But upon entering Yakiniku, I realized the place’s coziness and ambience. And it’s just the right size to avoid a huge crowd as is the usual fare in most restaurants.
We found out later that Yakiniku Restaurant actually offers both Japanese and Korean delights. And that’s the reason for the photo below, haha!
After our Yakiniku experience… I suddenly want to be Korean, LOL! Just kidding. Yakiniku caters mainly Japanese food. But to be honest, I did enjoy the food — and the thrill grilling the meat ourselves!
Afterwards, we had our refreshments at the iconic Café Adriático which was founded by the late Larry J. Cruz.
“LJC” stands for the initials of the late Larry J. Cruz. Founder and president of the LJC Chain of Restaurants. In 1979, Cruz, a journalist and information man, made a career change and opened his first restaurant, a small café in a modest corner of the Remedios Circle in Malate. He named the restaurant Café Adriático, after the street it was on.
Banking on little else than his eating experience as a seasoned traveler and the support of his media friends, Cruz who had never been in the restaurant business before, made Café Adriático the most talked about restaurant in town as soon as it opened its doors. The Café served good food and offered warm and friendly service. It was a place where people met spontaneously and enjoyed each other’s company in a setting that included conviviality. Pretty soon, Café Adriático became the venue where Manila’s elite hobnobbed with celebrities, artists, business leaders and political movers and shakers. (The LJC Group)
Every time these scandals reached Father Salvi’s ears, he smiled and crossed himself, immediately reciting one Our Father. They called him a watchdog, a hypocrite, a Carlist, a miser. Padre Salvi would only smile to himself and pray more. The Alferez always told the few Spaniards who visited him the following anecdote:
“Are you going to the convent to visit that little dead fly of a priest? Careful! If he offers you chocolate, which I doubt he will… but if he finally offers, be on guard! If he calls the servant and tells him: ‘Fulanito, make a cup of chocolate, eh?’ Then you can stay and not worry; but if he says ‘Fulanito, make a cup of chocolate, ah?’ Then pick up your hat and exit running.”
“What?” asked the other man fearfully. “Does he dole out poison? Good heavens!”
“Man, no; not to that extent.”
“Chocolate eh means espeso, thick; and chocolate ah means aguado, watered down.” (From José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, translated into English by the late Mª Soledad Lacson vda. de Locsín)
Although Café Adriático may be popular among artists, writers, and the like, I’m not that impressed with the place and the goodies we had had. I’m not saying the place is not comfy. It just didn’t impress me, that’s all (or maybe because it was too dark when we went there that night). And also, mosquitoes feasted on my bare feet (I was wearing sandals) during my whole stay there! Strangely, my wife (and perhaps other customers) didn’t feel any sting. I wonder what was that all about.
Café Adriático was named after the street where it stands, Calle Adriático. That street, on the other hand, was named after Macario Adriático (1869-1919), a cababayan of Yeyette because they’re both from Mindoro (the statesman’s from Mindoro Oriental; Wifey’s from Occidental). Adriático was the very first Filipino correspondiente to the Real Academia Española and is one of the founders of the prestigious Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española.
To be continued!