IT was like we were in a sequel of another Bagets movie. My friends and I were enjoying the yummy inasal na manok (grilled chicken) and steaming bowls of kansi served up at the launch of Niña Bustamante's Island Chicken in QC. Seated at a table nearby was the Bagets gang--William Martinez, his wife Yayo Aguila, Ramoncito Gutierrez, and Herbert "Bistek" Bautista, now vice mayor of Quezon City, Iza Calzada (daughter of that long ago dancer Lito Calzado...gee and I thought he was gay!), and a few others who were probably in the Bagets movies too. (I don't know, I never watched those flicks which apparently were the toast of the entire bagets crowd of my day.) I am told the good vice mayor returned the next day for lunch with 20 other people in tow. And they all paid for their meals. Sort of a buena mano for the restaurant. Nice move, Bistek. I'll make sure to have you on my ticket in the next election...if there is gonna be one. (In photo is the inasal na paa, or grilled drumstick, with garlic rice and atchara, or pickled green papaya.)
Also in attendance at the launch last night was Chiqui Hollmann, erstwhile host of Disco-rama and now happily married to Prandy Yulo, managing director of Hella Phils., makers of those car headlights. I met Prandy while he was doing his public service stint at the Department of Agrarian Reform under then secretary Philip Ella Juico. We sat talking about another former DAR official, Jesli "Jing" Lapus, who became Tarlac congressman and is now Education Secretary. Our verdict on Tito Jing's appointment? He has the brains and the management skills to run the department. We just hope he doesn't fall under the clutches of his former colleagues at the House of Representatives who became the bane of former Undersecretary Mike Luz's existence.
Even the music last night was so very '80s, I actually thought the still good-looking William Martinez would get up and do their Bagets dance when "Just Got Lucky" started playing. Or "Build Me Up Buttercup"! Those were really fun fun times, the big hair-do's nonetheless. But wait...was that Johnny Walker Black and Lipovitan the Bagets Gang was drinking? Ewww...how totally uncool. Didn't anybody tell them uppers and downers don't mix? Hic!
Another interesting person I met last night was Mikaela Bilbao, owner of Mikaela salon at The Fort, and Philosophy along Pasay Road. I've been going to the latter since my hair stylist Mel transferred there. Very nice interesting place where you can get high on the fresh oxygen! hehe! As for Mikaela, her personal struggle while making her way in Manila away from her muy rico parents in Bacolod is a story worth telling over and over again. She told us that while trying to establish herself here, she even experienced living in a squatters' area. Kudos to this very gutsy girl! (In photo is the kansi, the Negrense's version of nilagang baka but soured a bit with some batuan, a small green fruit native to the Visayan region.)
Island Chicken is a personal favorite of ours whenever we are in Boracay. It offers just simple delicious comfort food that even the likes of businessman Choy Cojuangco and society chef Binggoy Remedios patronize it. The chicken inasal marinaded in a secret concoction of sauces and spices is really too delicious beyond words. And your tummy, not to mention your wallet, will be glad. A good substantial meal for P100 is very difficult to find these days. Oh and if you find yourself stupid drunk, drop by Island Chicken and order the kansi. It will surely wake you up (and get you through a few more rounds of beer hahaha!). I'm glad Niña (second from right among these jokers) brought her restaurant to Quezon City. Coming soon is her delivery service.
Island Chicken is at 33 Sct. Borromeo, two streets down from the ABS-CBN compound or from the Boy Scouts rotunda wherever direction you're coming from. It's open from lunchtime until 2 am.