February 21, 2009

An afternoon w/ Mang Manny

Met the girls at Chariya last Monday for a pre-birthday lunch, and as usual had the blast making chismis. Told Sis and Ms. Gorgeous that I saw Vegan girl recently looking fabulous and very young, and I joked that she was probably having lots of sex. To which Sis, our usually quiet and demure, may-I-look-at-my-coffee-when-you-embarrass-me friend, retorted, "Sex? baka sex with an asparagus!" hahahaha!

Btw, to those who still don't know, Chariya is a small restaurant along Reposo St. in Makati, serving Thai dishes and has been featured in many newspaper write-ups already. Unfortunately, I haven't replaced my camera phone yet which means I wasn't able to photograph any of the dishes we had that day. Suffice to say, the food is cheap and unpretentious, but if I had a choice, I'd still have me some Azuthai. Of course, they have different price points, but there are other cheap Thai restaurants in the metro like Jatujak, which is located in SM The Block in Q.C. and is more to my liking. The latter's dishes are more flavorful and have that extra punch from the herbs and spices that Chariya appeared to scrimp on. I dunno, maybe the chef was on his day off when we ate there. (More on that in a future entry.)

(Paete artist Manuel D. Baldemor has been commissioned to do a mural for the St. Therese Convent in Lisieux.)

Anyhoo, after lunch we walked to Alliance Francaise for some coffee and cake. I must say that the lemon tart at the cafe was just delish! The cafe serves Lavazza so it made a great combination. I am a lemon tart addict and so far the one served at Alliance is number 3 on my top tart list, after Lemoni Cafe's and La Regalade's.

Our afternoon turned from funny to hysterical when artist Manuel Baldemor walked in. He is old friends with Sis and Ms. Gorgeous, but It was the first time I met him. He was so makwento, and his anecdotes about his childhood just outrageously funny. So how do bats pee? Upside down, that's why they're mapanghi, Mang Manny said.

We talked about the urinating bats bec. he told us that they all ate bats as a child, back in his old hometown of Paete, Laguna. And they had to submerge the critters overnight in running water, so they could get rid of their bad smell. So how do bats taste? "Chicken na chicken!" Mang Manny retorted, cracking us up even further. Boy, I learned a lot from Mang Manny that afternoon, haha.

After hearing us talk about our interest in local cuisine, Mang Manny encouraged us to go on a road trip in Laguna where there were interesting restaurants and bakeries to visit. We told him we'd do it if he'd come w/ us and take us on a personal tour. I've done San Pablo to Paete (which is really quite a distance, mind you), and am eager to see the other towns within the province.

(Former actor/model Leandro Baldemor...ooh wasn't he just yummy then?)

It may interest to know that this esteemed sculptor, painter, writer, and book illustrator told us that he was doing a mural for the convent (or was it the basilica?) of St. Therese (The Little Flower) at Liseux, France. How cool is that? I thought that was just inspiring news for the Philippines. He told us in detail how he snagged that gig but initially described it rather humbly as "parang tinawag lang ako habang bumibili ng suka."

Of course I just had to ask whether it was true he was related to that sometime hunk actor/model Leandro Baldemor, to which Mang Manny admitted the artista was his nephew. But no, Leandro has not picked up a chisel nor an easel in the aftermath of his short-lived career, but a stethoscope. He is studying to be a nurse.

Still wanted to chill w/ Mang Manny but unfortunately I had to catch the rail back to QC and the girls had their own stuff to do. But by far, that was one of the coolest afternoons I've had in a long time.

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