Sunday, August 09, 2015

2015 So Far - July

Quezon City has always been one of the better parts of Metro Manila.

While it can't quite seem to be on par with Taguig's and Makati's central business districts (and the latter's equally noticable poverty problem), Quezon City manages to have something to offer to everyone - from Cubao X's hipster (if that's still a term) hangouts to Maginhawa's quiet food havens (which I'd talk about for the foreseeable future), there's always something for the world-weary masses who call the capital their home.

If there's one thing Quezon City seemingly has a monopoly on, it's probably the countless pockets of greenery that serve as secret places one can stumble upon if they look hard enough. One such place is the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, a sizeable nature reserve deep within the heart of the metro. It is conveniently located just before the Quezon Memorial Circle's rotunda, and is very easy to miss as the general area looks the same from the outside - full of trees and is generally a breath of fresh air compared to the noisy smoke-filled roads virtually everywhere else.

Getting to the park is simple enough. The most accessible route is to take the MRT to Quezon Avenue Station. From there, take a jeep to UP, Fairview or anything that heads for the City Hall or Quezon Memorial Circle. It's very easy to miss the park's entrance - we found that the best way to find it is to have the driver drop you off at the last pedestrian overpass before you enter the rotunda. That should place the park entrance just across the road.

Besides being a wildlife preserve, the park serves as a rescue shelter for confiscated and injured animals.


There is more to the park than one realizes - birds of prey are their main attractions, crowned by no less than the haribon (which turns out to be much larger than I have ever expected). Civets, bobcats and different reptiles are on display as well and while there are some other animals kept in restricted areas, the parts that are open to the public aren't very shabby for the eight-peso entrance fee.

The park is much more spacious than meets the eye. It's a popular spot of photo walks and field trips and it's also not unusual to come across folks who are painting amongst families having a quick picnic in the park's man-made lagoon.

After a few hours in the park, a visit to Maginhawa (which was just fifteen minutes away) was pretty much inevitable. The first stop was Artsy Cafe, a quirky spot that was deceptively dainty with its dollhouse-like furniture and light fixtures. For some magical reason, they served t-bone steaks and lengua (or oxtongue which happens to be a personal weakness) so we got those.

We heard that a cat cafe opened up in the vicinity recently. We did manage to find it - unfortunately it was packed because it was a weekend. Luckily, we found Wicked Kitchen (which was housed in the same building) whose s'mores have been making a lot of noise on my Instagram feed lately.

I've been posting a ton of food pictures over the last few weeks. I'm still trying to gain a bit of weight since that delightful hospital stay a month ago. As it turns out, it's quite possible to lose fifteen or so pounds in a couple of weeks.

Tenka at Greenbelt is my new favorite hotpot place and has contributed the weight gain efforts. They have a ton of options (like sea cucumbers and whole shiitake mushrooms) that are very hard to find in eat-all-you-can quantities which makes a revisit an easy decision.

Philly cheesesteaks are undoubtedly less healthy options and we found a shop that sells them on Amorsolo Street (near Chino Roces) in Makati. They also had an old American carnie favorite - deep fried Oreos - and we just had to try those (while we were still young enough to fight off the nasty side effects of a terrible diet).

And then there's katsu, everyone's old mainstay. This one's at Katsu Sora in Trinoma's garden floor. It's decent, but I like Yabu a wee bit more.

My birthday's coming up. I'm turning twenty-seven in a few days. It's a strange thought. I'm hoping to get my priorities straight soon-ish, but that's something for another day.


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