Fort Santiago's main entrance with the bas relief of Spanish patron Saint James (Santiago Matamoros) in wood
Paid the Walled City a quick visit yesterday to do business with BPI Muralla. Since I had to make the cab fly me from Las Pinas to Manila in an hour to catch the 3PM closing time(given Roxas Boulevard's monstrous traffic stops), I thought I needed a place to sit down and catch my breath.
There seems to be something new to see every time i visit this old place. This time, it's the burgeoning community of settlers lining the streets of Cabildo up to Calle Real. Signs of community activity are everywhere: sari sari stores selling cooked food, clothes hanging out to dry in gray decaying buildings, and tons of children on the streets!
Without the new street lamps (which are so out of sync with the poverty in this area), one actually has the feeling that you'd get mugged when you walk here at night.
The illustrious Ilustrado on Calle Real de Palacio
Nevertheless, I decided to meet up with very good friend Jerome of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (yes, the same guy who glares at me all the time from his blogspot) and we chatted over mocha coffee and sugar doughnuts (I declare, this has to be far better than Gonuts Donuts, the Philippines' version of Krispy Kreme. This, after all, is the doughnut of our childhood!) in Ilustrado.
What capped that afternoon escape was the puto bumbong, truly worthy of an Oprah Moment (gasps, hands on mouth, like how my girlfriends do it). Dipped in melted butter, fresh grated coconut and muscovado, it was heaven on earth!
The negative points for Ilustrado were the ensaymadas. While the cheese and ham was good (even better then the pre-war Dizon's in Ermita), the ube version was an abomination - it was like biting into a chunk of pen ink smothered in cheese. Never again but at Ps 15 apiece, why am I complaining?!
T'was a good Friday afternoon. Looking forward to my next visit.