Last Saturday was Manila day for us. We were watching a concert in the evening. But knowing how unpredictable Manila traffic can be, we decided to leave before lunch and spend the rest of the day in Manila.
First stop was Harbor View Restaurant near Manila Ocean Park. It was my second time to visit the place. The first time was a few years ago when Rhuel took me there for my birthday. I loved the ambience and the food, of course. Part of the restaurant is located on top of the Manila Bay so you get a good view of the nearby sights. I know we all have preconceived notions about Manila Bay, but surprisingly, that part of the bay did not smell so bad, except if there's a sudden gush of wind.
The restaurant serves Filipino food with a good number of seafood dishes. For lunch, we had sisig, grilled prawns with lemon butter sauce, green mangoes with bagoong, and dalandan juice. The sisig was okay but Trelli's will always be our favorite sisig. I had a hard time eating the sisig because it had a lot of onions. But it was tasty and crunchy.
The grilled prawns were NOT prawns. They were just shrimps that were way too small and overpriced. It tasted good because after all, how can you go wrong with shrimps, lemon, and butter but because of the serving size and the price, it was not really a good buy. The steamed suahe could have been a better and cheaper option. (Not sure though if it would be tasty.)
We were lucky that there were not a lot of people in the restaurant during that weekend. We were able to have our lunch in peace and to enjoy the sceneries. Even the bratty kids around us were tolerable.
After lunch, we proceeded to Harbor Square located beside CCP. We had to pay a lot of parking fees that day, hmpf. It was only around 2 pm and the concert was still at 8 pm so we had a few hours to waste. We decided to stay at Starbucks and read books. The couches were not comfortable so we had to settle for the normal chairs. We had a good view of the bay from our seats.
A few hours later, I got tired of sitting down. I took a walk around Harbor Square. It was nice to see families walking along the bay and enjoying the breeze. We've been lucky to have this cool weather the past few weeks. I hope it stays this way forever. :)
At around 6 pm, we decided to have an early dinner so we can get to the concert venue on time. I was craving for the returning and sinful KFC Double Down and lucky me, there was a KFC branch in Harbor Square. But when I proceeded to give my order, the cashier had this weird explanation about the product not being perfect so they were not offering it yet. But I've seen Facebook statuses of people who have already tried it and even the branch itself had it on the menu board. Bwiset.
We decided to forego the early dinner and just have dinner after the concert. We proceeded to PICC instead. Finding the parking entrance was a bit tricky so it was a good thing that we went there early.
There was a Via Mare stall/booth serving dinner inside PICC. But they were just selling sandwiches and pasta so we had to pass. I was just praying that the baby and I will not be too hungry and grumpy during and after the concert.
We were watching a repeat of Lea Salonga's Playlist concert. The original run happened in December. Being kuripot (except on food), I did not buy tickets for the December shows. But when I started seeing videos of the concert uploaded on YouTube, I began feeling sorry for myself, hehe. So when Lea tweeted that there was going to be a repeat, I already knew what Christmas gift I wanted from Rhuel. I was not letting this opportunity pass again.
Anyone who really knows me would know that I LOVE Lea Salonga. We go way back, haha. I was maybe an 8-year second grader when she passed the Miss Saigon auditions. Someone (I cannot really remember who but I suspect it was a close family friend) gave me a multiplex of the original soundtrack of Miss Saigon and I fell in love with the musical and with Lea, of course. I even managed to get a copy of the script. I had this grand illusion that I could be a Lea Salonga some day, hehe. I wrote letters to her while she was based in London. I would bug my father to mail the letters for me. He would often tease me that he dropped my letters in the Marikina River. I think he mailed my letters (or I hope, hehe) but Lea never replied. *sigh*
I've been an avid fan since then. Never mind if my father would tease me about Lea's fake British accent that she'd use when she introduced herself. I watched her movies with Aga. I bought her tapes and CDs (thanks to Rhuel for completing the collection).
I've benn fortunate to have watched her in 2 stage plays. One was Baby, staged at the Meralco Theater (with Jett Pangan and Agot Isidro, among others). The other one was God of Carnage staged in Singapore. But I have never watched a Lea concert. So I was really looking forward to this one.
And she did not disappoint. The moment she sang her first note, I was already in tears. The way my husband was in tears when he heard the Eraserheads play their first note during their reunion concert. Buti na lang patay ang ilaw, hehe. I loved the songs she sang and I loved everything about her. It was a treat to be there for 2.5 hours without any breaks. The baby, perhaps realizing that mummy loved Lea so much, cooperated. :)
The entire evening was magical but here were my favorite parts:
- When she sang Chasing Pavements.
- When her daughter sang. Cute!
- Her Movie in my Mind duet with Rachel Ann Go.
- The 70's, 80's, 90's medley.
- When she sang After All with Martin Nievera. I'm not fond of Martin but I love that song because it sorta kinda depicts our love story.
- The Abba medley.
Basta, it was worth every peso spent. I will always love Lea even if they call her OA as a judge of The Voice and they say that she can't dance to save her life. She will always be my idol.
They were selling souvenir books for Php2,000 and Lea can sign them. But I found it too expensive and the autograph queue was so long. Mahal ko siya pero di pala sobra, hehe. Besides, I did not want to push my luck with the baby. Baka magalit na sa gutom. So at around past 11 pm, we decided to leave.
Dinner was at Aristocrat. Yey. Proof that you learn something new everyday...it was my first time to learn that Aristocrat was popular for their chicken barbecue. I've been there a number of times before but I've always associated it with Filipino food like crispy pata, kare-kare, etc. So I was surprised when Rhuel told me, "Di ba sa barbecue sila sikat?" And true enough, when I looked at their table napkin, it was claiming the same thing, hehe. So we both had chicken barbecue.
Being a 24-hour restaurant, it was still full house even if it was close to midnight already. We had to wait to be seated. And the staff and crew seemed like headless chickens who were running around, clueless on how to manage the large volume of customers. The receptionist was not easily accessible so you had to compete with other people to make sure your name finds its way on the list. We even had to wait for a couple of minutes for our bill to arrive. Ang ingay pa ng katabi namin, hehe.
We reached home at around 1 am. That's way too late for homebodies like us. But it was really a day well spent. This is best wrapped up with that old phrase I often used on my field trip reaction papers in grade school - we went home tired but very happy! :)