The first thing you notice about a night out in QC is how much cheaper it is than drinking in Makati. A few early evening beers, dinner, music, and drinking to midnight at the places above would buy you a couple of glasses of wine in Green Belt.
QC joints are also just that much bigger than those in Manila and Makati. Many come with small terraces, taking their cue from QC’s broad thoroughfares and old trees, which give it a more open feel than the rest of Metro Manila.
My friend Raju and I opened up with a couple of ice cold pales at Magnet Café on Katipunan, which is conveniently placed to break up the journey to the Diliman area. From there we moved to Sara’s, a congenial outdoor student bar on the fringes of UP. It has been a long since I have been to Diliman and returning there reminded me of my first year in the Philippines in 1997. Apart from anything else, I love the dark pockets on the campus, which offer some relief from our light-polluted Manila.
Right next to Sarah’s is Likha-Diwa, a funky little vegetarian place. This is a little bit of Brighton (my old stamping ground) in the heart of the city, with arty furniture, some Japanese-style seating, area, an extensive menu, and tasty and incredibly cheap food. My way of judging a vegetarian café is to taste their burger and Likha-Diwa’s soya burger was disposed of in about 30 seconds. It was a wee bit small to be honest, but hey it was about 85 pesos so you could have a couple and still be some way short of that Green Belt glass of wine. We shared some pokoras (which were freshly cooked and met with Raju’s approval) and I washed them down with a carrot and apple juice from the extensive list of juices. It was bloody great—just my sort of place.
Our last port of call was Conspiracy to see “Salinawat ni Pete”, an evening of standards translated into Tagalog by Pete Lacaba. This was an outstanding end to a fine QC evening. Apart from anything else it was fun trying to recognize the songs, here are some of those I spotted:
I’ll never fall in love again
Cold cold cold heart
As time goes by
The look of love
In the wee small hours of the morning
I loved the crowd; a bunch of long-grey-hairs fresh from a First Quarter Storm rally. There was some curiosity as to why a couple of foreigners with about 50 words of Tagalog to rub together between them should be at such an event but everyone was extraordinarily welcoming, even by Filipino standards (thanks guys!). We ended up swapping stories and rums with Cooky and Conrado de Quiros before melting back into the night.
Postscript: We did Conspiracy to Makati in less than 20 minutes, yet the reaction from a couple of friends I mentioned this evening to was “You went all the way up there …?” C’mon, it ain’t that far!
Thanks for the tip (and the nickname) Butch and thanks to Dahon for the pic.
From another evening at Conspiracy, Cooky does the Look of Love