Friends who like to munch, A and E, said let's go north young people, so north we headed. With a goal of Pampanga tripping on our minds, we spent a few hours cruising around Angeles where I guided the two through some previous finds: Susie's and Rosings, Everybody's Cafe, and the halo-halo triangle near Nepo Mart. Between the three of us we tried and bought:
12 boxes of candies from Rosings (caramels, nougats, chews, and assorted sweet goodies)
3 packs of chicharon
1 mochi with gata sauce
1 carabao milk custard
4 packs of puto (ube and regular)
a large bag of bread-y goods from Perfect Loaf (cinnamon bread, ensaimadas, mamon, cheese rolls, ube muffin)
Sticky duman bibingka (a very uncommon kakanin that I immediately ordered to taste since it shows up only when there's a harvest of the special rice)
We had also gone north to try an Angeles tradition, the pizza at Armando's. A told me that the restaurant was in a "camalig", or granary, which has been in the Nepomuceno family since 1840. We enjoyed poking around the restaurant, there was a lot of old pieces still stored under the main dining hall, and there's a certain comfort eating inside a place that's solid and built to last. However, the pizza was made for a Pinoy sensibility; think 3A, Magoos. Yup, a cardboard like crust, with a sweet sauce and processed cheese. I doused each slice with hot sauce.
Back in Manila, we walked around the Cubao Shoe Expo (or Marikina Shoe Expo located in Cubao. A bit confusing, but most Manila based people know what it means); A fell in love with a small painting we spotted in White Box, an art gallery chockful of new artists' works. We also met the owners of a new cafe offering healthy salads and cupcakes, Halo. The three ladies there were enthusiastic and full of vim. But they'll need more than that to keep this place afloat. A couple of places we had hoped to visit, a furniture design shop, and an art gallery that sold collectibles, were kaput in less than a year. Vintage Pop, a fun place to poke around had a sign that said "open upon request"; the rain didn't help to keep our spirits up. It would be nice to see the shops make it, but they depend on regular custom.
And at the end of the day, tired friends seek something simple, hot, and comforting while the rain pours down. Soup.