Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Manila and Quezon City Unplugged

Riding on a decrepit jeepney in Manila gave me the unplugged feeling. Its wild and its off the beaten track at least to me. Not the best description for Manila, I guess. The hot but not so humid weather made the ride bearable. Though I have ridden the jeepney in various parts of Philippines but not in Manila till now.

Pics below showed the end of the EDSA North freeway. This is near the huge and sprawling SM Mall which has a chain throughout the archipelago. Named after the freeway, SM North EDSA has an equally huge bus terminal at ground level for company. A mass rapid transit station is also sited nearby making this area extremely busy. From EDSA North one can just turn into Quezon City which is actually adjacent to Metropolitan Manila. Forget about the map which seems to show it some distance away. Many from the old order (translated rich and powerful) have links through land, homes/buildings ownership in this city. I had meetings after meetings and did not really get to slow down so food was at some trusted and regular joints like the buffet in Dad's Kamayan and Saisaki. The tempura shrimps here were incredible - large and juicy. Eating 50 pieces will have a fair returns to the price per head. The calamari came in large slices. Not forgetting the famous Filipino pork dishes like lechon (roast) and kawali (fried) and many others. We waited 40 minutes for our table on Saturday night.Yes we were serenaded in the nice confines of the restaurant. No matter how bad a Filipino band sings they are still good. Imagine when they are on song!!I like the cello bit but the instrument was not top-notch.
Roast PigletPork and pork and pork.
Tempura. There were more but as I am never good at eating buffet for I get tanked up fast, so it was reflect in my shots too.
I had Dim Sum in SM Mall North EDSA. The food was bearable and far behind the big brother Hong Kong. It was expensive too.Nothing prepared me for a shocking but pleasant visit to maximum Bilibid Security Prison. Prison reforms are at its best or worst depending on who you ask. Religious buildings dot its landscape as all major religions were represented. Prisoners do not wear uniform. In the day it seems all were out in the open milling around and going about their lives. Education and recreation facilities are available. This 500+ hectares prison which has 16,000 inmates did not have a riot since a few decades ago due to the reforms. You can see some prisoners selling hawkers' food in their small stalls. Some prisoners were given the right to own and use cell phones. Prisoners can get married. Spouses can make conjugal visits during the weekend and stay overnight in private rooms.

I met a reformed convict doing social/religious work in the prison. He was pardoned just 5 minutes before execution at 3pm. The phone call from Malacanang Palace came at 2:55pm. He actually confessed to murder in Dumaguete, Negros. Shot and killed the victim and burned the body. He was strapped to the electric chair and the executioner at the ready to pull the power lever. His sentence was commuted to life and was released on good behaviour later.
Bilibid Maximum Security
My passport in and out of the prison. Passing through 2 gates I was frisked and then stamped. These stamps differentiate me as a visitor.
We had some nice Chinese Filipino food for lunch after the prison visit. Foodhouse is located just diagonally opposite the Bilibid main gates.Sweet sour porkSeafood Fried RiceFried PorkStir-fried VegetablesMiscellaneous - McDonald's Longganisa (pork sausage)
The best and most popular fast food in Philippines.
Some roadside fare - deep fried calamari
Biko - sweet sticky rice
Just before I left for the airport my businessman friend takeaway the best fried chicken (even better than KFC according to him) in Philippines for me to take home. It is fried whole. Obviously the chicken is smaller than the standard regulation size for other fast food chains. After 7 hours and on getting home I heated it up in the oven but did not get the effects. It was normal but still good. I guess I will hit the stores when I am there to have it off the fryer.


Life for Beginners said...

Hehe, I had wanted to ask if the McD Longganisa was truly "long" like some German sausages... :P

CUMI & CIKI said...

i totally agree. even the worse singer is better than an average msian singer! so sad .. LOL!

anyway the food looks great.. luckily you got out of prison alrite;)

Bangsar-bAbE said...

The prison stamps look eerie la...I get the chills looking at jails. =_=

But...it's pork pork and more pork in Philippines. I like! =)

thenomadGourmand said...

Nvr liked Phil food. Lost weight when i was ther! LOL. But i had a great time soucing out the rd side stalls & yeah.. the traffic is horrid!
Food wise again, they got a lot of fast food rite???
But their Spanish cuisine rocks!

babe_kl said...

glad you finally came back after escaping the prison :p

wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese new year!

foodbin said...

the pig farming business is big over there just like Taiwan.

Tummythoz said...

This's a 1st for me. Food post with a prison visit. *Gasp*

Big Boys Oven said...

Gong Hei! Gong Hei! Have a great time this festive!

from us Sunny & Sid