Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Highside Restaurant: This Is a Man's World...

Walking into Highside Restaurant is like walking into a lair of testosterone where the James Brown classic “This is a Man’s World” comes to mind and the whole thing is unabashed about it. The set up is quite the sports bar du jour with the modern and vintage motorbikes, crude oil drams fitted as chairs, helmets, surf boards, skateboards, hubcaps, semi-monster tires, vintage license plates and NBA games streaming through the two flat screens mounted on the wall. 

Surely in a place like this, masculine aphorisms with a mild touch of mischief wouldn’t be wanting, just check out these tongue-in-cheek signages that will subconsciously make one chuckle until you psychoanalyze it. 

As the only girl inside this milieu at this time, I order what I deem as the manliest but proverbial dish in the menu and that would be a straightforward hamburger, the Burnout Burger to be exact. This burger has a mixture of beef and pork meat and it comes with complimentary thin fries and the default FF dip of the Philippines, the thousand island dressing. The dish arrives and I gobble it up to an acoustic rendition of Alice Cooper’s “I’ll Never Cry” blasting through their fireball surround sound. 

The burger happily doesn’t make me cry, as it in fact is tasty with good grilling flavors but it doesn’t burn me out either. It could be bigger, like the fist of an MMA fighter perhaps and the meat is not cooked through. We can play around with the done-ness of beef, but I don't we can do the same with pork, unless it’s a veritable sushi. The other items on the menu must be better as I hear that the chef is an award-winning import from a touristy island south of here. The staff members are easygoing and sophomoric in appearance and as for the internet habituĂ©, sorry, this here is Wifi-free because they want us to party like it’s 1995. 

As I conclude my circumspection and my time at Highside, I look at the other side of the coin. I realize the intention of the owners with the decor, the ambience, and the reasonably-priced fare of roughly P35 - P300; Tacloban is yet to have a consummate sports bar where the guys coming from all walks of life can just be guys, talk, drink and munch on nuts and trail mixes like they do and perhaps go full boar in a spot that reminds them of a man cave. Highside is that right now; that or at the very least this joint is grazing the trail for more of it’s kind to come.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Baybay: It’s Not Just the Place, It’s the People Too

Population: 102,841.
Land Area: 180 square miles.
Bay Area: Stunning as they come.
Rubbish Content: Discordant for a developing country.  

For all intents and purposes, Baybay is still untapped. I hope it stays this way forever and a day. And if it does bloom, here’s wishing it won’t change the inhabitants for her allure isn't just the awe-inspiring sunsets, the old-world ambience or that idyllic island stride of the day, but more so because people embrace you with their smiles and sense of rectitude. 

In the “smile” meter, we (Taclobanons) can learn from Baybayanons, I waved to an unknown gentleman sitting on the side road while passing through and he stood up not just to wave back but also to tip his hat off, so to speak, is this not a breath of fresh air? They do not have Tacloban’s razzmatazz but on my word, that air of courtesy is one I would trade in half of a heartbeat. 

Baybay has a spectacular nature scene, if you have the majestic mountains to your back the deep blue sea is to your front and the carbon by-products are certainly kept to a minimum. An established university named VSU is also here, the university itself is secluded near the mountains and appears to be serious with education, now this part I am hoping will get more favor with funding so it may be developed as one of the country’s premier universities because the potential already exists. 

And on to the streets, where is the rubbish? Yes there is a stray wrapper here and there but certainly not mounds of it like in Tacloban and other major cities. I have not checked Baybay’s footing in terms of politics but this will make one curious, could good governance and enforcement of the law be the reason for the impression of their orderly locale? For certain, if people live in a milieu of peace and order, courtesy and warmth is a sequelae. 

If I could wish some things for Baybay, it would be for a culinary revolution and a bona fide library or bookstore. The street barbecues are heralded as one of the best in our region and 2 coffee shops are in business here but it could use more. The coffee shop named "Ciudad" is the one that stands out as it is located foremost by the bay with coffee and tea to be enjoyed both indoors or al fresco. Other than that, it is as revitalizing as far as island living goes.

Population: 102,841 today, soon to be 102, 843?