Not too long ago I went to Manila with friends and family to celebrate the Grand Fiesta Gala Night for Resort World and their Grand Launch. I love going to Manila because I always feel such a sense of warmth amongst my friends who live there. Not to mention I also LOVE the food! I didn’t have the healthiest diet whilst I was visiting but the best tasting food never seem to be healthy, isn’t that the truth? I find local living to be fascinating. Asia also boggles my mind because there are always an endless sea of people and transportation is insane. I could never drive in the Philippines but I love watching the flurry of activity that always takes place on the streets. So much to look at.
There were a few highlights to this trip. It has been 3 years since my last visit to the Philippines so I was truly ecstatic to do all the things I loved and partied true Pinoy style! For the purpose of this blog and my love of food, you will see the foods from the gala I attended as well as some local favorites. So without further ado…lets dive into some pictures from this trip.
The room I stayed at in Resort World courtesy of my friends
Although I didn’t stay right in the heart of Manila, I was very happy with the hotel room that my friends put me up in with VIP service. There were butlers standing outside the door 24/7 catering to all your needs.
Preparing for my night out
Gala night was a blast. A whole evening filled with fantastic entertainment and delicious food. I was surprised at how well put together the whole event was and what made the gala evening all the more memorable was I got to meet Rex Navarrete, a famous comedian in the US from the Philippines. He really cracked me up during his performance. If you don’t know who he is, please check out his website!
Rex and I
Eating is certainly an integral part of Filipino culture and eating is exactly what I did the whole three days whilst I was there. I had a taste of the sumptuous local cuisine the very next day after gala night with a few friends I haven’t seen for years. They took me to a restaurant that served all my favorite dishes and I ate until I was stuffed and couldn’t move. I am going to share some pictures of the dishes we ordered but I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the pictures. Unbelievably, I ran out of battery on my camera and my iPhone and ended up having to use my iPad to take this photos.
If you have never tried Filipino lechon then you have certainly missed out in life! Where have you been? For those of you who have not had lechon, please do yourself a favor and get it at the next possible opportunity. Filipino lechon is a staple food in the Philippines especially during celebrations and festivals. It is usually served like a whole suckling pig but there are many varieties of this dish as well.
Sigsig Lengua – ox tongue sigsig style
Sisig is a Kapampangan term which means “to snack on something sour”. It is typically a dish of chopped pig ears and jowls, first boiled, then braised and fried before ending up piled onto an iron sizzling platter as shown. This version of sigsig was made from ox tongue and was so tasty.
Tinapa Ni Tiburico – crispy lumpia
Almost every Asian country has their own version of spring rolls and in the Philippines they call their lumpia. The version I had here was fried. However, the most common type of lumpia known as Lumpiang Sariwa refers to un-fried lumpia that is filled with sauteed veggies and meat and wrapped in a thin, homemade crepe–as opposed to store-bought spring roll wrappers.
For me, no meal is ever complete without a calamansi drink. Served ice cold it is very refreshing on a hot day. Calamansi is a small lemon from the Philippines. It is a popular fruit among Filipinos and often used because it is rich in Vitamin C, phrosphorus, Iron and Calcium and often used to prevent common sicknesses like cold, cough and flu. The first time I had this drink as a kid was because I got sick and one of my Filipino maids gave it to me as a preventative. Since then I have loved this drink.
On my last day in Manila, I had to make a trip to the Mall of Asia to buy some snacks to bring home. Going somewhere in Manila isn’t an easy feat because traffic is terrible. Somewhere that only takes 10 to 15 minutes can end up taking an hour.
One of the things about the Philippines is that their malls are huge. I am not a big shopper but for food…I will go that extra mile. In this case, I was on a snack hunt and it was not difficult to find what I was looking for because Filipinos love their snacks.
My trip to Manila even though it was short, I know I will be back soon. I used to visit 3 times a year so hopefully I won’t have to wait another 3 years until my next visit. Every trip always gives me such wonderful memories. I am eager to create more.