Sunday, March 17, 2013

Explore Philippine Culture in Mabuhay Restop Cafe

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Mabuhay Restop is a restaurant located near Rizal Park and Manila Ocean Park. I found this cafe very unique as it lets you explore the culture, places, and food in the Philippines! 

Mabuhay Restop Cafe.
Being Filipino, I am already familiar with our culture. However, the overall concept of this cafe made me appreciate it more. The moment you enter the door, you will see Filipino inspired decorations and furniture. This cafe is all about being Filipino! 

The cafe is Filipino inspired.
I first approached the souvenir shop (shopping as always!). They sold products made by local manufacturers and from Gawad Kalinga. What caught my attention were the artisan chocolates by Theo&Philo. I never thought I would see Dark Chocolate with Siling Labuyo (Dark Chocolate with Red Hot Chili Peppers.... hehehe). I wonder what it would taste like. 

The souvenir shop in Mabuhay Restop Cafe. 

The Theo and Philo artisan chocolates.

Dark Chocolate with Siling Labuyo. 
There was more upstairs! The museum featured Filipino art in various forms of media.
The art museum in Mabuhay Restop.

That sungka brings a lot of nostalgia.

The I Am Filipino art exhiibit. 
At around 7PM, we were treated to a heart-filled buffet of Filipino food! There were even some dishes that I didn't know, like Bangus with Tamarind. The buffet included  Adobong Kangkong (I don't usually eat veggies but this one is awesome!), Beef Caldereta, Sotanghon Guisado, Shrimp with Alavar Sauce, and of course it won't be complete without Plain Rice. 

The buffet is served with a beautiful stained glass art background!





I want to show you my favorite seafood. Shrimp with Alavar Sauce.

That big black pot housed the yummy Chicken Binakol! You need to put it in those coconut shells! Creativity!

Tetchie's Pinoy Salad was delicious, too, especially the sauce!
What I liked more were the desserts! The Mango Sago was creatively placed at the center of a mango! I love the Halo-halo station because you will be given the chance to put in your desired toppings! 

The Mango Sago.

The great and awesome Halo-halo station! 
The taste of each of these Filipino dishes were top notch! I absolutely loved it. Each dish was cooked to perfection. The vermicelli of Sotanghon Guisado was soft yet firm. I have never eaten  sotanghon with that kind of consistency. The Beef Caldereta was very flavorful. The most impressive dish for me was Chicken Binakol! Its warmth and flavor...yummy yummy! 

My own serving of Chicken Binakol.
For the first time, I was able to appreciate Filipino food and be proud of it! It was an unforgettable gastronomic experience! Allow me to say this in Filipino: Patok na patok sa panlasa!

By 8PM, the owner Ms. Rose Cabrera welcomed us. She told us about her passion to help people through Gawad Kalinga. Ms Cabrera came from the U.S. but she chose to move here in our country. I admire her mission to promote the Filipino culture not just to foreigners but to fellow Filipinos, as well. 

Ms Rose Cabrera giving a welcome speech.
Then, we were treated to the musical-comedy cultural show entitled Manila Vanilla. Oh! I just love the the theater! I was laughing from beginning till end, appreciating Filipino folk dances in between.

The artists greeting the audience at the start. 'Credit is good but we need cash'.  

Manila Vanilla is inspired by the local ice cream called sorbetes. 'What is sorbetero in English?... An ice cream ENTREPRENUER'.

You get to know Philippine history too! 

My favorite segment: The Waiter from Hell! I couldn't stop laughing at this!

LOL! The wind beneath my wings...
The Filipino folk dance, Tinikling. 
The food and the cultural show was a whole load of fun! The buffet dinner plus Manila Vanilla show is scheduled on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 7PM-9PM (See the complete schedule here). The overall price is PhP695. 

The price is not bad. Other restaurants serving buffet is priced more or less the same and it doesn't include a cultural show. 


Aside from these, Mabuhay Restop also offer travel packages. They have the Kalinga Tour which will take you to a Gawad Kalinga Village and Philippine Tourist Spots. They have tours in the provinces, too!  They also have the Bayan Tour which is a three-hour educational tour in Rizal Park. Visit their website http://www.mabuhayrestops.com for more details.

With every purchase, you will be able to help others as 30% of the profit goes to Gawad Kalinga.  That alone is enough motivation for me to come back. :)


I say that you should drop by Mabuhay Restop! Trust me, you won't forget that Chicken Binakol and those funny lines from Manila Vanilla! In going to Mabuhay Restop, tell the driver to drop you off when you see the Manila Ocean Park signage in the entrance to Quirino Grandstand. You can't miss it! 

I plan to visit again, too. Maybe I should go there by day so that I could see the beautiful stained glass art as projected by sunlight:

A breathtaking sight! Photo by Mabuhay Restop

2 comments:

Mabuhay Restop said...

Thank you very much Mariel for your article! We are happy that you enjoyed your visit at Mabuhay Restop :-) See you again soon!

Angel Mariel said...

I will surely be back! :)

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