Quezon City – Metro Manila
Like Makati, Quezon City is a municipality in its own right but is still part of the sprawl of modern Metro Manila. In fact it’s the most populous city in the country and was the capital from just after the war until the late 70s.
I came here to catch the night bus to Legaspi as all the flights were full. I arrived seven hours early to make sure I got a ticket so had plenty of time to kill. I spent the first two hours drinking coconuts and wandering around lost until I worked out that the LP map needed to be the other way around! Eventually I found a taxi driver who pointed me in the right direction.
It wasn’t time wasted though. The west side of Cubao station seems to be where all the local Jeepneys park up. Originally made from the jeeps left behind by the US military after WW2, they have become a popular form of public transport and have evolved into a colourful symbol of Philippine culture.
I had a great time walking around taking photos of the best ones with their over top hood ornaments. Don’t worry about asking the drivers, they love it when you show interest in their rides and will happily pose behind the wheel. Remember you can just click on these thumbs to get a bigger picture.
The east side of Cubao station is much more developed and is full of malls. There’s a big covered market in front of you as soon as you come down the steps of the walkway from the station. One side of the market has about a hundred seafood stalls, with the same number of meat stands on the other side of the central passageway.
After this there is block upon block of malls and department stores. I was headed for Cubao Expo which sounds huge but is actually a really small arcade of cool little second hand shops selling various bric-a-brac, including vintage clothes, household items and old vinyl, hunting for the latter being a particularly favourite hobby of mine. There are a few bars and small restaurants too.
I was headed for the LP recommended Mogwai but it had either closed down or had moved elsewhere so instead I opted for Alan’s Grill (B-) which is a very chilled restobar. Fortunately I made it just in time before the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. I ended up staying a couple of hours and made use of the time by writing this post.
My ‘appetiser’ (although everything arrived at the same time) was Crispy Pritong Pusit (deep fried squid in batter) which is the Filipino equivalent of Spanish calamari although improved in my opinion by a bowl of soya and garlic dipping sauce (B+).
This being a grill house, I thought it would be good to try the Lechon (suckling pig) but wasn’t as impressed as I was hoping to be (B-). The flavour was improved by a bowl of sweet Lechon sauce from a bottle. Apparently the ingredients include pig liver, vinegar, garlic and brown sugar among various other things.
To finish Turon, a famous local dessert which involves banana wrapped in a crepe and deep-fried, but perhaps not enough in my case as the fruit was still a bit hard (B-). The name comes from the Spanish for nougat but bears no resemblance to the Iberian sweet.
With a few bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen to keep me company, Alan’s was a nice place to while away a few hours while the showers came and went, although the Beegees on loop got a bit much after a while. Eventually it was time to catch my bus so I braved the rain and walked back to the bus station to catch my night bus. Next stop Legaspi, on the east coast of Luzon.