Meeting the Faceless Friend | Guys’ Food Trip

Have you met someone online who has yet to show you his face?

Of the first eight people I met in the Internet, one had that principle; he chose not to show his face to anyone. Even with constant invites to meet up, he turns them down. And when he started reconsidering such invitations (when everyone has had enough of doing so), he still says that he will not have his picture taken, which is kind of contradicting since one of his known social network accounts’ profile picture has his face in there. And so does the banner.

That’s why when I met another person who basically has the same principle, it’s no longer new to me.

What I really wondered about is, if ever, would he agree to meet. Turns out he does. Although he doesn’t want his picture taken as well or, if there is picture taken, just don’t upload onto the Internet. He wants to keep his identity as down low as possible.

And that is why you will only see pictures of food in this post.

Finding Friends

According to my directions, we rendezvous at a popular bookstore at a mall in Manila.

Why a bookstore? A good number of my friends are readers or, to the least, can easily be curious about books. And whiling the moments away in a bookstore can provide sufficient distraction. The staff knows that the people who go in there tend to linger and—despite the rules of no private reading—actively browse and end up reading.

But apparently, the bookstore could only hold him captive for so long. When we came in, I texted him for his whereabouts. He said he was outside.

I saw a guy go past the door. Our gazes met. “Jin?” I asked. He answered me with a question. “Mati?”

Since our party was now complete, on to the introductions: “Jin, everyone. Everyone, Jin.” That was more for formality. He already knew everyone else really; he already met Jake and Sid online. The next logical thing to do was to drag them around the mall until we got to our first stop.

Italian Dinner

Though it was everyone’s first time at Bistro Ravioli, they left the orders to me.

A friend recommended the place to me and said that each serving was good for two. And the quality was great. I agree with the quality but not with the size. The four of us are guys. Guys tend to have big appetites. But they made up for that with the terribly good taste.

Jin was served the spinach and feta ravioli, Sid had the Bolognese spaghetti, Jake the mushroom and mozzarella ravioli, while I had three cheese ravioli. We divided the Margherita pizza among us. It was open plate session; we tasted what everyone was eating. Consensus is mine bore the full-bodied taste, Jin’s had that surprise center, Jake the delightful light mix, and Sid’s was the traditional recipe.

Pizza was left for last. As much as I’d like to comment on it, I don’t remember how it tasted. We never finished all of it, since we had to move to the next restaurant. So we had it bagged and Jake took it home.

If there was really something that we’d complain about, they did not have bottomless drinks. So when our peach and red iced teas were finished, all we could count on were the melted ice for refreshment.

Filipino Ice Cream

Slowly, Sebastian’s is becoming my go-to dessert stop.

I love how their menu keeps changing. I hate how their menu keeps changing. I can live with that. Change makes it all more interesting. Also, compared to other ice cream shops whose flavors are predictable, Sebastian’s boasts of unmistakably Filipino tastes. It uses seasonal fruits, popular rice cakes, and even pays homage to artists every once in a while as the bases for their flavors.

My friends looked like kids when we were there. Picking out sweets does that, I guess.

From left to right, clockwise: Guyabano, Sapin-Sapin, Mango Sansrival, and Santol ice creams
From left to right, clockwise: Guyabano, Sapin-Sapin, Mango Sansrival, and Santol ice creams

First to pick was me; I had sapin-sapin. Jin chose mango sansrival and he recommended the guyabano to Jake, who agreed to it. Sid’s was santol. Mine was weirdly sweet, which spoke of my character in so many ways. Jin’s was familiar and yet with a slight twist. Jake’s was subtle and refreshing. Sid had that aftertaste, which I preferred on a hot dish than on a cold dessert.

Hanging Out

How I’d love to regale you with details of our conversations—but that would bore you to no end. And it would’ve been great to show you even just one picture of the four of us, three wearing glasses but all suffering from various eye strains.

It has been a while since I hung out with friends. Despite cold weather because of the rain, it felt great and even warm to be around friends.

Seeing them was indeed fun.

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