Twice a Return

Did you return to somewhere you did not expect?

Kelvin and Cat were already at the National Art Gallery and I was running terribly late. I knew they wouldn’t be bored since they were surrounded by portraits and other art works. So, when I arrived huffing and puffing at the lobby, I just readied myself to search for them while enjoying the coolness provided by the air-conditioner. I texted them for their location and they replied: we’re at the Museum of the Filipino People, which meant they were at the building across the street.

I did not want to bear another moment under the punishing heat but they were at a different location, just a few meters away. And I was late. So I soldiered on to the correct place.

Never received another text from them but I found them easily; they were looking at the cannons and cannonballs. From there, I guided through the other galleries of the next floors. I even showed them were the slab of the Berlin Wall was! But all my knowledge ran out when we reached the fourth floor; I never reached it when I was last there.

Viewing the collection from Senator Loren Legarda, it looked like a frozen fashion show. All the pieces were delicate and beautiful, like butterflies of plant materials caged by headless and armless mannequins.

When we entered the baybayin (the Filipino alphabet) gallery, it felt like a review of high school and college Filipino. If it were an actual review, I would actually fail because frankly I hardly remember anything. Although my interest was truly piqued when I saw the logos of different departments and bureaus that incorporated the baybayin because the display revealed how the logos used the Filipino characters. I never knew they were baybayin at all!

After our little tour was over, we decided to have a late lunch. From the museum, we went to SM Mall of Asia. Kat was looking for burgers so I pointed her to IHOP. Because Kelvin was okay with the place, we entered, seated ourselves, and looked at the menu.

Going back to IHOP is surprising to me. It’s been years since I was at this branch. And while their menu looks different, the place still looks the same.

Cat asked for Mushroom Spinach Burger and Hot Tea. Kelvin and I wanted rice but they were on a limited supply and all the rice meals were out for the day, although they could swap certain for one cup of rice. Kelvin ordered the Breakfast Sampler (hash brown replaced by rice) paired with Iced Tea. Meanwhile, I had Tuscan Chicken Griller, which was drier than I expected. It only began to have flavor when I drizzled the syrups on to the chicken patty; I actually had fun doing it, although my two friends were wondering how it tasted. My weirdness prompted Kelvin to use syrups on his buttermilk pancakes and he liked it!

We ended our meal with Kelvin’s toasts bathed in syrup of choice and the Childhood Memories that I ordered. The tall dessert was chaos of textures and tastes: soft vanilla, fragrant strawberry, tart blueberry, crunchy hash brown bits, and chewy cheesecake pieces. It made me feel like a kid!

Museum of the Filipino People
Taft Ave, Ermita, Manila

Ground Floor, Music Hall, SM Mall of Asia


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