Secondary school in the Philippines opens to a lot of discoveries. Biology, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Chemistry, Balagtasan (Poetic Competition), Citizen Army Training (CAT), Music, and Physics to name a few. These are some of the most memorable lessons I've learned during my time. But the most unforgettable one for me, was studying two of the greatest novels written by our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, entitled, "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo."
These two books were written to stir patriotism amongst the Filipino people to fight for their civil rights against the Spaniards when they colonised the Philippines. In their own homeland, Filipinos had become slaves and were called to become rebels against the white dominance because of the way they were mistreated. Religion and status were hailed. And all of these controversies were reflected thru these 2 books. "El Filibusterismo" ("The Filibustering", a.k.a "The Reign of Greed"), the sequel to "Noli Me Tangere" (Touch Me Not), was more aggressive of its pursuit of a revolution as compared to the romantic and hopeful attack of the latter book.
Both books' protagonist is Crisostomo Ibarra, only at the second book, he was in disguise to a name of Simoun. And because of this character's remarkable love for the country and admirable patriotism, fast forward to the new generation called "now", a restaurant had been put up to honour "Crisostomo".
|Tinana ni Tiburcio|
Tinana plus salted egg wrapped
by the crispy lumpia wrapper.
Coming from a holiday vacation from Pico De Loro Beach Resort and Country Club, we headed at Crisostomo for dinner. The restaurant featured that big space that you would see in ancient Spanish houses. Wooden staircase, molave dining tables and wooden floors. Walls are plain white and there is a dirty ice cream cart that is part of the dessert treat.
My family and I took over the whole second floor almost (we are a big family) and on the way up, a huge painting of a "Sisa" or "Maria Clara" faces the last flight. It almost looked scary but as you look closely, it's almost a sad young woman in the picture.
If you have read both novels, you would appreciate the dishes named after the characters in the stories. It is very creative that they had come up with a fusion of your lola's old recipes with the trending flavours and plating of today.
This is such a hype amongst Balikbayans since it offers a one-of-a-kind experience to its customers. It is basically the two novels come to life. And for a fair price these Filipino delicacies were offered in the menu:
Lengua Laruja (Braised ox tongue with mushroom gravy), Sinigang Gomez (Pork Ribs in Tamarin Soup), Corregidor (Dinuguan a la Crisostomo, a savoury stew of pig's blood, finger chilli and garlic and vinegar), Don Rafael (Classic Crispy Pata), Calamares ni Tales (Fried Golden Calamaris with Garlic Mayo and Sweet Chilli Sauce) and Maria Elena (Kangkong with Lechon Kawali Chips). These were some of the viands we tried. But the winner of the night was the Cervantes (Stir fried vermicelli with pork leg and chestnuts topped with quail eggs).
My daughter loved her fresh coconut juice. My lovely cousins and I ordered familiar Filipino drinks like Iced Tea but they made it with a touch of Pandan leaves. There's also one of my favourites, Sago Gulaman, Four Seasons and Pineapple Juice. Pineapple juice may sound ordinary but Philippine pineapple juice exudes a distinct flavourful freshness as you sip it.
It was yet another fun time with my family as I get together with them only during special occasions. It was one of my cousin's wedding that's why we went home to Manila. And this was the last night my daughter and I had to stay in my hometown. So, my auntie brought us to the Macapagal branch at the Blue Bay Walk, Macapagal Avenue Corner EDSA, Libertad, Pasay City, Metro Manila.
|It was nice that Crisostomo makes every meal|
memorable by making a momentous shot available
as a souvenir for their customers to avail when eating in their restaurant.
We reached the place at around 9pm and we felt perfectly catered to right before we needed to clear out by 11pm. (Restaurant hours are from 11am-11pm). As it gains attention from foodies, it gets crowded at lunch and dinner time. May I suggest that you make reservations by contacting these hotlines:
Landline: (63-2) 8326592
Other branches stand at Alabang, Eastwood, Fairview, Katipunan, Newport and Nuvali, Laguna.
I highly recommend that if you're around these areas, take some time in enjoying a memorable meal at Crisostomo. I rate this restaurant 5 stars without hesitation and staff happily serves the customers. They are confident in recommending the best in the house and they are helpful in taking photos of your family for a good remembrance and Instagram post!
Crisostomo is one of Chef Florabel Co-Yatco's Restaurants. With an aim of making fine-dining non-intimidating to Filipinos with different wallet demands, she continuously seeks an enthusiastic team in making this happen. "Food makes people come together, therefore it should be pleasurable and enjoyed by all", according to her. Some of her must-try restaurants apart from Crisostomo are: Corazon, Elias, Felix, Sisa's Secret and her very first one, Florabel. She opened it in 2005 after working for Via Mare being an exclusive chef at a young age of 23.
Florabel started showing a promising career as a chef by baking and selling home made cookies to her classmates and families during her teenage years. Like any other successful entrepreneur, she pursued her dream by staying focused and believing in her craft.
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