The Palengkera’s Social Climber’s Guide

Call me hypocrite, but social climbing is one of my pet peeves as I don’t understand the concept. People who wish they weren’t are just revolting. Well, it’s true, I might be irritated to them because I just can’t be like them. Perhaps, I’m jealous or I just wanted to compete. Given that I’m not an expert of science nor history I can only speculate as to why we always have a drive in competing with the Joneses (have no idea what its equivalent in Filipino – ‘pataasan ng ihi’ na lang). At times it can be disastrous to oneself or to a fellow human in a relentless scramble to climb to the top.

On a flipside, there must be something good about being a Social Climber. It’s not always bad to brush elbows with the amigas or those we consider ‘sosyal’, famous or powerful. Being fascinated by social figures is not wicked per se, just as being a vegetarian is not in itself a proof of compassion. Okay – I just had a quick self-reflection (to justify my hypocrisy). A pause and a deep rational thought is needed before spilling judgement (grinning).

gourmand market

For example, a desire to get to know more of socialites like Liz Uy or Tim Yap is our natural tendency to be curious about other’s lifestyle beyond ours. Or it might have been due to our animal instinct to fight and survive. Perhaps, a desire for a better life. Or maybe rooted by low self-esteem or our desperate tendency for self-comparison which can be our motivation to excel and be great. You see, how can we ever know our progress if we don’t have point of reference.

gourmand market

One of the best place to social climb is where the Social herds are, behold- Night Markets. And where else is more sosyal than the famous Gourmand Market in Bonifacio Global City? They are just beside Central Square which usually opens 11am to 2am that runs on a 3-day event on weekends (this time Nov 13-15). You’d constantly hear the elites saying the likes of “Hey Dahlings”, “buddy”, “mah love, howya doin?” (ang aarte- char!), and what have you. And isn’t it fun to just sit there and wait for the catwalk of fashionable lads and hunky bachelors (dami guapo promise)? Yung ibang guys OA na- to the point of being Gayish na (mga beki). But hey, be ready with your budget. You can’t really find a shop that sells less than 200 for a crappy burger or sushi. Imagine a 4-tiny-slice salty Spam dipped in oil has cost me P150. Duh! Poor me. But then you don’t show how poor you are when attempting to social climb.

Hence, the Palengkera devised some etiquette of Social Climbing in Gourmand Market.

1. Be discreet when hungry. Walking from Market Market to Central Square is undeniably agonizing thus making you starving by the time you get there. For heaven’s sake, do not show excitement for the free sample food every stall offers. I get you, you are starving, so what you can do first is to give a lazy smile (konti lang), then ask what they are offering. Wait a little, they should offer you a sample and whala! When finished, give a compliment of how good the food is (kahit plastikan lang).

gourmand market

2. Politely decline some, just some. I know you are actually so Gutom, but please decline some taste testing. Mahahalata kasi mga patay-gutom. Just ask what it is then politely decline those you think are not worth your kapalmuks. For instance, don’t go for the oily na overly priced sushi spam, or the overrated cookies na parang matigas pa sa kalyo mo. But I tried the lemon cake and twas’ good.

gourmand market

3. Mind your Budget in a fabulous way. If you know you only have 500 on your pocket for the coming week’s allowance, carefully choose what you buy. Some are really overpriced without value for your money. Yung lechon belly cost you an arm and leg -P350, ilang piraso lang. Basta pili lang ng mejo sophisticated but not over P200.

gourmand market

4. Use Paper/brown bag on food not plastic or cellophane (especially the cheap one’s). Ang pangit dalhin lalo na pag sa stolen shots.. Provinciated baga.

cellophane_ from_wikihow

cellophane_ from_wikihow

5. Buy something. While you are practically sampling almost every morsel one is offering, buy something naman in return like a lemon juice or chips to show you are not just into tikim lang. Duh.

gourmand market

6. Pretend you know someone. If you’re alone maybe check your smart phone once in a while as if you are waiting for someone. Or maybe pretend you are calling and have some taglish hello’s to your imaginary friend. Para sosyal. Or say Hi to the vocalist as if you were close friends – nagawa ko na yan. Char char lng.

gourmand market
7. Imitate the demeanor of others. High-headed pag naglalakad, magsuod ng hindi madungis, Yung bago na nabili sa sale sa bench okay na. Mag lotion, magpabango ng hindi Bambini-like, yung maamoy pero di masang sang. Basta just Don’t wear anything na madungis.

gourmand market

8. Strike a good conversation. Yung as if you talk about ideas not people. Although mahirap yun -kunwari lang, tali-talinuhan lang. Observe how they talk, then laugh at them with your friends.

9. Make it a point you pronounce the name of the food well. If not sure, just shut up or try hushing it and see if you can get away with it. Mahirap na magkamali, mahahalata ang di sosyal. Ang Frappe is just “frap”, hindi frap-pe.  kaloka. croissant- krəˈsɑnt. ganun

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10. Practice more. And if you feel everything doesn’t work the way it should, just practice. At  tandaan, huwag mag papicture ng papicture, napaghahalata ang pagka-dukha.

gourmand market

Try it. Social climbing becomes a little less ridiculous if one acknowledges how to deal with it. As cliché as it sounds, if you can’t beat them, join them.


Buffalo Wings: Lava Resto Bar and Grill


buffalo wings slathered with bbq coater accented with basil flakes from Lava Timog

Buffalo + Wings floating on Lava along Timog?  Confused? By now, I suppose most already figured out that Buffalo wings do not come from a buffalo and certainly not cooked on lava. Well, the latter is slightly true but not in the context you think. I know it’s not hard to find good Buffalo wings in the Metro (T.G.I Fridays and BonChon serve mouthwatering wings) but one of the best is found in a new restaurant named Lava along Timog Ave in Quezon City.

lava timog

lava timog

For the past few days, I was pre-hypertensive but heck, if you were to offer me anything grilled and fried, I’ll indulge and surely forgets anything about wellness. More so with a luscious, juicy, tender, and spicy chicken wings.  I can eat them all day.

I’m glad a sweet Aunt from Honolulu sent me some goodies via my restaurateur/part owner cousin Jaja, lest I wouldn’t have had discovered this place – Lava.  I arrived in the restobar late in the afternoon, had some catch-up and some “super-landing tawa” until I wasn’t able to hide myself starving.  I got myself their Pork steak with rice and it was good(or fine), the usual pork drenched in some fancy sauce (remember an ice-cold coke will fill any gap).  But I was very impressed with the next course, the Buffalo Wings courtesy of the host. And while one may argue that it’s impossible to say one is better than the other (just fried chicken wings dipped in a reddish-sweet sauce), that could not be true. I was not expecting it to be that remarkable so much so that I can’t figure out what adjectives to attach with.

lava timog

lava timog

Others might say, Buffalo wings should be crispy on the outside, I’d say not necessarily true. The one in Lava is not that crispy, but I guess they were just overwhelmed by the buttery-sweet-spicy sauce it was dipped on, but ‘twas tender and with bubble-skin-on nonetheless. Those two-cut wings can melt literally on your mouth with the only things left inedible to spew are those equally tasty-tiny-juicy bones. I prefer my wings super spicy, however Lava can adjust it to your preference. There’s this tangy feel on the bbq elixir balanced with spice, and all the freakin’ grease -in a good way (I mean all foods without fat and grease taste dull and boring). Overall, the buffalo wings in Lava is magic and all flowery words you can think are understatement.

sarap-to-the-bones buffalo wings- lava

what’s left? One bone from the host, everything else were mine.

Jaja suggested to pair our pulutan with a locally-made beer I haven’t heard of. This is what I’ve been looking for, an ice-cold beer with citrusy aroma which you can identify with one of that of a western brand in a blind taste test. Oh, beer! You see, I totally forgot that blood pressure thing.

brew kettle- lava

oh heaven! (brew kettle beer)

I also tried their Hawaiian pizza. Look below then you be the judge. :0

lava timog

lava timog

I’m sure every menu in Lava are great, but the rest of the menu will be explored on my next visit. Note: they also have choices of Pasta and burgers. One of their best sellers is the Baby back Ribs- next time my dear.

lava timog

lava timog

lava timog

lava timog

For now, I can’t move on with the Buffalo Wings.

Lava is located along Timog Ave, ground fl of Puregold Junior, just beside Plaza Ibarra Events Place.

Lost in Binondo: Palengkera and Friends

As a Palengkera, I thought I know Divisoria and Binondo that much, apparently not. I’ve been there a gazillion times as a wanderer and a cheap-seeker, I never thought I still gonna get lost.


Chinatown/Binondo Area

A friend suggested we pay a visit to Divi last weekend as humans were partying in the eternal parks, we assume to avoid the hustle. We left at 6am via the PNR (my friend’s first time to ride the rustic-dinosaur train). We didn’t have a plan anyway, no list to buy, we just wanted to wander and bring the “come-what-may” demeanor. Yes, we were right. Divi was almost a ghost town, malls were still closed (but I knew that on the onset since it’s still 7am), few street/sidewalk vendors were still setting-up. You see, we really had nothing to do by then. We decided unanimously to feed our rumbling stomach. We were aiming to eat somewhere in Binondo/China Town. And so we got lost.


tired legs

We started to walk along Recto going to 168 Mall to 999, we knew there were no shops open yet. I volunteered to be a leader (for once), and followed my instincts. I really was “nagmamaganda” and carry my “know-it-all” kembot. But we were literally lost. But as they say “someone gave us mouth, so we might want to put in good use”. We did, but to no avail. We were like in Sahara on a 90 degree where we didn’t know what path to take. I was seriously ready to give in and just sit or lie down on the floor. Imagine the grease we had and I felt like I smell like the sewers we passed. The smell of the area was not pleasant I tell you. After the never ending walk, lo and behold – we saw Ongpin Street- and that’s when we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.


Binondo Church

On the bright side, walking around Binondo was like blast from the past, a living museum. It was nice to see Binondo Plaza, the old church, the ancient PNB building, bricked buildings and anything oldy. Establishments and restaurants were also pattered to the Chinese ambiance, something Chinese were incorporated with them.



Along Ongpin, we chance upon this open restaurant – Four Season Cuisine. It was nothing fancy, it felt like an ordinary Chinese carinderia to me (or we were just too hungry to be picky). But then the crowd started to build up and you know that something is good when you see long lines in a restaurant. They offer crab egg omelet, dugo guisado, oyster omelet, port spareribs, dimsum, tofu guisado, mixed veggies and wide array of noodle soup. I saw the menu and it looked kinda affordable to me.


Four Season Cuisine

My friends ordered siomai/dimsum, spareribs, fried tofu, fried rice, morcon (don’t know if it’s an accurate name for it).


long line at the Four Season Cuisine

I had this sumptuous mixed noodle soup. Heaven (not that I was hungry).


Mixed Noodle Soup

Outside the restaurant, I chanced upon a strange fruit. I saw it sometime ago in facebook posted by my aunt from the west. The vendor saw me staring at it and he offered me to try so he cut a portion of it.  I felt the need to buy the whole fruit – and guess how much? P105. I maintained my composure to look like I’m “sosyal and mayaman” (char!).  Looking like a cross between tomato, peach and an apple. It tasted like bland chiko without the grainy feel.


curious case of persimmon

Well, I say, it’s okay to get lost at times when you end up to something wonderful, something nice. It maybe painful at first, but we have to have a point of reference for being happy – that is to endure first. Did it sound like I justified my mistake?


at the PNR