Silver Skies of Manggapuri

Last January, a convoy of high school classmates (now lifelong friends and brothers even), headed for a Recollection (spiritual retreat) at Manggapuri Villas in Don Salvador Benedicto, a quiet, mountainous town in the northern part of the province. We travelled for about thirty minutes from Bacolod City, where we assembled and had lunch.

For many of us, it was the first time we saw each other since March of ’95, our secondary school graduation from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias City. While some stayed in Victorias and Bacolod, some went to universities in Manila and Cebu. We all sort of “moved on with our lives”. Over the last 25 years, we have traversed our own adventures, romances, sagas, soap operas, and fairy tales, so to speak. 

Quite a number of our batchmates are based overseas but we try to organize an occasional catch up over food and drinks either in Manila or in Bacolod. But that day, January 29, was no ordinary day. We have reunited once again after twenty-five years—our Silver jubilee. 

We weren’t complete though as others can only come later for the alumni homecoming and the unforgettable affair we organized in a hotel ballroom to pay tribute to our former mentors, which, to us, was the highlight event of what our batch has prepared for our turn to host.

The event we organized was entitled, “Our Teachers, Our Heroes.” It was a very rare moment that we got to party with our past teachers and they came in superheroes costume, too. There were fun games, contests, lucky draws (every one of them won something), singing, and dancing. We’re glad that they really enjoyed their time with us, but the truth is, we enjoyed it more. And as the title suggests, they are indeed our heroes and we will always be grateful to them. Always.

Manggapuri has spectacular views, that’s a given, but the hotel resort was most appropriate for our Recollection because of its undisturbed atmosphere and it has its own charming chapel on top of the property. One of the facilitators was also a batchmate of ours, and he invited two other priests to have a talk and share some modern life lessons from the scriptures before he officiated the mass. Saint John Bosco must be so proud.

The venue was booked entirely for our batch from afternoon until the morning of the following day. Manggapuri has seven rooms of varying sizes and it can comfortably accommodate up to 42 guests. It is a stunning venue for weddings, debuts, team buildings, staycations, and other special events. Guests are welcome to bring their own tents.

Another great and important facet of Manggapuri is, of course, the food. The kitchen crew is spearheaded by Chef Lito Manlait. He has been with the family of the owners of Manggapuri for over twenty years. All the dishes that were served for our merienda, dinner, and breakfast were simply delicious. Snaps to Chef Lito and his very friendly, accommodating, and helpful team.

Manggapuri faves: Tablea – which they grow in the family’s hacienda; Puto Maya – with hints of ginger, sugar, and salt; and the Beef Trotter in ginger and tanglad (lemongrass).

As mentioned earlier, that was no ordinary Recollection and get-together for all of us. We bonded together like brothers. Nobody was above anyone and everybody showed each other equal amount of love, acceptance, and respect–just as how Don Bosco treated the youth, all youth.

We were blessed with glorious weather, brilliant facilitators, terrific venue, picture-perfect skies and sunset, fantastic food and spirits, and the very memorable experience of togetherness while reminiscing all the happy, naughty, and funny high school memories. What a lovely celebration of friendship, love, and camaraderie! That won’t be the last time for sure.

Don Bosco – Victorias Batch 95 aims to continue its outreach programs and civic initiatives across the country. Find out more HERE.

Manggapuri Villas
Booking contact numbers: 034 2139282; 0917 3010599
Email: chiflores@msn.com

#KabiseraNYC: The not-so-new-kid in Lower East Side

Situated at the Lower East Side (LES) of Manhattan, Kabisera Café is one of the most trendy cafes along Allen Street. It opened its doors in December of 2017 and it recently moved to a newer and bigger space (just right beside its previous spot which is now Angela’s Ice Cream & Desserts).
 
Kabisera still takes pride in its specialty coffees and other Kabisera-curated favorites such as: Iced Espresso Oat Latte, Almond Chaitado, Affogato, Ube Latte, Matchube (Matcha cum Ube), Golden Latte (Turmeric infused beverage), White Spice Mocha, Vitalitea and many more.
 
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It has become the go-to place by Lower East siders and tourists alike, either to hang out, dine or grab a to-go cuppa. “Our regulars know their coffee and we’re happy to slush their favorite beverage to jumpstart their day. It just feels great to become a part of their daily routine.”, shared Carla Mongado, Actor/Singer and part-time Barista at Kabisera.

The Menu

This Filipino-inspired cafe has pioneered in introducing the Purple Rice Bowl (Tofu bowl), Pork Longganisa Quesadilla and Chicken Adobo Panini in New York City. Their menu includes interesting fusion of contemporary and traditional Pinoy flavors. As for desserts, they have pastries like Lemon squares, Smores brownie, Pecan pie, Maja Blanca, Bibingka, Cassava cake and Ube ice cream which perfectly complement their food menu. Kabisera also features seasonal desserts such as Halo-halo, Frozen Brazo de Mercedes and Palitaw.


 
The Kamayan

Kabisera is also known for its successful Kamayan lunch and dinner parties. Kamayan is the Filipino traditional way of eating sans the knife and fork. The dishes are served on top of a banana leaf and it’s meant to be shared and enjoyed as a family or as a group. You may contact Kabisera for their available Kamayan packages or if you want to customize the menu and style for your feast.

 
For huge groups who need space for closed-door soirees, the place easily transforms from a cafe into an event venue with a seating capacity of 20 to 30 persons and a maximum room of 35 pax. Meetings and parties may be booked at least two or three days before the event schedule.

The Beans

Kabisera has teamed up with a roastery in Brooklyn to customize three coffee bean varieties: Kaulayaw, Silakbo and Dalisay. Kaulayaw is the balanced and smooth variety which they use for their espresso-based drinks. Silakbo is strong and full-bodied which make for their iced coffee, drip coffee and cold brew. The Dalisay roast is the fruity and sweet variety. Kabisera’s coffee beans come from Central and South America with its roastery in Brooklyn, New York.

The Heads of the Table

The term Kabisera means the head of the table. Hence, let’s introduce you to its heads of the table–the hospitable couple Augee and Joey. Augee aka Dj Chinita is the big wheel when it comes to the coffee, food and banquet departments while Joey takes care most of the purchasing and the physical attributes of the cafe. Together they formed an awesome lot of personable baristas and kitchen crew to take care of their customers.
 
When asked about what made them decide to open a Filipino cafe in Manhattan, Augee Francisco, owner of  Kabisera said, “I want Pinoy flavors to have a representation in the New York City’s food scene–in such a way that’s casual yet inventive and high quality yet affordable.”
 
 
Kabisera for Everyone
 
While it’s the first Filipino establishment in LES to introduce the Filipino hospitality to the neighbourhood, it has already gained patrons of diverse culture and ethnicity since it opened. Kabisera continues to embrace and respect everyone’s individuality as it is one with the Women and the LGBTQI community in the struggle for gender equality.
 
“It is a joy to be able to share with everyone who comes to Kabisera, what Filipino hospitality is like. As I always say, we value, respect and take good care of our customers, otherwise, we won’t be living this dream of ours now.”, Francisco added.
 
What they say about Kabisera
 
“I live on the other side of the street and there’s also a cafe near my apartment building but I choose to come to Kabisera because of the good service. They’re all friendly and they treat me like family.” — Nenad, Manager at The Box NYC

“I start my day at Kabisera with my cortado, perfectly prepared by genuinely friendly baristas.”, Hugo, LES Resident.

Visit and follow #KabiseraNYC on social media. For every coffee-based beverage you purchase, you get your loyalty card star-stamped and your fifth drink is free. Ask your barista for your own personalized card.

Kabisera Café
151 Allen St., Manhattan, New York City 10002
Contact: 929 920 8250; kabiserakape@gmail.com
 
Photo credits: Kabisera, Carla Mongado

Brandy

You left so
Quietly; There were
No cries, no howls.

I’m sorry, I
Didn’t pay
Attention to
Your pain and
Suffering. I’m
Sorry.

We’ve had loads of
Joyous moments, just
Our own; We
Played, ran, walked
And ate
Together.

You became a part
Of me; You’ve eased
My aches, when
Days are bleak
And dismal.

I will hold you
Dear, here in
My heart–here inside
My soul.

Rest now
dearest, Brandy. Rest
now.

🐾 24 January 2019

One Forty Point Six

Woke myself to run
Tracking you every second
In support and solidarity
So cheerily I, donned
The Ironman 70.3 tee

As you race, let the elements
Be ever your fire
In all moments–
Smooth or tightwire

Flow like water
Hear its whisper
Be strong like earth
It molded you from birth
Fly like the wind
Feel it comfort
your face, your skin

Clear, blithe skies
Your guide and usher
Bring forth big smiles
Come intense heat or wet weather

Endure the pain
You are your own companion
Yet trust you’re fain
To champion

To wholly finish
One forty point six

Photo credit: Cyprus Malinao

The next day..
E: How does it feel to wake up as an Ironman?
T: I’m hungry!!!
E:

*Kristine Gumabay, a founding member of Race2Share, finished IRONMAN Malaysia 140.6 with an impressive timing of 15:31:23.