20 September 2014. After the three-hour research writeshop, which I facilitated for teachers held at Ateneo de Manila University, we met Ciel and Owie, two of my Manila-based pamangkins, at UP Diliman campus. The intention was to make a random visit of the Diliman Republic and nearby Teachers’ Village, where hole-in-the-wall eateries may be found.
Bookayukay. Before eating and discovering the foods Maginhawa St. at UP Village offers, we dropped by Bookayukay, a book-sale shop, which, despite its small space, is frequented by students and book enthusiasts alike. When we were there, there were like eight persons, trying to fit in themselves in the limited space there was. But that was the joy of locating books amid the heaps, when bodies almost hit one another, all in the name of finding that one golden treasure, reminiscent of Coelho’s “The Alchemist” (maybe it was just there).
Mine was found through Ciel: Paulo Coelho’s “Authorized Biography.” Two types were available–the real price and that one discounted, half the price. Of course, I went for the discounted, obviously. That was the only treasure I got because we were really hungry, we crossed the street and found Crazy Katsu.
Crazy Katsu. The place, true to its being a hole-in-the-wall, is small. Its specialty is that of katsu (literally means “shout” in Japanese) cuisine, marked by shredded cabbage and carrots with special soy-sauce condiment and fresh chili bits. Crazy Katsu has variations of this cuisine: with chicken and the other as salad. We ordered both, with individual orders of rice as partner. We enjoyed the servings washed down by lemon drinks. At affordable prices, you can have an oriental meal, a little hot or with a certain amount of kick to make you lose or shed off that stress of a busy week.
The Sweet Spot. In search of some desserts, we found The Sweet Spot, also along Maginhawa St. The place was filled with students and some families wrapping up the day, having some sips of coffee or conservative slice of sweets or pasta servings. Most were just there to enjoy a cool nook and wi-fi perks. We ordered three servings of their special cakes: ube cheesecake, strawberry cheese cake, and chocolate cheesecake, just to do away with that chili taste of the katsu cuisine we just had. We enjoyed the quick Internet connect that enabled us to communicate with Aussie-based Che. Overall, the experience was indeed sweet; we could go back here again.
More. There are many more we could have visited, like the Burger Project, which could be our next in the list. Maginhawa St. is a haven for budget-conscious eaters, but who are in search of foods and pastries that leave much memories, enough to create stories and fill in a blog space like this.
Like Dr. Jack Sheppard of the famous mystery TV series, Lost, we will certainly go back.
We must go back.
When we do, we will eat more and explore more and spend time more knowing the place well.