Oct 18, 2009

Dinner at Fort Bonifacio

I just realized that I never wrote about my last trip back home in 2008. So the next set of blog entries will be dedicated to my amazing two-week trip and the many fond memories of food, travel, friendships and family.

On my first evening in Manila, my friends Billy and Eliza Valtos, hosted a fabulous dinner in my honor in their condo in Fort Bonifacio. What was amazing is the fact that this dinner was planned in one night. I emailed Billy during my lay-over in Narita and told him that I was going to be home in a couple of hours. He told me to come over his house the following day. He also invited dear friends, Donnie and Crickette Tantoco, to join us.

It has been several years since we were all in the same room. Besides the occasional email's and yearly Christmas card, a face to face get together was way due. Billy was my best man in our wedding. Donnie and Crickette's twin daughters, Camille and Nicole, were our flower girls. There's nothing better than reuniting with great friends who live a thousand miles away. It was just unfortunate that my wife wasn't with us for this impromptu reunion. The evening was also a celebration of sorts as Crickette announced that she was officially retiring from her marketing job to focus more on raising the kids.

Upon entering their residence, I was welcomed by the aroma of sampaguita (the Philippines' national flower) which "super-hostess", Eliza, hung from the ceiling and chandeliers. In an instant, I knew I was back home. Eliza just has the knack for interior decorating, mixing family heirloom pieces with her vast collection of Filipiniana artifacts. There were no details missed: from the Santo Nino display to the array of books, candles and photos on her coffee table.

Hors d'oeuvres were served in the "clean" kitchen along with champagne. Filipino's like to have two kitchens in their home; a "clean" kitchen for the nicer appliances and seating area and a "dirty" kitchen where all the actual cooking is done. Sounds silly, but you never have to worry about cleaning up your kitchen when visitors come over without notice!

Billy whipped out the big California cabs from his cellar to match the prime Iowa steaks he served for the main course. But as much as we enjoyed the phenomenal dishes and wines, this night was about friends reconnecting, and for one more time, adding another moment to our treasure chests of very fond memories. It was just like old times.

Each guest took home a jar of honey from the provinces. The cowboy and horse centerpiece was a permanent fixture at her grandparents dining table which now graces her home.

Donnie and Crickette enjoy the garnishes that came with the steaks

Pastillas de leche ng kalabaw (Carabao milk candy) from the province of Bulacan

Eliza's centerpiece coffee table

Santo Nino statues adorned the piano in the living room

The staff in the "dirty" kitchen


Gourmet Traveller said...

Looked like you had fun in Manila. Billy was a regular at my restaurant BELUGA.

George Aquino said...

Sure did. Once Billy likes a place, he sticks with it. It must be very good. I have to try it next time I'm home. Do you still own it?

ortigas house said...

Fort Bonifacio definitely offers good services not only on premier restaurants and good foods,but also on good properties to invest on. Fort Bonifacio continues to develop as one of the future business location in the Philippines.

jarell said...

There's a lot of restaurants located at Fort Bonifacio that offers variety of mouth-watering food. I hope you find time ti visit this place.

fort bonifacio houses said...

When you visit fort bonifacio, try to go to different restaurants and taste the foods that they offer.