The not-so Maginhawa Food Fest

If you live around Diliman area or anywhere in QC, or if you are a fan of emerging restaurants in Metro Manila, or just someone who enjoys eating and drinking a lot, you probably have attended the Quezon City Food Festival last Saturday. The so-called food fest was part of the city’s 75th Anniversary celebration. (Segue: I realized that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is older than Quezon City. What.) Anyway, words about the event were broadcasted rather quickly—pub mats (publicity materials) circulated around social networking sites through photo sharing. Tarpaulins were positioned on every pole around Maginhawa Street where the event was held.

Around 7pm that night I went there with Dexter, and the moment we saw the swarm (yes, swarm) of people, we knew we were submitting ourselves to utter disorder. Our first stop was supposedly a burger joint owned by a college classmate, but when we arrived there they were closing the shop already. Two restaurants beside it have also closed early. Our suspect: they ran out of food. That they were done for the day. We walked further amidst the pool of people who, like us, seemed to be searching for a decent place where they could eat.

Literally, every restaurant, hole-in-the-wall cafes, even hotdog stands were full with customers. Some were already closed. You have no idea how stressful it was to find a place just to sit down. People were everywhere. The only good thing about that number of people is that we were able to see a few acquaintances who we don’t normally see. I even said hi to some of my students and a colleague.

In the end we decided to just dine at the newly-relocated Tomatokick in Malingap Street. We walked toward the restaurant slash beer joint only to be disappointed with the still-massive number of people there. It got me bonkers! I have no idea how many were we in QC at that moment though I am sure it’s way more than the population of the Million People March Against Pork Barrel last year. At the back of my head, I wanted to just walk home, which was just practically five minutes away from that legion of assemblies of Saturday night party peeps.

We waited. And waited. And we waited some more. Patrons came while no one went. Really, the scene there was, if you already found a good spot in a restaurant, you wouldn’t leave it unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ll go home. Otherwise, you’re back to square one.  Another friend came and after a couple of frowned upon moments, we were seated by the good people of Tomatokick. I ordered aligue pesto and Dex had the seafood marinara. And of course,

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Around 11 we parted ways to meet each other’s cliques. While Dex went straight to another drinking pub, I headed to Moonleaf Tea Shop where my Creative Writing friends were chilling. Little did I know that we will also be drinking beer there.

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From left- Shan, Sigrid, me, Vinceent, Bop, Markus, and Ysabel

I decided to go home around 1am with three realizations: one, that I am officially a crowd-hater; two, over-publicity is apparently not a nice thing after all; and three, I would rather stay home than go through that experience with chair-hunting. The mini concert in the middle of the street didn’t assuage my feels—neither did the classic giant beer balloon by San Miguel nor the midnight fireworks.

Nonetheless, congratulations to the organizers. It was a success, and I’m pretty sure many had a nice time. Nice, that’s the prettiest word I could spare from my vocabulary. Haha.

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