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Vintage finds, formals for rent and turon croissant in the neighborhood

By VICKY VELOSO-BARRERA, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 03, 2023 5:00 am Updated Oct 03, 2023 9:51 am

When I first wrote about the fascinating cafes, unique shops, pottery studios and other little holes in the wall that make our barangay so charming, fellow residents said there needed to be a Part 2 for all the other places I didn’t include.

Well, here is that Part 2 now, and this tour goes beyond the boundaries of Laging Handa but is still within the general vicinity. If you don’t live in Quezon City you can make a day trip of this itinerary and you won’t have time to cover everything!

It’s a slice of everyday Filipino life crammed with creativity, yummy food, beauty where you don’t always expect it, and I’m so glad I call it home.

The restaurant is, like many businesses in this area, a converted house that also happens to be light, bright and airy. It is warm and cozy with light woods, plants and the promise of good coffee. 

Turon croissant with puff pastry as crisp as fried lumpia wrappers at Olivia’s on Scout Castor

There’s much more than good coffee in fact, and the menu will leave you in a quandary because everything looks so good. They look even better after I try their turon croissant, the ephemeral layers of puff pastry so flaky and so like crisp fried lumpia wrappers. 

The ube ice cream affogato was very nice, as was another croissant with a Pinoy twist—the bibingka croissant stuffed with cheese and salted egg.

Guardian lion-dogs at Takamura Japan Surplus always come in pairs.

Closer at hand (to my house, I mean) is Tahanan Pottery which I’ve already written about in the past. But currently they are displaying the lovely work of famous pottery artists Ugu Bigyan, Nelfa Querubim and John Pettijohn, in addition to those of owners Victor and Rita Gudino. They can be booked for even single sessions, which are so much fun.

I walked with friends Anson and Manu one morning and we had such a nice time poking into places like Prologue where I bought their delicious Danish cinnamon rolls and met Allen Oblena of Rescued Furniture. The store is located a block away from me.

Now I know where to send people looking for formals to rent for shoots, videos etc.

Having been a child in the Sixties with black-and-white TVs, the pieces resonate. But Allen doesn’t just rescue them from the junk pile, he up-cycles and twists them around into strangely appealing, functional forms so that the old TV set is now a pull-out bar.

Luggage is eye candy at Love 123 Luggage x Camille.

We headed down to Tomas Morato where I finally had a chance to pop into Love 123 Luggage x Camille. As you can guess this carries luggage, in pastels or textured metallics, hailing from Korea. I like them! Will stop by before my next trip for sure.

On one side of Love 123 is a cheerful looking Yvana’s Gown and Suit Rental, Est. 2013. If you thought formals for rent would look dusty and drab, this will dispel that notion. Plus when you need to shoot pre-debut or pre-wedding videos this is perfect.

A retro barber shop for a modern look

Then on the other side of Love 123 is Supremo Barber, a “gentleman’s barber” which seems determined to rope in the males of a younger generation and introduce them to the world of pomade.

If you want to immerse yourself in something apart from food, fashion and objects of desire, feed your soul instead at any of the four top art galleries in the area.

Gravity Art Space is attached to Nanka, a yummy Japanese restaurant of Peruvian persuasion. Its attractive two-level structure is home to contemporary art that feels young, edgy and reflective of today’s world. It’s a similar kind of energy at Kalawakan Space Time located at the corner of Quezon Avenue and Roces.

Ronante Maratas’ “Neptune Pop” exhibit at Kaida Gallery on Scout Madrinan

Quezon City attracts creatives whose groundbreaking works feel very at home in neighborhoods dating back to the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies such as the one I live in and have been describing. 

Superduper Gallery at Eleventh Jamboree and Kaida Contemporary on Scout Madrinan are to me something of those contrasting worlds that coexist so well in Japan—the very young in an old space, opposite worlds that cocoon each other with style and grace.

A tree of “bonsais”

It is very pleasant, in fact, to go walking in the mornings or when it cools down later in the afternoon. The residents take extra care and pride in their horticultural displays so that every time I walk I am forever taking photos of flowering ornamentals, a tree pruned to look like it’s sporting a dozen bonsais, branches of dragonfruit poking through walls. Many people walk their dogs, each cuter than the next. 

Dragon fruit branches extend out from a wall of ivy.

Even the barangay chat group is for me highly entertaining to scroll through, detailing the ins and outs and ups and downs, errant neighbors and lost cats, noisy restos and snake sightings. It’s a slice of everyday Filipino life crammed with creativity, yummy food, beauty where you don’t always expect it, and I’m so glad I call it home.