Surviving Rush Hour on Maginhawa Street by Inna Cruz Have you ever been stuck in a place full of people at a certain time of the day? Did you feel like a sardine being squished into a small area with barely any room to breathe or move? If you answered yes to both questions, you would know that those are the two things that occur during rush hour. Rush hour is said to be “a time during each day when traffic is at its heaviest.” –an example of which is EDSA from 5pm to 7pm or even the LRT and MRT lines at 5:30am to 8am, then again at 4pm to 7pm. If you are one of those people who have never been to Maginhawa Street and upon arriving you find yourself at the end of very long lines in all of the eateries you visit, you should know that it is an occurrence known as, “Maginhawa Street Rush Hour”. A typical “Maginhawa Street Rush Hour” would be around lunchtime (12 noon – 1pm) and after school (3:30pm to 6pm). None of the traffic is on the
street itself, it’s all in the restaurants! Since Maginhawa street is part of a residential area surrounded by different schools, add to the fact that its very easy to commute to and has since gained a lot of popularity among food lovers all over the metropolis, you can expect the eateries to be packed with people. Some of the restaurants frequented during rush hour include: Burger Project, Crazy Katsu, Friuli Trattoria, Van Gogh is Bipolar, and milk tea stores like Moon Leaf, Cha Dao, Infinitea, etc. Because of its location, those who frequently flock to this long stretch of a street (and crowd the establishments in it) are a mix of students, working professionals, and barkadas, among others. Mademoiselle, a resident of Maginhawa Street, was kind enough to tell me about one of her rush hour experiences: “I was coming from a half-day event at school and since I hadn’t eaten lunch and I had a craving for
burgers that day, I thought of going to Burger Project. I was so hungry but when I got there, I had to wait in a really long line and all the seats were taken! The place is air conditioned but the whole time I was there, I barely felt it ‘cause everyone was crowded inside.” Meanwhile, Sam Santos, a student of the Holy Family School along Maginhawa Street, tells us of her own experience during the after school rush hour: “My friends and I went to Moon Leaf after dismissal time since we love drinking milk tea and we wanted to hang out somewhere quiet and cold since the entire day was so hot. At first, it was just my friends and I together with a couple of other people in the store. After a while, it was like an ambush of barkadas from the other schools came in. It was so hot inside, really loud, we couldn’t feel the air con anymore, and the line was
so long ‘til the door! All the other milk tea stores around the area are like that as well, especially after classes.” The “Maginhawa Street Rush Hour” is nothing to be afraid of; many others have gone through it, coming out unscathed and without any traumatizing stories to tell. However, if you are first timer who is really worried about what to do when you get caught in that rush hour, here are some tips for your survival: 1. Keep Calm & Be Patient, 2. Explore the Stores (it’s a long street, there’s a lot for you to see!), 3. Bring a fan (if it gets too hot inside the crowded restaurant, fan away), 4. Watch out! (stay on the safe side & be cautious), and lastly, 5. Always Smile (it alleviates stress and you might even get inside tips from new friends/acquaintances you meet who frequent the area!). Just enjoy the moment, who knows, you might even learn to love that rush hour experience!
THE RUSH HOUR - Students flock the shops after their classes. PHOTOS from GOOGLE
The Milk Tea Capital of the Philippines by Ian De La Cruz Maginhawa Street in UP Village is, what we can consider, an Eat Street. It offers international flavors in its 2-kilometer long road. Anywhere from Japanese to home-cooked meals, it can cover for you. But what sets it apart from the rest is the number of Milktea places along the 2-kilometer stretch. As Vincent Delos Santos, an alumnus of Claret School of Quezon City, a school near Maginhawa Street, said, “Maginhawa is definitely the Milktea Capital of the Philippines. Milk tea is the new coffee and Maginhawa is the place to go for you milk tea fix. There are 6 dedicated milk tea places in Maginhawa. This does not include other places that offer milk teas in their menu. What’s more interesting is the fact that most of them are bundled together in one small area in Maginhawa. As Elle De Pedro, an Ateneo freshman and resident of the area said, “ Sobrang dami tas sobrang magkakalapit pa.” Milkteas come in different flavors, add-ons, sizes and sweetness level. All these you can control. I believe this one of the reasons that milk teas have caught on as a trend. Maginhawa has its fair share of the milk tea places. As I have mentioned above, there are, by my count, 6 dedicated milk tea places in Maginhawa. These are Moonleaf, ZenTea, Simple
Line, Cha Dao, Serenitea and Infinitea. Each one has its own pros and cons. I would like to highlight, for this article, 3 of those aforementioned: Moonleaf, ZenTea and Simple Line. Moonleaf Tea Place is one of the most famous milk tea places around the Metro right now. What sets it apart from all the other milk tea places in Maginhawa is the fact that it traces it origin near the Maginhawa are. This older, and smaller, shop is in Magiting street, a sidestreet of Maginhawa. A stone’s throw away from this is their newer shop, a converted bungalow. The older store can barely fit 12 people in their waiting area. Because of this, it is very hot after the dismissal of the schools nearby. The students flock the place. Though a lot bigger than the older shop, the newer one still suffers the same fate as the previous; they both get flocked by high school students after their dismissal. Second on the list is ZenTea. This tea place has a lot of following among students. This is because most of its branches are near schools and residential areas. You can easily identify a ZenTea cup, without the sticker of their name in the front, because they do not have a sealed top. They use a removable cover, like the ones used in fastfood chains like McDonalds. Also, continued on p. 6
THE BIG THREE - ZenTea (top), Simple Line (middle), Moonleaf (bottom) PHOTOS from GOOGLE
Gastronomic Wonderland by Mikee Aganon Wonderland is a fictional location which serves as the setting for the very famous children’s tale Alice in Wonderland. From exotic flowers and shrubs to unique and out-of-this-world creatures, it’s no wonder the creator of this topsy-turvy place chose to name it the land of “wonder”. Places like wonderland obviously don’t exist in real life but a place like Maginhawastreet comes real close. Maginhawa Street is located just a few kilometres from Katipunan and is very accessible for most Atenean students heading up north which is why its name “Maginhawa” is only fitting as it’s English translation actually means convenience and comfort. Many people go here because it is a great place to try new and exciting dishes made by only the most innovative young Filipino entrepreneurs out there.
Though it may just seem like your ordinary run-in-the-mill street of restaurants but it offers much more than that. As you drive by and canvas for places which could possibly tickle your taste buds, you can find a wide array of casual and fine dining restaurants and cafes on either sides. What’s great about the place is that it’s so diverse that it caters to all kinds of foodies out there. Crazy Katsu is one of the first out of many café’s one would notice while driving around the area. It’s minimalist and simple sign exhibits a legitimate and authentic Japanese aura while the witty name just draws in wandering customers in search of some good old fashioned Katsu Don! As we entered the small but humble area we were greeted by warm and welcoming servers ready
to sit us at our table. Just by entering the place you could already smell the sweet aroma of the caramelized onions cooking with the pungent garlic ready to be tossed with whatever meat was going to be added to that dish being cooked. The interiors are again, simple consisting of lots of wood and neutral colours; not in any way flashy or loud. Certainly hungry and newbie customers would search for typical Japanese dishes but the menu offers a lot more than just the traditional platters. Their Chicken Katsu provides a new take on the usual dish by adding more spices. It was pleasing to see that there were selections of modernized and contemporary entrées which were not all that heavy on the wallet since the price range was from 100-200 pesos only – not bad especially for students and starting employees. Moreover, service and welcoming gestures were excellent. Another great and satisfying location within the
vicinity was the Burger Project. This American-themed, hole in the wall joint was also pretty modern in terms of atmosphere. The walls had geometric shapes drawn from left to right along with various names of western locations. What makes it unique from most burger bars you ask? It’s the fact that customers are given the power to personally customize their own burgers! From all the toppings and ingredients you could think of to their complete set of condiments, they give you all the options and you just put together what seems most appetizing for you. It may be a bit pricier than Crazy Katsu, but eating their juicy and succulent burgers dripping with flavourful goodness is all the same worth every penny in your pocket. For the artsy type of eaters, Van Gough is Bipolar if not already expressed in the title, a very unique place to grab some grub! The place is like a small little cottage filled continued on p. 6 with tons
CRAZY KATSU - The facade and some food from Crazy Katsu. PHOTOS by Mikee Aganon
Maginhawa: You Just Got Owned by Jaz Velazco An example of a Maginhawa-based owner is Adrian Adriano. He felt that “Maginhawa is a start-up business hub because it is perfect for people with not that much capital.” Adrian opened a small tea shop named Moon Leaf in Maginhawa in 2010. Eventually, word got around about his tea shop and its wintermelon milk tea. Because of this, more money started to come in and eventually he had enough to open a second, bigger branch in 2011. It is now 2013 and Adrian has expanded his business, reaching 38 branches nationwide. He is a perfect example of an entrepreneur who started in Maginhawa, because he managed to expand from the simple street near UP to nearly the whole Philippines. Another successful entrepreneur based in Maginhawa is Chef Ed Bugia, who originally worked in the corporate world, yet he was unhappy. One day, he came across a flyer for the Academy of International Culinary Arts, or AICA. He decided to give it a shot and that is where it all started. After finishing a one-month crash course, Bugia was hired for a year in East Café, Makati. When his contract ended, he decided to go to culinary school and finish a whole program there.
Just Got Owned - Chef Ed Bugia (bottom), Moonleaf Tea Shop (lower and lowest)
in Filipino cuisine, eventually became successful enough that Chef Bugia decided to set up even more restaurants. Among these are Pipino, Bgy. Bagnet, Daily Squeeze and the well-known Burger Project. And when asked about important factors towards running a restaurant, Bugia said that it is not enough to be good at cooking, because restaurants don’t run themselves. One needs to be good at business for a restaurant to be successful. He also said that it is crucial to have a selling point to make your restaurant stand out. Adrian Adriano and Ed Bugia are just two of the many entrepreneurs who started out in the famous Maginhawa street, where a small capital requirement and large number of visitors help upcoming owners get a good foothold in the world of restaurants.
After graduating, Ed set up his first restaurant, Pino restobar in Maginhawa. Pino, a restaurant that specializes PHOTOS from GOOGLE
MILK TEA CAPITAL... their cups are very sturdy. It feels much more solid than those of other milk tea places. The menu offers different style of drinking tea. They have, what they call, Personalitea. These are teas that are mixed up with different syrups, just like mocktails. They have Green Tea Iced Teas, which are just normal green teas with flavor. Last, but definitely not the least, are their milk teas. They give these teas very fun names like Carnival (Caramel Milk Tea), Nai Cha (Pearl Milk Tea), etc. Last on the list is Simple
Line. This milk tea place opened in August 2012, which means it is relatively new to the Maginhawa scene. During its opening, it gave out coupons for free milk teas. I believe that this marketing strategy worked as, months after its opening, they are always overflowing with students from 3-5 in the afternoon. What I see as their strongest selling point is the fact that their teas are the cheapest among the three I have mentioned. The cheapest milk tea they offer is a Php 50 medium-sized Milk Tea. For students on a budget, Simple Line is simply
GASTRONOMIC... and tons of artsy figurines and works of art. Almost like going through an antique shop or gallery, the place provides the customers with lots of beautiful artworks to take in while waiting for their orders; Their menu consists of various kinds of soup and rustic dishes Full, but in the mood for something sweet and unorthodox? A place nearby called Iscremist will make you scream for more after just one visit. Though I am not a big fan of chemistry it was completely amusing to try their (add). Their science – techy theme really gave a futuristic feel and touch to the ambiance of the ice cream bar. It was really such an experience and there was nothing quite like it! It almost felt like that scene in Alice in Wonderland where the caterpillar was creating shapes with the smoke he was puffing out. It was enjoyable to play around with the “smoke” or smog
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coming from the (add) not to mention the great tasting ice cream. There are many more places in this treasure trove of discoverable restaurants and cafes and it’s no wonder people refer to this place as “Eat Street” and “Melting Pot of Cuisines”. Many places in this paragon of a collective food experience like no other. Each location within the are having its own unique taste and flavour in terms of food, atmosphere, service; but all geared towards creating something new and innovative for Filipino food lovers. It is almost like our own little nearby wonderland where it is anything but ordinary and you find the most peculiar and amusing things and places. Truly anyone who dares to pull an “Alice” during their free time should check out this (more than just a) street which has been stashed away in a rabbit hole, waiting for curious visitors to wander in.
the way to go. Even though it is cheaper than the other two, it is just as flavorful. These are my 3 favorite milk tea places, not just in Maginhawa, but around the Metro. Yet, with their popularity, there are the naysayers who say that milk teas are a fad and that its popularity will fade. I do believe that the popularity of milk teas will wane but, in my opinion, milk teas are here to stay, just like Starbucks. Why are milk teas here to stay? I have 2 main reasons. 1) They have a following. Each milk tea place has its own patrons. These patrons choose the specific tea place for a reason. They may like the tea, the way it is served, the prices or the total experience. As Jules Guiang, a UP Student Council officer, Claretian and certified ZenTea faithful, said “Ok ang crowd, staff at place.” Getting milk tea is not just a
mechanical action but is also a total experience. 2) It is definitely cheaper than coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong and think that I don’t like coffee, I do, but milk teas are definitely cheaper than the coffee and other beverages sold in popular cafes. The difference between milk tea places and cafés are the crowd. Milk tea places tend to have a younger crowd than that of cafés. So, it is a generational thing. Also, you get coffee to get your daily dose of caffeine, to soak in the sophisticated air in cafés, or, simply, you love the atmosphere. This is, also, something milk tea places can offer you. They can provide a simple and laid-back atmosphere good for hanging out with your friends, in contrast to the very sophisticated and business-like atmosphere in cafés. So, what are you waiting for? Get your milk tea fix now!
GROUP 7 - R31 Mikee Aganon Inna Cruz Ian De La Cruz Jaz Velazco
LAYOUT by Ian De La Cruz
EAT STREET GALLERY
PHOTOS by Mikee Aganon