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Business Brings More Fun in Quezon City

cocojuanQuezon City's data on business registration shows that it has 546 restaurants, with 127 of these newly established in 2011.  It also has 259 amusement centers, with 50 of these recently established.  Free recreation can also be enjoyed in the city's over 180 parks, the most popular of which are the Quezon Memorial Circle, the La Mesa Eco Park and the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife.

The city's well-known restaurant row is the area covered by Timog, West and Tomas Morato Avenues, with over a hundred entertainment areas.  Here, restaurants, bars, cafes,videoke places and food retail areas  can be found side-by-side.  This place is also well-known for its comedy bars.   These places are where a comic or a group of comedians stand before a room full of strangers from different walks of life, and must get at least a majority of that crowd to laugh.   The most popular gay comedians in the country star in these shows.

Another restaurant and bar district lies along Katipunan Avenue, a popular hangout area for students from nearby universities.  Folks will find a wide range of choices there, from fine-dining, to casual cafes to budget meal eateries.

In the Miele Guide, which reviews the best restaurants in 17 countries in Asia, among those short-listed as the best dining places are 145 Fahrenheit Prime Steaks and Seafood in no. 35 Tomas Morato Avenue and Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant in 119 Kalayaan Avenue.

145FYoung and innovative chefs are whipping up fusion cuisine at quaint restaurants along Maginhawa Street in UP Village, enjoyed by students, artists, NGO members and other foodies who like the cozy ambiance and the relaxed and unpretentious vibe of the area, plus the very affordable prices.

The La Loma area has long been known for lechon (spit-roasted pig), which is usually the favored star of Filipino feasts.  But also gaining the reputation of offering the best lechon is Eastwood City in Bagumbayan.  In the Inquirer Lifestyle Guide for the Best Lechon, the following can be found in Quezon City:

  • Sabrosa Lechon in E. Rodriguez corner Tomas Morato Avenue
  • Cuchi Frito of Flying Pig in Eastwood City
  • Family Cebu Native Lechon in N. Domingo corner P. Tuazon, Cubao
  • Hecky's Lechon in Eastwood City
  • Eastwood Café Crispy Lechon in Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood City
  • Elar's Lechon in Quezon Avenue corner Speaker Perez Street
  • Mila's Lechon in Calavite Street in La Loma

 

lalomalechonLa Loma is Lechon Capital

Lechón is a pork dish in several regions of the world.  Many trace its origins to Spain, with "lechón" originally meaning suckling piglet.  The process of cooking lechon (roasted whole, slowly over charcoal) is similar in method to cooking some Oriental duck and pork dishes, which is the basis of some that the inspiration for the dish came to the Philippines from Chinese migrants instead of the Spanish conquistadores.

Lechón is usually a dish reserved for special celebrations, especially during fiestas and holidays.  Today, many have evolved their own versions of lechón, with very delectable results.

One place in Quezon City has built its reputation around lechón, and offers this special dish all year round.   But La Loma has a rich history, long before lechon was born.  It used to be a vast rice field lying at the foot of a mountain, such that one part was called Paambundok Dulo, meaning 'end of the foot of the mountain,' and the other part was called Paambundok, or 'foot of the mountain.'
 
In 1899, La Loma was a battlefield of  the Philippine-American War.  Army officer Jose Torres Bugallon was Antonio Luna's aide-de-camp and helped organize the Philippine Army.  He is considered the Hero of the Battle of La Loma, having given up his life to resist the invading American troops at that time.

La Loma is also known for the La Loma Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Metro Manila, having been built in 1884, and the La Loma Cockpit, believed to be cockfighting's oldest home in the country.  It is the result of hungry cockfighting aficionados that lechon came to be in La Loma.

In the 1950's, the house of Tomas delos Reyes, a meat vendor, was just in front of the La Loma Cockpit.  After a day of cockfights, the winners would celebrate by asking Mang Tomas to cook pork meat into "pulutan" (finger foods) to spice up their merry drinking.  The losers, on the other hand, would have to content themselves with the roasted meat of their dead roosters.

Eventually, Mang Tomas thought of charging an extra cost for the roasting labor, eventually starting the first lechon industry in Metro Manila by formally opening his shop in 1954.   Later, other shops would follow:  Mila's, Pingping's, Monchie's, Ryan's, Paula's, Islaw's, Billy's, Lolita's, Lito's, Bulakeña's, Jan's, Caloy and Tikang's, Nelia's, and some others.   Every day, along Calavite and Amoranto Streets, one can find stalls of lechon, enticing the public with each roaster's secret recipes.

Ultimately, La Loma's celebration of its feast day in May would be highlighted by a Lechon Parade.  The roasted pigs would be literally dressed up, competing for the best in costume.  The lechon festival in May coincides with the Feast of the Nuestro Señor de Salvacion, and has been a tradition in this area for more than 50 years.

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