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Go ahead, spoil yourself

Go ahead, spoil yourself

During New Year’s Eve dinner with my mom, she raved about a new coffee shop in Manila she had recently visited, 1919 Grand Café. Because I was sure traffic would be light the next day, I invited my daughter Gabbie to go to Manila with me and have an early dinner at the coffee shop. (My son Paolo preferred to stay home.)

Our first stop was Divisoria. I was hoping my suki would be open for business so I could just go in and out quickly to buy garbage bags and paper kitchen towels. Unfortunately, her stall was closed but there were street vendors all over and Gabbie was shocked to see them hurriedly packing away their goods as the police arrived and started chasing them. I explained to my 19-year-old daughter that sidewalk vendors are illegal in the city of Manila.

From Juan Luna, we turned left and made our way to 1919 Grand Café, the coffee shop my mom was gushing about. Constructed in 1919 in the neo-classical architecture style, the building was used by HSBC until it was converted into a café two years ago.

The high ceiling, exposed beams, warm lights and hip interiors immediately caught my attention. We were led to the second floor, where we occupied a cozy booth. Lito, the maître D, recommended the mushroom soup, which was excellent as it was full of chopped mushrooms and not too creamy. Gabbie and I also ordered the Kung Pao chicken and seafood pizza, both of which did not disappoint. For dessert, we shared the café’s famous taro cloud, a soft sponge cake with taro filling (I was told that it’s the favorite of Mayor Isko Moreno who is a regular). Gabbie also had a cup of caramel macchiato, which she said was sweet and flavorful, just the way she liked it.

After our dinner, I drove leisurely by Jones Bridge to show Gabbie how pretty it was with the street lamps on. For a second there, it seemed like we were in France since the bridge was inspired by the Pont Alexandre III in Paris.

From there, we cruised along Roxas Boulevard and saw lots of people spending New Year’s day at Luneta Park. Even more crowded was the area of Manila Bay where the dolomite beach was. Although people were wearing face masks and shields, it looked unsafe to me because there was no social distancing.

From Roxas Boulevard, I turned left to Quirino Avenue then right to South Super Highway, where I was amazed to see that the Skyway was up! From there, I turned left to Buendia then went up the overpass to EDSA. We were in Greenhills in 10 minutes, just in time for my 8 p.m. appointment at Foot Zone along Annapolis St. for their signature back and foot massage.

The therapists were all garbed in PPEs, and Gabbie and I had our own private room. As soon as the therapist worked her skilled hands, I felt so relaxed, especially after the cupping method was applied on the soles of my feet. By the time I lay flat on my stomach and the therapist started massaging my back, I felt all the bolts and knots melt away and slowly dozed off to paradise! For me, it was the best two hours to end the first day of 2021.

I invite you to spoil yourself by having a wonderful meal with someone you love, and cap it off with a heavenly massage this month. Everyone deserves such a treat once in a while… we deserve it!