San Pablo Apostol Parish (Tondo) Needs Your Help

It’s exactly two months away from Christmas and we’re all beginning to make a list of people and charities that we want to remember in this Season of Giving. Let us include our brothers and sisters in Bohol who need our support and prayers as they move on and recover from the tragedy of last week’s earthquake. God bless you all, Boholanos! Hubby and I will visit your island soon as our small way of supporting the recovery of your local tourism.

The hallway by the entrance of the old San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin through a Samsung Note II.)

The hallway by the entrance of the old San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin through a Samsung Note II.)

For those who also have some more to share, please include the parish of San Pablo Apostol in Velasquez Street, Tondo, Manila, in your gift-giving list. The parish (with two small churches and four smaller chapels that are often submerged in flood waters during the rainy season) is building a new church and currently raising funds for its completion.

The new church’s design was done (gratis) by an internationally-known Italian architect, Danilo Lisi, with the support of a young Filipino architect, Lito Tabuldan. (See photo below of a perspective drawing of the church.)

We were able to visit one of the old churches of the parish but it was closed when we arrived so I was able to get a picture of the main entrance and a few of the interiors only (although the latter were captured through steel railings/bars). Here is a picture of the entrance to one of the old churches of the parish:

The area where the parish is located is near the Port Area so flood waters easily come in particularly during the rainy season. Can you imagine how this affects the parishioners and church goers? It is also home to some of the most impoverished families in our country so by supporting the building of a new church, we are directly contributing to the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters there.

Through this blog, I would like to thank one of my best friends, Badette Tamayo, a veteran journalist, who invited me and JR to go with her there last October 22 (which is also her birthday!). It was not really planned but when I sent her a text message to greet her as the clock stroke at midnight and asked what her plans were, she immediately offered me and JR an opportunity to share the blessings of her birthday. She said she wanted to visit and make a donation to the church and so I  decided right there and then that, of course, we will join her! This is a perfect way to celebrate one’s birthday so I wish you, Badette, many more blessings and opportunities to share those gifts!

I also like to thank JR, my ever-thoughtful husband, who patiently drove for us even if it was his first time to go to Tondo. It was indeed a challenging day because we did not know how to reach the place! We relied on Google maps and the SMS-sent directions of another friend, Jaja, who grew up in Tondo. Thanks, Jaja! (And thanks as well to the pedicab drivers and strangers, with tattoos and all, hehe, who kindly gave us directions along the way! Mga kuya, salamat po sa mga directions n’yo! You may not be able to read this….but then again, who knows?!)

My dear friends and readers, please remember the parishioners of San Pablo Apostol Church as you plan for your Christmas gift-giving. We were also informed that they are organizing a fundraising dinner-dance on December 5 at the Hotel Sofitel in CCP Complex so this is a great way to welcome the Christmas season – by dancing the night away for a good cause!

For inquiries on this event and donations, please get in touch with Maureen or Mila. Their contact details are shared below.

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The proposed San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo. Illustration courtesy of the design and architectural team led by Architects Danilo Lisi and Giansandro di Iorio.

The proposed San Pablo Apostol Parish Church in Tondo. Illustration courtesy of the design and architectural team led by Architects Danilo Lisi and Giansandro di Iorio.

Contacts:

San Pablo Apostol Parish

2279 Velasquez St., Tondo Manila 1013 | Tel. no.  (632) 353 3001 | Email  sanpabloapostol.tondo@gmail.com / maureen.sanpablotondo@gmail.com

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This is not a paid blog. (I do not ask for any donation for this site’s maintenance but I hope you can plant a tree on your birthday/s.)

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Tiago dares you to try progressive Filipino cuisine

Interiors at Tiago's Restaurant. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Interiors at Tiago’s Restaurant. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

It was the fourth of the month last Friday and hubby and I thought it will be nice to celebrate our monthsary in a new ‘find’. We drove around Tomas Morato area and passed by Chef’s Bistro but we didn’t know where to park (its sidewalk is full of parked vehicles already) so we continued on toward the other side streets.

We ended up in Scout Fuentebella and there we saw, just several meters away from Tomas Morato, what appears to be a cozy restaurant with a simple yet catchy name, “Tiago” and underneath it, a tagline that says, “Progressive Filipino Cuisine.”  Our curiosity was ignited but, admittedly, we hesitated a bit about trying it out.  For one, JR asked me, “Do you think this is related to the restaurant, “Elias?” And that got me a little anxious, too, because while some of the food in Elias could probably be good, most of what we have already tried there thus far were just “so-so.” You know. Those type of food that you cannot even remember anymore after a day or two.

Of course, those who know much of Philippine history and Jose Rizal know that like Elias, there is a character in Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere named “Kapitan Tiago.”And that is why we hesitated about trying this Tiago. We somehow surmised that Tiago and Elias would have the same owners, ergo, the same quality of food. (I was also thinking to myself that Kapitan Tiago’s character in the novel is not among the more virtuous and untarnished ones and I believe Jose Rizal intended to give him such a persona to show very important parallelisms.)

However, even with these ‘silly’ reasons for our hesitation, curiosity got the better of us. We also believe in giving start-ups and “new kids on the block” a chance because we also plan to build our own cafe-restaurant in the future. After all, you cannot discover new treasures if  you never give new things a try. We realized it was a good decision because the food selections in Tiago, living up to its unique and provocative tagline, are appealing to the taste and satisfying. I used the word ‘appealing’ because I always consider good food as something that always connects to the person who is eating it.

The food in Tiago, at least those that we have tried, ‘connected’ to us in a delightful and satisfying way. (New readers should know that I am happily married to a chef-in-progress and so it is not that easy to please my taste buds.) :)  We especially liked their Relyenong Pusit (stuffed squid in ground pork and shrimp), priced at P275.00. JR is still curious as to how the sauce was made. It is thick but with just the right texture and creaminess. The squid was cooked so well that it is not ‘rubbery’. The stuffing is perfectly cocooned, giving the squid dish its very comforting taste. It tasted so ‘new’ but it also somehow reminded me of some of my most favorite comfort food. I am very particular with squid dishes so this easily passed my ‘stringent’ standards.

Stuffed squid at Tiago - certainly worth another monthsary visit! (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Stuffed squid at Tiago – certainly worth another monthsary visit! (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Their version of Pinakbet (called Pinakbet Warm Salad, priced at P175.00) also appealed to me because I don’t like too much saltiness in my food. The chef did not go over-board on the bagoong (shrimp paste) so it was just perfect and more appetizing with its creative use of dilis (dried long-jawed anchovy fish) as ‘toppings’. It also looks nice in pictures! (See an ‘evidence’ below.)

The 'pinakbet with a twist' at Tiagos. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

The ‘pinakbet with a twist’ at Tiagos. (Photo taken by Mary Anne Velas-Suarin)

Not to be outdone, their Tinapa Rice (fried rice with smoked fish), priced at P145.00, is also delicious. Of course, food critics might say that one can never go wrong with tinapa rice because smoked fish is naturally tasty but Tiago’s version seems prepared with utmost care because it is not too salty and the taste of tinapa is not overpowering.

One thing that we also like about Tiago is that their menu selection is not very long. Of course, we do patronize good restaurants with, incidentally, long list of menu but we think that the best approach to nurturing your clients and staying long in the industry is to focus on food that you are very good at. You can always develop new dishes along the way or  ‘improvise’ on your current ones.

Finally, we commend the service of the staff who are friendly and attentive. (Just a note that this statement must be validated by future visits because we arrived at the place in the “quiet hours” after lunch so the staff did not have much clients to attend to.)

Tiago has certainly made our monthsary lunch (very late lunch!) enjoyable and we thank Tiago’s owners and kitchen team for giving Filipino food lovers another reason to smile about. Tiago encourages us to be proud of our roots and heritage and we congratulate the owners for taking a new path in Filipino cuisine. Tiago certainly dares us to become more inventive, unique, and progressive.

[meilBOX is not strictly a food blog but being married to someone who enjoys cooking (and is good at it!) motivates me to write about food and restaurants. Just a note that when I write about restaurants, hubby and I do pay for our meals and we also never introduce ourselves to the chefs, staff, or owners. That way, we can be sure that my posts will be credible and unbiased.]

Contacts:

TIAGO | Progressive Filipino Cuisine

85 Scout Fuentebella St., Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City (near Tomas Morato) | Tel. (02) 413 0616 | Open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 11:00 am to 1:00 am | Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tiagocuisine/info

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This is not a paid blog. (I do not ask for any donation but I hope you can plant a tree on your birthday/s.)

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin