ALIWAN + Ramen Cart in Malate

Aliwan is an annual event that gathers different cultural festivals of the Philippines in Star City Complex, Pasay City. This event is dubbed as “The Mother of all Fiestas”. Aliwan is a Tagalog word for “entertainment” or “amusement”. Visit their site here. The fiesta is divided into three categories where different contingents compete for the prize namely: Cultural Street Dance Competition (the main event), Float Parade, and Reyna ng Aliwan (Queen of Aliwan) beauty pageant.

The stage built beside Star City.

SONY DSCJump shot. Banderitas and closed roads make me happy.

SONY DSCALLLIIIIWWWAAANNNN!!!

6Booths showcase the regional trades from different parts of the country.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCBefore sunset, we went to CCP to witness the presentation of the candidates for Reyna ng Aliwan in their national costumes.

SONY DSCRoxas blvd. I feel at home in this area more than anywhere else in Metro Manila.

SONY DSCThe ground vibrates when these guys started playing their drums. It was loud and it makes you want to dance and shout and celebrate.

SONY DSCI think these were the competitors for the inter-school dance competition.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCLights.

SONY DSCUnfortunately, we positioned ourselves in the wrong place. The stage was in front of CCP, near Roxas Blvd and we were seated near the building. Hence, we just watched from afar.

SONY DSCBy the time we arrived to where the action was happening, the crowd has grown huge and despite efforts to squeeze ourselves in to have a good view, all we saw were the backs of the beautiful ladies.

7Blinding.

SONY DSCThe costumes were so intricate (not to mention a pain in the ass to wear) I sometimes think they’re too much. I still prefer simplicity and elegance and comfort. But then again, in one of my friends’ words, “tiis ganda ka dapat!”.

SONY DSCI would not want to be sprinkled with the water from this fountain because it’s murky and dirty. Gross.

SONY DSCAfter the presentation of candidates, everyone was invited to the stage in front of Aliw Theater for a concert featuring Aegies and Youtube sensations. I would have gone for Aegies because I like their songs but we didn’t feel like going through all the trouble just for the show. Instead, we just walked from CCP Complex to Pedro Gil st. to meet Emman at Robinson’s Manila.

I just sent a message to Emman saying something like “San ka? Malate tayo. Ramen” and he replied saying sure. That’s why I love this guy, he says “yes” before he asks questions.

SONY DSCActually, I only saw the Japanese Ramen cart in front of Erra’s Bar and Grill along Adriatico st. while inside a taxi on our way to CCP and it never left my mind so I was desperate to try it before the day ends. I was enticed because an old Japanese was manning the stall and Japanese tourists seem to enjoy their bowls.

We all had their bestseller, Shiyo Ramen. The staff will ask you if you want it regular, mild spicy or spicy. All of us except for Camille went for spicy. The bowl was a bit smaller compared to other Ramen bowls used in Japanese restaurants but don’t let that deceive you because the serving is still enough to satisfy you. Besides, this one is more affordable at 50-70 pesos (sans add-ons which were relatively cheap at 10 pesos) compared to its 300 peso high end counterparts.

SONY DSCThe bowl was spicy but not to the point that it’s no longer feasible to eat. In fact, we all agreed that it was deliciously spicy (though I’d like to try a spicier version). The roasted pork was delicious and the fat melted in my mouth. The noodles were almost al dente and I love that they’re thin and not soggy. Good thing it was a bit cooler than usual that night and Manila Bay wasn’t exuding fishy odor. I will definitely be back to try other broths.

Mango shake.

SONY DSCAnd a bottle of beer to cap off the meal. I wanted them to try Erra’s fried chicken but everyone was full after finishing the ramen. Maybe next time.

SONY DSCI like Erra’s because the food and drinks are affordable (1/2 order of fried chicken is 120 php and the serving is good for 2-3, one bucket of beer is only 180 pesos). Plus, we had a great time identifying the different flags displayed all throughout the place.

At around 10:30 PM, Jov, Bheng, Cza and Camille went home because some of them have classes the next day. Emman and I were walking towards Taft Avenue to ride our respective jeepneys home when he suggested that we walk around Malate. We went in and out of the streets of the red district while sharing stories and catching up and laughing most of the time (good because I burned off some of the calories I ate). We went home only because we realized it was already 12 midnight.

I miss living within walking distance from this place.

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