After following Carlos Celdran on Instagram, I realized that Manila, specifically Malate, has a lot to offer and I’m giving it the cold shoulder by commuting to nearby (and not-so-nearby) places in search for good food. Malate has been my home for more than 5 years and though it is only an old, sad and semi-abandoned shadow of what it used to be during the 90s, the area is still dear to me. Hence, I have resolved to visit and appreciate the place more. Besides, the 100+ pesos I spend on transportation to go to Quezon City or Makati could buy me a decent meal already.
This is where Sev’s Cafe comes in. The restaurant is owned by renowned journalist Howie Severino and his wife, environmental lawyer Ipat Luna. It is located at the basement of Legaspi Towers near the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I like the location because it’s hidden, sharing the same entrance with the building’s parking lot. It is just walking distance from Harrison Plaza where I go for Sunday service. I love the interiors, not intimidatingly cozy. It feels like you’re just hanging out in a friend’s pad.
Sev’s serves a variety of healthy dishes which are all under 200 pesos. In a restaurant scene where the healthier option is almost always more expensive and marketed only to those with money to burn, Sev’s is a very welcome respite. I visited the place with Chabs and Dai and we were so overwhelmed (in a good way) with the menu we ordered much more than three tummies can accommodate and finished them all. Gah, I wanted to try everything!
Sev’s Green smoothie, Mango smoothie and Honey Calamansi Juice. I wasn’t particularly fond of the green smoothie because I couldn’t get the thought that it’s Malunggay off my mind (and it’s not Malunggay but Pechay, I think) but Dai swore that it was delicious not to mention healthy. Mango smoothie was better than your average mango shake and the Calamansi juice was great for soothing my sore throat.
Freshest Pili Pesto has my approval (noodles were al dente and NUTS.). We all fell in love with Bistek in Pesto because who would’ve thought bistek and pesto could go together so well? Squid and Mixed Seafood were both delish, flavorful and not nakakaumay. All rice meals are served with brown rice so you wouldn’t feel too bad for over-eating. haha. Annnnddd Sev’s changes their menu as often as their mood dictates. That’s another reason to visit often.
For desserts we had Mango crepe and four scoops of ice cream with grated yema on top. Favorite flavors are sweet corn and cheese. According to the server, their ice creams aren’t home-made. Instead, they serve Arce Dairy, an all-natural brand. Gotta look for it in supermarkets! Dai ordered Barrack-O, “Batangas Coffee brewed the American way“. I had a sip and it’s not as strong as I remember Kapeng Barakos are.
Another reason why I decided to visit Sev’s Cafe is to watch Joey Ayala live! I forgot how much the tickets really are because we were only asked for 100 pesos each. In Mam Ipat’s words, “Wag mo na silang singilin ng consumable, sobra-sobra na ang na-consume nila“. The show was supposed to start at 7 PM. Filipino time moved it to 9.
Aside from affordably healthy foods, you can also drink San Miguel products as well as local spirits like Lambanog and Tapuy without feeling that you have been ripped off because they’re reasonably priced.
Frankly, I am not fond of watching live performances (lack of funds aside) because artists and everything else sound better on my iPod. Well, Joey Ayala is an exception. He sounded exactly the same (if not better). My knowledge of him is limited to being the singer of “Magkabilaan”. And then Carlos Celdran said kids/our generation should go see him live at least once (or something to that effect) and off I went. Now I’m a fan and I have his complete discography.
Kuya Joey (feeling close) converses with the audience and when I say converse, I mean talk to them about things with sense (what is the opposite of freedom according to his ex-NPA friend? It’s discipline). And his jokes are funny without being green (the one about parents not wanting their kids to marry artists is hilarious AND true). Too bad I wasn’t able to finish his set because it’s already 11 PM and I have classes the next day. He deserves a bigger audience. Dear Mr. Ayala, I will definitely see you again.
Also, we’re lucky enough to see Mr. Howie Severino himself. I grew up watching i-Witness way past bedtime. I remember turning the volume down so I wouldn’t wake my parents up because then, they will force me to go to sleep. I was starstruck to finally meet one of the people behind one of the best shows ever. Plus he’s really nice.