Just had a lovely mini-reunion with some old high school classmates of mine. We had lunch at an extraordinary eatery called Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant, a place that has long received acclaim for its historical, traditional Filipino cuisine, as well as its cozy, old-fashioned dining atmosphere.
The entire menu resembles a photo album, complete with the different entrees written on parchment paper.
Don’t be fooled by the white foam and dainty china – this Batangas-grown coffee has quite a kick!
One’s choice of white or brown sugar (brown for me, please …)
And fresh milk too, please …
Tender beef served in a sweetish-savory sauce with peanuts, sliced plantains and pearl onions.
Chicken curry with slices of eggplant.
A facsimile of the first edition of Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere”.
Complete with rotary dial!
Used by one of the first elected congressmen in the country (his name escapes me though – I only hope this wasn’t used to type the dreaded words “pork barrel”).
“Mickey Mouse” currency bills – used as money in World War II. One needed a whole sack of these to buy a handful of vegetables during that time.
Filipino kitchen implements of a bygone era …
Paintings created by eminent Filipino author and food critic, Gilda Corder-Fernando.
This one depicts our local version of hopscotch, “piko”. In the foreground are some antique charcoal-heated irons.
In World War 2, anti-Japanese guerillas created these currency bills to secretly counteract the effects of the under-valued “Mickey Mouse” money at that time. Possession of these bills meant arrest and imprisonment back then.
An antique wooden board used to play “sungka”.
A mock-up of a “sari-sari store” (imagine mini-version of the old-fashioned American general store and a candy / pastry shop rolled into one).
This was almost a foot thick!
In one of Adarna’s private dining rooms …
Portraits of society beauties who were chosen as “queens” during the annual Manila Carnival held in the early 1900s.
A pair of antique white-glass lamps along with entrance tickets to the now-long-defunct Manila Carnival.
Even back then, Filipino dramas and comedies were popular crowd pleasers …
Leading actresses of Philippine movies, mostly from the 1930s to the early ’60s.
Leading actors of Philippine movies, mostly from the 1930s to the early ’60s.
One rarely sees this sort of detail outside of old mansions. Take note of the big glass “demi-juan” next to it.
Showcasing the Filipino flair for comedy and word-play!
A popular sultry singer and sexy actress way back in the ’70s and early ’80s, she unfortunately passed away in 2008.
One of a pair of hand-carved wooden door posts at the main entrance.
Maraming salamat, Adarna! Hanggang sa ating susunod na pagkikita … (Many thanks, Adarna! Until our next encounter …)
© Copyright words and photos by Patricia Acevedo September 2013