Our happy discovery on this trip was Lemoni Cafe in D’Mall. It’s included in the country’s top restaurants of 2007, according to Philippine Tatler. It’s the corner restaurant across from Bite Club and the D’Mall ferris wheel. Winners on the menu: the steak breakfast with fried eggs and roasted potatoes, the pork chops with roasted vegetables with a minty yoghurt sauce, the big breakfast with sausages and bacon, the seafood pasta, the fresh-baked wholewheat pan de sal and ciabatta, the baked lemon cheesecake, and the wonderful, wonderful Danesi coffee.

(Food photos taken with my JVC GZ-MG67u, a 2mpx CCD 20G hard disk camcorder.)

We enjoyed the food at Lemoni so much that we dined there three times and had coffee and dessert another time all within four days. The service was friendly and quick. Although at the last dinner, Chinne was craving for Andoks’ crispy pata. So we prevailed on the waitresses to allow her to bring it in. And while she was enjoying the crispy pata, the owner happened to be at the end table and noticed! He walked over and joked about how deliciously unhealthy it was. Chinne froze and had that sheepish aghast look on her face as she turned around to apologize. Jopet saved the day by mentioning the number of times we’d returned to dine, so Tom (an American engaged to a Pinay) said it was ok because the rest of us ordered and were repeat customers. He even mentioned that some people hang out there without even asking for water! We all congratulated him for inclusion in the Tatler list. To save Chinne’s reddened ears from further ringing, we hightailed it out of there. I went to get TDM a long-sleeved cotton camisa I had ordered from my suki vendor at the tiangge past Hey Jude. We later met the others at Cat’s Eye, our karaoke hang-out.

Jopet visits Cat’s Eye at least a couple of nights on each of his trips. Cat’s Eye is owned by a Korean married to a Pinay. His sister-in-law manages it and now knows Jopet pretty well. The last time we were there last October, people were just ordering beer and listening to us sing. And watching us dance to our own singing. We are that shameless! But we sound pretty good to begin with. We won’t win contests, but we like to have some campy fun. There are private rooms, but we sing only from the open bar, where it’s P30/per song. We each have a list of favorites, and songs that we like to sing all together. Chinne likes The Corrs and Patti Austin. I like Sergio Mendes and Heart. Jovic likes rock ballads from the 70s and 80s. Ryan likes OPM ballads. Jopet… he can sing anything, from Josh Groban to Ricky Martin, even to Beyonce re-arrangements. On our second night American visitor Angie and her cousin had fun singing “Proud Mary” and dancing with us. It was like we had gone to the gym and did aerobics for 3 straight hours. Our showstoppers? Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music”.

(Oy, we are such cam hams!)

On this trip we went back to Cat’s Eye three nights in a row. On the last night the wind and rain picked up, and a power outage silenced us too early for our liking. We walked home to Crystal Sand to eat Tostitos and chunky salsa and tried to figure out what songs from tv commercials we’d sing in a karaoke. The first that came to mind was “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” from our childhood. We ended the evening singing Paul Anka’s “The Times of Your Life” from that famous, tear-inducing Kodak commercial that starred the late actor Mario Montenegro. Which, incidentally, had won an advertising award for Jopet’s father! Imagine that.

Little did we imagine the violence of the weather that surprised us on the last night of our trip…

Up next — Boracay: Surviving Frankenstorm.

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