Monday, April 20, 2009

Dinner at Vilmar's. Lunch in Ma Mon Luk.

I had the chance to have dinner the other day at Vilmar's Restaurant in Tarlac on my way home from a speaking engagement in Pangasinan. It brought back memories of my childhood when we would have annual summer family trips to Baguio.

When a member of my staff suggested that we perhaps could have dinner with the rest of the team in a popular fast food chain in the area, I said no and then suggested dinner in Vilmar's instead.

I do not have anything against Fast food chain's per se, in fact I brought my daughter Frankie for one of our regular Daddy Daughter dates to a Mcdo branch the other week. I must say however that restaurants like Vilmar's or Everybody's (in San Fernando, Pampanga) and yes even Ma Mon Luk (along Quezon Blvd) should continue to thrive and be patronized. In my case, it serves as a precious link to my past. My parents would bring us almost religiously to Vilmar's (in the summer) and yes to Everybody's and Ma Mon Luk when we were kids. Eating out was a favorite family past time.

Today, I too bring my kids to Ma Mon Luk every so often. I would pick up Frankie from her school in QC with Miel in tow and we proceed to Ma Mon Luk in Quezon Avenue Banawe for lunch. Frankie and Miel enjoy the Mami soup. It is in a sense for me a trip down memory lane. I admit to experiencing a certain degree of sentimentalism because going back to these restaurants of old gives me the chance to capture, to relive even just momentarily those times gone by with my parents. Even just for a fleeting moment I am young and a child again and it feels good.

Coming back to Vilmar's was returning to a part of my self that I now seldom get to experience and encounter for obvious reasons. My childhood. It was by and large a happy childhood filled with memories of family dinners in various restaurants in Manila and elsewhere. We were not wealthy. We were very middle class. We had what we needed and although we may have wished for more sometimes, we could not have more as we were 9 children all in all and each had to be provided for.

We did not have much growing up but we had what we needed to get by with a little extras once in a while. Vilmar's, Ma Mon Luk and Everybody's are my restaurants of old. They are precious links to a past that was simple and, all things considered, happy. They allow me to revisit my childhood. They bring me back to happy and precious moments of family togetherness. What are yours?

These links to the past, the experience of reliving happy childhood memories are truly precious. Our revisiting our past every so often gives us a stronger sense of who we really are, a stronger sense of ourselves. In the face of a confusing, challenging and quite messed up world we live in, we most certainly need to return to the past, relive those precious moments even just momentarily and regain a renewed sense of self to face what lies before us and ahead.


Hapunan sa Vilmar's. Tanghalian sa Ma Mon Luk.

Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon na makapaghapunan sa Vilmar’s Restaurant sa Tarlac noong ako’y pauwi mula sa speaking engagement ko sa Pangasinan noong nakaraang araw. Naalala ko tuloy ‘yung taunang bakasyon sa Baguio ng aming pamilya noong ako’y bata pa.

May nag-suggest na miyembro ng staff ko na sa isang sikat na food chain kami maghapunan. Sabi ko huwag. Dun na lang kako sa Vilmar’s.

Hindi naman masama para sa akin ang fast food chains. Katunayan kumain kami ng anak kong si Frankie sa McDonalds noong nakaraang lingo lang sa isa sa regular na pamamasyal naming mag-ama. Pero dapat na patuloy na lumago at suportahan ang mga kainang katulad ng Vilmar’s o ng Everybody’s (sa San Fernando, Pampanga) at maging ng Ma Mon Luk (sa Quezon Boulevard). Ang mga ito ang nag-uugnay sa akin sa nakaraan. Madalas kaming dalhin ng aming magulang sa Vilmar’s (kapag summer) at sa Everybody’s at Ma Mon Luk noong kami’y bata pa. Ang pagkain sa labas ang paboritong libangan ng pamilya.

Madalas ko ring dalhin ang mga anak ko sa Ma Mon Luk. Pagsundo ko kay Frankie sa kanyang school sa QC, diretso kami sa Ma Mon Luk sa Quezon Avenue Banawe kasama si Miel para kumain ng tanghalian. Paborito nila ang mami soup. Bumabalik sa akin ang nakaraan sa mga ganoong pagkakataon. Pakiramdam ko ay bata ulit ako kahit na sa maikling sandal lang. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam.

‘Yung muling pagpunta ko sa Vilmar’s ay parang pagbabalik ko sa isang parte ng buhay ko na bihira ko nang maranasan – ang aking kamusmusan. Napakasaya ng buhay ko noong ako’y bata pa. Puno ito ng alaala ng pagsasalu-salo ng pamilya sa mga restaurants sa loob at labas ng Maynila. Hindi naman kami mayaman. Siyam kaming magkakapatid kaya mahirap makuha ‘yung sobra sa gusto namin.

Ang Vilmar’s, Ma Mon Luk at Everybody’s at mga kinalakhan kong restaurants. Sila ‘yung nag-uugnay sa akin sa aking simple at masayang nakaraan. Ang mga ito ‘yung nagbibigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na maging musmos muli. Ibinabalik nila ako sa mga pagkakataong magkakasama ang aming pamilya.

Mahalaga sa atin ang mga bagay na makakapag-ugnay sa atin sa nakaraan. Ang mga ito ang nagpapakita at nagpapaalala sa atin kung sino talaga tayo.

Kailangan nating magbalik tanaw sa nakaraan paminsan-minsan para ipaalala sa atin kung sino tayo at sa gayo’y maharap natin ng mabuti ang mga darating na pagsubok sa magulong mundo.


Anonymous said...

Jollibee will always be the greatest fixture of my childhood. I'm from a small town 4 hours from Davao and every time we visit the city, me and my brothers always look forward to going there for the kiddie meals! yay! :)

julicious said...

Magnolia Ice Cream House (now Nestle Creamery) in Aurora Boulevard! it's where my dad used take me whenever i win in school competitions. =)

freedomlives said...

If you grew up in Cebu during the 70's and 80's, that would be Ding Hao Dimsum, Sunburst fried chicken, and Larsians BBQ with puso.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. I miss those times when I was younger and the whole family lives in the Philippines. :)

Nice post senator!