South of the Metro | Two Fords and a food crawl

By Jovidel R. Tabuena

You can take the boy out of San Juan but you just can’t take San Juan out of the boy. Unless, of course, you happen to be former San Juan City mayor and former president Joseph Estrada who managed to do both. (ICYMI, the man is now mayor of Manila.)

Not everyone from San Juan (me included) can pull that off. The less fortunate among us can only look forward to taking the occasional road trip outside the city, however brief, if only to appreciate small, mundane joys that life can offer us.

The burgers from this joint along Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes come in big servings

And this exactly is what I was able to do, thanks to Ford Philippines. The company asked me to go on a food crawl in BF Homes in Parañaque City.

Besides being able to enjoy free food, I was able to get a free ride — I was picked up near the Pinaglabanan District (where I live), driven around to the three recommended establishments in BF Homes, and dropped off at home.

Little Quiapo started in 1949 in Quezon City and claims to be the maker of best halo-halo and palabok in town. This one is in BF Homes. Interestingly, they don’t have a branch in Quiapo

Their halo-halo was good, but we think Razon’s or even Kuya J’s have better versions

The rellenong bangus was humongous but the taste was textbook. The guinataang puso ng saging was excellent though.

It was a convenient commute that not even Grab Premium was able to match. This was because the vehicle that took me around was a brand new, pristine white Ford EcoSport, which, for me, is the prettiest vehicle that Ford is currently selling in the Philippines.

Sure, the EcoSport may have “the agility, affordability, and fuel efficiency of a compact car with the flexibility…of a sport utility vehicle (SUV)” — according to a company press release — but it’s not my all-time Ford favorite.

That honor belongs to a late seventies Ford Cortina Mark IV, which had a cameo in a James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.

One of these Cortinas found its way into the hands of the father of a previous girlfriend. He trusted me enough to take his youngest daughter out at night but he never left me alone with Olivia, his four-cylinder, four-speed, two-liter olive green dreamboat.

At that time, I was probably too young to appreciate a guy’s attachment to his ride and he was too young at heart to explain it to me. But later on, I understood.

The Cortina was solid, stable, and built like a fortress; the same impression that I got when I was welcomed into the confines of the EcoSport.

The Japanese owner-chef will personally greet you upon entering this new restaurant

Good and reasonably priced Japanese food

The subcompact crossover SUV might look small from the outside but absolutely roomy on the inside. Just one pet peeve: How come the loaner Ford provided us didn’t have a grab handle above the front passenger side window?

It could have been useful for helping passengers (including myself) climb into the EcoSport’s cabin after we checked out three places in Parañaque that day — Little Quiapo, Big Brat Burger, and Shima, all located along Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes.

But then again, it wasn’t exactly a deal-breaker. After all, we did enjoy the meals: the rellenong bangus and halo-halo from Little Quiapo, the Big Brat Burger from the establishment of the same name (I got a one-pound pure beef patty, double cheese, among others), and one skewer each of shrimp, chicken skin, and bacon with tomato at Shima.

After that leisurely food crawl, this boy felt lucky enough that he was able to leave San Juan just this once.

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