I gained five (or ten) pounds in Manila, and am now on a (not so) strict low carb diet to get down to normal size. The added poundage was expected - who can properly travel through Manila without eating?
Manila is a wonderful food town, and we visited a lot of great restaurants. As can be expected from mga balikbayan, we concentrated most of our energies on Filipino food, which is sadly and inexplicably unavailable in its finer forms outside The Philippines. This is all the more unfortunate when you actually realize that the Manila restaurant scene is undergoing some sort of renaissance - so many interesting new restaurants have sprouted up all over the archipelago, and most have Filipino food (in its various forms) as their base. I've been waiting a long time for this to happen, and I earnestly hope the development of local cuisine continues on this path.
An outstanding restaurant we went to thrice (yes, thrice) during our stay was Bistro Filipino at The Fort. Local favorites with a twist, and presented well. Here are some of the dishes we had:
Lumpiang Sariwa (with frozen sinamak vinegar)
Sinigang (Gelleed! in a Martini glass! With Coconut!)
And the best dessert in the world, Halo-halo:
As you can see, all very pretty, and according to my over-used taste buds, heavenly.
Still, Filipino food is all about camaraderie and good times, and nothing quite compares to the delight of eating around a table with friends, with such admirable speed and precision that I can never take a picture fast enough: