This is by no means a comprehensive guide, but more of my experience during my most recent visit to UP Diliman. I am someone that comes from the south of the metro so by the time I arrived in UP Diliman, I was already tired, hungry, and thirsty. The steed that I brought this time around was my favorite scooter of all time – the Kymco Super 8 150 now with a new red color. I say favorite because I have been fortunate enough to own not 1 but 2 previous versions, the Orange Super 8 125 and the Blue Super 8 125. It was a Sunday morning when I started my weekend ride and since I had a scheduled photoshoot somewhere in QC, I think it would be a nice way to spend my Sunday by roaming around State U. I was not just in it for the clear roads and nice view of trees and people as I also wanted to go back to my favorite food street in Quezon City. No it is not the famous Maginhawa, but the relatively obscure J.P. Laurel street in UP Diliman. There are several small diners lined up, with some dating back to the 70’s and 80’s. There is a coffee shop, longganisa shop, Japanese restaurant, pandesal store, your regular turo-turo, shawarma stand and even a fruit shake stand.
Usually my first destination in Laurel is the fruit shake stand in Jing’s Lutong Bahay canteen. One would usually see a long line as people would really wait in line just to have a taste of their famous fruit shakes. I would not be exaggerating when I say that I like this better than the popular Jonah’s of Boracay Station 1. This stand is popular not just for tasteful shakes but also for serving it in large quantities. Large enough to merit a second (free) cup on your order. My favorite is their Mango Graham shake which Is so good that it actually makes my visit worth it. There is also a canteen nearby that serve cheap but okay food, the viands are budget friendly as they cater mostly to students of course. They mostly serve budget combo meals ranging from 30 to 90 pesos only. Beside this store is Longga Republic which sells different versions of the popular longganisa. There is also Pork Congestion nearby which obviously sells pork (did I say obvious?). On this strip are countless tapsilogans and eateries that are all full when by lunch time. For those just wanting to chill out, there is also a coffee shop nearby and it is not as expensive as Starbucks or Seattle’s Best as Coffee Hub sells theirs for 50 to 70 pesos only and you get free Wifi to boot so I think that’s a pretty good deal.
Regardless of the number of diners in Laurel St., my personal favorite, and probably of some as well is Rodic’s, which is considered an institution in UP Diliman. For so many years, they have been serving tapsilog that you would surely come back for. Located at the Shopping Center, it is a huge favorite of students and teachers alike. My first foray into Rodic’s tapsilog was way back in 2007 during a visit in UP and although it took a few years before I was able to come back, boy it was indeed as good as the first time I tasted it. That is consistency right there for you folks. Their tapsilog costs only less than a hundred pesos but it is so delicious and tasty. They serve tapa bits which looks like giniling so it is actually easier to chew and digest. Did I already say it is very tasty? Oh yes I did, of course. One good thing about Rodic’s is that it is air conditioned and with a second floor as the first level usually gets full quite easily. As part of their expansion, the original Rodic’s already got the commercial space in front of their restaurant and converted it into another Rodic’s, so that is two stores for you right there, in front of each other. While their specialty and bestseller is their tapa, they also serve liempo, sisig, tocino and other food so you would have a lot of choices.
For meryenda, there is the super popular Mang Larry’s Isawan – the famous isawan in UP Campus. It has been in UP for several years already and is a favorite meryenda for Iskolars ng Bayan. They don’t just serve isaw ng baboy and isaw ng manok but also barbecue, betamax, tenga, goto, adidas and hotdog. Expect a long line when trying to get meryenda from here but it should be okay, because by the time you are done ordering then you would have been starving already from the waiting you’ve experienced so that makes the food you ordered a little bit more sumptuous. Mas masarap kumain pag gutom. From a normal ihaw ihaw, it is now a stand alone store and one thing that you would notice are 2 big containers of sawsawan in front of the store, which dwarfs the usual sawsawan found in small jars in small ihawans. Well that is Mang Larry’s Isawan for you.
After eating at Mang Larry’s, I also noticed the ubiquitous presence of sorbetes carts. There is distinction between these carts in the UP Campus grounds and those you see outside as these all have markings that say BCO-FSRC approved. I have to think that this means that these are safe and have passed stringent safety standards. Frankly, I have no idea what it means and I am just assuming hehehe. Anyway, one was situated near Mang Larry’s so I felt I needed to have one just to give my mouth a different taste from all that burnt inihaw I just had.
I felt like I gained at least a couple of pounds from all that eating in just a span of a few hours but for someone who is conscious of his weight, I didn’t care as I had a great time traveling around UP and it was a refreshing sight to be away from all that traffic in the metro as riding around UP is a breeze with the Kymco Super 8. One thing I noticed going around the UP Oval are the potholes around that route but the scooter’s suspension handled it quite well, not to mention the power it possesses and that it showed during those short uphill bursts.
I will definitely come back to UP if just to spend some hours from my weekend. A Sunday ride doesn’t necessarily have to be somewhere far away as what matters most to me is the enjoyment that riding brings, even just for a food trip. I won’t be surprised if I see myself doing another UP food trip sometime soon.