Monday, August 11, 2008


Located at the corner of Rizal Avenue and Batangas Street in Santa Cruz, Manila, this vividly painted structure that houses the Silver Star Hotel & Restaurant has been standing here for almost 60 years. I should know since I grew up in this neighborhood.

Its restaurant used to serve some of the finest Chinese dishes in the entire Santa Cruz and Blumentritt districts of the city. Its pancit canton, camaron rebosado, lapu-lapu in sweet and sour sauce, and special fried rice, to name a few, were all worth raving about. Moreover, its prices were much lower than those of downtown Manila's Chinese restaurants.

Another eatery that served the same quality of Chinese food was located quite a walking distance farther, in front of San Roque Church in Blumentritt. Whenever Silver Star didn't have any lapu-lapu, my father would get it from this restaurant.

When I was a kid, not too many households have a telephone or access to one; hence, relatives coming over to visit unannounced on weekend afternoons was a frequent occurrence. Caught unaware, my parents had to often resort to the nearby Silver Star restaurant. And of course, along with our famished unexpected guests, everyone else would feast on delicious Chinese foods with great relish.

Feeling nostalgic one weekend afternoon, I went back to this neighborhood restaurant of my youth and ordered pancit canton. It was good and the price was a mere P70.00, good for two people. The buttered fried chicken was also tasty.

Interestingly, nothing much has changed in its interior -- it looks the same as it ever was much like Ma Mon Luk that strives to retain its old world charm. However, unlike Ma Mon Luk whose waiters are usually made up of older men, Silver Star's table service staff are comprised of nice looking women wearing pretty mini skirts. I was to find out later on that the restaurant gets very crowded at night when its regular customers come to enjoy some cold San Miguel beer with Chinese foods as hors d'oeuvres. Apparently, Silver Star Restaurant turns into a swinging beer house replete with a videoke machine after dark. Cool.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:40 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, 70 Pesos for two, that's a bargain.

If my only my taste won't go astray and stay local, I would live like a King with my few hard earned dollars.

I will be back home like you Señor Enrique, when it is no longer worth my while to earn a living here in ole USA.

August 11, 2008 8:06 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

As they say, Anonymous, "There's nothing like home."

Manila living takes a lot of getting used to especially after a long absence. Be prepared for 'culture shock.'

Be that as it may, I am spiritually at peace here in Manila and the memories of having lived those many years in New York I will always treasure. Come to think of it, I've spent more of my life in NYC than in Manila :) But I think this is where God wants me at this time of my life ... hehehe.

Hey, wish that you fulfill your dreams and hopefully, will be running into you here in Manila soon enough :)

God bless!

August 11, 2008 8:23 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

Yep, Eric, we are all meant to be where we are. That is where our souls have really meant us to experience and learn.

If I would be there, I would always be going to the places you feature. Baka mataba na ako ngayon---parang laughing Buddha! :-D

Your parents are so typical Pinoys---everyone is welcome to eat: anytime, anyday! Thank God for inexpensive but tasty Chinese food!

August 11, 2008 11:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I should have also mentioned, Bernadette, that my father, as quiet as he was, loved visiting relatives as well.

On Sunday afternoons, whenever there wasn't any wedding, funeral, or christening to attend, my father would have me, my mom, and my sister Inday in tow to visit some relatives ... hehehe. Quits lang!

However, my father was always nice about it; he never brought along the entire brood of eight, except at fiestas where all the children, including those of our neighbors', were expected to show up.

Yes, I sort of feel like Paolo Coelho's character in "The Alchemist;" that after all those years in the States, it is back in Manila where I found spiritual solace. Perhaps, the 'fortune' will soon follow ... hehehe!

I'll most probably consult with you first if ever I decide to go ahead with my plan to document a day at the Makiling school.

Thanks, Bernadette!

August 11, 2008 12:38 PM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

nagutom ako sa kwento nyo... sarap siguro luto nila.. ^_^

August 11, 2008 2:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "old setting" sounds a lot better. Lapu-lapu with sweet sour
sauce taste so good, I know it too since it's my favorite, hehe....

Hope the karaoke singing and drinking are not an annoyance to the neighborhood and new guests of the hotel.

Cheers to you..........

August 11, 2008 3:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think the hotel mainly caters to short time guests, TruBlue. Most probably the nighttime customers of the restaurant with their girlfriends ... hehehe.

Yes, though expensive, Lapu-Lapu on sweet and sour sauce is a treat!

August 11, 2008 8:35 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Mas masarap talaga luto nila noon, Mimi :)

August 11, 2008 8:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You brought sweet memories for me Eric. I do remember Silver Star restaurant when I was growing up. My father's favorite is their "asado bituka" a little spicy and enough sauce to cover steaming white rice. How about "Perfection Bakery" is it still in existence? When I was about 8-10 years old, my task was to buy hot pandesal very early in the morning. I remember going to the back of the bakery and smell freshly baked pandesal. Their "machakao" mixed with toasted old mamon was also mine and my sibling's favorite. For a few cents you get a big bag to feed an army of kids.

I long to go home and settle there permanently but it is difficult when families are involved.

Thanks so much you are there to give me a glimpse of it through your blog. Come to think of it, we were practically neighbors back then. Take care.


August 12, 2008 6:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I knew it! Someone out there would share my memories of Silver Star :)

Hi Clett!

Sadly, there is no longer a Perfection Bakery. Remember when it occupied most of the building at the corner of Avenida and Batangas? This was where my sister Inday and I bought our very first large plastic bottle of Coke! One for each of us ... hehehe.

Yes, I used to wait for the "machakao" every afternoon. And the pandesal ... fresh and hot, too. Not only in the mornings but as late night merienda also with sardinas :)

My father used to have a turkey roasted in that bakery's oven. We were the only family in the area that I knew of that celebrated Thanksgiving Day ... hahaha!

Perhaps, a balikbayan visit now and then would be soothing, eh? Because you're right, the kids may not appreciate Manila as much as you do. My siblings and cousins face the same dilemma.

Yes, Clett, we were neighbors back then!



By the way, remember Galang Maternity Clinic over near Abad Santos? Check out my post on it:

August 12, 2008 7:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do remember Galang Maternity, I gave birth to my daughter there. I also remember a funeral home on O'Donnell street and huge gated houses along the same street. Arellano High had a branch in O'Donnell and that's where I spent my first year, very close to home and therefore no "monetary allowance".

I am so thrilled I can share these memories with another person, you are always making my day.

Although I don't comment on a daily basis in your blog, I am a huge fan of yours. Please keep it up. Thanks a lot and more power to you.


August 12, 2008 8:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

70 is one heck of a bargain! Buhay pa ba ang Ma Mon Luk? wow.. I loved their hototay there :)

August 13, 2008 7:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Clett,

Arellano High School on O'Donnell may no longer be there.

By the way, here are some street name changes in the neighborbood:

O'Donnell - now Severino Reyes

Tayabas - now Francis P. Yuseco

Camarines - now S.C. Herrera

Misericordia - now T. Mapua

Now, I have no idea who these personalities are/were, except for T. Mapua, but they should've realized that changing the names of streets also strip off from many people some sense of history.

I will continue featuring some more of the old neighborhood.

Many thanks for visiting my blog, Clett!


August 13, 2008 8:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, BW, Ma Mon Luk is still alive and well :)

August 13, 2008 8:45 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

I'm flying, on my way to NYC for a meeting & can't help to comment on these:

"I have no idea who these personalities are/were, except for T. Mapua"

O'Donnell - now Severino Reyes -
I wrote a small tribute to Severino Reyes in my BanlawKasaysayan site...

Pebrero 11, 1861 - kapanganakan ni Severino Reyes, sa Sta Cruz, Maynila. Si Severino Reyes ay tinaguiang "Father of the Modern Tagalog Drama." Nang napalitang "Moro-moro" nang makabagong "Zarzuela" sa entablado, si Don Binoy (na kung siya ay tawagin) ay isinulat at isinadrama ang kaniyang zarzuelang R.I.P. Kahit noong si Don Binoy ay bata pa, kaniyang paniniwala'y ang Tagalog ang magiging pambansang wika ng Pilipinas. Isa siya sa nagtaguyod nang babasahin pang linguhan na "Liwayway Magazine". Siya rin ay tinawag na "Lola Basyang" sa dahilang naging sikat ang kaniyang sinusulat na mga sanaysay, "Mga kuwento ni Lola Basyang".

Tayabas - now Francis P. Yuseco -
he was a former councelor of the Manila during the time of the late Mayor Lacson, until Gat "Yeba" Villegas. He was a good friend of my father & during their younger years, were both armature boxers.

Misericordia - now T. Mapua -
of course Eric we know who was this man, the founder of our alma mater. I'm just wondering why calle Misericordia & not Doroteo Jose? Do you remember our cafeteria on the 2nd floor of MIT high school, we can see the back of "Funeralia Paz" he, he, he ...what a site during a lunch break!

Now S.C.Herera - I have no idea!!!

Eric, Gemma Cruz's crusade on giving back the names of the streets of Manila its original names, should be implemented as soon as possible!!!

Thanks Eric & I'll tell The Yankees & Mets fans, ...ummh, as well as the "tunnels & bridges" folks you said... Hi!
ka tony

August 13, 2008 11:48 AM  

Blogger JayAshKal said...

Silver Star... I am sure there is a branch in Olongapo in the main street of Rizal Avenue, near the Gordon's Admiral building.

I am pretty sure because of the similarity... good food, short time motel on the second floor and adjoining area acted as night club.

I love their mami and siopao. I think the restaurant is still open in Olongapo but I must visit "your" Silver Star just to compare.

Thanks for another great post and for Ka Tony's historical inputs.


August 13, 2008 6:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks for letting us know about the people behind the names, Ka Tony.

I do remember "Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang."

Wishing you a wonderful and safe visit to my "other" hometown. I'm a MET fan, by the way.

August 14, 2008 1:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If there were, we would have known about it, Mario.

But I remember the Admiral movie theater and the Admiral restaurant way back when I as a kid during the '60s. My father's sister managed the restaurant for years.

Do you by any chance know the owner, Tia Amelia?

August 14, 2008 1:17 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I've been there and ate with some classmates, actually, inuman until sawa. Their food are good also since I believe they have a Chinese cook. And another place we hangout after classes during my teaching days was that restaurant near the old Victory liner along Avenida, nakalimutan ko na ang pangalan LOL. That small restaurant serves Tokwa't baboy at a reasonable price and their SMB are a lot cheaper than most restaurants. Pag ngo-ngo na at dumating na yung mga pulis na magiinuman hangang umaga, aalis na kami. :D

August 14, 2008 10:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I know of this one Chinese restaurant near the Victory Liner terminal, Reyd, but in the Monumento area, though. THe names is Pines. Great food and cheap prices. But since some parts of the area was taken over by Puregold and renamed Victory Mall, Pines was closed and demolished.

I think it's such a wonderful coincidence that you had been at Silver Star Restaurant, Reyd! Amazing!

Anyway, this restaurant was one of the best when I was a kid!

August 15, 2008 7:28 AM  

Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

LOL Lola Basyang... a favorite radio program back then, together with Gabi ng Dilim: Am I showing my age? Heheheee.

If you are referring to Amelia Gordon (widow of Mayor James Gordon), the mother of Sen Dick and Mayor Bong; who wouldn't know her? Anybody from Gapo would know her (am not just not too sure whether she remember me at all!). After being Mayor of Gapo for nth time she was pretty much very active in the local orphanage. As young DeMolays (a frat) we use to do a lot of charity work in and around the city and her favorite orphanage. I believe she is still alive and well.

August 19, 2008 1:12 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hmmm ... I think you, Mario, Bubong of Ang Kuwago, Mandaragat, and I have more in common than we realize it ... hehehe.

Yes, Tia Amelia is still alive and well.

August 19, 2008 9:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 years late but i just can't resist commenting.silver star,perfection bakery,galang hosptal.I grew up there in sta cruz and those names evoke childhood memories.we used to live there in the 70's up to the 80's,in an old apartment at the corner of Batangas and Makata streets.

June 10, 2011 10:17 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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