Eastwood City…it’s one of those “city within a city” developments that have sprouted across the Philippine capital. Like most cities that have already overextended themselves horizontally, Metropolitan Manila is going vertical, and it’s going fast.
Eastwood rises on what used to be the suburb of Libis in Quezon City, and is composed of a mixture of malls, high rise office buildings and upscale residential condominiums. It is one of the metropolis’ most lively, bright and most “high-tech” looking areas, and is a popular hangout of yuppie types and college students during the evening, and of kids and families during daytime.
Just barely a decade ago though, this place looked so different. Back in the early 2000’s, Eastwood was nothing more than an evening “gimmick” spot, a rival of the “Fort” in Taguig. I still vividly remember the first time I went there, when Libis was still an outskirt of the big city. For most people who lived nowhere near Quezon City, it was still pretty much inaccessible, unless they had their own cars. The area was a territory of the teen and “tween” -agers, filling the parking lots with cars they inherited (or sneaked away) from their moms and dads. I think there were only a couple of high rise buildings in the area back then, and the rest of the lot was occupied by bars, cafes and restaurants that stayed alive until sunrise.
Fast forward 10 years, and the Eastwood City of the previous decade is barely recognizable. Today it has a skyline that would not look out of place in Hong Kong. Tall buildings, brightly lit streets, and wide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks make you forget that you are actually in a third world country. Now a home to a major mall and several large companies, the place has become a showcase of growth in the country. Yes, the Philippines has been up and down more times than you could count, but there are bright spots that shine no matter what, and this is one of those spots.
No urban development, of whatever type, can succeed without a shopping area, and Eastwood is no exception. The urge to shop and eat is as natural to humans as breathing and sleeping, and more so for Filipinos. Eastwood started with a small open air mall behind the original cluster of bars and restaurants called the Citywalk, but time and market forces soon decided that it wasn’t enough, and in the middle of the complex eventually rose the Eastwood Mall, one of the latest additions to Metro Manila’s growing list of upscale shopping areas. Though still small compared to the giants of the SM and Ayala malls, the Eastwood Mall makes up for its relatively small floor area by having a good array of brand names in both the dining and shopping scene.
Among the restaurants within the mall is one called Momo Cafe. The name sounds quite intriguing, and I guess having the same name as a popular car accessories brand helps generate curiosity. The food though, is nothing really new. If you’re familiar with the likes of Friday’s and Chili’s, then Momo’s menu will be all too familiar, except that you can dine in a more intimate, less rambunctious environment. You get ribs, sandwiches, salads, pasta and so on, a pretty safe and predictable menu.
Not that the food is not any good…in fact it is, and it ought to give Fridays a run for its money, but if you’re looking for something “out of the ordinary”, then this is probably one of the last places to go to. Overall, I think it’s a good choice for a Friday night dinner, after a long week of slogging it out in the office. But, if you’re looking for some culinary adventure, then better check elsewhere, and there are a lot of other choices within Eastwood.
* Photos taken last November 2011, with Panasonic Lumix LX5.