As part of our personal safety protocol, we have been dining al fresco every time we eat out as recommended by Leo’s pulmonologist. However, this wasn’t really a comfortable setting during the past hot and dry months so we make it a point to dine out early mornings or evenings. But as we discovered recently, a change in weather patterns could force us to take a different approach.
When friends that we haven’t seen for over a year asked to dine out recently we predictably suggested a dinner al fresco date. Friends Boi and Tess proposed we head over to the Seascape Village Bay Market along Manila Bay in Pasay City. This dining destination prides itself as an upscale dampa. The latter is a staple Filipino dining establishment where customers can buy fresh seafood from a market and have it cooked at a cluster of restaurants in the same area.
Seascape Village includes a 2-story, 10,300 sq.m. building. The total land area amounts to 15,300 sq.m. including a large al fresco dining area. It is home to a wide array of restaurants and also includes a wet and dry market offering fresh seafood among other things. Besides the al fresco dining facilities Seascape Village has an unobstructed view of the Manila Bay sunset and a bay walk along the shore. It also provides nightly entertainment with musicians performing from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM.
There is a dizzying array of restaurants to choose from at Seascape Village but Boi and Tess recommended Mazu Seaside Diner which many say offers the best food here. They arrived early like we did – Leo wanted to shoot photos of the Manila Bay sunset – and had already bought seafood which they proceeded to bring to Mazu for cooking.
Three other friends arrived much later and had a tough time trying to park. And it wasn’t even a weekend. The parking lot is relatively large but when we arrived at just past 5PM it was almost full. We didn’t realize just how popular this place has become.
If you’ve been following this blog, you would have realized that we’re plant-based eaters although Leo temporarily included fish in his diet to help regain the 40 lbs. that he lost from his battle with Covid. He decided not to touch the chicken and crabs and only took a taste of the shrimps, however.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying seafood from the market you can still order a la carte. Besides food from the wet market that Boi and Tess had Mazu cook for us, there were also some a la carte items that we ordered namely lo han chai (a Chinese vegetarian dish) and buttered chicken.
Before food could be served however, the waiters warned us to move from the open-air dining area to a roofed dining facility close to the bay walk. The gray clouds ahead – visible even during the early evening hour – warned us that a thunderstorm was on the way. The roofed dining area was open on all 4 sides so that still satisfied our Covid protocol. Sort of. The Mazu people had to close one side as rain was blowing from that direction. Turns out that the state weather bureau PAGASA had just declared the start of the rainy season last May 18 – a rather early onset.
Over-all, though, we had a great time not only with the food but more so with meeting and chatting with friends whom we’ve missed seeing face-to-face for over a year. One of our friends who wasn’t able to come suggested we meet again. And soon. But with the onset of the rainy season, we would have to plan more carefully any future al fresco dining dates.