At the heart of Manila‘s historical landmark lies a hub café, unknown to many, yet distinctively cultural in many aspects. Not just a hub café, Mabuhay Restop is also a museum, an art gallery show place, souvenir shop, a Gawad Kalinga site travel tour advocate, and a venue that houses theatrical performing arts. Mabuhay Restop is a business venture committed to promote Philippine culture, heritage, and traditions through exceptional experiences.
Mabuhay Restop aims to highlight Filipino values and to show the country’s burning passion of its people to work together and help each other rise above the throes of darkness and despair in the spirit of bayanihan.
In an effort to highlight this exceptional aspect of Filipino culture, Mabuhay Restop gives tourists a chance to experience the Philippines like never before. Established in 2010 and in Rizal Park, Mabuhay Restop offers a wide spectrum of experiences that showcase delicious Filipino cuisine, the vibrancy of Filipino arts and the beauty of bayanihan.
That experience can also be felt through their GK Tours, be it a one-hour visit of the City Tour, a glimpse of the provincial side via Kalinga Tours, or a walk through GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan, according to Mabuhay Restop owner Rose Cabrera.
On our first visit, we were served of the flavorful and pride Filipino culinary dishes like the beef caldereta, bangus with tamarind, sotanghon guisado, adobong kangkong, chicken binakol, and for dessert the sweet taste of ripe mango and of course, the famous halo-halo. The dining area salutes Filipino arts and music as depicted on stained etch glass windows of the restaurant.
Truly a one-stop shop, Mabuhay Restop sets its foreground in promoting Philippine tourism so everyone from the tourists, foreigners, and locals will experience what is like to be in our country. “Our Kalinga Tours is composed of provincial tours to CamSur, Palawan, Badolod, Davao, and Bulacan. I just came back from Bohol, and that place will be added to that list as well. We really feel that our Kalinga Tours offers that an experience and it’s not just the Philippines is all about the beautiful sites and natural wonders but it’s all about our people,” said Rose.
Rose, who is a long-time GK champion; a UCLA graduate; and California lawyer, committed to give 30% of Mabuhay Restop’s net income to Gawad Kalinga, a Filipino nation-building movement dedicated to eradicating poverty and restoring human dignity through building empowered and sustainable communities. Furthermore, they aim to share GK’s vision of bringing 5 million families out of poverty by 2024. “Part of the tour cost goes back to the community and it’s our way of developing community-based tourism and social entrepreneurship,” she added.
On the night that we visited the place, we were also treated with a night of laughter through a musicale comedy called Manila Vanilla, which shows a variety of how Filipinos interact in and outside the country. The show mimics different Filipino traits and culture in a funny story-lines while it tries to bring the audience in a travel tourism ride.
Manila Vanilla stars Celine Fabie of the Ryan Cayabyab Singers and Spotlight Artist Centre’s “Katy: The Musical;” Astarte Abrahan of Resorts World Manila‘s “The Sound of Music” and Repertory Philippines‘ “A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino;” singer and comedian Andy Bais; and entertainer and Gawad Kalinga volunteer Edward Fernandez.
Here’s a video excerpt of Manila Vanilla intro song:
See more Manila Vanilla photos here.
Children will also be entertained by Mga Kwento ni Tita Beauty, a creative and theatrical storytelling weekly show that features 10 original Filipino and English stories imbibed with valuable moral lessons, written by top-notch director and writer Nestor U. Torre. A take-off from Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang, the show is led by Tita Beauty, a woman who fancies herself as a beauty queen despite obvious limitations. Among the stories shared by Tita Beauty are “Isay’s Graduation,” which tackles bullying and shows little girl Isay overcoming a bully, and “Hope for Tomorrow,” which is about a beauty contest teaching young girls that beauty is beyond skin-deep.
Manila Vanilla is currently showing every Saturday night 7 pm – 9 pm during the promotional dinner buffet at Php 695; while Mga Kwento ni Tita Beauty is held also on Saturdays at from 3 pm – 5pm that includes a Filipino merienda for Php 195.
Additionally, Mabuhay Restop also offers the Bayan Tour, a 3-hour guided and interactive tour in Rizal Park for visitors who wish to learn more about the Philippines and the Filipino. This tour features the one-of-a kinds “I am Filipino” art exhibit with 12 Filipino artists like Ugu Bigyan, Nemi Miranda, Ramon Orlina, Ryan Cayabyab, JC Buendia, Ernie Francisco, and Albert Badz Magsumbol.
Ultimately, Mabuhay Restop aims to make a difference in the lives of Filipinos through social tourism and entrepreneurship. “We want to be able to set an example to other entrepreneurs by showing it is profitable to invest in the poor and partner with them through social enterprises.”
Here’s a funny video of how the Philippines was discovered by Magellan via Manila Vanilla:
- Mabuhay Restop: Promoting Bayanihan through Exceptional Experiences (sarisaringabubot.wordpress.com)
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