Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Experiencing Banchetto

I learned Banchetto from a feature in a local TV show which unfortunately, I can’t remember. Banchetto is an Italian word for feast. In the Philippines or at least in the heart of the Ortigas Center, Banchetto is a night food market held every Fridays in the entire stretch of Emerald Avenue.



Banchetto showcases food entrepreneurs. If you are really into food trip, Banchetto is the place to go. However, you have to make a little sacrifice in order to experience the market. Banchetto is held on the midnight of Fridays until 11 am of Saturday. In my observation however, Banchetto is best experienced from 1:00 am to 3:00 am. We tried dropping by at 12:00 am but the exhibitors are still organizing their stalls and there are still a lot of empty sheds waiting.  

Unfortunately for me and my friends, experiencing Banchetto was not a smooth sailing adventure. I went to Banchetto with my workplace friends, A, W and T.
 
Looking for Emerald Avenue was easy because Ortigas Center is relatively small and the streets pass through each other.  We took a walk from Robinson’s Galleria to Emerald Avenue. We arrived at around 12:00 am and as expected, we found empty sheds. We then decided to proceed to our next agenda: to find a place to stay. Edsa Shangri-La, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza Hotel and Richmonde Hotel were discarded from our target places. We inquired at The Linden Suites and we were shocked with the rates of Php 6,000 plus per night. Apart from the expensive rates, we were urned off with the not-so-accommodating male front desk officer. He was talking to us not like a service oriented employee and he literally turned his back on us while making our inquiries.  
   
A was suggesting Go Hotel at Robinson’s Cybergate Plaza. It was the cheapest, decent and nearest hotel. Moving from Ortigas to Mandaluyong gave us a hell of waiting. I never thought that getting a cab from the Ortigas Center would really test our patience.  Most of the taxi cabs that passed were occupied. Worst is that the few vacant taxi cabs were drove by selective drivers. If I were to take things seriously, I could have reported more than five abusive cab drivers to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that night.   
 
We reached Go Hotel after an hour. We rested for a while and returned to Banchetto. I thought things will be easy for us. I never expected that Banchetto will be that exaggeratedly crowded! For those who plan to go to Banchetto, brace yourselves from the flock of people.   
 
I indulged myself to a full meal. I badly need it! I bought a quarter pounder from Monster Burger, potato on a stick and an Oreo cake. 


This is T's quarter pounder. I was too hungry that I forgot to take a pic of my own burger.

Oreo Cake

My mistake is that I failed to recall the names of the stalls where I bought them. I only managed to recall Monster Burger because it would take another experience of eternity to order from them. In fairness to them, the long wait paid off. Their burger tastes well and its serving is commensurate to its price of Php 100. The Oreo cake costs Php 45 per slice which for me is reasonable enough. If I would rate the cake, I'm giving it five out of five stars!

Another problem with Banchetto is the limited tables and chairs it offer. Finding your eating place is an extra challenge for everyone. We ended up sitting and eating at the grasses of the Ortigas Park. 


It's not the fault of the organizers of Banchetto, but this one brings me some disappointment...

I just can’t understand why some people can’t manage to gather their leftovers and throw them away inside the trash bin.. 
 
We decided to call it a night or I mean a day because it was already 3:00 am. Going back to the hotel again gave us another hell of waiting. After almost one hour, we finally landed to a taxi. Unfortunately, we ended with another abusive taxi driver. 
 
Tired from our Banchetto experience, we were compensated by the decent facilities of G Hotel. Despite being an economy hotel, their services are way above my expectation. The front desk personnel are accommodating, the lobby is kept clean, surveillance cameras are installed, the elevators are spacious and neat and the rooms are well maintained too.

Though I had a not so perfect experience with Banchetto, I would still recommend the experience. Some suggestions to improve your Banchetto experience are the following, bringing your own vehicle because of the difficulty of getting a decent cab, arrive earlier than 12 am to avail of the limited tables and chairs, bring more patience and brace yourself for the flock of equally enthusiastic food trippers. For more details about Banchetto, visit their multiply site here

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