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  • Writer's pictureArmand

Food for The Mind, Body and Soul…Namit

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

After a long day, one sometimes feels the need to hang out, just to kick back and relax and let mind body and soul take a breather. One such opportunity came when a friend brought me to the JT’s Manukan Centris branch. Seated at the al fresco dining area, we placed our orders, which promptly came in fifteen minutes.

Ice-cold bottles of Bastante craft ale (aka beer), and a mixed plate of pork barbecue, grilled isol (chicken ass), baticolon (chicken gizzard) and corazon (chicken heart) in tiny bamboo skewers. Taking a hearty gulp of the Bastante while gazing at the promenade area in front of us, I could feel the muscles at the back of my neck relax as the stress slowly evaporated.

My friend Diego, whom I’ve known for close to four decades (we met in the early 80s at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus), has always had light but humorous touch. His presence was a perfect companion to the Bastante. Between sips of the cold brew – can’t keep gulping down the stuff since it has a higher alcohol content than the usual Pale Pilsen – and snatches of conversation, I would alternately pop in my mouth the grilled delights. Sip, talk, pork barbeque, baticolon, corazon, isol. Rinse with Bastante and repeat.

The pork barbecue was tender and tasty, not overly flavored like what you would find on street stalls. I wish it had some of the highly carcinogenic burnt bits of fat that traditional Pinoy pork barbecue is known for, but its perhaps best that way, especially for someone a year shy of senior citizen status. After the tender texture of the pork, the slightly chewy baticolon and corazon provide a pleasant contrast (the latter was juicier, though), with the melt in the mouth and slightly heart-stopping fatty decadence of the isol delivering the perfect finish (no pun intended). Actually, the isol was not as fatty because they were smaller and seemed more delicate than the usual food stall chicken ass. It didn’t give a cloying sensation that one gets when a layer of fat gets trapped in the roof one’s mouth.

The baticolon and corazon also, in a manner of speaking, provides a healthy balance to the pork barbecue and the isol. While both are also rich in protein, they’re also a good source of vitamin B12, which is good for the brain, and are high in zinc, iron and phosphorous, which are essential minerals. Both are also low in fat and cholesterol.

For two persons, a couple of bottles each of the Bastante, along with a mixed plate of the small grilled delights in bamboo skewers, could be had for a thousand bucks, give or take. The friendship, eternal and essential, with the pleasant and funny conversations, is free. Between this combination, and say a trip to the therapist or a high-end spa, to relax and rejuvenate body, mind and soul, I would take the former any old time. The experience is more delicious, does not require an appointment or record-keeping, and costs a mere fraction of the latter two options.

So, the next time you’re feeling frazzled or stressed, no need to make an appointment with your therapist or the spa. Just grab a friend and head to your favorite JT’s Manukan branch. Namit for the mind, body and soul…not to mention the palate and the pocket.

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