Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cebu, Philippines: Catching Up Time at La Vie Parisienne

When I was in Cebu the other year, I managed to meet up with a long time friend, Sheena. We spent the whole day together starting with lunch until midnight.

La Vie Parisienne in Lahug, Cebu City

I met Sheena in high school, we were classmates. We also went to the same school in our early college years, but later decided that we will both be happy with a different study to pursue which meant enrolling in a different university.

Every now and then we went out but life took a major turn when I moved to Manila after graduation. Things watered down a bit. Real life gets in the way. Career (for moi). Living in a new and alien city. Family (for most of my friends and for Sheena). Children (alas, not for me, haha). The meaning and purpose of life begun to unravel into something different. We all go through the stages of life.

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I am not the ‘everyone’s friend’ type. I tend to be the very independent, opinionated and solitary type. I am very comfortable in my own skin and I become tired when there are so many people around me. Clingy people needing a lot of attention will fall out along the way. I have no patience for dramas and small talk. So I guess in the end I do not have to choose my friends, they will make the decision themselves if they want to stay put or not. I do care for my (small set of) friends. For those who stick around, (tried to) understand and forgive my quirkiness.

Right now as I am nearing 50, it gives me such great consolation to be able to look back to my old friends and reconnect. Thanks to Facebook for making the communication easier.

Sheena and I have been through a lot of things during our struggling student years. We can laugh about it now. We had lunch at Parilya with my parents. Here is the link to my earlier blog post: Cebu – Parilya Lunch Cebuano-Style with an Old BFF

After the long lunch, I accompanied Sheena to her business dealings. Then we met up with her son who took over her car so she can drive with me. It’s not handy commuting in two different cars in traffic crazy Cebu City. The city has really metamorphosed into an insane conurbation that obviously didn't have any proper infrastructure planning. It is not the Cebu City that I know from before. Sadly, not anymore.

Sometimes I get nostalgic about it. Everything has changed. Life has moved on, and all we have now are memories of the past. If only I was able to blog about them before? But blogging didn’t exist. Journalling yes, and although I had my own journals, they were destined for a different purpose. Which is the reason why I blog today. To remember as much as possible the everyday present. Because they will become distant memories in the past. And when you have memories with pictures and stories, you can better reminisce and relive them.

The past is never too far away from the present as you move on to the near future.

The stunning wine cellar.

I told Sheena that I had researched online nice places to hang out in Cebu. Before she could give me a list of places, I gave her a suggestion. La Vie Parisienne in Lahug. I have seen their website and the pictures looked really nice. A very promising place for lengthy conversations and catch ups.

Sheena said that she was just there several weeks ago treating her employees to a night out. But she didn’t mind going back. Which is what I was waiting for to hear, haha.

La Vie Parisienne was really gorgeous. I liked the subdued lounge-style ambiance. The setting is also very European (hello Parisienne, haha) which is very familiar. The interior design is really wow. The pieces of furniture were clad in leather which is very masculine giving the place a hint of being an exclusive high-class brothel. Someone told me, I think it was my cousin, when she learned I am going here with Sheena, that the place is popular amongst the call girl society. Of course. No one is being blamed here. We all follow the money you know, we just take different paths.

I also loved the enigmatic vaulted walls and ceilings which double up as wine holders. The mellowed lighting is just perfect, it is as if you are inside a church. They even have a cellar hallway, like an alcove but in a hall, which is stunning, and Sheena and I managed to take a picture of it. And oh, the vertical fern garden is a breath of fresh air.

Delicious pastries. This is your go-to bakeshop if you are looking for French pastries.

Furthermore, it is a functioning store, a bakery, delicatessen, wine lounge and take away shop. Something like a gourmet sari-sari store if you wish.

They sell European-style luxury food and wine that you can take away or eat and drink on the premises. The establishment is somewhat self-service. You buy your food from the counter and take a seat in the lounge or garden. There are waitresses around that can help assist if you order food from the menu list. Or food that requires help in serving.

Before we decided to order our light dinner, Sheena and I went outside to explore the garden. It was a December when I was in Cebu, so the whole city, and many establishments such as La Vie Parisienne, were in a drollery of lights. The garden was amazingly fitted with glowing lights and I loved the privy eating spaces in bulb-shaped cabanas. The only thing I wondered was the few people. I would have expected a great audience response to a gorgeous garden setting like this.

Pictures below of the garden:

Not bad for a garden full of glowing lights, huh?

Nevertheless, we went back in and ordered our food and drinks. Sheena and I were still a bit full of our long and late lunch, so we decided to eat something light to share.

I picked a prosecco bottle for our booze which was perfect for the warm evening. We ordered a salami, a small slice of Brie cheese and a wheat bread with nuts. Interestingly, the waitress did not know how to serve my order, so I told her to slice the salami into small elongated pieces and the same goes for the bread as well. The cheese she can leave it as it is, but we would need a small knife.

Although I did not expect her to pronounce the names of the pastries, salamis, and cheeses properly (they are all in French), I was a bit surprised that she wasn’t trained on how to serve some of the food. Perhaps most people that order salamis and cheeses don’t eat them there but they take them away.

Our light to-share dinner with Prosecco, the only Italian in this French plate.

Looking at this picture, I might have ordered a different cheese. Brie usually does not melt like this, but well, when it's hot, it does. I forget, the Philippines is in the tropics.

Salut! Cheers! Tagay! Haha

Anyway, our plate of goodness arrived with the Prosecco. Sheena and I were quite happy to not have to stuff ourselves for dinner. You see, I gained a lot of weight at the end of 2016. Fast forward, I am now almost 10 kilos lighter writing this. Thank heavens. I don’t really care about having a great body shape you know, you care less about this when you are 40+ and more about the shape of your bank account. But it feels good when you are lighter and you have fewer health risks.

Sheena and I had a long and lovely evening of catching up. La Vie Parisienne is a great place to hang out for the evening, especially if you are with friends and looking forward to having a long private chat in a cushy place.

After our time in La Vie, we went to Figaro in IT Park for the last stretch of the evening. Some midnight coffee would be good before going home.

Who serves coffee with potato chips? Only in the Philippines. Only in Figaro.

Ah, Figaro coffee brings me a lot of memories down the lane as well.

I am looking forward to more catch ups with old friends in the coming years, but they do not always have to be in Cebu or the Philippines. The world is smaller than we all think and can imagine, and travelling has become cheaper =)

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Cebu City (Cebu - Visayas), Philippines

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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