TV5 moved to its new headquarters, the TV5 Media Center, in Mandaluyong last December. The place is huge, it houses better equipment, and everything’s so stylish and neat-looking that it feels more like an office for an international news agency than a TV station. It’s quite far from home, but the excitement brought by driving at full speed to the new office and zipping past heavy traffic kinda adds to the romanticism of the job.
Working at the new TV5 Media Center is more comfortable now, but the only problem is where to eat. Unlike in Novaliches where there’s a canteen and a mall across the street, we’re sitting amidst a sea of concrete buildings, with no visible place to get a quick, cheap meal, much more breakfast. (Not to mention breakfast is very important to me. “Higit sa balita, almusal muna,” as I always say.)
I took the time to look around for places where I could eat, and these are what I’ve tried out, in no particular order:
Robinsons Forum – just near the MRT Boni Station and the tricycle terminal, some of Robinsons’s fastfood chains are already open early in the morning. Country Style, which sells my favorite Triple Choco Boom bread, is also open at this time.
Hanako Express – For those near the Robinsons Forum area, Hanako is located at Madison Street near Globe Towers. It’s a great place to get Japanese rice bowls for lunch. So far I’ve tried their katsudon, which is small but filling.
I also tried their Meiji chocolate cake – it’s rich and sickeningly sweet, like a spring romance.
Fastfood chains – Speaking of fastfood chains, there are two Jollibee branches along Pioneer Street that are a few minutes’ walk from TV5 Reliance. One is at the intersection of Pioneer and Sheridan, while the other is further ahead towards Kapitolyo. Either way, Breakfast Joys are served quite quickly since only a few customers come in the morning. It’s the distance from TV5 Reliance that turns me off, so if I wanted to dine there, I’d go there before proceeding to work.
Meanwhile, there’s a 7-11 branch several meters away from Jollibee, where you can get a quick konbini snack and more.
If you’re facing TV5 Reliance, at the intersection to your right is a McDonalds. On our first day in Mandaluyong, many TV5 employees who reported in the morning dined there, especially because it’s the nearest restaurant from the office. The quickest you can get from there is their Sausage McMuffin with Egg, which is good enough for breakfast in my book. (If I had more time, I’d get the Big Breakfast.)
There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts branch at the intersection to your left (again, if you’re facing TV5 Reliance). I discovered that Dunkin’ Donuts already has a Kani Wasabi Bunwich variety; it turns out they’re sold only in malls and big branches. Nothing beats an infusion of wasabi and crab in the morning.
(Recently, though, their Kani Wasabi tastes only like Kani without the Wasabi. I wonder if they ran out of wasabi to mix with the crab spread. I hope the same’s not happening in other branches, or it’s about to get phased out so soon.)
Greenfield District – The Greenfield District is a shopping and dining complex at Shaw Boulevard. There are lots of restaurants to choose from, both fastfood and casual, so you’re sure to find one for your preference. So far I’ve had lunch at the Ramen Bar and Wendy’s.
Rufo’s – There’s a Rufo’s branch at the Shaw Boulevard area for those who prefer to start their with the classic Filipino breakfast of champions. I’ve heard so much about their saucy, tummy-filling tapsilog, and I’m not disappointed. I’d like to visit this branch at night though, when customers come there to drink beer and dine on their beer matches.
Persiana – Persiana opened along Pioneer Street in 1994 to serve people’s craving for delicious, filling, and affordable Mediterranean dishes. They’re best known for their gyros, pizzas, and rice meals. The place is good for small gatherings over lunch or dinner.
So far I’ve tried their spicy cheese sticks and shawarma, and for a restaurant-grade treat, they’re quite good.
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast – for those around the Kapitolyo area, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is the best place for all-day, belly-busting, have-it-your-way breakfast meals. You can get two eggs done as you want it, garlic rice, and the treat of your choice, and you can have the breakfast of your dreams. (They have set meals, too.) Kanto also serves marvelous pancakes and breakfast sandwiches.
My only problem with this place is that seating is quite limited, and you may have to wait for a while to get served since the place is always full with customers. The wait is worth it, though.
Tasty Tucker – Right next door (and the nearest landmark to TV5 Reliance) is Tasty Tucker. The first I visited ever since I came to Mandaluyong, it serves a mean selection of Filipino and European dishes such as rice meals, all day breakfasts, pasta, pizza, and salads, plus cakes and pastries.
My favorite meal at Tasty Tucker is the Australian Big Breakfast, a plateful of bacon, sausage, hash browns, toasted tomatoes, and toasted bread (though I still tend to order a cup of rice with it). The meals here are a bit expensive, so it would be best to dine here on paydays or when you feel like splurging.
Old school street food – There are a few carinderias near TV5 Reliance for those who have a really tight food budget. I spotted one at a garage for jeepneys along Sheridan Street. They serve the standard P30-40 per serving viands, plus P10 for a cup of rice, which is good enough.
Then there’s that carinderia near the police station at Greenfield District. It’s more spacious, and they serve more viands, including pork barbecue and mami. I prefer having their sinigang na baboy and fried liempo.
There are a lot of other places near Sheridan, Reliance, and Pioneer Streets where one can eat and spend time with coworkers and friends. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your budget, taste, and whether you have the time for leisurely dining. As for me, as long as I can have my breakfast, and it doesn’t hurt my wallet too much, it’s all good.