Mooon Cafe (yes, that's 3 of the letter “O”s), that famous Cebuano Mexican whatever restaurant, is opening soon in Metro Manila! I was a bit elated, bit disappointed, down to outright disgusted at how this is happening!
How do I explain that? Here I go…
Eh of course, that is Cebu invading your Metro Manila AGAIN! What's so happy about that? If only to show that the Queen City is really making its mark, that it is not anymore the “kaulohan“ dictating the pace of everything. C'mon folksy folks, I have been resident of the queen city for the past 3 years, I claim, therefore I AM a Cebuano! So I am proud that another local joint is trying it out in the metropolis. Yeyeyehhh!
My shallow point, which many of you will agree, is --- that restaurant, especially their IT Park branch (at The Walk) has been one of my best places to bring visiting friends from Manila to! So my list of “Uniquely Cebu” is getting shorter. Merese to me, right?! Well, there are still a lot of other options on these kinds of ’things Cebu’ and they're still way beyond my 10 fingers if I start counting – even without Mooon Cafe – so I should not be that disappointed!
The more serious and mind-blower for me is, the new branch will be handled by crews from Metro Manila with shady attitudes, if not at all real crooked minds or personal backgrounds. Yeah, probably not all, but definitely some. How do/did I get information to declare such serious allegations? Well, just the things I heard from about 6 or 7 of them. They were loudly in the shop-talk mode over bottles of Red Horse. Where? Ah just read on…
On my way home some nights ago, after meeting friends at BTC, I dropped by this store under the Banilad fly-over, for a pack of cigarettes. Yeah, its the 24-hour store that sells many things to eat and drink – just like 7 Eleven, but there are tables and chairs that can be laid out at their parking area for those who want to drink pronto. Nice place actually. And nice cool breezy moonlit summer night, that I thought why not grab a bottle of SML for a nightcap. So I did.
I sat at a table near to where the 6 or 7 of these guys were busy in private discussion but too loud that I and other tables could not help but overhear. Facts: they are in Cebu to train (OJT) at various branches of Mooon Cafe. There are about 26 of them billeted at nearby Alicia Apartelle which should have been 30 but some were unable to join this group due to various reasons like sickness and other family matters. They’ll be back in the metropolis soon because the branch at SM Fairview will be opening on May 4. It will be located at the extension area somewhere facing Robinsons.
I overheard all of these either direct from their conversations or when the folks at other tables asked them. They were just so loud. The confidence if not outright pompousness of people from the kaulohan hehe! But fine still, I know if they were doing this in Eastwood they would not have been as loud – almost all wearing basketball jerseys eh wala namang basketball court sa lugar na ito! Maryusep! I already got an inkling of who these boys are, y’know, those whose “pambahay” clothes are basketball jerseys?! Tell me what you wear and I’ll tell you which slum area in Metro Manila you come from hehe!
But that is not my disgust. Let’s give it to them, they are just waiters and restaurant crews, so why should I expect them to come from posh villages, right?! Kaso… eto na!
The tall and handsome looking guy who is to be bartender at the new branch was like angrily expressing his annoyance at one of their mentors and i hear this… “pare di nya kelangan ulit-ulitin yan, alam ko ang ginagawa ko, tangina ang isang pitcher ng iced-tea kaya kong gawing apat, yelo lang katapat nyan”! To that I thought, OMG there goes the Mooon Cafe quality. Then another dude, probably waiter adds his wiser point of view… “pare, ang kulit nga, kelangan daw itapon agad ang sobrang Suncooler, bakit eh kung ulit-ulitin ko gamiting yung mga fruits na yan limang beses, malalaman ba ng customer? Tingan nyo nalang pag nag-open na tayo, sigurado pinakamalaki ang tipid natin sa lahat ng branches”! To that, I think I blurted a muffled OH MY GOD. But I just kept listening.
At one time their talk went to about this manager (or supervisor) who many of them agreed was just going around fishing information so that he can report poor quality to management. Something like “oo pare, nangangalap lang yan, kaya ingat tayo”. Then the older in all of them (probably supervisor) said something that I did not hear clearly. But the bartender retorted with a strong “baka naman pati ikaw pare tinitiktikan mo rin kami’. Everyone laughed, even the supervisor himself. Then it was followed by the bartender again with “sabihin mo lang magtatayo kami ng union”!
With that one last remark, I didn’t know if I wanted to enter the conversation and make a discourse, or just throw up right on my table! But I controlled myself. In my mind I was saying, eto na nga, these are those twisted-minded squatters who think of unionism as their weapon against being apprehended for poor performance, ignorance and even blatant corruption! Sus! But I let them be.
Few minutes later, I casually asked the guy whose back was nearest me. I overheard him earlier saying he came from Pho Hoa (now I miss Eastwood hehe). So I asked him if Mooon Cafe does have soups like those delectable beef something at Pho Hoa. He said none. For some reason my next question was “mga taga-fairview ba kayo lahat?” to which he answered “hindi naman sir, me taga Mandaluyong, meron Batasan, Meron Caloocan… bakit sir”. So I said “kasi malapit ang bahay ko sa SM Fairview, nilalakad ko lang yan minsan”.
At that point, some of them were already standing, and the older guy (yeah, I really think he is supervisor) who I have not even talked to nor made any eye-contact earlier, suddenly asked me “ano sir, magpapainom ba kayo? kung hindi, uuwi na kami”. I think he saw my irritated face when I said “hindi, sige umuwi na kayo”! And they started walking towards Alicia Apartelle. The guy from Pho Hoa did say “sige sir, kita na lang tayo pag nag-opening na kami”!
When they left, I did not realize I blurted a bit loudly saying “tangina, ang kapal. kung magpapainom daw ako! sa mga tikasan nga waiter?! fuck!”! I only realized that when the girl at another table faced me saying “mao gyud sir, kuyawa ‘no?! maypa mga waiter nalang diri ang i-assign ngadto sa fairview”! All I could say was “hehe” plus a shrug!
But there you are Cebuano friends! Expect something when this Mooon Cafe thing opens at SM Fairview! As for me, am scheduled anyway to be back there by 1st or 2nd week of May. And I will pop by that branch just for a go see. I am thinkin… one false move of those idiots and I will really wreck havoc loudly in that branch to be heard all over SM, even across to Robinsons hehe. I’m still thinkin what my spiel should be! Should I say “Is that what you learned in Cebu?” or maybe “nakinig ba kayo sa training nyo sa Cebu?”. Maybe I should have lunch one of these days at The Walk again, then count the number of fruit chunks in that small Suncooler. If its one piece short over at Fairview, I will make a scene! Whadyathink? Ka-asar eh! Wa pa gani nag-open, twisted na daan!
Ah, the things I encounter when roaming around. Minsan nakakagigil!