The Great Deer Hunt
I’m so behind with my posts that every entry should be tagged “throwbackthursday”
This is a photo set from Spring break last year, taken in my brother’s neighborhood in Maryland. I must’ve posted this in Facebook months ago. Looking at these photos makes me wish we had Spring weather in the Philippines. The heat has been unbearable lately.
It was our last day in Maryland. My parents, my eldest sister’s family and I were scheduled to leave for L.A. in a few hours, leaving my two other siblings and their families behind. The Maryland trip was the third leg of a long family vacation/reunion that brought us all over the US, in different timezones – from San Francisco to Ohio to Maryland to Virginia to Delaware to L.A. to Las Vegas. I had jet lag that lasted more than a week when we arrived in Manila.
We were having breakfast at my brother’s house when my dad came in from his usual morning walk and announced that he saw a herd of deer at a forest nearby. My eldest sister, who really wanted to see a wild deer, rounded up the kids (me included) for a deer hunt. She thought it crucial that we leave right away, so most of us left the house in our pajamas. Some had to cut their breakfast short. I haven’t taken a shower yet, so I quickly put on a thick jacket and layered a jacket over it. And of course I brought my camera, hoping to take home a few shots of a herd of wild deer.
Here are my sister and the nieces/nephew in one neat line. My sister signaled the little ones to keep quiet as they may scare the deer away:
We tried to look for deer..
…unfortunately, we didn’t find any. So they just explored the forest while I took photos.
Here is my brave nephew, Toby:
My super smart niece, Sophie, with my dad:
My other niece, Bianca, in her puruntong shorts from Manila )
On our way back to the house, I saw this at a neighbor’s backyard. The cherry blossoms were beautiful, so I just snapped away. I hope my presence didn’t bother anyone inside the neighbor’s house.
The explorers heading back to the headquarters:
Last year’s vacation brought us to a lot of popular tourist spots in the U.S., but random moments like this one; spending time with the family during interstate drives; eating home-meals together, are the ones that really stuck to memory.
Weeks ago, my nieces and I braved the Saturday traffic all the way from our neighborhood up in the North to have lunch at a quaint resto called 14Four Cafe in Taytay, Rizal. It was my second time to eat there this month. On my first visit, I had dinner with my college friends. I learned about the resto from my college friend, Jen, who lives in the area. She and her husband had an intimate wedding reception in the same place last February. Coming from the other side of the world, I don’t think I would have discovered the place on my own.
14Four Cafe is only one part of the compound. The entire property actually started out as a showroom for Sticks Designs. It has been operating purely as a showroom for several years until Chef Niki Sambile decided to utilize the first storey to run a restaurant more than a year ago. All the furniture pieces inside the resto are from Stick Designs. The cafe is only open on weekends, from Friday to Sunday. I thought it would be a great place to do prenup/engagement or family shoots, so I e-mailed Niki and inquired about their policy for shoots. She told me that they are only allowed from Monday to Thursday and they charge PhP3,000 for 3 hours of exclusive use. I think this is reasonable given that every corner of the property is photo-worthy. Aside from the nice resto, there’s a spacious garden with furniture pieces and other decor. She clarified that we can still take a few simple shots if we’re planning to visit during the weekend.
I was supposed to do a friend’s portrait shoot that day but something came up on her end and we had to cancel the shoot. Since I already made reservations, I decided to just take my nieces, Patti and Bianca, to see the place. Anyway, we were planning to eat somewhere nice to celebrate Bianca’s 15h birthday the day before. Consequently, it was Patti’s high school graduation the following day so we celebrated that too. Suddenly, I feel so old ) Though I must admit, the huge age gap notwithstanding, I find their exchanges on the latest Tumblr feeds and new musical discoveries more relatable than conversations between married folks/parents my age. Hehe
It was a slow drive from our place to Taytay but the travel was worth it. We were the only guests that afternoon so we had the place to ourselves. We had to leave before 5 pm though since the venue was reserved for a dinner party. Still, we had more than enough time to have lunch and a mini photo op.
All the pieces of furniture are from Sticks Design (not sure about the “Batibot” bench surrounding the tree. If you’re too young to relate, I hate you ) )
My nieces, Patti and Bianca. So proud of what they’ve achieved academically. (And height-wise. ) Bianca (on the right) is an incoming junior in my alma mater and Patti is an incoming Fine Arts freshman in my other alma mater. I’ve constantly reminded them to choose well in deciding what course to take for college. Yes, kids, keep that in mind. This is a friendly reminder from your neighborhood lola. Hehe
Inside the cafe:
This table was reserved for us. But we moved to the table with the nice couch:
Here’s the menu:
For our appetizer, we had smoked fish pate with tortilla chips and crispy tofu. Love the peanut ginger sauce for the tofu:
I had the sesame crusted dory with rice and cucumber salad. The price is reasonable at P190:
My nieces wanted the country fried chicken, but it wasn’t available that day. Patti settled for the 14Four Tapa with garlic rice and egg (same price as the dory):
Bianca had chicken margherita. I ordered this when I ate there last time. Personally, I preferred their rice dishes. Or maybe I’m just a rice person:
For “dessert”, we had amaretto french toast which was really good. They had a separate menu for dessert but we didn’t bother to ask what they offered. This was enough for us:
Random trivia under the glass (reminiscent of glass tables in the government with photos, religious cards, calendars and cell cards underneath. Ehe)
Chairs for royalty. I want to take one of these home. If I had a place to put it in. And money to spare:
Interesting wall art inside the restroom:
After lunch, we walked around the garden and took more photos. As we were exploring, a lady chatted with us and introduced herself as a part-owner of the furniture shop. She looked at me and my nieces (who, might I emphasize, are both inches taller than I am) and asked if “we’re all from high school.”I laughed and for a few seconds, may have looked like this
We later found out that she’s the mom of Patti’s batchmate and close friend from school. Small world She toured us around and allowed us to take a quick peek inside the showroom.
More photos outside:
And this is how the place looks like at night, taken during my first visit earlier this month. I wasn’t able to bring the DSLR then (which I regret), so these were all taken using my iPhone:
Of course I have to post our 10-year post college grad barkada (“harkadah”) pics (taken using Jonel’s iPhone):
Some info about 14Four Cafe and Sticks Designs:
14Four Cafe/Sticks Design:
144 Magnolia Lane, Barangay San Isidro,
Gregoria Heights Subdivision,
Taytay, Rizal, Philippines 1920
Friday & Saturday 10am – 10pm
Sunday 10am – 9pm
You can e-mail them at email@example.com and text/call them at 0999.888.0144 for reservations
Credits to Patti (for my photos) and Jonel (for the “harkadah” photos)