Wednesday evening, we headed to S. R.-M.’s Italian villa [ so authentic in architecture, decoration, and nuances it cannot be described as merely “Italianate” or “Italian-style” ] in the northern part of the city for an evening of Venetian food, wine, and conversation among good friends.

It was also the night of the annual EDSA 1986 Revolution commemoration and the horrendous traffic jam which literally paralyzed the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA and C-5.  It was enough to make the thousands of unlucky ones stuck in traffic want to mount a revolution themselves.

S. had prepared a wonderful buffet spread and various comfortable seats for lounging in her terrace abloom with summer flowers, under a clear sky with breezes wafting from the valley below.

Mike S., who lives in Antipolo, was the first to arrive promptly at 6:30 p.m..  I followed at 8:00 p.m..  Gianna and Johnny were coming from the south and had to turn back because of the impossible traffic.  Metro EIC Kat A. H. and restoration architect Mico M. staggered in at 8:30 p.m. after waiting the traffic out at the Shang EDSA hotel.  And finally, always sunny Atty. Joe Mari T. arrived at 9:00 p.m. after a 3-hour trudge from Makati through C-5.  Thus, what threatened to be a disastrous evening for S. fortunately turned out to be a scintillating and memorable evening after all…

Days before, she had informed us that she would be preparing Venetian tapas learned, on the side, from her professor in surface design there.  It was a generous spread:  there were various kinds of bread with dips of sea salt, herbs, and olive oil, pasta, fried olives, mixed mushrooms, cod in cucumber, sausage on polenta, shrimps in cream and herbs, etc..  Many of the dishes were infused with dried lemon rind, a Venetian staple.  S. also had Tess Litton’s irresistible Parmesan chips as an added treat [ I ate so much of those! ].  There was also the popular “Paella” from her neighbor Louie Heredia.  Dessert was orange and mascarpone cake and various flavors of Italian gelato.  For drinks, there were Italian rose, prosecco, and a variety of other beverages at the bar set-up.

Complimenting the Italian food was the Italian architecture, decoration, and ambience of S.’s effortlessly elegant home, certainly one of Manila’s most beautiful and most beautifully lived-in residences.

Conversazione was lively as can be expected when people of similar backgrounds and shared interests converge…


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