Our Christmas Break 2011 Series includes :


There's my dad-in-law who came home for the holidays from Missouri; holding hands while walking with her lovely daughter (the one in black striped shirt; not in pink, ok--no offense meant. 😉

After an engaging and informative Malacanang Palace Tour with Ivan Man Dy, our group of local and foreigner-tourists walked back to where we met that afternoon –the Legarda Mansion that’s turned into La Cocina De Tita Moning, a fine dining restaurant that features Filipino cuisine at its best.

It’s good to see an herb garden within the restaurant itself. It’s so uncommon to spot a food place that partially rely on their own produce.

They grow Tanglad or Lemon Grass among other herbs and leaves for their very refreshing Lemon Grass Iced Tea.

We were ushered to the outdoor dining area where a tasteful and supposed to be a light merienda but was a bit heavy and delicious on the tummy was served.

While eating, Ivan continued to entertain his guests without a hint of fatigue from more than 3-hour tour guiding inside the Malacanang Palace.  I believe it’s his gift more than a talent or skill.

Then the  opportunity presented itself.  Ivan Man Dy asked us if we’re interested in having a brief tour of the Legarda Mansion for free or as a last stop of our Palace, Power and A Shot of Beer Malacanang-San Miguel Walking Tour (remember, we were enjoying our light snack at its outdoor garden and without a reservation, one may have uncertainties to be accomodated inside the Legarda Mansion itself or the La Cocina De Tita Moning restaurant proper).  I immediately replied, “Sure, I read somewhere there’s a medical clinic inside, I want to see it!”   😀

Because it was almost past 5 in the afternoon, some of the tourists had to bid goodbye. We chose to stay to take a peek inside the ancestral house.  I’m glad that my father-in-law was so courteous enough not to say no to my want despite he seriously lacked sleep and was still struggling with jet lag from his more than 16 hour flight from US to HK then Manila the day prior to the tour.

More than the main dining areas (read: several private rooms to dine) of La Cocina De Tita Moning located at the mansion’s second level….

Rose petals, sculptured crystals and the best china on the dining table.

I am more interested to see the other quarters inside the Legarda Mansion…

The wooden and iron staircase leads to a whole lot of fascination.

Do you like PHOTOGRAPHY?

Antique photography equipments are showcased in one of the rooms as Dr. Alejandro Roces-Legarda was into this beautiful (and expensive) hobby. Visitors, diners and photo-enthusiasts like me have plenty to talk about over this priceless collection.

This was how a camera looked like in Dr. Alejandro Legarda’s years…

Imagine if time didn’t evolve and cameras still appear like this, I think I cannot strap it around my neck to stroll and shoot, haha! 😀

Are you into ARTS?

"La Inocencia"

For the moment, I was left in awe…

How many houses own a Juan Luna?

If owning a priceless masterpiece is close to impossible, then dreaming to have a coffee table book about such art works is the next best thing, haha! 😀

Let me remind you (or myself, haha) that this mansion is the restaurant itself.

Photography. The Arts. If not, perhaps, are we playing in the same field?

Notice the stirrups on the photo? I'm no OB-Gyn but a humble General Practitioner-Educator only however, man, I miss delivering a baby! Just like many Filipino MDs, I had the chance to go on rotation in Fabella Medical Center in Manila where 98 deliveries in a 24 hour shift is considered BENIGN. I also miss my Post-Graduate Medical Internship days at Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City and my OB-Gyn rotations there. I miss yelling (just to make your voice heard) at women about to deliver, "Ginang, hingang malalim, pigil, ire!" (In that order! --"Mrs., take a deep breath, hold and push")....ah, those were the days!

Can you find a vaginal speculum on the next photo?

Dr. Alejandro Roces-Legarda was an OB-Gyn specialist along with his 3 other siblings who were all MDs.

Like the others, I also believe having a clinic at your own residence gives you the convenience to practice. However, the downside is having your own home and worst, own family being exposed to your clients’ pathogens (microbe-causing diseases ).  To each his own.

We read the same book.

Of course, it’s not an issue to me but would you still have your appetite for fine dining at the sight of a female skeleton? *just asking*

An appetite stimulant or an appetite killer? haha! I won't mind for as long as the spread's delicious!

Other than the medical clinic, the living room upstairs is definitely attention-grabbing.

One of the quarters features the family’s radio transmitter collection.  Another rare and expensive collectibles.

And then, there are some more things to tickle your fancy.

According to Ivan, a fine dining set meal, either lunch or dinner on reservation will cost you around PhP 1,500 to PhP 2,500 and up per pax. With the sample we had at the outdoor garden, I am definite that the menu is as superb if not beyond words. 😀

The Legarda Mansion, a.k.a. La Cocina De Tita Moning extremely reminds me of two of my favorite heritage houses here in Penang,




which both stand with grandeur in George Town, one of UNESCO’s Heritage Sites.


*Special thanks goes out to Ivan Man Dy for his generous invitations to me and my family.  For readers out there who would like a professional and intelligent and amusing guided walking tours of Manila, visit the website of  OLDMANILAWALKS.COM  for details. Kindly give my regards to Ivan if in case you’ll find time to join his tours. Thank you! 


    1. hi marian! disregarding that dr. alejandro roces-legarda was an OB-GYN, the skeleton’s frame is smaller than usual male, first look at the pelvic bones will tell you it’s a woman’s and not otherwise. 😀

      ang daming old lenses and cams, ano? amazing! ako din gusto ko magkaroon ng ganyang koleksyon, kaya lang di yata fit sa palipat-lipat na lifestyle namin, or sometimes i consider collectibles as dust collectors, e tamad pa naman ako maglinis. 😦

  1. i like your monochrome photo, and recognized the vaginal speculum.:p
    this is in my bucket list…will definitely do this tour very soon.
    i smiled when i saw the original Hidalgo and Luna paintings…my cousin and I were just talking about the Spoliarium this afternoon.

    1. thanks, luna. i’m fond of playing monochrome on my photos lately (super late bloomer me!)

      i missed to see the spolarium at the national museum during our break.
      i love juan luna’s execution on that larger than life painting; so full of drama and texture.

  2. Beautiful house and interesting collections. This time I’m sure I spotted an arinola (with the medical bag photo). Now you’re wondering why my pre-occupation with arinola? 🙂

    1. so you dig those things too, doc? glad to know. 😀
      at bakit nga po fascinated kayo sa arinola? you’re not a urologist, are you? baka urosurgeon!

  3. ang sarap mag browse jan, parang museum na.

    considering the prices, very comparable na yan. with the ambiance youre more likely to pay dearly. i wish i could have a dinner date there.

    1. put that in your things to do when you get to come home to manila, maria (ang tanong, kailan kaya iyon? hehe)… i think more than the ambiance at la cocina de tita moning, the food is also worth the visit.

  4. lumuwa mata ko dun sa paintings! pati dun sa book! hehe!

    nice house! medyo repy nga lang, with the skeleton and medical stuff!

  5. I am amazed how much you have achieved with your short vacation here in Pinas. While I was having my butt strapped to my seat doing errands for the service, you were happily enjoying a good vacation with your family, and even had a meetup with our friends. OMG, what time I wasted just playing bayaning kawani sa gobyerno, hahaha. But seriously, I am glad you had time to enjoy your vacation. Wag mag-alala, I am having plans of visiting manila soon. makikimeet up din ako with KG and the rest of the gang.

    1. i was with marian in malacanang palace and legarda mansion. you have to meet them, sheng whenever you get a chance to go to manila. they love to meet you too. kailan kaya kami makapunta ng gen san? tour mo kami sa mansion ni pacman! haha 😀

  6. nice! love the skeleton. i was thinking about visiting a museum with luna’s painting the other day and here we go you post about it. that’s cool. 😀 your tours make me miss traveling so much!

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