We’ve moved out but still very much enjoy our old neighborhood, which is why we recently planned a day trip back to BF Homes. If you’re looking for a city day with shopping and cafes, followed by a relaxing afternoon at the park with a perfectly spontaneous picnic, read on!
Start your day with an Uber to SM BF, and don’t forget to use the latest promo codes! You can walk right into the SM Store for some quick shopping, head up to the Cyberzone on the third floor, or wander around plenty of other stores. When you’re ready for a pit stop, hit up Cafe Mary Grace, conveniently located right inside the main entrance. For coffee lovers, I’d recommend the Americano with vanilla cream and for kids, the lemon orange chiffon looks like a little cake but it’s a nice light snack that won’t ruin their appetite for lunch.
When you’ve had enough of the mall, get a trike down President’s Avenue and onto Aguirre, and have your driver take you to Mr. Park’s Bread & Cake. Pick up some fresh baguettes and any other pastries that catch your eye before taking a short walk to Kehl’s Swiss Italian Restaurant, only 300 meters back up the road. Their deli features a selection of imported meats and cheeses from Europe, as well as some excellent wines. Our favorites deli choices include the Emmental and smoked cheddar, both less than 100 pesos for 100 grams, and farmer’s ham at just over 50 pesos for the same.
They have a few nice wines under 500 pesos a bottle, such as the 1L white we opted for, imported from the Rhineland in Germany. It was a nice balance of sweet and sour and a perfect picnic wine. You’ll also have a wide array of chilled European beers to choose from if that’s your poison.
If you have a sticker or know a friend inside, you can go to one of the parks in Tahanan, NSHA, or one of the other villages within the greater BF area, or you can head to the clubhouse on Elizalde Avenue, a nice big park with beautiful trees, a simple playground, open spaces, and plenty of picnic tables. I should caution that the slide is a bit treacherous and best for older children.
Since we have friends in NSHA, however, we opted to have our picnic there. From Kehl’s on Aguirre it’s only a ten-minute walk to NSHA, and since you’ll pass a Seven-Eleven on the way, you can pick up some chilled beverages, salty snacks, and (Pro tip!) two empty gulp cups for your wine. Cheers!
What I like most about the park in NSHA, which is just off of Elizalde, are the trees and the breeze. With a nice wind blowing through the park, it stays quite cool here even at the hottest time of day, and the breeze keeps most of the flies and mosquitoes away. As far as picnic spots in Manila go, I’m quite happy with this one. As nice as the memorial parks are, I’m still not entirely comfortable eating and drinking over someone’s grave; it just doesn’t exist in my culture.
If you’re thinking of an impromptu picnic in BF Homes but happen to remember to grab a nice soft blanket on your way out the door, you’ll be happy to have it when the wine kicks in, the belly is full, and you’re ready for a nap.
When the sun goes down, there are always new restaurants and bars popping up to serve you dinner, drinks, and fun. Our favorites on Aguirre are Puzzles, where you play practically any board game ever invented for only 100 pesos a head, or the newly opened Lounge Lizard for billiards and beer pong. You’ll find these venues side-by-side by continuing down Aguirre, another 700 meters past Mr. Park’s.
If you’re hungry for more than just bar food, however, be sure to stop at Ble for some of the best Greek food in the city. Conversely, if you prefer Mexican cuisine, check out the Driveby Taco Shop. Both of these restaurants are on Aguirre as well; you’ll find them after the Elizalde crossing but–since we’re using this as our landmark–before Mr. Park’s. Finally, coffee lovers alert: while you’re on Aguirre you can’t pass up a chance for a hot mocha and free wifi at Carpe Diem.
Yes, Aguirre Avenue is embedded with many gems. Enjoy your time in the Metro Manila South!