Tuesday, February 24, 2015


While attending the auction of Bayanihan Collectors Club, I came across these old postcards of Max's Fried Chicken Restaurant being sold by one of the antiques dealers.  It reminded me of the days when my dad would celebrate his birthday and would take us there to eat at the Sct. Tuazon, QC branch.  I could finish a spring chicken meal and would order an extra bread. The crispy chicken skin is so delicious, that would ask my mom's chicken skin.   I like it with Jufran or Mafran banana ketchup and so does everyone else in the family. I was always a treat when eating at Max's back then.

1960's Max's old postal card. They have only two branches in Quezon City and Dewey Blvd.

Max's Restaurant's beginnings started in 1945, after World War II. Maximo Gimenez, a Stanford - educated teacher, befriended the American occupation troops stationed at Quezon City. Because of this friendship, the soldiers regularly visited Maximo's nearby home for a drink or two. Later on, the troops insisted that they pay for their drinks. This prompted Maximo to open a cafe, where the troops could enjoy food and drinks.

1960's Max's old postal card menu.  Imagine a whole chicken meal of 6.00 pesos only.

The cafe initially served chicken, steak and drinks. Maximo's niece, Ruby, who managed the kitchen, created a special recipe for chicken that became an instant favorite for the GIs. Soon, the Filipino public heard about the delicious chicken-tender, juicy and crispy-and they came too! Max's Restaurant was born.

Over the years, Max's Restaurant's popularity grew and it became known as "the house that fried chicken built."

Max's Restaurant has established itself as a household name in the Philippines, an institution, and a proud Filipino tradition. The second and third generations of the family continue to zealously uphold the standards and traditions set by Maximo and Ruby for all Max's Restaurants.

1960's Max's old postal card menu.  Imagine a whole chicken meal of 5.00 pesos only.

1960's Max's old postal card.
 Source: http://www.maxschicken.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014


 The City of Malabon is presently in the midst of celebrating this year one of its historic festivities. This is the 400th Anniversary of the San Bartolome Parish Church, one of the oldest churches in the country.

Malabon was called Tambobong during the early Spanish era until it was established as an independent parish by ecclesiastical authorities on May 14,1614 under the patronage of San Bartolome Apostol.

The historic church is the parish of Malabon’s first stone edifice built by the Augustinian Order under Fray Diego de Robles.

Street Scene, Malabon. Turn of the century postcard

The church edifice is best described in an article entitled “SAN BARTOLOME: A HISTORY IN STONE “(Starweek, Phil. Star Sunday magazine, May 4, 2014 issue) :
                    “The church measures 70.14m long and 25.05m wide. It has
                  a central  nave and    two aisles, transept and a dome in the media
                  narenja or  barrel vault style, cupped by a campanile. The porch   
                  is supported  by imposing ionic columns which resemble a
                 Greco-Roman temple.”

                      “The colonnade of the façade supports the protruding triangular
                 pediment. The eight ionic columns of the outer side are
                 echoed by the corresponding sets attached to the front recessed
                 façade wall flanked by the three-storey twin bell towers. The squat
                 columns and semi-circular arched windows make for dramatic
                 contrast. The Augustinian symbol is inscribed on the wall above
                 the main entrance.”

It is considered by church experts to be “one of the most beautiful examples of ecclesiastical architecture that Spain has left the country”

Malabon bancas. Turn of the century postcard

The present Parish Priest of the Church, Fr. Ric Torrefiel, has done wonders in improving and beautifying the church, inside and out, that drew tributes and praises not only from  church parishioners but also from those who have personally seen and observed the building and its environs, including no less than Pres. P-Noy Aquino himself when he attended recently the wedding of his first cousin, Malabon Mayor Len-Len Oreta, who  expressed his admiration  for the beauty and edifying appeal of the Church.

Old postcard of Malabon and not Manila

It may be expecting too much but we hope and pray that sooner or later, San Bartolome Church becomes one of the region’s tourist destinations.

Bridge of  Malabon

First Day Cover issued by the Philpost to commemorate the Quadricentennial of San Bartolome Parish

97. BEYOND TOBACCO: A Bridge Between the Philippines and Spain TABACALERA Memorabilia

At the end of the 19th century the biggest tobacco company in the Philippines, was the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas, more popularly known as Tabacalera.  The history of Tabacalera played an important role in the economic history of the Philippines and in Philippine-Spanish relations.

For the very first time the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, in partnership with the Ayala Museum, held an exhibit Tabacalera:  Beyond Tobacco”.

Curated by Prof. Martin Rodrigo, historian from the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, the exhibit showcased artifacts and other memorabilia from Tabacalera.

Exhibited were memorabilia, maps, books, art, cigarette wrappers and photographs of the Compañia General de Tobacos de Filipinas during and after the Tobacco Monopoly in the 19th century.   The artifacts exhibited were on loan from Filipino and Spanish institutions and private collectors.

Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas or Tabacalera was founded on November 26, 1881 by a Spaniard, Antonio Lopez Lopez, the first Marques of Comillas.  Tabacalera was established with the intention of taking over the Philippine Tobacco Monopoly from the Spanish colonial government.

During its heydays, the company controlled 90% of the whole Philippine tobacco industry. It took over many tobacco plants from the colonial government but soon opened its own factory in 1895 called La Flor de la Isabela.

The "Beyond Tobacco: A Bridge Between the Philippines and Spain" Exhibit was held this year (2014) from April 21 until July 6 at the Ayala Museum. A series of lectures were held at the Ayala Museum from April to June to further deepen the public’s understanding about the tobacco industry in the Philippines.

Old Tabacalera Stock Certificates.
Photo courtesy of Koji Arsula for WheninManila.com