Maan’s Birthday Dinner at Cova

Maan recently celebrated her birthday and is now officially OLDER than me. Haha. And yet again, we celebrated it with our favorite activity together…EATING! πŸ™‚

Cova Tapas y Sangria

Cova Tapas y Sangria

We ate at Cova Tapas y Sangria, a contemporary, modern spanish restaurant & bar at Jupiter St., Makati known for one of the best tapas and sangria in town. Being the self-proclaimed foodie that she is, and professing her love for Spanish dishes & SANGRIA, she has been EGGING me to bring her to Cova (because she read this & this) for the longest time. So again, dahil birthday nga naman niya, reservations were made and we had one of the best dinners we’ve had. πŸ˜€

Earlier that day, I finally bought a new camera, a Canon EOS M, which I’ve been thinking of buying for ages. Matagal ko nang gusto, pero naghihintay lang ng sign kung bibili na ba talaga ako. A few days before Maan’s birthday, while searching in the mall for a gift, I saw that it was on sale. Let me repeat for emphasis, ON SALE. Haha. So I then called Maan, and spoiled my surprise and told her I have a gift for me the birthday girl. Or was it really a gift for myself? Haha, ako na ang may birthday.Β I then explained to her how great this camera was, and what great pictures we’ll have in Japan this December!

So we tried out the camera that night…and hence these pictures capturing our great night, in low light, vivid colors and a low depth of field. πŸ™‚

Capturing a moment when you were exactly 28 years old

Capturing a moment when you were exactly 28 years old

Shine bright like a diamond (how cliche haha)

Shine bright like a diamond (how cliche haha)

Testing the miniature/tilt-shift effect

Testing the miniature/tilt-shift effect

Free bread is always welcome

Free bread is always welcome

Pintxo de Queso Frito: fried gruyere, honey, caramelized onions

Pintxo de Queso Frito: fried gruyere, honey, caramelized onions

Gambas Racion - shrimp! :)

Gambas Racion – shrimp! πŸ™‚

Salpicao Ternera: Wagyu beef salpicao, the best salpicao I've ever tasted, and probably the priciest too. haha

Salpicao Ternera: Wagyu beef salpicao, the best salpicao I’ve ever tasted, and probably the priciest too. haha

Huevos Cabreados: Fried eggs, shoestring potatoes, crispy chorizo, alioli - SARAP!!!

Huevos Cabreados: Fried eggs, shoestring potatoes, crispy chorizo, alioli – SARAP!!!

Arroz Negro: soft shell crab, mussels, squid, prawns, alioli - not really my favorite paella but the black ink is definitely worth trying

Arroz Negro: soft shell crab, mussels, squid, prawns, alioli – not really my favorite paella but the black ink is definitely worth trying

Apple Bunuelos: regular apple fritters with speculoos dip

Apple Bunelos: regular apple fritters with speculoos dip

Since Maan is such a foodie (i.e. willing to try anything new, upcoming and the best food anywhere) and I’m just an eater, I’ve been telling her to write reviews here on our blog. I’ve never attempted in reviewing a food place,Β di naman kasi ako mapagkakatiwalaan sa ganyan, kasi para sa akin, lahat ng pagkain, MASARAP! πŸ™‚ Haha.

Here are some more pictures:

Cova Tapas y Sangria: 22 Jupiter Street, Makati
Tel: (02) 478-9700

The Venue

Deciding on WHERE to pop the question was simple. Obviously, Maan and I love to eat, so to have an anniversary dinner celebration was non-negotiable. Since we will be both be coming from hospital, we wanted to have it on a restaurant nearby. We both wanted something new, a place we’ve never eaten at before.

The BayLeaf

So a quick search revealed The Bayleaf at Intramuros — a newly renovated hotel situated near the Lyceum building in Intramuros. I actually see it every time I come back to Manila from QC and was curious at what it can offer. It has a restaurant at the 9th floor aptly called 9 Spoons, and a tapas bar at the rooftop named SkyDeck.



I searched the net for pictures and reviews if the place and from what I saw, I fell in love with it. It had a beautiful view of the Manila skyline of both Binondo and Ermita districts while overlooking the serene Intramuros golf course. It offered typical pastas and pizzas, as well as pinoy fusion dishes. It also has a churros bar at the ground level where you can have desserts or coffee after dinner. It’s website said you can arrange for a candle-lit dinner for two at ten roofdeck, just the perfect place to pop the question. πŸ™‚


Three days prior to our anniversary, I called up Bayleaf and made a reservation. I asked the manager if they had anything special for a proposal dinner. He said he could make some special desserts and turn it to anything that I wanted them to be. Knowing that the Bayleaf is famous for their special churros, I pitched the idea of them serving churros shaped with the words “Will you marry me?” But that idea turned out to be so impractical, how the hell could we devour all those churros right?! Haha. So the manager later offered me to serve three deserts instead. I told him sila na bahala to make it extra special and to not forget to include the magic question when they plate the desserts. So with that, the dinner was sealed, all I had to do was bring Maan to Bayleaf at 8pm that night.

The timing of our anniversary was in-tune with our duty schedule. We were both pre-duty on that day, meaning less work in the hospital, and we both get to come home early that night in time for dinner. But just two days before our anniversary, I got a text from her saying that she’s not sure if she’ll make it in time for our reservations since she was OOD the following day. She then asked if we wanted to have dinner elsewhere, like that french resto in fort haha, or even stay at home and watch movies instead. This of course was happening at the time when everything was already set-up! — the ring, the dinner, the flowers, etc. Nooooo!!! Haha. I just gave her a generic posi-vibe reply “Ok lang yan, tuloy tayo sa Bayleaf.” and prayed that she does finish on time.

This post is actually divided into 6 parts. Read the rest of the other parts here:

Birthday Surprise

Note:Β This post was previously published at Ge’s Blog:Β The Surgeon’s LogbookΒ last September 27, 2009.

I always liked spontaneous, spur of the moment things. Planning in order to get somewhere or figuring out how to get there was never really my thing. This is especially true for out-of-town trips. Probably because of the high chances of it getting cancelled if you plan in advance? Or the drum up before the trip becoming so huge that the trip may not turn out as planned = disappointment and frustration.

Spontaneity = no expectations = maximum enjoyment. πŸ˜€

This is what I had in mind in one of my post-duty days from the Med ER. While walking home, coming from a relatively benign duty as an IM Intern at the ER, an idea suddenly popped into my head (I always had these bursts of ideas, especially on my post-duty days, while walking through the length of Spine Unit to Rob Towers):

I want to go out of Manila, now.

A quick text to Maan, exchanges consisting of deciding whether to go to Subic (and go to Zoobic!), Clark (and shop for PX goods? haha), Batangas (a quick day-trip to a beach), a quick phone reservation, finally got me decided (factoring in cost + weather + circumstance) I wanted to go to Tagaytay. πŸ™‚

Tagaytay is special for us. Not only is it near their place in Sta Rosa, but that is where we’ve spent most of the milestones in our 5 years together. A lunch at Josephines (haha), dinner at the Cliffhouse, lunch at Taj, coffee at Starbucks and Java Jazz. Minsan nakakasawa na din, but we make it a point that we do something or go somewhere new when we go there. It’s a near respite place for us where we can forget about hospital life and just be us.

So a quick drive up to the ridge via the newly renovated SLEX (can I just say na sobrang lawak na niya?! sana maayos na agad yung Skyway, para wala na gaanong sagabal, hehe) took us about an hour just in time for lunch.

She didn’t know where we were going. :]

We drove until we passed by Bag of Beans, which sort of suggests we were heading straight to Batangas, until I finally turned right at a sign which read “Antonio’s”

Tapestry at Antonio's Tagaytay

Beautiful tapestry at Antonio’s Tagaytay

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

We both love traveling and eating, as obvious as it may seem (HAHAHA), and often tried documenting all of our travel and food exploits in a joint blog, which of course, never transpired (yet?). And I haven’t even gave her a birthday present yet. So I thought, why not spend one of my free Sunday post-duty days with her in Tagaytay and eat at a resto where she wanted us to eat at but couldn’t because the price was soaring high? Bakit naman hindi, birthday naman. πŸ˜€

So I treated her to Antonio’s, one of the best restaurants in the Philippines according to her favorite travel/food blogger Anton of Anton Blogs. I once assisted my sister for wedding which had its reception there and I fell in love with the place. It was a retro 50’s house converted into a restaurant. The food was exceptionally great! Gusto ko din naman maexperience nya yun. =D


Bread slice as appetizer

Fresh Tagaytay Greens

Fresh Tagaytay greens with Arugula, Maan’s favorite!

They had set meals there, ranging from 1,300 to 14,000!!! Haha. Siyempre dun kami sa low-end. The waiter was offering us the Porterhouse Steak, haha. Di ko kinaya ang tag. Haha. Maan had fried duck, I had crispy lamb. Both came with house salad, soup and dessert. We also ordered Strawberry Balsalmic juice which was the best strawberry juice I ever tasted! Everything was perfect! The lamb was so soft, and the sweet coating melts in your mouth like there’s no tomorrow! The mashed potato in the duck was heavenly with just the right amounts of cream and salt, it was baked potato cut into slices and stacked altogther and cut into a square. SARAP! πŸ™‚ We had cream puff with ice cream and i forgot what she had for dessert. Then it started raining hard, so the cool tagaytay breeze became much coooooler! =D We were supposed to go and visit Calaruega but since it started to rain, we postponed it for another trip.

Crispy Lamb Ribs, sarap!

Crispy Lamb Ribs, sarap!

Fried Duck Leg

Fried Duck Leg


Sarap to the bone!

Cream Puff ala Antonio's

Cream Puff ala Antonio’s

This was some buttery dessert, but I forgot the name. Haha

This was some buttery dessert, but I forgot the name. Haha

Simot sarap! Up to the last drop! :)

Simot sarap! Up to the last drop! πŸ™‚

Funds were running low after the lunch treat so we decided to just go home and spend the rest of the day in Manila. But what’s an adventure without a sidetrip? We were supposed to take a shortcut back to Manila via Amadeo, Cavite. I guess I missed a turn or two, so we eventually got into the eskinitas of General Trias. Hehehe! After much ado about heading straight and hoping to find the Aguinaldo Highway, we finally reached Kawit and saw a marker pointing to Aguinaldo Shrine. We turned, passed by the shrine and found our way to SM Bacoor and back to Coastal Road.

At the end of the day I was so tired, but I was so happy that I did spend it with Maan even if I was post-duty. I slept the rest of the day and woke up the following morning thinking that I everything was just a dream.

But it wasn’t. πŸ™‚

Happy birthday Maan! =D

Ge surprised Maan for her 24th birthday to a lunch at Antonio's Tagaytay

Ge surprised Maan for her 24th birthday to a lunch at Antonio’s Tagaytay


*This post was previously published at Ge’s Blog: The Surgeon’s Logbook last September 27, 2009.