01 Mar2007


Last Saturday, Mrs Marketman and I attended an afternoon tea sponsored by the International Wine and Food Society Ladies Chapter. These monthly gatherings choose a different house3location (restaurant, home, etc.) and have a different theme to their gastronomic feasts. We were requested to bring along my “infamous” budbud kabog, as one of the themes of the merienda was Philippine “kakanins” in the broader definition (not just literally rice based). Besides the interesting company of nearly 20 ladies who LIKE their food, and the kakanin aspect, the venue selected was the Legarda “mansion” on San Rafael Street, a stone’s throw literally from Malacanang Palace and the Goldberg Mansion, so this was definitely something I didn’t want to miss… Within the Legarda home is La Cocina de Tita Moning, which is a “by reservation only” eating establishment serving mostly Spanish/Filipino dishes based on old heirloom recipes of the lady of the house…

We found the Legarda home fairly easily (though it helped that Mrs. MM worked in the vicinity for several years) and driving up to it brought on nostalgic feelings. A small house2garden up front, now with a few plots for growing fresh herbs for use in the kitchen, and a narrow driveway led to a “side entrance” rather than one facing the street. One of many homes owned by the Legardas and close relatives in the 1930’s in this neighborhood, they take a current visitor back to the days when life was more relaxed. The home reminded me of my grandparents’ home in Cebu in many ways… this was definitely a residence that was lived in. Today it is part museum, part restaurant, and I think, worth the visit for anyone curious about life two to three generations ago. The home is a quirkly mix of historical kitsch (is that possible?). Old books and medical equipment mixed with some modern art, replica ceramics, old plates, worn silver, depression like glass, a wide mixture of paintings and framed clippings, etc. Metal electric ceiling fans share space with a large chandelier in a room with huge stand-up airconditioners. In other words, a real mixture of stuff near and dear to the owners… it feels a bit voyeuristic to take this all in as a “tourist” but we are all voyeurs in some way or another, aren’t we? I was very happy to spend the afternoon at this interesting venue…

The ground floor had an apartment for the homeowner’s mother-in-law (yikes, can you imagine your M-I-L just a few steps away from you EVERY SINGLE DAY?!, a clinic where house4the doctor could practice, a library, a photo hobby area and staff quarters. The second floor housed perhaps 3-4 bedrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen. The house was actually modestly sized but still reminiscent of a bygone era…with high ceilings, a staircase leading to a nice landing, a living room filled with worn furniture and two paintings by Filipino masters, a large Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo and a small dark Juan Luna. After a brief tour of the home, we were getting ready for a sit-down merienda that featured at least 15 different items on the afternoon’s menu… what did we eat? Post up next! If you are interested in the Legarda home or would like to reserve a table, call La Cocina de Tita Moning at 7342141 or 7342146 or visit them at www.lacocinadetitamoning.com



  1. tulip says:

    I miss that place. Last time been there was college days about 5 years ago since it’s just stones throw away from Holy Ghost. On well, I miss the San Rafael area, it’s as if you’re not in “usual” Manila.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 12:31 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Pre war high end residential area and up to this time San Miguel keeps up that image. The schools, churches and hospital around the area are just stone throw away from one another. People living in the area then, their shopping places were Escolta and San Marcelino in Malate and for entertainment the Manila Hotel.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 1:22 am

  4. relly says:

    MM, I just remember the old house of my grandmother at Felix Huertas, Blumentrit Manila, just at the street heading the south gate of the Chinese Cemetery. The façade and roof are similar(though not as big and elegant to that house), but my grandparents gets older, unfortunately sold and move to our place.
    When we pass by last year, they have demolished it and build a concrete house… i felt sad.

    Mar 2, 2007 | 6:12 am

  5. Daisy says:

    Dear Marketman,

    I’ve discovered your blog only a few weeks ago. I am really inspired to continue on discovering new ways of cooking. Your rare finds in the market and detailed observation makes me want to be more observant as well. Thanks for all your insights :)

    We have an old ancestral home in Laguna where I grew up and I am inspired to photo document it in soon.

    God bless

    Mar 2, 2007 | 9:32 am

  6. alicia says:

    One of my best friends grew up in that house as it belonged to her grandparents with whom she lived. Tita Moning was her “Glorious Grandmother”. I was constantly in “San Rafa” too and many of my high school and college memories have taken place in their home which I will be forever grateful. The food is fantastic, always has been and always will be am sure. I encourage all your readers who have not yet had a chance to visit La Cocina to add it to their to do list immediately!

    Mar 2, 2007 | 10:06 am

  7. bettina says:

    The MIL comment made me laugh MM! Can you imagine I live with mine? I believe there should be a law banning MILs and DILs to live together so I can finally convince my husband to live elsewhere, haha :)

    Mar 2, 2007 | 1:29 pm

  8. adel says:

    Four thumbs up for Mr. and Mrs. MM (please include my feet!)

    I felt bad this morning. My officemate just told me that you visited La Cocina last Saturday and she was surprised too that I was the assigned tourguide that day. I didn’t recognized or I am not even aware that the man in front of me that afternoon was YOU. I was working for La Cocina since July last year (part time work) and I was boasting that I’ve seen you already! (my officemates and I loves to visit and re-visit your site since we found it)

    I guess you are the one explaining the places of origin of those “kakanins.”

    Sir, I hope you will come back and taste the food “spanishly served” at La Cocina..

    More power and God Bless po!

    Mar 2, 2007 | 2:05 pm

  9. kulasa says:

    I remember this area well. I grew up in Arlegui. These old houses remind me a lot of my youth. I love it every time I go back – it’s so nostalgic. I have never eaten at Lola Moning’s but I can recall the times when I have been to that house when I was a small girl with my lola. The food must realy be great since the grand lady was really a fantastic cook!

    Mar 2, 2007 | 9:03 pm

  10. emz says:

    the facade reminds me of my grandma’s house. too bad some “progressive” thinking relatives tore it down. unfortunately, when i found out it was too late… no wonder i still hold a few grudges towards some of my relatives hahaha! had so many wonderful childhood memories in my grandma’s house… families who continually maintain their ancestral houses are just so lucky.

    Mar 3, 2007 | 3:26 am

  11. wysgal says:

    I’ve always been curious of the place, but haven’t really heard anything (good or bad) about their P1800 per person spread and whether it’s worth the steep price tag.

    Mar 3, 2007 | 1:59 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    tulip, yes, this is a nice area but in some places totally falling apart or beautiful homes replaced with UGLY modern buildings… too bad we couldn’t preserve the area as a whole… Daisy, thanks for visiting marketmanila.com…I hope you look into the archives that have a lot more posts to read! Crumbmaster, not sure where the Milky Way was…perhpas other readers can help? Alicia, I agree, it is a must see in a city with fewer and farther interesting things to explore… bettina, YIKES! Adel, omigosh, I had NO IDEA anyone at the house read Marketmanila! Shucks, I could have said hello! Wysgal, I haven’t tried their tailored menus either but from what I gathered, it would at least be worth a try for a group of say 8-10 foodies or so…

    Mar 3, 2007 | 3:28 pm

  13. tulip says:

    While the Legarda Mansion is along San Rafael St., I believe the old Milky Way used to be in Aguado St..

    Mar 3, 2007 | 3:57 pm

  14. Suzette Montinola says:

    Dear Market Man,

    Many Thanks for your post. Adel, my tour guide told me about it last night, and today, another friend called my attention to your posts. On behalf of the staff of La Cocina de Tita Moning, we are greatly honored to have been mentioned in such a widely read blog. I hope you enjoyed your short visit with us at La Cocina de Tita Moning. Please find below the recipe for Our Pancit Guisado should you wish to try to make it one day.

    Pancit Guisado


    ½ kilo / 1 pound Sotanghon (Glass Noodles)

    ½ kilo /1 pound kasim or pork round
    1 Tablespoon Salt
    1 bay leaf

    1 large white Onion, sliced ( divided into two )
    ½ kilo/ 1 pound cabbage ( approximately half a cabbage head), sliced in 1cm x 1.5 inch strips
    1 large carrot (about 500g/ 1 pound) peeled and sliced in strips, 2mm x 1 inch
    5 large pieces garlic , mashed
    250 grams / 9 ounces sweet ham slices , cut into strips
    2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

    1/3 cup Olive Oil
    ½ cup Cooking Oil (divided in 2 )

    1 teaspoon Salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    ¼ teaspoon baking Soda
    ½ teaspoon vetsin
    ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
    1/3 cup Soy sauce

    Calamansi Slices for Garnish


    1) Boil the Pork Round in about 8-10 cups of water with a tablespoon of salt and a bay leaf for approximately 1 hour. Remove the pork when cooked and slice into thin strips. Set the broth aside.
    2) Boil the Glass Noodles in Water over Medium Heat until cooked. Drain and set the noodles aside. Trim the noodles if you find them too long.
    3) In a large Sautee Pan or Wok, heat 1/4 cup cooking Oil over medium heat, and sautee the garlic until very light brown, add half of the sliced onions, and cook until the onions are soft.
    4) Add the sliced pork and two tablespoons of soy sauce.
    5) Add the sliced ham and ½ cup of the broth from boiling the pork. Allow the mixture to simmer five minutes. Set aside.
    6) In another wok or pan, heat the Olive Oil over medium heat and sautee the other half of the onions until soft. Add the sliced carrots , and 1 teaspoon of salt.
    7) Add ½ cup of the broth from the pork and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add the sliced Cabbage and continue to sautee. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to improve the color of the cabbage. Cook over medium heat until the cabbage is cooked. Set aside.
    8) Cook the Noodles by heating ¼ cup cooking oil in a large wok or pan. Add the left over garlic and brown, add six cups of the pork broth, and 1/3 cup soy sauce ½ teaspoon vetsin , and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.Bring the entire mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for about two minutes.
    9) Add in the cooked Noodles and mix well together.
    10) Toss in the Ham and pork mixture and the vegetable mixture.
    11) Serve with Calamansi Slices on the side.

    One correction though, the apartment downstairs was not built for the Mother In Law . It was built by my grandparents for my uncle when he got married while he and his wife were still in Medical School. My grandfather wanted to ensure they had a proper home environment to be able to continue their medical studies. Thus, it was more built BY the mother in law, than for the mother in law.

    I apologize for this confusion.

    Many thanks again for the Budbud Kabog and we hope to be able to welcome you again to La Cocina de Tita Moning.

    Best Regards,

    Suzette Montinola

    Mar 6, 2007 | 6:20 pm

  15. Marketman says:


    That is so incredibly wonderful of you to share the sotanghon recipe for me and all of Marketmanila’s readers. We all truly appreciate it and I will definitely make it.

    Thanks for clarifying the issue re: the MIL apartment. I have to say, my post above was a bit flip, if you know what I mean.

    Regardless, we had a wonderful time, the food was superb and I strongly encourage all readers to try this fantastic restaurant/home when they next get a chance or are back in Manila for a visit!

    Many many thanks,


    Mar 7, 2007 | 9:39 am

  16. Suzette Montinola says:

    You are most welcome!!! If no one shared with me, La Cocina de Tita Moning would never have existed.

    Oh, and I never found your comments “flip” at all. Please don’t worry about it.

    Best of luck


    Mar 9, 2007 | 3:43 pm

  17. Red says:

    hi. do you have any information about Goldberg Mansion? you have mentioned that in your blog. just wanna know where it is located and how to contact them.
    thank you very much.
    : )
    hope you reply asap.

    Apr 20, 2007 | 4:23 pm

  18. zeph says:

    We often bring foreign guests at La Cocina, usually just right after courtesy calls with the President , and they are simply all praises for the food! My fave “take-homes” however, are the queso de bola cheese spread and the bottled spicy tuyo. Suzette knows good food!

    Jun 14, 2007 | 4:09 pm

  19. mia says:

    i agree with all the praises due for CDTM. it’s home for hard to forget good food! very generous for sharing their heirloom recipes too! tnx ms. montinola for liberating my tastebuds.

    Jun 17, 2007 | 8:15 pm

  20. Marvin Alvarez says:

    I enjoyed the dining experience as well :) It was great fun eating like a Filipino elite would hehehe

    Aug 11, 2008 | 1:17 pm

  21. Purong Bulakenyo says:


    I’m sorry to bother but I need to ask something, I was actually looking for a 1930’s Mansion near The Presidential Palace that perhaps now is a restaurant. It is an assignment that I’m actually working on and got no clue where it is, can you please help me out?

    btw when I googled the info I just given you, ur site came up. Pls help?

    May 25, 2009 | 10:57 am


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