25 Feb2014

A cousin of mine, who is also a Japanese trained potter, owns the Crescent Moon Cafe in Antipolo. It’s a quirky space where she has her kilns, a small shop for pottery overruns and a restaurant that operates rather casually. Family members gather there every few years for the birthday, anniversary or gathering of some sort. It’s been a rather bucolic retreat until recent rumors that a humongous SM mall is about to rise just up against her one hectare personal piece of mountain paradise. We always have a buffet spread of gorgeous local food there, but I can’t speak for the restaurant operations as I have never actually tried it that way. But this post isn’t about their food or pottery, it’s about the ginormous carp she has in a big pond in the yard.

The dark, nearly jet black pond is punctuated with the most vibrantly colored carp, some of which must weigh in at 6-8 kilos at least! They are so domesticated, when you stick your hand out at water’s edge they come close hoping for some food pellets. They come so close in fact, they nibble on your fingertips if you let them.

My mom used to have a couple of carp ponds in our home when I was growing up, part of a Japanese garden aesthetic that must have been rather cool in the early 1970’s… But our carp never quite got this big. It’s fascinating to watch these beautiful and graceful creatures, and it’s doubly fascinating when they are in a pond set in the midst of carefully maintained plants and trees.

I guess nostalgia of some sort prompted me to put this seemingly totally unrelated post up today… Manila is so darned devoid of public parks and spaces where the public might get to enjoy things like this. I know, I know, there are some such ponds at malls and such, but they are woefully inadequate in my opinion. There are few if any adequate public parks (Luneta? Quezon Circle?) that are properly maintained for the nearly 15? million residents of Metro-Manila to enjoy and the city just keeps getting more and more congested by the day…



  1. Lee says:

    Holy Carp!

    Feb 25, 2014 | 5:38 pm


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  3. Chinky says:

    As a child in the 70s living in Davao, I used to enjoy feeding the carps in the pond of Davao insular hotel (now Waterfront Hotel) surrounding the main hotel lobby.

    Feb 25, 2014 | 6:51 pm

  4. millet says:

    Chinky, yes,we looked forward to going to the Insular Hotel because of the beautiful carp. MM, many years back there was a variety of fish in the market that the vendors called “Imelda carp”. It was very fatty, had delicious white meat, and we loved frying the slices. the belly was as fatty as salmon belly. i don’t see it around in davao anymore; i wonder if imelda carp can still be found in other markets around the country.

    Feb 25, 2014 | 7:09 pm

  5. Marj says:

    Hi MM,

    Just wodering – have they changed their name from Crescent Moon Cafe to Blue Moon cafe? Sooo love their pottery pieces and the humongous carps!

    Feb 26, 2014 | 12:07 am

  6. Mart says:

    It is a crying shame that we don’t have nice public parks in the Philippines. So much is paid in taxes and what do we get? A 7.8 million peso flagpole.

    Well, if the money was spent on carp, I bet the carp would be terrorized by the populace that doesn’t know how to care for their environment. The poor carp would be swimming in litter if not fished out by the kids for fun or the grown-ups for a quick meal.

    Feb 26, 2014 | 12:22 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Marj, ACCKKK, you are so right, my cousin will cringe, it is indeed Crescent Moon, but for some reason, I keep thinking Blue Moon… post has been edited…

    Feb 26, 2014 | 7:09 am

  8. izang says:

    Is that your hand MM? No quick nips from the fish, I hope, as they seem well fed if they get to grow so big.

    Feb 26, 2014 | 8:10 am

  9. Marketman says:

    izang, no, that wasn’t my hand, but I did stick mine in after I finished with these photos…

    Feb 26, 2014 | 9:23 am

  10. Blaise says:

    I remember reading an article about Hanako, the koi who lived for more than 260 years! That fish had several owners. :) I love the Nuvali fish feeding area, it’s just fish and color mayhem when people get to feed them. I do hope for more parks in Manila, but maintaining them and educating the people could pose a problem.

    Feb 26, 2014 | 12:13 pm

  11. ami says:

    There’s a path in Kyoto called Philosopher’s Path which is famous for its cherry blossoms. The path follows a canal. On a trip there I was surprised to see carp swimming upstream in the canal. I used to think that these fishes could only be found in garden ponds but it’s nice to know that they still exist in the wild.

    Feb 26, 2014 | 1:37 pm

  12. Betchay says:

    Ditto @ Blaise….I am mesmerize by the Kois at Nuvali

    Feb 26, 2014 | 5:49 pm

  13. Sister says:

    Blue Moon was the pizza/restaurant you used to go to in Westhampton, LI.

    Feb 26, 2014 | 7:28 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Sister, hahaha, no wonder it keeps popping up instead of Crescent Moon…

    Feb 27, 2014 | 7:35 am

  15. Connie C says:

    Not enough public places indeed in Metro Manila! Where are those pork barrel funds???. Was recently at the Crescent Moon, had lunch before a visit to the Pinto Museum nearby.Your cousin has some very beautiful and interesting pieces. I think I will return for lunch and to purchase a piece I really like. And I loved the koi too!

    Was wondering MM, if there is even a reference/list for some off beaten places one could visit in Metro Manila . I would certainly include the Crescent Moon Cafe and the Pinto Museum among them. A friend remarked she could not find nearby places she could take a visitor from the US that would not entail a day’s trip. I told her there are those places only she has to find them either by word of mouth or from magazine or blog write –ups such as yours. Yesterday, for example I took a friend from Bangkok to Joe- Liza’s in San Juan City to showcase some of our Philippine antique furniture and the owner’s collection of modern art. While an antique shop, it felt like I visited a beautiful mansion or museum with beautiful architecture and where some very fine pieces of Philippine period furniture are displayed.

    When you wish to digress writing about food ,like you already do, it would be nice to see more write-ups or mention of interesting places to visit in some off the beaten track.

    Feb 27, 2014 | 10:07 am

  16. Monty says:

    Well the Seedling Bank has been lost to so called progress. Sayang. Those Koi are beautiful. I think there are too many koi fish in Nuvali and they won’t be able to reach their maximum size with the space and amount of feed given too them. They should implement some sort of RH law on those critters.

    Feb 27, 2014 | 6:08 pm

  17. Mary Lee says:

    Remember how the puppies used to perch on the walking stones and catch the carp out of Mom’s pond and leave them flopping all over the yard? That used to really make her crazy. Amazing that they survived when they were plopped back into the water!

    Feb 27, 2014 | 11:52 pm

  18. sharon says:

    hi, can somebody please tell me where to find this place in antipolo? thank you..

    Mar 22, 2014 | 6:08 pm


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