MMLDC’s Areva Pavilion. Genia’s Lutong Bahay. Happy Cream Puffs.

There are little known establishments, sometimes in nooks and back roads, that you might never have heard of. Let me tell you about three which offer such great fare that they have earned loyal patrons.

MMLDC’s Areva Pavilion

Along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo is the conference venue known as the MMLDC. When you enter the gate, you won’t find anything ostentatious that screams five-star status. It isn’t that kind of place. It is more like a resort cum activity center set in hectares and hectares of what used to be a farm. So you’ll find lots of old trees and wide expanse of lawns.


A few meters from the gate is a sprawling structure that looks like an oversized Balinese hut. This is the Areva Pavilion where they have been serving good food for years (that’s how long we’ve been going there). Try the kani salad with the dried smoked eel.


Then, burgers served on split focaccia with egg, onion rings, lettuce and cheese “? with French fries on the side.


If you feel you want something less complicated, have a plate of sisig.

Whatever you order, enjoy eating leisurely amid trees in a very rustic setting. And if you’re one of those people who has to be online all the time, Areva Pavilion has free Wifi “? a surprising amenity considering the almost provincial setting. Finally, before leaving, walk the few meters to the aviary where you’ll find lots of exotic tropical birds “? a treat that the young ones in your group will surely enjoy.

Genia’s in Marikina

Residents of Marikina know Genia’s as an eatery that is synonymous with the most comforting home-cooked meals. Even the daytime population of Marikina “? the employees of the fast-multiplying businesses in the city “? know the place. It’s packed during lunch hours, cars line the street in a long queue, and those who know better than to wait for a table often opt for take-out.

Genia’s is a carinderia. Humble, unassuming and with that kind of ambience that often makes it go unnoticed by strangers looking for air-conditioned restaurants with the usual frills. But what Genia’s does not offer in terms of ambience, it more than makes up for with delicious food. Hearty food. Soul food. No plating, no nothing. Just the purity of flavor, aroma and texture.



Genia’s is probably best known for the lechon kawali with skin that stays crisp even hours after cooking. How that is possible, I have no idea. The lechon kawali is everyday fare but other dishes vary depending on what day of the week it is. Wednesday, for instance, is bachoy day and my, oh my, it is bachoy that will make you slurp even if you didn’t before.


Genia’s is at No. 19, Kapitan Miyong Street, Marikina City. Orders are accepted.

(Read a related story about the last time we ate at Genia’s.)

Happy cream puffs

Driving to and from Manila via Makati, we pass by Malugay street and, for months, had been casually noticing a small establishment with the sign “Happy Cream Puffs” out front. We had been promising ourselves we’d try it but didn’t until about three weeks ago. I must say we should have bought a large box of Happy Cream Puffs much, much earlier.


Happy cream puffs are small. Larger than profiteroles but still small enough to be popped in the mouth and eaten in one go. Because that’s the way to really enjoy it so that you can experience that melt-in-the mouth texture. Unlike cream puffs in highly commercialized establishments, the crusts are neither hard nor chewy. Instead, they’re lightly crisp and flaky.

Best thing? You won’t find gaping empty spaces inside the pastry where the filling should be. Each cream puff bursts with filling. But the pastry has none of that soaked feel on the tongue because the filling is piped into it only after you order which kind you like. Yes, Happy cream puffs come with different toppings “? some topped with nuts, others with white or dark chocolate or you can go traditional with caramelized sugar glaze.

Happy Cream Puffs is at No. 7224 Malugay Street corner Buendia, Bel Air, Makati City.

  • Hershey

    I like happy cream puffs. Their pastry cream is really light and airy in texture :D A good light dessert for me :P

  • riza

    i wish you also post the respective prices of the menu you feature. tnx.

    • Connie

      If I can manage to find the receipt, I’ll add them.

  • Josie Borlongan

    Looks good. I will try this place for sure when I come home. Hopefully…soon!

  • Mella

    i just had my super late dinner but the pictures made me hungry again!

  • Natz San Mateo

    My Mom’s birthday is today and I was thinking of driving all the way to Scout Tobias to get her a Caramel Cake.

    It is a good thing that it has been my morning ritual to visit your site and saw that I could get a delicious dessert just a few blocks from where we are staying here in Makati and to think that cream-puffs are actually her absolute favorite! She would surely be surprised.

    Thanks for posting Ms. Connie!

  • Cris Jose

    Hi, Ms. Connie! A happy birthday to you (kahit late)… may you and your family have good health always.

    Looking at the pictures above, I think my arteries just clogged up.. haha… if Antipolo wasn’t too far from where I live… I’d drop by there to sample the burger (and the sisig).

  • maricel

    Thank you so much for posting
    happy cream puff very nice pic.:)

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  • Didi Paterno

    Antipolo has a lot of surprising food finds :) I’m curious about Seven Suites and its restos. Have you tried them Ms. Connie?

    • Connie

      Nope. Would have but it isn’t exactly a hotel with a resto anymore. It has become a kind of mongrel establishment.

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  • monchay

    My friends and I enjoy discovering little known eateries and restaurants bereft of media advertisements and Genia’s was truly a gem worth going back for more.After traversing what seemed to be numerous “kapitan” streets from kapitan moy to kapitan temyong we were finally led or rather escorted by a tricycle driver to the right address.We primariiy went there to try their famous L.K. as recommended by you but was disappointed when we were told that they ran out.We instead tried almost everything in their turo-turo section(liempo,ginisang sitaw,menudo,escabeche).
    What left us impressed by this unassuming eatery is the very pleasant service of the daughters,Fely and May.They were even apologetic to us that we missed out on their lechon kawali.I don’t know how they did it but midway to consuming our food they informed us that,if we were willing to wait,they can still serve us the lechon kawali. That topped the impression rating.Three days after and we are still talking about how deliciously sinful their L.K. was. Next on line is their batchoy. Thank you for the recommendation.

    • Connie

      Genia would be so happy to read your comment. :) We haven’t been there in over a month. They had their fiesta last week but my husband forgot that we were invited. :sad:

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