A LITTLE BACKGROUND STORY
Jec and I try to make it a point to see each other and go out every weekend. His off days land on a Sunday and a Monday (night shift), so for me that’s Sunday afternoon. We rarely go out on a Monday because I’m already working by then while his shift starts on a Tuesday evening so he still has a day and a half to rest. The other day, however, we went out just because we didn’t see each other the day prior. Last Saturday, I went out with my family, and last Sunday, he went out with a friend. It was supposed to be a group bike ride, but it ended up just being the two of them (what a date, I’m jealous).
Anyway, so we went to Mandaluyong and had a little bit of a food trip there. Ever since he brought me to Paraiso (street), I kept bugging him to bring me back. It’s a street known for having competing stalls of street food such as barbecue, isaw, chicharong bulaklak, cheese sticks, chicken balls, and all those meat internals we’re not supposed to eat but we enjoy anyway.
I personally shouldn’t have any of those since I have amoebiases and you can’t really trust those kinds of food with cleanliness. However, I was really craving for it, and in my entire existence, it was only my third time to eat street foods like that, so cut me some slack. 😛 Anyway, it was just to fill out tummies with a little bit of food, but I was still game for a proper dinner. Earlier when we met, Jec mentioned this newly established food park in Mandaluyong. I haven’t been there yet and I haven’t seen it before, so I was fine with anything. Bottomline: I just wanted to eat.
So we went there and let’s say it wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
At the mention of a food park, I can only think of two things. 1) Posh food park like Hole in the Wall or The Yard, and 2) Maginhawa feels. I was expecting the latter since Mandaluyong is not really known to be a posh city, but it proved me wrong once we got there. From Paraiso, we took a jeep going to Kalentong and alighted in front of JRU. From there, we crossed the street, passed by Jollibee Kalentong and the bridge, and finally reached Borderline Food Park.
I don’t really know when the place was established, but from what I could tell, it has already gathered some frequent customers. The food park doesn’t seem that new, and at the same time, it has lots of potential. Before going in, the first thing I noticed was the music blaring from inside. LIVE MUSIC, guys. Not a lot of people know this, but I immediately get hooked to a place when I hear live music. I always like hearing strangers share their talents, and, ultimately, there’s just something beautiful about gathering for one thing we can all agree to love: music.
I immediately nudged Jec and gave him a look that says, “I totally approve of this place!” After having our bags inspected, we went instead and were welcomed by stall after stall of food. I immediately noticed the large jars of colored drinks on some customers’ tables. Being the kid at heart that I am still, I told Jec I wanted one of those. After roaming around the food park twice, we decided to have pizza and a huge ass jar of red iced tea because I’m inggitera like that.
Basically, the place is enclosed in a huge warehouse-type building. The place is not packed at all, unlike what I was thinking. I thought there were different food stalls with the chairs and tables close to each other. But everything looked organized and neat. And spacious. Ahh, I love going to places where I don’t have to literally rub elbow with strangers. I really liked the decorations on the poles and the ceiling. I also noticed how there was a separate entryway for the EXIT and the ENTRANCE. On the exit side, there’s a mural with Borderline written across. You can have your picture taken there. A lot of people did that when Jec and I were there.
Aside from the food stalls you see once you enter, there are actually more food stalls upstairs. I find the whole place maximized because there’s just a small corner for the staircase, so it doesn’t take a lot of space, unlike some “pampam” bars that have too many stairs. LOL. So here’s the set-up: the food stalls are on the sides while the tables and chairs are in the middle. Sort of like a mall food court.
And the singers? They have their own cute space upstairs, facing the diners. I think it’s a nice concept because I’ve never seen any other food park or bar do that. They may not be as visible to the crowd, but it sure gave them their private space. The good thing about it is the sound system utilizes the space by cascading the music properly. It’s not like you’re so near the sound system that you can go deaf by the end of the first session (unless, I think, you’re upstairs and directly beside the performers).
When we got inside, there were some staff calling us to buy from them. Some of them were pretty aggressive, but I’d rather that than a lazy cook. I was just really undecided so we had to walk back and forth several times, but I’m sure all the staff are accommodating. You can just look at one item and they would feed you all the information you need to know – what’s the food, how much, is there a promo ongoing, what are similar meals, etc.
The security personnel were also friendly. They were even willing to take the photos of some leaving customers by the “Borderline” mural. And I think they’re already used to it by now. I used to think security personnel and bouncers are scary, but they’re actually quite the opposite. They can be the most accommodating people even if you don’t really need anything from them. LOL.
There were only two singers that time, but they sounded so solid! I even recorded them on my phone until it ran out of memory space (for the nth time, heh). I enjoyed the songs they played even though some, I weren’t very familiar with, I just hear from the older generation (like Jec, LOL). The feel of the place was just “the right chill”. The diners were mostly yuppies having dinner post-work. Most of them have gone home by 9 pm because there’s still work the next day. There were some families that dined there as well.
For an “idle day”, the food park was pretty strong. So I can imagine the crowd it can gather on a weekend. It’s close to so many schools in the city, so it’s a good hangout spot for kids, millennials mostly. It’s not a huge deal, it might even be somehow odd, but I noticed how there were some televisions on the walls. Of course, you can only watch them from afar and like a silent movie, but I found it a nice addition, also because of the kind of movies they show. Think funny Rene Requiestas films.
For the food, we ordered an 11-inch pizza (P240) and a jar of red iced tea (P80). I was surprised that the iced tea was only that cheap. The liquid content may be equivalent to four large cups already. Realistically speaking, that would probably cost about P70 in some food chains. Make that four, that’s P280 already. So with that iced tea, we were able to save P200. It was actually sweet for my liking that if Jec didn’t like it as it, I would have added more water to dilute the sugar. The pizza was okay, the iced tea could be a little less sweet. But I don’t really want to conclude that since I haven’t tasted anything else from the food park.
However, I can say that most food stalls are pretty creative with their plating. I have yet to try some rice meals from the other stalls. As for the jar iced tea’s – they’re everywhere. Most stalls sell blue lemonade (I assume) and red iced tea. The stall where I bought ours has calamansi iced tea (?) and red iced tea. I’m particularly excited about the gigantic ice cream dessert I saw in some stalls. I see it everywhere on social media and while I know that it’s basically just ice cream with sweet toppings (a.k.a diabetes in a mason jar), I just want to ride the hype and finally experience it for myself. The ones I saw in the Sunnyday stall (the same place I bought the iced tea from) had them from P130 and above.
Overall, I enjoyed the place if it’s not yet that obvious. The food is reasonable priced. Location-wise, the food park is easy to find and is commute-friendly. You don’t have to get an Uber to get home. It was already 10 pm when Jec and I left, but there were still lots of vehicles on the road. Just be wary once you’re out, of course. It can be pretty scary in the area once it gets late at night. Just stick with the pedestrians and don’t cross immediately like we did. We ended up having to walk on a dark sidewalk when we could have walked straight to Jollibee and crossed the street from there.
The music was superb. They were going to have another set by 10 pm but we already had to leave. But I would definitely stay longer the next time. Jec also noticed how the intermission music was properly controlled. It was unlike in some bars where they have the music blasting really loud. They have a nice sound system overall, which I really began to appreciate since I’ve been to 12 Monkeys, and the singers were great. They were already performing when we got there, and I think that was pretty sweet. We didn’t have to wait until close to midnight to hear the first set. That’s also a huge plus for professionals who want to have a little downtime after work. Who said you can’t chill with your friends and have some booze on a Monday night??
Would I go back there? YES! DEFINITELY! I also told Jec we should just hang out there instead of travel all the way to Makati for some music and booze. The food is also definitely cheaper, so we can consume more and stay longer. It’s easier for us (and more pocket-friendly) since we can ditch cabs and take jeepneys instead. I need at least one short jeepney ride going to the food park and that’s about it. The remaining distance, I can just walk.
The place wasn’t packed when we went there and the customers didn’t linger after eating, but it’s easy to imagine how it can immediately get packed on a weekend. It’s nearer than spots that have bars and food parks traditionally open at night, so it’s safe to say people would rather frequent at Borderline Food Park than to still travel just to “hang out”. It’s also directly beside the road so you can alight the jeep directly by the food park’s entrance.
From afar, it is not attention seeking so you might have to take a peek inside to know what’s going on. I personally think that’s a smart move. The walls and windows are enclosed and painted black so it doesn’t distract drivers and pedestrians like other bars do. The music is also controlled, so you would only hear it once you get close to the food park, preferably by the entrance.
So that’s it! Pretty short, right? LOL. I know this is a super lengthy post, but I appreciate you reaching until this sentence. I can’t say for sure if you read every word or you did the “TL; DR” method, but, in any case, I’m glad you opened this link.
Here’s my FINAL RATING for my FIRST-TIME experience in Borderline Food Park:
I’d like to point out that Borderline Food Park is very hands-on with their social media management. I posted a photo on Instagram and some more on my IG stories, and after a few minutes, I got a message from their social media handler. I thought it was sweet because they really appreciate when customers provide their feedback on the place. And to be honest, I have yet to read a negative feedback because from everything I’ve seen so far, there’s nothing but commendations. They also re-post photos and mentions, so that’s an A+ in my book.
Would you go to Borderline Food Park?