Showing posts with label Katipunan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Katipunan. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Katsu cravings - Katsu Cafe

My good friend Karl had a sudden craving for katsu one day last week. He related that he had enjoyed eating katsu at a restaurant in UP Village and that the taste and presentation was authentic enough that it reminded him of meals he had while also still studying in Japan in the 1990's. Recently, however, the quality of the katsu had deteriorated and it seemed just like any other breaded pork meal you could get in a typical canteen or eatery so he stopped going there. Of course, there were many Japanese-themed restaurants around especially in the malls, which served a variety of katsu meals but many tasted too commercial for him.

I mentioned we could go out and try a restaurant I spotted along Katipunan Avenue. And so we drove to Katipunan and parked at a pay parking facility not far from the restaurant (it didn't have enough parking spaces). We ordered the set meal we saw in the menu for our katsu fix and reminisced about life in Japan as we ate our lunch.

Katsu set including two lean breaded pork cutlets (hire katsu) over thinly sliced cabbage, Japanese rice and miso shiru

Katsu Cafe along Esteban Abada near the corner with Katipunan Ave at the ground floor of the old Burgundy Condominium is a nice little restaurant. The food is good and authentic but this is based only on our one time lunch there. There were many customers at the time we ate there, and the turnover was quite good so I would assume that the food quality was also good and priced competitively. The menu is quite limited but I guess is just right for a small restaurant specializing in katsu. Will we return for another meal? Highly likely but not so regularly considering the traffic along Katipunan around lunchtime.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Star apple season

You know the kaimito or star apple is in season when you see vendors suddenly sprouting along the stretch of Katipunan Ave just behind the University of the Philippines campus. Most of the fruits are harvested from trees in the Old Balara area where, fortunately, residents have not chopped down or killed the trees. I assume that they realized that the trees would provide them some livelihood when the fruits were in season, and that they helped make the environment more pleasant in the area. There are also many kaimito trees in the UP Diliman campus and I have seen some people harvesting the fruits from the trees lining the Magsaysay Avenue in front of the student dormitories.

Vendors lining up along Katipunan selling kaimito or star apple. Behind the fence is the UP Diliman College of Science Complex
The green variety is white inside
The violet or purple ones are the same color inside
I prefer the green ones as the edible parts are usually more compared with the violet variety. This is mainly based on my experience buying the fruit plus the advise my mother gave me from years of also getting the fruit for our family's consumption. I would like to think that I eat a lot of kaimito than the average person. I love the fruit and its availability near my office makes it easy for me to get a few kilograms for our home quite often during its season. I also purchase a few kilos for my parents, parents-in-law and siblings.

Kaimitos are sold at PhP 50 pesos per kilogram, which is quite cheap considering they sell for PhP 60-90 per kilogram in the market. I've been told that there are those who come to Katipunan to purchase a lot of the fruits from the vendors there (namamakyaw) to sell elsewhere. I have not seen kaimito being sold at supermarkets so I assume that you can only get these from the markets or roadside stalls like the ones along Katipunan. Fortunately for me, I can purchase kaimito as I leave my office at UP to go home.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Experiences and lessons on land use and zoning along Katipunan

Last Friday, a rally was held just outside the Ateneo De Manila University along Katipunan Avenue to protest the construction of Blue Residences, one of the SM group’s high-rise condominium projects that is located near the corner of Katipunan Ave.-Aurora Blvd. where a mini golf course and a few small shops used to be. The protesters wielded placards stating what could have been applicable to many of the developments now standing along Katipunan and just across from Ateneo and Miriam College. This is not really a new issue the protesters were dealing with but something that, dare I say, has festered for quite some time now.

The issue of land use and zoning along Katipunan is a continuing struggle against what the Quezon City government has maintained as its policy for “spot” zoning to accommodate high density residential and commercial development along a stretch of Circumferential Road 5 that used to be predominantly low density with small shops and restaurants lining the west side of the road and separated from the main highway by an island and a two-way service road where local traffic including tricycles flowed. This was the Katipunan I first started to be familiar with in the late 80′s when I entered UP as a freshman. Miriam was still known as Maryknoll at the time and was run nuns prior to it becoming the secular but still Catholic institution that it is today.

Traffic was more manageable along Katipunan then and a fleet of blue school buses served the Ateneans. It was a case of high occupancy transport that sadly has digressed to high vehicular volume, low occupancy traffic that Ateneo and Miriam are associated with today. Tricycles then were confined to the west service road and crossed Katipunan only at the intersections, which were strategically located just across from the main gates of Ateneo and Miriam. These intersections used to be signalized but the settings were often manipulated to favor Ateneo and Miriam traffic during the peak periods, much to the frustration of through traffic.

Fast forward to the present when the service road was removed along with the island to given way to what the previous MMDA dispensation referred to as a clearway policy to encourage faster traffic speeds combined with the much maligned U-turn scheme as applied to Katipunan. The smaller shops and restaurants have been replaced by condominiums and other establishments that have generated much traffic (not that Ateneo and Miriam have not been responsible for congestion) and which obviously do not have enough parking resulting in cars parked all over along the avenue and effectively reducing road capacity.

An article written by Randy David through his regular column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer came out today to speak about the Professor’s personal experience about Katipunan and his granddaughter’s views on development. Entitled “Katipunan Blues,” it presents a very honest and a very common observation of what Katipunan has become through the years and what different generations think about the development (or degeneration) along the particular stretch of the avenue. Its conclusion is something to ponder about and applicable not only for Quezon City and the rest of Metro Manila but for other cities across the country as well.

Is it too late for Katipunan given all the developments that have been permitted along this road? Did the universities do their part to prevent this in the first place? Or were they part of what Katipunan is today? Does Quezon City (or other local governments for that matter) even know what land use planning is about and what its policies on accommodating development have brought about in many other place? Could the DENR through its EIA process or the HLURB through its own instruments have prevented the deterioration of communities? There seems to be too many questions and we’re running out of answers for these.

Perhaps the answers were there but authorities and officials responsible refused to take heed of these or turned a blind eye to the issues. Perhaps the various developments and SM Blue were allowed because local governments became too eager for developments that also have been equated with revenues for the cities. Still, established systems and processes like the DENR-EMB’s and the HLURB’s are supposed to be there to ensure responsible and appropriate development.

We are often dumbfounded at what has actually happened and the outcomes clearly show our failures. Perhaps we are too blinded with the notion of development that we forget that it is also our responsibility to guide proponents. A lot of soul-searching should be undertaken to rethink how we plan and develop our cities. Such should properly incorporate principles of sustainability including those that address issues pertaining to transport and land use. We have a long way to go towards sustainable development as applied to city planning and development. But we need to start now if we are to even achieve a fraction of what we’d like our cities, our communities to become. We also need for champions to come forward among our current leaders and officials if only to bring order to what is perceived as chaotic development.

Friday, June 17, 2011

School traffic

One thing I will miss about summers is the relatively light traffic along Katipunan Avenue, which is where I pass through almost everyday between my home and workplace. There is still some congestion during the mid-day and the afternoons but these are typically due to truck traffic as Circumferential Road 5 (C5) is a truck route. During the rest of the year, however, with the exception of most weekends and holidays, severe congestion is experienced along Katipunan during the peak periods, particularly in the mornings between 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM. This is due primarily to the traffic generated by schools along Katipunan Avenue, most notably the Ateneo De Manila University and Miriam College. The following photos show typical traffic conditions along C5 during the peak periods.

Slow-moving vehicles along the northbound side of Katipunan Avenue

Congestion along the northbound direction of Katipunan atop the Aurora Blvd. overpass

Congestion along the Katipunan southbound service road leading to the U-turn slot underneath the Aurora Blvd. overpass

Traffic along the southbound service road leads to a U-turn slot under the overpass where many vehicles turn, heading in the general direction of Ateneo. Most turn here in order to enter the university via its Gate 1, which is the main access to the Grade School. On most times, congestion is caused by these vehicles turning right at Gate 1 as they effectively occupy the two lanes of the northbound service road and block all other traffic. This is shown in the following photo where it is clear that vehicles bound for Ateneo and turning at Gate 1 are the main cause of congestion. Beyond Gate 1, the traffic lanes are practically free of congestion.

Vehicles turning right to Ateneo's Gate 1 blocking traffic along the Katipunan northbound service road

The afternoon peak is exacerbated by traffic generated by these schools that lead to longer periods of congestion as the number of private vehicle traffic dramatically increases when there are classes between June and April. Meanwhile, there is a noticeable decrease in traffic during the weekends and holidays. Such phenomenon is mostly attributable to the trip generation characteristics of schools, and especially those that tend towards the generation of much private vehicles. Ateneo and Miriam along Katipunan are just two examples. The traffic they generate and the consequential congestion is replicated in other places as well, giving headaches to motorists and commuters passing along major roads affected by these schools. Ortigas Avenue, for example, is usually congested during the weekdays because of traffic generated by LaSalle Greenhills, and ADB Avenue at the Ortigas Center is usually congested due to traffic attributed to Poveda.