It was an invitation too interesting to resist. A good old-fashioned Saturday night movie date --except the venue was outdoors, under the stars around the beautiful swimming pool area of the Peninsula Manila.
"It'll be just like in the days of our parents, when people used to watch movies outdoors," Y said, quite convincingly, and so I agreed to go. "And the weather's just perfect for it too."
We arrived at just past seven and the movie had yet to start, but the pretty lavish barbecue buffet was well under way with a phalanx of chefs attending and ready to take chopping, grilling and baking orders. I spotted a very attractively-arranged assortment of meats and seafoods, including salmon chunks on a stick and very fresh lobster tails. There was even a small Indian station offering freshly-baked nan and several kinds of tandoori meats.
Sangria and memories
When we got back to our table, there were already two glasses of sangria waiting, served in the kind of large, fun plastic stemware used in fancy picnics in England. I can't remember the last time I had sangria -- I think this was still back in college as it was the kind of drink we used to guzzle at parties -- but tonight's bottomless sangria was certainly delicious and fun.
Fireworks at the Manila Golf Club
Midway through dinner and just before the movie began, an amazing fireworks display erupted in the distance, visible through the trees. It certainly added color to the evening. I knew this was the fireworks display for the final cocktail party for the series of Manila Golf Club golf tournaments this week, and I remembered my friend J who was probably attending. We'd been exchanging a series of text messages all week -- some quite serious, others just so funny, and not a few completely inane. One such text exchange was even carried out just before a tee-off at Manila Golf for this tournament -- about humor, bad timing and where the most expensive hamburgers can be found in Manila (there's actually a burger that costs over PhP 2000, J had told me, with lots of authority). But it'd helped me get through the week, brightened up my mornings and made me smile not a few times. It had also helped make Manila's inane traffic much more bearable.
The truth about science fiction
And then the movie began and we sat back and relaxed. It was a sci-fi movie and I'm not exactly a sci-fi fan; but it was great fun just to sit outdoors and watch a movie on a giant screen amidst a luxurious garden and pretty good weather. If there was a contest for a nice and different Valentine's Day venue in Manila, this place would win hands down. Unfortunately, movie night at the Peninsula is only on Fridays and Saturdays.
Later on, we bumped into Stephanie Chong, Peninsula's director of events, at the lobby.
"How was the evening?" She asked us. I gushed about dinner and venue, but told her I wished they'd shown something more romantic or funny or classic for a Saturday night movie date. Apparently, the Peninsula shows a variety of films and Stephanie had gone the previous weekend and seen a classic James Bond. Now I would've wanted to see that.
Under the Moon and the Stars
Barbecue and Cinema Classics by the Pool
Fridays & Saturdays at the Peninsula Manila
630 to 10 pm