On August 9, 2014, the University of the Philippines community broke into a jubilee, when its men’s basketball team won a game for the first time in two years. It took 27 games for the Fighting Maroons to barge into the win column, but when they finally did, it had the atmosphere of a championship. Alumni and students organized a bonfire in the premises of the main campus in Diliman to celebrate the historic feat.
It’s nice to bask with the “national scholars” in the excitement of their celebration so JM and I hightail it to Diliman one afternoon. In the hours that we explore the campus, we find ourselves in the Shopping Center, a spot near the outskirts of the campus famous for its numerous photocopying centers.
It’s also popular for another stall. Nestled near the western end of the building, a diner has stood since 1949. It has often been regarded as an institution, and, in fact, is one of the most affordable places to get a tapsilog. Rodic’s has become so successful that it has since branched out in other places, including in Makati, but there’s nothing like dining in where it all started.
This is a typical Filipino diner, exemplified by the minimalist interiors – white walls with warm accents – and tables so close to each other you could barely squeeze yourself through especially during lunch hours.
The star of the concise menu is obviously the tapsilog, which, for the uninitiated, is a portmanteau of tapa (dried cured beef), sinangag (garlic fried rice) and itlog (egg, often sunny-side-up). Rodic’s version of this popular Filipino breakfast uses beef shreds instead of the usual strips, and its sweet-salty taste complements the buttery flavor of the egg smacked on top.
The tapsilog is so good, it’s easy to overlook the other items, like the baconsilog. But the latter, a plateful of crispy indulgence similarly on top of a heap of fried rice and egg, is worth the detour.
Around 3 p.m. on a weekday afternoon, the place is still busy with diners, the crowd composed mainly of students and a couple of yuppies. The air conditioner can barely keep up with the heat inside and our shirts are getting drenched in sweat. But we’re unmindful. In a nostalgic sort of way, eating at Rodic’s makes us forget what’s going on, and just like the rest of the UP community, we’re too busy savoring the moment.
UP-Diliman, Quezon City
(02) 920-7668, (02) 921-7361