We were supposed to go to the mall that weekend but realizing that I lost my wallet (after coming home groggy from my graveyard shift), I decided to tag along my son for a cozy date at Hizon’s, the venerable bakeshop in Ermita.
Actually, its real name is ZA’s Cafe, but people seem to forget. We always associate Hizon’s for the “best-tasting” ensaymada and the name has stuck since then. For one, the appellation best-tasting is subject to much contention; “pricey” and “overrated” is a better term in lieu of the advent of much superior fluffy bread (and cheese!) from the competition. But we don’t argue with the reputation it has built over decades.
At its main coffeeshop in Ermita, the place cackles with the laughter and conversation of old folk which comprise its regulars. The cafe sure looks like it badly needs renovation; the items on the menu (even the brewed coffee) are priced like hotel fare but without the quality. It’s evident that, except for a few excellent baked items, what you pay for at Hizon’s is its name, the location, and the sense of history it evokes among its clientele.
Rightly so, my first memory of Hizon’s was a chat over hot chocolate with National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose. His legendary bookshop, La Solidaridad, is just nearby and he brought me to Hizon’s after an interview I did for him. Comedian Dolphy is also a regular and is sometimes falsely rumored to be one of the owners.
For the past week anyway, I revisited Hizon’s and discovered their heavenly mamon and toasted yema. The latter is not your usual Filipino dessert of creamed condensed milk, it was your regular chiffon cake toasted till a light brown, then topped with some sugar and butter. I swore I finished two slices on the spot. And to think I always prided myself for not having a sweet tooth.
On this Sunday, I visit Hizon’s again with my son for two reasons: 1) satisfy my addiction for toasted yema, and 2) bemoan the loss of my wallet (earlier salvaged from a Good Samaritan in Malaysia)
My son, anxious to assuage my depression, was all too willing to give me some advice:
“Don’t worry Mom. Just move on.. Forgive and forget.”
I was somewhat startled that a nine-year old (least of all my beloved son) can tell me something like that. It’s a cliche to adults, but how many of us actually think this way and apply it to our daily lives??
” Just move on… forgive and forget.”
After hearing this, my sadness was gone and Hizon’s toasted yema tasted yummier than ever.
Hizon’s (a.k.a. ZA’s cafe)
1197 Jorge C. Bocobo St. cor. Arquiza