CEBU CITY—Guess who came to dine at one of the city malls?
Shoppers and diners were surprised to see President Aquino on Thursday night, checking out a restaurant, renowned for its eat-all-you-can dimsum buffet on a conveyor belt, at The Terraces of the Ayala Center Cebu.
No, he didn’t bring a date when he dined at Tsim Sha Tsui Dimsum and Tea Bar.
The President was with a party of about 30 which included Sen. Franklin Drilon, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, who is from Cebu.
“A lot of people saw him because it was dinner time,” a source said.
People lingered outside the restaurant to catch a glimpse of the President, and were asked by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to move as they were crowding out the hallway.
Diners at the restaurant could be seen stealing glances at the presidential group. Others surreptitiously took photos of the President with their cell phones.
Some Korean diners asked the waiters who was the celebrity eating in front of the conveyor belt.
Christine Uytengsu, manager of Tsim Sha Tsui Dimsum and Tea Bar, said a friend of her father made the reservation for the President’s party on Wednesday.
Since there was no request for the restaurant to be closed off for the exclusive use of the President and his party, the management admitted other diners.
“You know P-Noy. He will not ask to have exclusive use of a restaurant so anybody can go in and eat if there are available tables,” a source said.
Sources close to the President said it was Mr. Aquino who requested to eat at the restaurant because he was curious about the all-you-can-eat conveyor belt buffet.
No special meals
Uytengsu said they didn’t whip up any special meals for the President but made some changes in the buffet menu. For instance, they included in the buffet the garlic pork chop and beef dishes from the a la carte menu like, especially as there was a request not to serve chicken.
“He did eat a lot of siomai,” Uytengsu said of Mr. Aquino.
The President told the management that he enjoyed his meal very much and suggested they open a branch in Manila. He also promised to drop by again on his next visit to Cebu.
Uytengsu said she didn’t know who paid for the dinner. She said they wanted to treat the President but he insisted on paying. A friend also offered to take tab but Mr. Aquino refused.
The President, the Team PNoy senatorial candidates and the administration coalition’s local candidates last night took their campaign to the grounds of the Cebu City provincial capitol long held by the Garcia political clan, which is allied with the rival United Nationalist Alliance.
A crowd of about a thousand people gathered to listen to Mr. Aquino and his candidates. The senatorial candidates that joined the major campaign rally were Risa Hontiveros, Jamby Madrigal, Bam Aquino, Loren Legarda, Jun Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero.