Directly across the La Fuerza Building–which houses a cluster of late-night bars–is Live Life!, a small vegetarian restaurant in the Cancio family compound on Chino Roces Avenue in Makati.
It’s owned by Sylvia Cancio, who spends much of her time in New York, where she has a lucrative practice as an esthetician, a licensed professional in skincare.
But whenever she’s in Manila, primarily to check on her newly opened skincare clinic, Piel Anti-Aging Center, Cancio may be found hanging out with friends in the restaurant just a few steps away.
A second branch has recently opened in Cebu.
The idea for Live Life!— broached by a close friend, Nelia Lim—piqued her interest, says Cancio, since her work as esthetician requires a sufficient understanding of food and nutrients that affect one’s skin and well-being.
And even if she can’t totally avoid eating meat, especially steaks, Cancio swears by the health benefits of having lots of vegetables and fruits in one’s daily diet.
The menu at Live Life! is her own creation, and the servings are mostly good for two persons.
A standout in the Starters section, for instance, is Fresh Vegetable Lumpia (two big pieces at P180)—generous amounts of cabbage, carrots, Baguio beans, lettuce, singkamas and peanuts, and with agave nectar as natural sweetener to the sauce.
The addition of agave nectar reflects a distinct element in the menu’s other items.
The Vegetable Lasagna (P260)—described as a medley of zucchini, squash, mushroom, cottage cheese and pomodoro sauce—is so tasty and filling, we had more than enough for takeout.
Two cold drinks are especially soothing this hot season: Chocolate Banana Shake with Agave (P120), made with raw cacao and almond milk; and Buko Shake (P45), coconut with a hint of kaffir lime.
After the food trip, cross the street where the gimik bars are.
Live Life! is at 2240 Chino Roces Ave., Makati (tel. 4786310); and at Vibo Place, Escario, Cebu (tel.  2603407)
Vegetable Lasagna (left) and other dishes at Live Life! restaurant —PHOTOS BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION