Sunday, 23 March 2014

Zark's Burgers: The Challenge Stands

Zark's Burgers:  The Challenge Stands

              There is a burger joint that is making its presence felt in the food business.  It is called Zark's. It is relatively new compared to those who have been there for decades or for several years. And the way it took off, it seems headed towards greater heights.  The business, as gleaned from indicators, is well run or well managed. King James' Tomahawk, Strikeout, Three Pointer, Black Mamba, Shaq are some of the names of burgers being offered. They are nice-sounding names and included in what the owners call as Minor League.  You see, there are classifications.  To distinguish each food item from  the rest.

Zark's Burgers at Katipunan Avenue. It is across Ateneo De Manila University.

Entrance to Zark's

Most diners are from Ateneo, UP and Miriam College.

Burger lovers

More to choose from

              If there is a Minor League, there is a corresponding Major League.  Those in the Major League are bigger and more pricey, yet still affordable.  Included in this group are Chokeslam, Jawbreaker and Tombstone, among others. They boast of thicker patties and with more sidings. The Chokeslam, for instance, is quadruple burger with bacon, egg, spam and cheese sauce and it sells for P300.  And I am amused by its name. If you slam it in your mouth, you'll get choked.  Just by writing about Zark's, it makes me hungry again.
Jawbreaker for only P250. It is served with Fries and Iced Tea.

Strikeout for P100.  Add P20 for Fries and Iced Tea.

King James'  Tomahawk at P95.  Add P20 for Fries and Iced Tea.

Andre enjoys dining at Zark's.

Abok is in the attack mode.

This senior citizen is stunned when served  the Jawbreaker.

Generous servings at Zark's.

             To drum up interest or attract target customers, Zark's has issued a challenge. It is a good promotional or marketing gimmick. The challenge is for you to finish consuming a Tombstone burger in 10 minutes. It is hunger versus the clock. A Tombstome consists of four layers of patties with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. If you succeed, you don't pay P500 and you are included in the Hall of Fame. And as a precautionary measure, the burger joint has issued a stern warning that there is this danger that you may end up beneath a real Tombstone. The challenge also includes finishing a Jawbreaker in 5 minutes.

Tombstone (G file)

Zark's Hall of Fame.  Beat the clock and you make it to the Hall of Fame.

Sports jersey and gears on display

              Last Saturday, I tried the Jaw Breaker. Just to have a taste of it. Just to approximate if I could face the challenge. Upon serving, I began scrutinizing.  There were two pieces of Bacon strips, Spam and thick burger patties.  I added catsup and mayo.  Though I tried hard, I was able to finish only half of the Jaw Breaker.  And it took me 20 minutes at that. And looking at Zark's Hall of Fame, there are only 12 who have succeeded in finishing a Jaw Breaker in 5 minutes. And the Tombstone?  Up to yesterday, nobody has made it to Tombstone's Hall of Fame.


The Jawbreaker consists of three layers of patties, spam, bacon, cheese, etc. You have to finish it including the fries and iced tea in 5 minutes to be a Hall of Famer. You don't pay P250.

Zark's slogan

Zark's is near the flyover at Katipunan.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Paco Park: Enchantingly Beautiful

Paco Park:  Enchantingly Beautiful

          Amidst the tempered celebration last Sunday, with colorful butterflies fluttering upwards and some pigeons making their way to the tree tops, the newly wed couple stepped out of the ancient chantry, smiling and waving at well-wishers.  It was a romantic wedding solemnized at the St. Pancratius Chapel located within the historic Paco Park.

Paco Park has been declared as a National Historical Shrine.  It is located at the corner of Padre Faura St. and San Marcelino St. in Manila. This is the main gate and the outer wall.

This is the 2nd or inner gate.  Pigeons perch on the ledges  of the arch.

The secondary or inner wall of Paco Park

The paved walkway between the outer wall and the inner wall.

There are old style lamp posts throughout the park.

          Paco Park is one of the oldest parks in Metro Manila. It started as a municipal cemetery during the Spanish regime.  The wealthy Spaniards used to bury their dead at what was then known as Paco Cemetery. The oval-shaped park, which stands within a relatively vast tract of prime land, has niches constructed within the walls.  There are actually two walls: the inner wall and the outer wall. 

The view as you enter the 2nd gate.

Some members of a wedding entourage get ready for the next mass .

The St. Pancratius Chapel located inside the park.  When the water fountain is activated, you surely will have picture-perfect shots.

Paco Park is one of the most popular wedding venues in Metro Manila.

The dome or rounded vault of St. Pancratius Chapel distinguishes it from other churches or chapels.

An old bell hangs near the chapel's vault.  The chapel is now air-conditioned.

Schedule of masses at the St. Pancratius Chapel. It is under the supervision of San Vicente de Paul Parish.

The chapel's interior.

Quaintness is the chapel's major description.

Concrete stairs leading to the elevated walkway

This one leads to the outer wall.

           When Jose Rizal died by firing squad in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896, his body was secretly taken to Paco Park where it was buried with a cross placed on top of the mound. His initials in reverse, RPJ, served as marker.  Authorities wanted to keep it a secret as they feared his death would create a martyr-worship cult. Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora, better known as Gomburza, who were executed in 1872, were also interrred at the Paco Park and Cemetery. Interment stopped in 1912.

The original grave of national hero Jose Rizal. He was reportedly buried without a coffin.

It took several days for the siblings of the national hero to find the body of the fallen Rizal. In 1912, the remains of Rizal were transferred to Luneta Park.

As inscribed here, Jose Rizal died a mason.
Two die-hard Rizalistas visit the grave of their idol.  They refer to him as "Ka Pepe".

The park is circular in shape.

One of the very few niches that can still be seen at Paco Park. This one was interred in 1907.

Most of the niches at Paco Park are empty as the remains were transferred elsewhere when the place stopped operating as a cemetery in the early 1900's.

The remains of  the three priests known collectively as Gomburza, and who died as martyrs, are interred at Paco Park.

More about Gomburza

Pigeons near the main gate

            As the wedding car moved out of Paco Park, I sat on a bench and gazed around. A huge acacia tree stood proud near St. Pancratius Chapel.  With stillness pervading throughout the park, my mind wandered to that summer day in 1975, when Father was driving and I was his lone passenger. We were heading towards Paco Park.  It was five thirty in the morning. I could still hear his voice:  The Governor is already there.  The Commanding General of the Philippine Army flew all the way from Dadiangas. Don't keep them waiting. It was my wedding day. It was set at 6 am. If Rizal was sentenced to die by firing squad and later buried at Paco Park, I, too, was given a sentence on that fateful summer day.  It was like I was sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua. I was chained to somebody for the rest of my life. I lost my freedom at Paco Park.

- Konted

Picture-taking  at Paco Park after the wedding. Old photo above was taken some 39 years ago. Wedding gown was by top fashion designer Cesar Gaupo.

Tropicana Studio did the photo shoot.

Most of the pictures were in black and white.  Some were colored. They are now fading.
Old photo of bride

Guests Renz Salomon, Bob Soliongco, Rouel Quito and Mr. and Mrs. Rafael Quito.  Rouel and Bob were secondary sponsors.