Fronds and Anemones

Under my previous post, TPS commented, “With fronds like these, who needs anemones” — Marlin, a take-off of the saying “With friends like these who needs enemies?”

I was amused at the quaint turn of phrase, but was bemused when we got to the venue of the dinner. Why? Look at these:

IMG_3253Five steps – I suggested to husband that we use the ramp I use to get to the van to negotiate the five steep steps. Putting the ramp wasn’t much help, though because of the grade of inclination, maybe 45 degrees. Check out the values here of the ideal wheelchair ramp – unoccupied it’s 15 degrees, lower if occupied.

Further, that was just the first set of steps. After the landing, here’s what confronted us:


Seriously, 8 more steps.

And get this, on the day our friend told us re the 5 steps, I called the resto to check if there were an alternative entrance. The lady I spoke to said, no. I asked about the steps: she said they were wide and easy to negotiate, just five of them, and there would be waiters to help. That was how they had done it in the past when they had customers in wheelchairs.

When we got to the venue, the security guard expressed surprise over my being in a wheelchair and wondered how I could go up to the venue. Husband told him I had been promised assistance care of the waiters.

I engaged him in conversation and asked if he had experienced having customers in wheelchairs. He said he was a new guard, and since October 2014 till last night (Jan 2015), he hadn’t encountered even one.

Before long two waiters came out to assist husband and the amiable guard up the 8 steps. They were strong people, I wasn’t scared. But I knew it was such a burden for them. In fact, while we were waiting for the waiters to come, I told husband, let’s just go home or to some other resto like Kimpura in Greenhills. But husband said to just proceed after giving it some thought.

We were led to the function room where dinner would be. One of the waiters said he had told the organizer friend of ours re our presence and he’d soon be with us. Soon meant maybe 30 minutes. Guilty? Likely so. When I started teasing him about how he didn’t know how to count, he brushed my words aside. He distracted me by saying Juday, Patty Betita, Phil Younghusband and Ryan Agoncillo were in the common dining area. Of course I never got to see them because that’s a bane of mine as wheelchair user. “As you were”. I don’t get to explore easily. Once I’m positioned somewhere, that’s it.

How did I feel about the lie of “just 5 steps”? Later, I “confronted” organizer friend about it again in a teasing manner. He said he knew that if I had known there were more than 5 steps, I’d not have come. I guess he also asked the personnel in the resto who took my call to lie because she had said there were only 5 steps. IN fact I even asked, “3 steps and then two?” She said “Something like that.”

As we waited for organizer friend to come, I felt I understood why he chose the venue. It’s an old house and the interiors are of the old rich, a sector of society he is very fond of. See these pictures?


It’s sad they haven’t put even just a makeshift ramp, one that can be put on the stairs as needed, to facilitate negotiation for people in wheelchairs. Foodwise, I’d like to go back to the resto because the food is quite good; there’s a culinary school downstairs.

Unsolicited suggestions: maybe put a dining area downstairs? Install a ramp somewhere without destroying the architecture? IN Tagaytay Highlands’ China Palace, I get to the resto care of the kitchen ramp. I don’t mind that. Better that than 13 steps!

Being in that old house cum resto last night reminded me of MR Jun Palafox’s recommendation/recollection about how new houses should call to mind how old houses were built high above the ground. He mentioned something about altar level in this piece he wrote.  Last night’s old house transformed into a resto is living proof of that type of adaptive architecture Mr. Palafox wrote/spoke of, I guess.

As for that friend, while we enjoyed ourselves, you can be sure his credibility level has sunk a bit. Next time he tells me there are just so many steps, I should multiply that number by 2.6.

The resto is Cafe Ysabel. I only identify it to inform people in wheelchairs what they will be up against should they dine there. A pity really that it’s not friendly to our sector. I would have loved to go go back there otherwise. And frequently.

Oh well, one can’t beat them all.

2 thoughts on “Fronds and Anemones

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