Yes, Alagao.  I hail from the province and what I know of alagao is that it has a “hairy” leaf. Yes, H.A.I.R.Y.  But it is one hell of a versatile leaf. Just like the guava leaves,  they can be used to wash wounds or applied to open cuts.   Whenever we have indigestion or suffering from gas pains,  our elders would come up with this concoction and force us to drink the alagao tea, if you can call it that.  Gosh, I even remember our quack doctor with some cut up alagao leaf or two on his temples to cure his headache!


As kids, we would play-cook and readily discard the alagao leaves among our “ingredients” for whatever it was we are boiling or concocting.  That’s because we didn’t like the “felt” texture of the leaf. Hairy has no room in our kids’ menu back then. But in this part of Antipolo, alagao  takes centerstage in this lovely lunch buffet.  Was I in for a pleasant surprise!


Signature Appetizer Is Alagao Leaves With Spices & Other Fillings


It was past my lunchtime when we reached Crescent Moon Cafe.  I do not know how long it has been in business  in this corner in Antipolo, Rizal, but it sure is a well-kept  secret.   It was a very humid day, and we have just visited the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs at high noon!  Hungry,  I was quite ready to eat a cow by the time we reached this cafe and its lovely garden and koi ponds.


Choose your fillings, then wrap and roll!


As its signature appetizers,  one makes his own “rolls” using an alagao leaf and stuffing it with various spices.  There’s  fried garlic, minced onions, green chili for the brave ones, alamang fried to a crisp, cut up basil leaves, cubed mangoes,  ginger and some nuts.   You choose your fillings, lay them on the leaf, smear it with some sweet dark sauce, and then wrap the leaf like you would a lumpia. Voila!  The sweet, salty, sour and spicy all compete for attention and make out a sensation that is not quite the same as any other.  What do you know, I actually like it!  



Owned by  Lanelle Abueva-Fernando,  niece of National Artist Napoleon Abueva and daughter of former UP President  Jose Abueva,  the place has no pretentions.  I understand there is really no set menu here, but the signature alagao appetizer is a mainstay.  For this lunch , we had soup,  a steamed fish, some crispy noodles with vegetable curry toppings,  a chicken dish which I ignored (not because it wasn’t good,  but a chicken is a chicken is a chicken if you know what I mean),  and another vegetable dish. Me? I focused on the alagao rolls,  steamed fish and the curried vegetables with crispy noodles.  And for dessert? We had suman served with a quarter of a mango.  I could do with another quarter, actually, but for P35o for a set lunch, I should not be complaining.  I like their suman.  No need for sugar or anything else.  The suman, by itself,  is complete in its sweetness and creaminess.  You can buy them too as take-home pasalubong for P275 a bundle.  


No, It's Not Soup. It's The Topping for the Crispy Noodles.


Done with lunch, one can stroll around the garden and pond.  On a hot day,  this place offers a refreshing break.  The trees all around make it tolerable despite the humidity.  But it is not conducive for any shopping.   Lanelle Abueva-Fernando’s pottery is right within the compound  and her works  are on display and available for sale.  There were nice  teapots and matching teacups,  serving plates , cups and saucers, jars, sugar and creamer sets, etc.  By the time we were done with lunch, all I wanted to do was to get back to the airconditioned vehicle.  You see, Crescent Moon Cafe is NOT airconditioned.  You can do away with that setup in Tagaytay (like in Sonya’s Garden) but not so here in Antipolo.  Or maybe it was simply a hot humid day  when we visited. Struggling to keep my eyelids from drooping shut,   I decided to enjoy the comforts of airconditioning in the vehicle.  


Crescent Moon Cafe in Antipolo City

It looks cool. Temp 38C


By the way,  make sure you don’t come on a Sunday or Monday when Crescent Moon Cafe is closed. And do remember that it is only open for lunch.  For directions, you may call +632 630-5854 .  But allow me to try.  😉  If you are coming from Sumulong Highway, go straight past the Ynares Rotunda and Unciano Hospital. You’ll soon find  Flying V gasoline station which is on the left side of a three forked intersection. Take the rightmost road and drive past a Shell station, then Milagrosa Subdivision. A few meters past the subdivision, you’ll see the Crescent Moon signboard. Take that road, and enter the Crescent Moon compound on the left side of the road. The exact address is Sapang Buho, Ascencion road. Barangay Dalig, Antipolo City.



And don’t be fooled. There is still  a tree-lined  walkway towards the Cafe.  You’d walk this path from the street to get inside.  It’s a pleasant walk.


The Art of Pottery

Entrance to Crescent Moon Cafe

This May Help Get You There 😉


When it comes to the subject of food, I readily go overboard.  I have earlier submitted my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of July 2011 with the theme “Awesome Food Experience While Traveling” hosted by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  But hey,  what’s wrong with a 2nd entry?  There is always room for good food, right?