Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Precious Moments Showroom, Gift Shop and Tea House

Do you guys remember those little tear-drop eyed dolls and illustrations of our childhood? Those distinctive faces that are both so innocent and a touch sad?

From the face of a beloved child, the famous features of the Precious Moments dolls and drawings were born in 1974. Samuel Butcher is the American artist who created the brand based on American-Christian themes. They were first seen as drawings in greeting cards, then as porcelain figurines and vinyl dolls. It was when Sam's company J&D outsourced the dolls in Asia that Sam fell in love with the Philippines. Being a Christian missionary as well, he visited the Philippines often and was able to set up a hotel resort in Aklan to provide employment and training opportunities for the Aklanon and students from other provinces in Western Visayas.

Today, Sam shuttles between his resort in Aklan and his Precious Moments Showroom, Gift Shop and Teahouse in Palanan, Makati City.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfares, this place is DEFINITELY well worth the trip!

Happily Lost

Tucked away in a quiet little street
is an awesome surprise waiting to be discovered!
4227 Laredo Street, Palanan, Makati City

My mother and I were driving around with the girls one late afternoon after dropping off RF at his office and my Dad at a presentation in Makati. We were trying to make our way to Cash and Carry for much needed food near the highway when I made a wrong turn. Keeping my eyes on the road, my mom was the one who was able to catch a glimpse of the showroom's tarp. They had just opened so there wasn't a signboard up yet. I told my mom that under no circumstances was she to let me buy anything! I loved Precious Moments and I am a confirmed shopadiva. So driving around the block and parking on the quiet, residential street, we entered the unassuming red brick house. I was intrigued though, to see that the tarp advertised a teahouse as well as a gift shop (I was hungry and breastfeeding Olly).

In the foyer, we saw people snipping away at doll hairs and packing them into boxes. I really wasn't expecting much since most showrooms I've seen were quiet, stuffy little places crammed with products and boxes. And the teahouse? I was expecting little pastries, cakes, coffee and overpriced tea.

But then, with a beaming smile, the waitress led us into the main area and I walked into the amazing Christmas mornings of my childhood.

And the food? Well...I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, I felt like I was in my grandmother's house on Christmas when my grandfather was alive. The place was bright with warm lights and there was christmas decor every where. There were amazing dolls of all shapes and sizes, display cabinets of figurines and christmas trees hung with glittery baubles. Tables were set as if they've been waiting just for you all this time. It's really hard to dress up an entire floor with the Christmas theme without overwhelming and intimidating people, but this place drew you in and embraced you. It was beautiful without being tacky and comforting without being cloying. It was exactly like *your* grandparents' sala and dining room, all set for the Christmas festivities and your entire clan would be coming in any minute bearing gifts, greetings, laughter and joy!

And let's not forget the food! REAL FOOD. Freshly cooked, served piping hot. In servings you could feed a battalion with, and soup in a bowl you can swim in. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but really, the servings are big enough for more than two people.

With the cooking expertise garnered from their hotel resort in Aklan, the Teahouse boasts of a killer menu that doesn't kill your budget. I'M NOT KIDDING. You can bring a date and impress her. You can bring your entire clan plus your out of town relatives and impress them. And I promise you, your wallet won't run away screaming.
Spareribs! Juicy!

Their full menu boasts of a huge variety of appetizers, entrees, hot pots, noodles and the Teahouse Specials consisting of mouth-watering seafood. Vegetarians will have no problems choosing what to eat as their vegetables are also very good.

Their famous Spinach Seafood Soup!
This is just 1/5th of their usual serving.
One order of any soup serves at least four people!

My mom and I ordered for hototay since we were thinking of a light snack and I was lactating (hence the soup). Their specialty is actually the heavenly Seafood Spinach Soup which we ordered on another day (when that picture was taken). 

We added a burger meal with chips and a drink, just in case the soup wasn't enough. It wasn't much, we thought then too...BUT when our order came out, my jaw literally dropped. I asked the waiter, "How are we supposed to finish all that?!" For the price I was paying for, I was expecting a bowl, not the whole potful! Thank god Oona had an appetite and she was able to finish half a serving, but my mom and I were hard pressed to finish because it was such a shame not to finish it all up, such wonderful soup! It was the best hototay I've ever had in a long long time! It reminded me of the hototay we had in Chinatown when I was a child and sadly, nobody makes hototay like that anymore. We were able to finish it only after two heaping bowls each and one bowl for Dad (who caught up with us after his presentation was done).
Don't be fooled! This plate is huge.
The burger feeds at least two people.

Oh, and they didn't stint on the juicy burger either! It was as large as my face, with real, crisp potato chips sliced paper thin! We quartered the burger and one slice was enough for one person. After the soup though, I had to struggle with my slice :) Mom too, so we had to have the rest of the burger wrapped. But Dad attacked it and demolished it when he arrived. After all, he just had one bowl of hototay :D

While I was feeding Oona and myself, my mom carried Olly around and chatted with Warren, the store manager. It turns out that they were the ones selected to make the limited edition P-Noy inaugural dolls! So those were the dolls we saw being packed in the foyer!

The P-Noy Inaugural Doll

And why they were snipping away at the hair of the male dolls? The staff shared that the dolls had to look like P-Noy and since the dolls had long hair...they had to match his hairline! LOLZ :D It turns out that Sam Butcher gave then-President Cory Aquino a special look-alike doll many years ago. So now that her son was being inaugurated, Precious Moments was given the privilege to make a special doll for him. :D
The Cory Aquino Doll

We were also able to meet Jojo, Sam's honorary son :) He filled us in on the Precious Moments history, the artist's background and how he came to be in the Philippines.

He told us that they were able to put up a Christmas town in Aklan where the resort was. Now, along with this showroom, tea house and gift shop, they want to be able to put up a Doll Museum too! They are currently looking for a place large enough to house the extensive doll and figurine collection just waiting to be seen and loved by everyone. They will be opening it to the public, especially to children and for school tours. Whoever wants to feel like it's Christmas any day they wish, only have to walk through their doors!

All in all, the venue is awesome, the food is incredible and won't break the bank! Lovely serviceware, linens and yes, good, clean washrooms your kid can use! They are able to host parties, gatherings and the casual walk-ins like us. They also deliver and cater as long as you call in your orders beforehand.

The staff are very efficient, warm and accomodating. They will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, as if you are truly a member of the family coming to visit.
Olly and Ate Jinky

Plus, VERY CHILD-FRIENDLY. To think that it's a gift shop, they were not afraid of Oona looking around and occasionally touching things (she's been taught to be very careful so, hooray for that!). As a mom, knowing that they're child-friendly automatically puts them in my most loved places to be! One of the waitresses, Ate Jinky, even took care of Olly for awhile! She confessed to a love of children even if she didn't have her own yet :)

Okay, details! :)
Open Daily 9AM to 10PM
Address: 4227 Laredo St., Palanan, Makati City
Contact Numbers: 856-6615 and 387-1092
Landmarks: Near Cash & Carry Makati

Food: Pork, Beef, Chicken, Seafood, Pasta, Hotpot, Noodles, Vegetables
Drinks: Softdrinks, Iced Tea, Coffee, Juices, Water

Budget: Affordable! Value for your money!

Available for: Dine-In, Take-Out, Delivery & Catering

SO GO VISIT THEM! It's fast becoming popular among the Makati lunch crowds so you might want to go early if you plan on lunching there on a week day! :D Whether you're going to eat, shop or just enjoy the beautiful dolls while having coffee, I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience as much as we did.

++Some pictures of us on our other visits :) 
Oona hams it up!

Mommyluscious, Oona and Dad
Having a precious moment: Oona and Dad :D

that's a real painting by the artist Sam Butcher!
Lola and Olly

yummy spaghetti, chips and chicken fingers snack trio with drink!
Another beautiful painting by the Precious Moments artist!


Mec said...

am not a fan of the dolls ganda but i think i want pics taken at the place!!! super nice!

Mommyluscious said...

naku sis, am not a super fan of dolls either but this place really rocks :D and precious moments lang kasi ang talagang dolls that i love e! meron ako nung bata ako!

Roch said...

I really really just love family pictures!

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll take note of this :)

Unknown said...

I like! I like! I like!

Mahal ba ang precious moments na dolls?

Mommyluscious said...

@roch :) thanks! i hope you find something you like there :)

@joanne, naku sis for me, ok na ok ang prices considering the craftsmanship and artistry! cheap pa nga cos they're not only dolls to hug, they're also heirloom pieces cos they last a long time. enjoy!