Check out Wild Habanero and Trax Records in Marikina
by rick olivares
Marikina has recently made a name for itself as a foodie destination in the metropolis with must-check out eateries along Lilac and Rainbow streets among many others.
There’s one street though, Sapphire Street (along SSS Village in Concepcion Dos, Marikina) that is perpendicular to Lilac that has two places one should check out – one for food that is Wild Habanero, and another, well, for vinyl records, that is Trax Manila Records.
The popularity of both have spread by word of mouth and you’d do well to check them out yourself.
Wild Habanero (Sapphire corner Sandalwood streets)
Tex-Mex food served up by Texan Frank Di Gioia at generous servings and even better prices! Frank himself goes to the market to buy all the ingredients. And the man knows how to pick them!
Frank says that he learned to cook as a kid because when his mother was off to work, he had to fend for himself. And well, forget the commercial Tex-Mex food you find in malls. This is the food as Frank himself ate as a kid.
The chimichangas – Php 150 with rice and a drink -- is darn good and you’ll come away feeling like a stuffed piñata! You can get in mild flavor is spicy.
The chips (Php 50) are some of the best as they crisp and not too thick. The dips that come along with it are all lovingly made by Frank himself. The cheese dip has that additional milky flavor that has you dipping the chips for more. The salsa is pretty good as well. In fact, I have suggested to Mr. Di Gioia to bottle them and sell them. A nice change from Tostitos that has always been my favorite.
Frank and his partner Luvi Jovellano serve up a friendly atmosphere and if you’re also looking for souvenir selfies, you can don any of their sombreros and ponchos and have your picture taken next to their sign.
There’s air-conditioned seating as well as open air.
Trax Manila Records (that is next to Wild Habanero)
Speaking of a friendly atmosphere, saunter over to Trax Manila Records that is a few steps away from Wild Habanero.
Tristan Trajano provides a nice audiophile atmosphere in his small shop (although he is looking to expand by taking up some space next door in the near future). He gave up a nice and good-paying job working at a US Veterans hospital in Los Angeles to put up his dream record store. A music fan who grew up in the 1980s, he found himself caring for retired and sickly American servicemen who he bonded with also on music. These former soldiers not only got him to check out the bands they listened to during their young adult lives but they also learned some newer music from Tristan himself. Eventually, they pushed him to follow his dream of putting up a record store.
So Tristan moved back to Manila and opened Trax Manila Records two years ago selling second hand American-pressed vinyl records (he also has some compact disc records). His stock varies from genre – pop to rock to jazz. Even world music. The prices range from as low as P700 to as high as P1,500. Essentially, the titles are all back stock with no new records or new releases. But I’ll say this, there are some pretty good titles.
And while you’re digging, you might want to ask about his copy of Maria Carpena. He is one of two people I know with a copy of the very first OPM recording made (way back in 1908 by Victor Records). The other is OPM collector Nestor Vera Cruz.
You might wonder that Marikina is a little far off for a record shop. But if you’re a fan of music and vinyl in particular then you know that the hunt is part of the thrill. And that hasn’t dampened music fans (in fact some celebrities frequent this place) from driving all the way to dig. So check this shop out if you’re looking to dig some cool finds and gab about the music that we all love. Before you know it, the sun has set.
Plus, he’s got a stock of 1,500 records coming in soon!
This shop is open six days a week from 1pm-9pm except on Mondays.