YESTERDAY WAS my first ever regional council meeting as national vice president for Palawan Region of the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees). I wanted to make it special so I arranged for it to be held at Neva’s Place, my favorite feels-like-home restaurant here in Puerto Princesa.
To be honest, my real home isn’t anything like Neva’s Place. Ours is a 30-something year old bungalow-type house built a few years before I was born in 1972. We don’t have a second floor, no petromax lamps tastefully turned into lighting fixtures to provide brightness, no small wooden tea tables, no long dining table made of bamboo stems set up on the floor — I could go on and on about what we don’t have that it has, and yet, it still feels like home.
That woman who’s deep in discussing something and sporting a red-collared shirt is me. The rest are the officers of the Palawan Region and the presidents of different Jaycees local organization movements (LOMs).
This long table set low on the floor at the second floor of Neva’s is where my group always tear apart ideas for our next projects. You can sit here comfortably, knees apart and ankles crossed, with your brewed coffee or tea warming you affectionately.
Owned by businesswoman, artist, writer, homemaker, and a horde of all other title roles, Jane Timbancaya-Urbanek, the place was named after her lovely daughter Neva, who’s now left in charge of its daily operations. Its slogan reads “parang nasa bahay ka lang” or “feels like home.”
Neva’s is located at Taft Street adjacent the Immaculate Conception Cathedral here in Puerto Princesa. It used to be the home of the Timbancayas before it became one of the best digs for pizza and pasta. I remember when I was still a school grader at a nearby public elementary school, we’d often go to Nay Jane’s (as she is fondly called by me) place after class so we could rent books from her. She used to own a book rental shop called Bookshelves (if I’m not mistaken!).
There’s a beautiful garden you’ll pass through before you’re ushered to your table inside Neva’s. It’s being maintained by Nay Jane’s sister-in-law, Manang Linda, whose house stands nearby. I have to say that it’s one of the reasons why I always go back there — to stop, catch sight of the flowers and then smell them. You know, “stop and smell the flowers!”
Food that I like at Neva’s would be these:
- Laoya at PhP105.00 ($2.44) per order — A Cuyuno dish cooked with beans, either pork or beef, unripe jack fruit flesh, banana and many more, and good with bagoong (fermented fish sauce) we, Cuyunons, call yahoo. Perfect for a party of three.
- Mixed Seafood Chowder at PhP175.00 ($3.72) per order — you know what this is, right?
- Adobo ni Nanay at PhP120.00 ($2.79) per order — A popular Filipino dish, it’s pork or chicken meat sauteed in garlic and onions, and boiled in soy sauce and vinegar.
- Fish ala Pobre at PhP130.00 ($3.00) per order — it’s fish cooked with garlic in rich butter and lemon sauce.
My pizza and pasta picks are:
- Cheese and Garlic at PhP130.00/PhP270.00 ($3.00/$6.27) — depends on what size you want to order. A large one would be good for 3-6 people.
- Witch House Special at Php235.00/PhP480.00 ($5.46/$11.16)
- Tuna al Pesto at PhP55.00 ($1.27) per serving
- Pomodoro Basilico at PhP65.00 ($1.51) per serving
Too bad I wasn’t able to get a picture of any of these. Next time, I’ll tell Nay Jane to let me take photos of the ones I like to eat. On certain nights, there’s an acoustic band that plays at Neva’s to entertain diners with good songs. Sometimes, you can even catch Nay Jane and Neva singing.
Even if Neva’s doesn’t really resemble my own place, I still feel at home when I’m there. It’s where interesting stories about life and its twists and turns become more and more exciting, especially if you have lovely friends with you to share them with.
So, if you’re in Puerto Princesa, try Neva’s. Never feel displaced at Neva’s Place.
See link about Neva’s Place