I am on a mission!  It’s the -ber months and I would like to give better Christmas gifts this year.  I know that gift-giving is not the real reason for celebrating Christmas (nobody can outshine what amazing gift God gave us when Jesus was born on earth), but I think the season is a good reason for me to give gifts to the people I value and love.

So, starting today, the first Monday of October, I’m on a mission to save money.  I’ve been evaluating my expenses and I have concluded that a huge chunk of it goes to food… primarily because I love to eat!  There.  I said it.  Don’t be so judgy wudgy now.

I work in Ortigas, at a building 10 minutes away from Shangri-la Mall and Megamall.  The corporate business district setting encourages expenditures of more than 100 PHP during lunch breaks.  Hence, my daily mission is to find lunches under 100.  That’s roughly 2 USD.  Let’s call this the “100-peso Lunch Challenge.”

Initially, I wanted to make it lunches at 50 PHP but I got afraid that it won’t be realistic.  I must say that I’m hoping to put a lot of those 50 PHP lunches in the next few days.

The advantages of this would be enormous.  One, I will save money, which is what this whole “project is all about.”  Two, I will be encouraged to explore my office’s vicinity.  Three, somehow, I have a feeling this can affect portion control, which can lead to potential weight loss.  On the other hand, this can prove disadvantageous because my friend just invited me to an introductory mountain climb on the 15th. So that adds to my challenge of finding nutritious foods at such a cost. Not to mention the difficulty of saying “no” to my officemates that constantly get cravings for delicious, should-be-consumed-as-a-group type of food.

This mission is limited to lunches on workdays, M-F.  Although I would like to focus on the Ortigas area, I’m not limiting it to the food choices near my office.

They say that execution is more important than the idea so let’s get right to it.

Day 1 of the 100-peso Lunch Challenge:
Entree: Pork Binagoongan and Lumpiang Gulay with Rice.
Available at:  Bootsky’s Carinderia, “Diagon Alley,” Ortigas Center Pasig
Total Cost: Php 65.00

Day 1 of the OPLC: Pork Binagoongan with Lumpiang Gulay and Rice @ 65 PHP

Bootsky’s is located very near our office and is a regularly frequented food place by my officemates.  It’s your typical turo-turo carinderia with lutong-bahay fares. I’ve never eaten in there since it’s very busy and has the vibe of rush that I believe shouldn’t make for your lunch ambiance.  So, I had this to-go and ate it in the office pantry.

Not bad for the first day!  It’s a complete meal with starch, meat and vegetables. The taste was okay, although a little un-spicy for my binagoongan expectations.  Also, one of the pork chunks was tough, thereby reducing the meal’s value for money.  But this meal left me full and satisfied specifically because I’m a sucker for lumpiang gulay (fried spring rolls) and vinegar! YUM!