“Asset or share?”, I asked nonchalantly while acting as the lawyer for the buyers.
“Asset,” Florencio Tiri volunteered, his eyes rolling like a chimpanzee. Whether Tiri was saying it in a business sense was beyond my comprehension.
“No, share! We are buying it,” Gerard Luna insisted. “I’ll send the offer,” he clarified.
A week after, Gerard sent the offer to sell governed by the bulk sales. Tiri, known as Turing among his friends in Wilson, was right after all. Tsang, the seller, is selling the assets not the shares.
The Chinese Garden Restaurant is closing and a crew of enterprising Filipinos consisting of three young, not-so-young and not-so-old entrepreneurs are buying the Chinese garden. Lito Closa, an intriguing but down-to-earth mechanic engaged in the trucking and renovation business, Gerard Luna, a self-styled chef who can make ladies blush, and Emil Galicia, a renovator who loves to spend his winter in the heavens of Ajax, have pooled their talents to buy the nondescript, at least among Filipinos, Chinese restaurant. Turing, a flamboyant, in many respects, former Benguet mining supervisor who claimed to have a hidden talent in seeing light in a deep dark tunnel or pitch black purlieu, serves as an adviser to these adventurous and newly-minted restaurateurs being all friends to him. It is not certain though whether Turing will act as spiritual counsel to the three partners who look up to him like Zeus and who can sing “Ama Namin” in earnest.
“Ama Nila”, Lito blurted out, tongue-in-cheek. I am not sure what Lito meant by this but Turing is a ladies’ man to orphaned souls pro tempore, while waiting for their permanent residence status, during their neophyte years in Toronto. Not a feng shui master, Turing can show the newbies the social labyrinth and provide them with practical survival tips to succeed in Canada. Lito’s expression rings true. A man of principle who loathes highfalutin claim of personal network and wealth in his social headquarters, Turing is a father to two nurses and a police officer.
“This will be the stage with two mounted TV screens left and right of centre with a fireplace below” Lito smiled pointing his finger to the wall just dividing Marcelina. “We will put grey and white brick walls here,”’ he continued. “Dark brown brick on other walls,’’ Lito said in jest. Indeed, the restaurant has been stripped of its Chineseness for a more state-of-the-art and soon-to-be Filipino paradise.
With Mercury-rising expectation, Bikini-in-Manila is rising. “That’s a unique trade name,” a staff from the Canada Revenue Agency commented while the business was registered for tax purposes.
Far from being a stripped joint, Bikini-in-Manila is a restaurant and bar which envisions to offer new and never-before experienced Filipino cuisine and a cozy hang-out for the working men and professionals alike. “We will be serving binakol, kinilaw, nilaga (bikini) plus other mouth-watering recipes,” Gerard explained.
After two weeks of marathon corporate and personal property searches for liens and encumbrances on the seller’s assets, the keys to the Chinese garden were handed over to Lito Closa, Gerard Luna and Emil Galicia who immediately explored the garden with wanting-to-get-out business libido flashing on their faces like a raging bull. “We hope to establish a food and entertainment mecca hereabouts. Wait for the bikini experience,” Lito declared.