Manila Grand Opera Hotel and the New President

We are excited and finalizing our plans for the Ultimate Tagaytay (10 days to go) and Pampanga Tours (24 days to go). Spanx’s Uncle sponsored our meeting in the newest hotel in the heart of Manila– Manila Grand Opera Hotel. One of its main attraction is the New President’s Sharks Fin & Seafood Restaurant and Circa Bar & Restaurant. You might have heard the news that President’s Restaurant along Ongpin in Binondo closed down recently because of internal problems. The two restaurants have no connections whatsoever. I was even surprised that they were able to reuse another restaurant name by just putting in “New”.

I was surprised to see an 8-storey elegant hotel in the middle of all the old houses and buildings. The hotel is located at the corner of Dorotheo Jose and Rizal Avenue where LRT1 is located.

The Manila Grand Opera Hotel is significant because this is the place where the First Philippine Assembly was inaugurated on October 16, 1907.

One of the interesting restaurant is the Circa Bar and Restaurant at the first floor. The actors who started their career and performed in the Manila Grand Opera were honored with a big portrait surrounding the restaurant.

In each of the floor, you’ll be greeted with panels showcasing the significance of the Manila Grand Opera in Phil history.

This is a sample of the rooms in Manila Grand Opera Hotel. Spanx was right to compare the rooms with Tides Hotel in Boracay or G Hotel in Roxas Blvd. One thing I noticed was the absence of a window in the room but I don’t think there is even a good view out there, if you are familiar with the location. The curtains creates an llusion so that you don’t get claustrophobic. Take advantage of the P1,500/ room opening promo rate!

The 8th floor houses the ballroom where you can reserve it for weddings and grand functions.

General Manager Lawrence Li Tan showed us how high tech their kitchen is, particularly their oven wherein you’ll just choose what type of cooking you’d like to have. The young GM’s claim to fame is that he started Club Ultima in Cebu, Avenue Hotel in Naga City and now Manila Grand Opera Hotel in Manila.

Full Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Spanx’s Uncle who is promoting the new Manila Grand Opera Hotel. The photos are taken by Iggy Bilbao with my Canon DSLR camera.

The New President’s Sharks Fin and Seafood Restaurant has a grand buffet by Chef Lau Wai Chung. Chef Lau is the former chief cook and working for 20 years at Century Seafood Restaurant before transferring to the New President Restaurant. The restaurant serves a mix of Chinese and Western cuisine.

I don’t like buffet style especially if you arrive late because the best parts have been taken and the food is a bit cold already. I would recommend ordering from the Ala Carte menu instead.

Chef Lau showed us the fresh and authentic ingredients used (including the Shark’s fin) by the New President’s restaurant.

Check out the Chinese Menu 1 | Menu 2 and the International Cuisine Menu.

Sauteed Australian Scallops with seasonal vegetables (S-P920, M-P1,470, L-P2,070).

We enjoyed these big and soft scallops from Australia and the fresh crunchy cauliflower.

These shrimps were forgettable because you need to exert an effort to separate the skin from the shrimp’s meat.

Steamed Lapu Lapu was soft, juicy and fresh. We all enjoyed it and this was gone in a few minutes.

GM’s Cocktail fave is the huge Margarita to share via straw. Chef Lawrence was kind enough to serve us this margarita he created. The alcohol content was deadly but I liked it.

Lamb Chops (P665). Don’t be surprised to see a chinese restaurant serving delicious lamb chops.

We tried out the desserts at the Circa Bar and Restaurant. I would not rave about them but if you have to choose one, get the Chocolate Cake.

The Manila Grand Opera Hotel
925 Rizal Avenue Corner Doroteo Jose St. Sta. Cruz
Telephone: +632 314-0090-99

Live an Awesome Life,


Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

45 thoughts on “Manila Grand Opera Hotel and the New President

  1. hi anton!
    I’m interested with your tagaytay and pampanga tours, is it open for everybody? can we join? more info please, tnx a lot! God bless you nd ur family!

  2. hi rose!
    spanky here “,)
    on behalf of anton and the 2 ivans,
    my partners in the Ultimate Tours,
    thanks for your interest in the
    Ultimate Pampanga and Ultimate Tagayatay
    food trips.
    please send me your contact information,
    so that I may reply to you;
    Anton will be incommunicado over this
    weekend as he will be spending most
    of his time in the waters of Boracay!

  3. I was in this hotel just last Sunday as a dinner guest on the ballroom for a birthday party. Would the ballroom get their food from the New President?
    I must mention that although the hotel is truly very well designed(I love the lobby!), I believe they’ll need to improve on the cooking part.
    The birthday noodles was wonderful, however, the next course, cold cuts(who goes wrong there?) was dry and didn’t look fresh. The sharks fin soup, I think, was gloopy and lumpy. Tasted weird, didn’t finish it. The peking duck skin needs more flavor and crisp – it was nearly chewy. The Chinese pancakes that came with it looked reheated with steaming… it was moist and damp. They should consider rewarming them in a hot oven next time. The steamed fish was wonderful, I agree. But the taro prawns were overcooked. The prawns were tough and rubbery. Your fried prawns seemed overcooked too. The abalone and mushrooms were great though! Very tasty. Oh, brother’s service water had some black things swimming around. The things that went wrong, try them at Century Seafood… that’s a benchmark of a lauriat(especially the peking duck!).
    The GM was overseeing the event then(very tall guy! cute, with what seemed to be a perky voice. =D), plus what looked to be a few key personnel. The staff were very efficient, although the elevators seemed a tad too small.
    One of the complaints I heard about this promising place is the obscure location. A family friend who takes cabs now instead of driving due to a heart condition when his son is not around was scared to getting a cab from there.
    QC may be a better choice due to the lack of really good “upscale” Chinese restos with a ballroom to host parties.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I believe the Ballroom food should be the same as the New President food. They really need to fix their chinese cooking. They pirated the chief cook of Century Seafood and I do hope they are able to improve their lauriat.

  5. I was really surprised to see Manila Grand Opera Hotel around the area of Doroteo Jose. When we passed by last Sunday, parang di talaga bagay. No wonder the hotel didn’t put windows.

  6. that is why filipinos in those areas need to be thankful to manila grand opera hotel that they gamble their investments in areas less expected to HELP UPLIFT that particular filipino areas of standard i wish more foreigners will build that kind of mini state of the art infrastructures to help the struggling FOR CHANGE philippines those hopeful modern filipinos to ‘cope’ with present global system so thank those adventurous chinese for being brave investing coz now the value of land in that ‘not’ so wealthy areas will ‘rise’ even more likely to prominence-cy .. so thank them for the guts & courage shown

  7. filipinos should learned to separate bad projects-activities{perceptions}to good ones coz in any projects in any activities of course will have both possible circumstances but look for the
    positive angles NOT just the disadvantages coz what happens are like these scenarios..he’s a good boy but from bad neighborhood so the boy must be bad o that dress is cheap she will not have chance[but never the price but how you carry]coz impossibles miracles dreams do happens just look at american legendary journey rock band hiring a once poor arnel pineda now self made millionnaires o poor abused charice guesting at celine dion’s concert now also a self made millionnaires sounds ‘off’ the wall events but they did turned out that way NEVER GIVE UP ON POSSIBLE POSITIVE OUTCOMES along with some possible customers problems here & there areas might NOT be your liking{judgemental}might not be a ‘millionnaire’s village or celebrities skylines but the point is that the neighborhoods are still inside the philippines with filipinos still living there so what’s the BIG FUZZ about

  8. chinese-filipinos are clever in investing in this kind of areas as soon as others follow suits the present land costs will not be as cheap so those who started now got these lot properties super cheap while the rest later has to pay much much more

  9. spending huge grand in state of the art building projects instead of lots land deals in not so wealthy areas like this hotel restauraht is a good idea that way they can offer something luxurious yet affordable that is a great tourist moved

  10. i love that they paid homage to the history of the building by naming it the Manila GRAND OPERA Hotel. They couldn’t have built this anywhere else as the history lies solely in this building and location.
    Did they keep the original theatre? Could this be another great venue for Opera? The acoustics at CCP are not known to be conducive to Opera.

  11. hello manila grand opera hotel..
    you have a nice ambiance there. I heard that our school will go to have a tour there maybe a weeks from now. We are all excited to meet and greet all of you especially chef Lawrence. see you soon!.

  12. hi! manila grand opera hotel staff..
    looks like your hotel is one historic place.
    we are excited to visit your hotel soon in doroteo jose. We hope to see Chef Lawrence,and of course the rest of you there. I am an aspiring chef and please give some tips!
    Keep it up! See you soon!

  13. hi..manila grand opera!!
    I find your hotel so good and awesome..
    I wanna go there someday and meet your so handsome chef..,chef lawrence.
    I think his so good in cooking and his very nice because his so popular in our school in CEU Manila..
    I take hrm.,so I hope i could take my o.j.t there so I could be with him..,
    Keep it up mr. chef lawrence..take care..mwuah

  14. Im very proud to say that I’m part of the Manila Grand Opera Hotel… because Im the one handling those banquets and Corporate functions…
    thess =)

  15. my stomping ground around 1957, i miss the kaguluhan, forget makati, thats just for show…coming home pretty soon from usa..I will definitely stay in this hotel…very nice

  16. ALOHA to all MGOH staff…
    This is my 2nd time to stay in your hotel, and i can say you have 1 of the best accommodating staff,especially to jessica, jo, mac,nelson. keep up the good work guys.
    We’ll see u again soon…

  17. Masama Ugali ng mga may ari dito, sila amba cabangon chua at mga anak nya like edgard.
    pag may topak nag aalis at nag tatanggal lang basta basta ng tao. dapat maipa labor mga yan kaso lang nga mga maimpluensya mga taong ito, siguradong pera lang ang pagagalawin tapos ang kaso. injustice ang mangyayari!!!!! blog owner please approved this so people may know what’s happening internally specially how they treat their staff.

  18. Wanting to support those who work on restoring Manila’s glory, I booked an overnight stay at the hotel yesterday. I was surprised and impressed to see what looks to be a nice classy hotel in an odd location. Yes, they’re still offering the P1500 promo rate for an overnight stay.
    The receptionists were nice and they accept major cards which is good because they don’t have ATM machines near the area at all. My room was at the 3rd floor and once the elevator opened I immediately noticed that they didn’t have the a/c on in the hallway, which I guess is ok if you’re cutting costs.. and for P1500? I could let that go. The key card was plain white, though its the kind that you just tap (not insert) and that was kinda cool coz I only had to stick my purse and not look for it anymore 😛
    The room looks exactly like the picture here and they were nice and yes, they are windowless, which I was ok with too because I know the area. The only thing is I kinda lost concept of time since no light was coming in to the room. The bathroom was spacious and they have floor mats (i hate wet bathroom floors), loved the shower head… The only thing missing were bathroom shelves for my toiletries inside the shower room and hooks for my dirty clothes — but then again for P1500, i was willing to let it go too.
    However, dinner was a disaster. That night, they had a pianist and a singer perform at the lobby and they sooooo lack practice like they have different versions of the song. They also had a dinner buffet for P450, but since we were eating late (9PM and they close their buffet at 10PM) most of the food warmers were already empty and we weren’t in the mood to pig out so we decided to go a la carte instead and ordered Fish Fillet with Beancurd (P370-small) and Pineapple rice (P230-small).
    It was so sad, didn’t taste/see any beancurd at all and I saw them get the rice from the buffet line and replaced the plate and served it to us, which was ok however it taste really really sad. no flavor. no life. The mango juice I ordered tasted like chemical (P80).
    And so desert had to be somewhere else, walked to the 711 convenience store to buy ice cream.
    Woke up at 4am with hunger pangs. Decided to order room service but didn’t have cash so I asked if it’s ok to just pay during check out as I didn’t want to give them my credit card. they said no so I cancelled my order. Went out to find out that there were no ATMs nearby. Took a jeep to Sta Cruz church to withdraw and saw a 24hr Chowking resto. Perfect. Since it was still dark, decided to just walk back and noticed that there were women standing along the streets of rizal ave saying something to guys who walks by – of course this just made me walk faster.
    At 8AM, we decided to give the resto another chance. We weren’t gonna order chinese food anyway. Just pancakes, french toasts and american breakfast (fried bacon, ham — how can you go wrong). But just the same food was sad.
    Overall, we were impressed that the hotel was bold enough to build a not-so-masa establishment in a pang-masa area and design their hotel really classy. However, as we stayed longer. You can observe how the chairs looked heavy and made out of sturdy wood but was actually light, with the paint chipping and dents all over. The food with hotel price and arranged nicely – were really just nice to look at and the taste was really bad for the price.

  19. Hay naku, di naman pala orig na president and chinese resto nila dyan, copycat lang pala from the original dati sa ongpin, nilagyan lang ng NEW. Kaya pala iba ang lasa ng pagkain at buffet pa. Kadiri ng pagkain, para kang kumain ng malamig at d talga masarap, as in.., at ang tagal pa mag refill pag na ubos na. not worth it dito kumain, dami na rin akong bad feedback about the Hotel itself. ganda pa man din ng itsura sa labas pangit pala sa loob. pang motel ang room, mas maganda pa SOGO hahaha. Just my honest and humble opinion.

  20. My lovely filipina girlfriend, Margie, drove me straight to Manila Grand Opera Hotel from the airport. At first, I had absolutely no clue what was she up to. I got a bit edgy at first when I saw this luxurious hotel erected in the midst of the manila slum. As I walked past the lobby, I was greeted by a genuine hospitable atmosphere. I was amazed at the huge portrait of native performers on the wall as I am also a stage actor back home. There’s no place like this in Vermont. Margie and I ordered some food and I must say, they were orgasmic. I couldn’t control my foot from kicking after each bite(I’m not so sure if I was only deprived of good food during the long plane ride that I overreacted). I would highly recommend it. After dinner, we had a blast touring the place. The night was so memorable that we decided to do our wedding reception there. The place was really AWESOME. Sorry if I blab too much(prolly jetlag). I just got home and I just need to get this out of my chest – can’t wait to tell the world about this experience. Thanks Margie, I miss you already. Well, it’s time hit the sack. See yah later..

  21. hey anton, great blog! :))
    I am surprised lang with some of the comments posted by your readers…
    Whoever you guys are please stop hating. Instead share smart suggestions or give a constructive criticism so that we can help an establishment (w/c take note employs a lot of our fellow filipino citizens) do better. Also there is just no point sharing unnecessary info’s about the owners that is malicious and totally unrelated.
    Lets keep this blog helpful, healthy and insightful…

  22. i can say its true. i used to work in manila grand opera isa ko sa nagsimula ng hotel nila. hindi sila marunong mgalaga ng mga staff nila. pg di na nla kailangan basta2 na lang nila tinatanggal.hindi ko lang isang beses nakita na ginawa nila madaming beses lalo na sa mga taong nagttrabaho ng totoo at maayos. and isa pang di maganda sa manila grand opera un mga managers nila na natira mahilig makialam sa trabaho ng iba kahit di nila alm kun tama ba o mali ung mga pinapagawa nila. wala ng hotelier na natira sa manila grand. lahat ng magagaling na staff and manager na ngsimula ng manila grand wala na lahat. and sa dami ng staff na natanggal at ngresign sa manila grand until now di pa nila nakukuha salary at back pay nila. ang isa pang di mganda di maaus ang pgpapasweldo nila sa staff nila. walang service charge na karapatan ng employee na makuha dahil pinagpaguran ng lahat. walang bayad ang overtime kahit buong araw mgtrabaho thank you lang ang kapalit. sobrang taas ng expectations nila sa staff pro kulang na kulang ang kapalit na binibigay nila. npklakas ng pulitika. agawan sa posisyon ang labanan. kpag mahina ka talo ka kahit tama ka.

  23. We will driving to the hotel next week. Just would like to driving directions on how to get there if you are coming from Espana.

  24. I’m not sure with the exact direction. I think you need to take governor
    forbes and at the end you need to turn left going to the LRT. It is near
    Dorotheo Jose LRT station

  25. the accusations that were thrown towards the owners were derogatory and unjust. the hotel is an affiliate of a number of other hotels and oranizations, wherein employees have stayed for so many number of years. how can they accuse the owners as such, where even employees can attest that the reason why they have stayed with the company is because of the owners and on how they are being treated, as family!

  26. nagsisi tlga ako baket sa mgoh ako nag ojt.. tanggap na ko sa shangri-la edsa eh kaya lng mas malapit ang manila grand, aun nde ko rin natapos ojt ko because na pull out kme lahat ng centro escolar, but wala nman kme gnagwa masama, the true is, cla ang may atraso smen, lalo na sa friend ko na girl.. may araw rin kayo, pagbabayaran nio rin yan mga gnwa nio smen..

  27. Manila Grand Opera Hotel
    Mother’s Day Promo
    Manila Grand Opera Hotel celebrates World’s Best Moms!
    A SUMPTUOUS 3 + 1 lunch and dinner buffet of Chinese and International dishes await the World’s Best Moms on May 10, 2009 at PHP 500net per person. For a family of four, Mom receives a long stemmed Red Rose and gets to dine in for FREE!
    The Historical Manila Grand Opera Hotel is located at Jose Doroteo Street corner Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz Manila.
    For more information or reservations please call 314-0090 to 99 or visit our website at
    Sales & Marketing Officer
    314-0090 to 99 loc. 101/100

  28. … HAPPY 1ST Year Anniversary MGOH !!! … and happy 75th BIRTHDAY! sir Ambassador
    I will miss you and the pioneer staffs, hopefully when the time comes Ill be back again its my WEDDING DAY hehe… wish ko lang syempre i have discount! bcoz im the 1st SALES & MARKETING OFFICER (Pioneer).
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ALC Group, Mr. Ambassador, sir EDGARD, sir EDWARD, sir RANDY, sir DINKY for being always supportive. Without them I could make it for almost 1 year & 2 months.
    I wont forget this family and I assure you to consistently market and promote my 1st pioneer hotel.
    LOVE YOU ALL… =)
    Maritess R. Allado

  29. ” I’m back again!!! I can’t leave my MGOH family…
    God destined me to support and serve MANILA GRAND OPERA HOTEL.
    I wont leave anymore bcoz my family here needs ME and I’m very happy to work with them PIONEERS…
    Let’s Go for the Gold !
    314-0101 / 314-0100

  30. Warmest greetings from the Manila Grand Opera Hotel!
    We are please to offer you our Corporate rates.
    Room Category Tariff Rates Corporate Rate w/ Breakfast
    Superior ( Double ) Php 2,000.00 Php 1,700.00
    1 Queen Size Bed
    Superior ( Twin ) Php 2,000.00 Php 1,700.00
    2 Single Bed
    Deluxe Php 3,200.00 Php 2,880.00
    1 queen size bed
    Receiving area
    Executive Suite Php 4,000.00 Php 3,600.00
    1 queen size bed
    Receiving area
     Therapeutic bed
     24 hours Circa 1900 Restaurant and Bar
     Cable Television
     LAN Cable provision
     Piped in music
     Fashionable furnishings
     Vanity Kit
     Fully air-conditioned room
     24- hours room service
     Check-in time: 2: 00 pm and Check- out time is 12:00 noon
    Room rates are inclusive of all applicable government taxes and of customary service charge.
    Check-in time is 2:00 PM . Check out time is 12:00 NN. Early arrivals and late departures must be requested 24 hours before and shall be subject to availability with corresponding charges.
    All reservations must be supported by a booking order and subject to confirmation by the hotel.
    Pre-payment is required three (3) days before the arrival of the guest.. Should the travel agency fail to comply with the required advance payment, the hotel reserves the right to ask payment from the guest upon check-in as a guarantee.
    Cancellation should be done 72 hours before the arrival of the guest. For group and long-staying bookings, we shall require one (1) week notice. Late cancellation will be charge equivalent to one (1) room night. No show charge is equivalent to whole duration of stay.
    Should you have any further queries please call (02) 314-0190 to 99 loc. 101 Direct Line (02) 314-0124 or Fax no. (02) 314-0090 to 99 loc. 116.
    Kindly sign on the space provided below as your conformity with this proposal and return a copy to this office via fax.
    Thank you once again! We look forward to welcoming your guest here at Manila Grand Opera Hotel.
    Sales & Marketing Officer
    314-0090 to 99 loc. 100/101

  31. the manila grand opera hotel is a very popular hotel in the asia !
    i want to aplly ojt there ! buti want to earn more my skills that is why i want to study again a food and beverage .

  32. wew! talaga bang ganon sa manila grand hotel ?
    tsk. balak ko pa aman po mg ojt dun !
    aun po ! napaka ganda ng mgof at napaka yaman huh ! tapos sasabhn mo na nd cila ngpapasweldo ng tama > nakakgulat aman un!

  33. kua mackoy ! aq po pola ci vans graduate ako ng bartending sa St.therese po!
    tanong ko lang po ano po ba ung tinanong sayo nung inenterview ka po ?
    ano po pala course mo ? balak ko po kase mg ojt sa mgoh ee..but when i read ur message about your experience in ojt sa manila grand opera hotel parang ngdadalawang isip ako kung dun ba ako mg oojt…reply ka po plz…
    hirs my cp number pala 09129821893

  34. sayang pangarap ko pa nmn mag work d2 after graduation by the way can i ask bkt po marami ang nagsasabi na hindi marunong mag alaga sa mga ataff lalo na sa mga nagtagal na rin sa manila grand opera hotel po

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