Whether or not you're from the University of the Philippines, you've most likely been to or heard of this go-to place for savory isaw and tangy vinegar: Lauro Condencido Jr.'s "Mang Larry’s Isawan."
Three decades strong, Mang Larry’s Isawan has been the friendly neighborhood destination for those craving for affordable yet yummy grilled favorites. From balun-balunan (chicken gizzard), special pork isaw (pig intestines), pork barbecue, atay (liver), to isaw manok (chicken intestines), goto (tripe), and tainga (pig's ears), Mang Larry has it all. Of course, the selection won't ever be complete without its special suka in sweet or spicy flavors.
We're getting hungry just writing that.
The popularity of Mang Larry's Isawan goes beyond UP, as evidenced by the throngs of people who flock to this legendary spot all day, every damn day—usually even before the crew starts cooking. People line up for at least 15 minutes to place their orders, and finish them in a span of 15 seconds.
So imagine how devastated we were when we saw this:
It's normal for Mang Larry's to move from one place to another inside the Diliman campus. In fact, it had already relocated three times. The stall first opened in a spot near the Kalayaan dormitory in 1984, then moved to the parking lot of the Law building in 2015, and transferred anew near the swimming pool area in November last year.
Reports say the University's Swimming Varsity Team complained about the smoke affecting their daily practice. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the team asked UP Chancellor Mike Tan that the stall be moved to "a site where the smoke emitted will not be able to reach the vicinity of the swimming pool."
Technically, Mang Larry's will not be evicted, but has just been requested to transfer to a different location.
On the other hand, reliable sources from inside UP claim that the true reason for the "relocation" is the eatery's failure to pay rent. We tried to get Mang Larry's side on the matter, but he said that they're priority is to find a place to move into as soon as possible.
Health concerns or rent problems? That, we are still trying to find out. As of this writing, Mang Larry is still searching for a space. Hearsays and hypotheses aside, one thing's for sure: We do not want to lose the iconic Isawan.
Any suggestions on where should Mang Larry go next? Feel free to visit him at his usual spot while it's still there, or contact 0939-2961947 / 0917-9538904 / 433-7469.
Photos via geoffreview.com, pinoyroadtrip.com