This intriguing Russian plane in Pasay is now a bar


food drink

Legend has it that Elvis used the plane to fly around Asia.

JEROME GOMEZ | August 06, 2022

It has long attracted the attention of the curious, this plane parked on this three-hectare property in the village Los Tamaraos de Pasay. When the Lhuilliers in 2018 finally put a name to the land it sits on, just as the family unveiled the restored Spanish Colonial Revival mansion that is the centerpiece of the lot, the plane became more intriguing. It is even said that Elvis used it at one point to tour Asia.

The Mosphil cockpit. Photo by Patrick Mateo

It was one of three planes the Lhuilliers obtained at a 2010 auction initiated by NAIA 3 during the expansion of its runway, Camille Lhuillier told ANCX in 2019. The planes were already in some kind of aircraft graveyard and the airport didn’t know what to do with them. “A funny story about it, it’s my dad bidding on these planes,” Camille said, “next thing you know, my brother is calling him and he’s like, ‘Dad, you know I’m making a offer on select aircraft.'”

The Antonov 24B
The Antonov 24 B has been flying since the 1960s. Photo by Patrick Mateo

Turns out father and son were looking at the same three planes.

How did the planes finally end up in Pasay’s family property? Well, there was no other place to park it at the time, Camille says – it was the largest space the Lhuilliers had that could accommodate these oversized acquisitions. The planes were transported to Los Tamaraos piece by piece on a truck, and at the ungodly hour of 3 or 4 in the morning. It even caused a major traffic jam when one of the fuselages fell on the highway.

Mosfil
Allow guests to peek inside the vintage aircraft. Photo by Patrick Mateo

The most intriguing of the bunch is undoubtedly the decommissioned Antonov 24 B, a Russian aircraft known to manage on “rough trips, remote locations and working with minimal ground support”, according to press information provided by the Lhuilliers in late 2019. The aircraft was acquired in 2006 by a Russian-Philippine airline called Mosphil Aero which operated out of Zamboanga and served the Zamboanga – Sandakan – Kota Kinabalu route.

Mosfil
Photographed in 2019 after its initial makeover courtesy of Monchet Olives and Angie Lhuillier. Photo by Patrick Mateo

“The first flights were made with a Russian crew while the local Filipino pilots were in training,” said the press information provided by the Lhuilliers in 2019. “RPC-6705, its tail number, was based at the airport from Zamboanga The airline closed in 2009 and the aircraft went on sale in 2010. 50-seat passenger aircraft.

Mosfil
Photographed in 2019, the newly renovated comfort room. Photo by Patrick Mateo

The interior of the plane was renovated in 2019 and transformed into a sort of gentleman’s lounge with a 60s Mod vibe. It was to serve as an additional attraction in what is currently known as the Palacio de Memoria, at the center of which is the restored pre-war mansion where the Lhuilliers now present works of art and antiques for auction via their Casa de Memoria. More than two years later, the Palacio has collaborated with popular bar Poblacion Run Rabbit Run to bring Manila its first airplane bar, Mosphil by RRR.

Mosfil
The Mosphil at dusk. Behind, the Palacio de Memoria. Photo by Jerome Gomez

Open Wednesday through Sunday, it serves high-end cocktails exclusively created for the lounge such as Manila International (gin infused with passion tea, pineapple juice, lemon juice, coconut syrup and egg white) and Antonov 59 (Cognac, Cointreau, Maraschino, Lemon, Peychaud and aromatic bitters) alongside classics like the Negroni, Martini, Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour. There’s also a special menu focused on a different destination each month: right now the drinks are inspired by Italy.

Mosfil
Cocktails by Run Rabbit Run at Mosphil. Photo by Jerome Gomez

The interior retains some of the touches introduced before the pandemic, but the airplane feel has been improved by making room for a few airplane seats. The space is good for 20 guests at a time, although it is true that this number may be a little high given the space and the health crisis we are still in. There is an immediate outdoor area, however, where guests can choose to enjoy their drinks if the lounge starts to feel a bit crowded.

Mosfil
Sbagliato month for Italy at Mosphil. Photo by Jerome Gomez

Having recently sampled the Mosphil experience, we dare say this is one of the best places to be in Manila at dusk, whether enjoying a cocktail inside the fabulously lit plane, or outside to revel in the sight of a spectacular pre-war mansion as a backdrop. of a changing sky. “Mosphil is a great place to unwind and relive the days of a funky Manila city,” its menu reads. For us, it’s just a cool way to drink in style without ever having to leave the floor.

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