The Great Aquilino & Gregoria Manansala Clan Reunion. May 21, 2011, Magandang Gensan
Organized under the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) of the Commonwealth Government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon, General Paulino Santos led the relocation of 62 Christian settlers from Luzon to the shores of Sarangani Bay aboard the steam ship “Basilan” of Compania Maritima on February 27, 1939. The 62 pioneers (mostly agricultural and trade graduates) were the first big batch of settlers to land in GenSan with the mission to industriously cultivate GenSan’s fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon and the Visayas have subsequently migrated into the area. Sofronio Manansala was one of those who were the first few settlers in General Santos City.
My great grandparents Aquilino and Gregoria are originally from Macabebe, Pampanga who migrated here in the 1930′s after eldest son Sofronio (one of the pillars of theIglesia ni Cristo in South Central Mindanao and is my maternal grandfather) who came here earlier convinced them of a better life and future in the vast plains of what was then known as Buayan. And so they came, bringing the whole brood with them. They never left ever since.
They had nine children, actually they were originally 10 but one of them, Rosario, died of Malaria. So the nine children wer Sofronio (Ompong), Felicisima (Simang Balingit), Isidro (Eding), Marcela (Selang dela Cruz), Ildefonso (Osong), Jesus, Avelino (Elong), Angela (Celing Bustos) and Rafaela (Pelang Cunanan). So, of them 9, only 2 are alive: Jesus and Pelang.
So, imagine 9 siblings each with at least three kids, the most was 16 kids…and then these kids had children of their own, and these children have children of their own as well – imagine, I am a lolo na. My nephew already have several kids. So if you do the math, there’s basically more than a thousand Manansalas and most of them are in Gensan.
They had the first grand reunion back in 2004, around 7 years ago. Me thinks, it’s just high time that we have another one. I was even glad to know that they plan that we do this ever 2 years.
So, the 2nd reunion was held last 21 May 2011 in General Santos City, We had to fly all the way there to attend this big event. There were some issues with the venue, a little bickering amongst relatives in our private Facebook group, that caused one family, the brood of Jesus Manansala, to totally boycott the reunion. Although it bothered most of us a bit, but the show must go on. The day started early with a long motorcade around Gensan and then straight to Arnevel’s in Purok Malakas. It was like 5,000 degrees that day, but that wasn’t enough to let our spirits down. I got sunburned in my cheeks and my arms – so goodbye to boxes upon boxes of intravenous glutathione! LOL. The event got even more jolly when it was hosted by two fabulous girls (read: bayot) amongst the younger set: Justine Manansala who is a natural comic and a great host since he is a regular disk jock in one of Gensan’s bigger FM station. Backing up Justine was Oyaying Cunanan who made it even more fun with his antics. It is a fact that there are many amongst us in the Manansala clan who are genetically challenged hahaha!
There were lots of games for the kids and the adults alike. Each family branch prepared yells, presentations. There was a search for Little Miss Manansala Clan and a Macho Gay search as well. It was so much fun! I can’t wait for the next one in 2013. I hope the attendance will double, and hopefully mom would be with us.
I just got home from General Santos City. I went there to attend the Aquilino & Gregoria Manansala Grand Reunion,it was the second reunion after 7 long years. It was such a big hit, despite the really hot and humid weather. Goodbye 10 boxes worth of Glutathion IV LOL!So, yes we had a great time in Magandang Gensan. It was just myself, dad, Arianne and her son Kirk plus the yaya. That was the first time we went there sans mother dear (she’s the one from Gensan). Suffice it so say – the stay was short but sweet! We had to squeeze in a lot of invitations from lots of relatives.
Safe touchdown in General Santos City! Of course, I was stepping on my imaginary brakes! hahaha
Hello Magandang Gensan! It's nice to be back...
the last time dad visited Gensan was like 8-10 years ago, during the death of my lolo. It is Arianne and Kirk's first time
So, we missed meeting Manny Pacquiao at the airport by just a few minutes. His private plane took off minutes before we landed. His District Officer in Sarangani Province, Bren Manansala Evangelio happens to be my first cousin, after sending off Manny, he waited for our flight and met us at the ramp and we were lucky to be taken to the city in Manny’s own fully-armored Chevrolet Tahoe – the closest things we can get to meeting this city’s most famous son.Right then and there, I knew that this vacation will be a blast, albeit a little short.
So, lunch was at Auntie Rose’s. She lives in the very spot where the old ancestral house used to stand but was burned down some few years back. I also met Lola Inda, my mom’s mum. I was happy to see her still very active and she has an appetite of a horse! She just keeps on saying “mangan ta na” that’s Capampangan for “let’s eat/I want to eat”. If not for her advance stage Alzheimer’s, lola would be perfectly ok.
So, lunch was aplenty, prepared by my dearest Auntie Rose. She cooked burong isda! I’ve blogged about it here. And since I am in tuna country, it is just but right that tuna prepared many ways should be served and of course grilled liempo, a tray full of chicharong bulaklak – a slice or two would render me immobile as gout would surely attack!
Only Capampangans would understand this. Acquired Taste, if you may.
fresh tuna cubes cooked in native vinegar mixed with aromatics. sans the coconut milk unlike the visayan style tht requires gata
No special meal in Gensan is complete without panga ng tuna.
We stayed at Drigg’s Pension House. A brand new swanky pensione, owned by a first cousin of my first cousin Arlene Duque. I immediately love th place. Auntie Rose recommended that we stay there. The architecture of the place was modern with clean lines. But what struck me most was that, despite the swankiness and the modernity, their bathroom has a tabo and balde (dipper and pail), which is a requisite in most Filipino bathrooms but hard to find in most new hotels. Their service is great too! Reasonably priced and it comes with free Filipino breakfast for two.
notice the kabo and balde that stands out in the modern asian zen design that continues from the room until the bathroom.
the newly opened Drigg's in Eve St., Paradise Subd. , City Heights, General Santos City
i have been craving for burong isda for the longest time now.
i only get to have burong isda during visits to my my mother hometown general santos city.
my grandpa and my grandma are one of the first few settlers in this open city back in the post-war era, they were originally from pampanga (i think masantol* needs citation from relatives). so they are capampapngans – and do you know what they say about kapampangans? they love food — life revolves around food! my maternal grandmother Ma. Victoria Guinto Manansala, is one mean kapampangan c0cinera. and i guess that’s where my mother Laura Enecio got her culinary genes. These two women are guided by their taste buds and didn’t even follow recipes or cookbooks. they are very particular with their food. they would know if the dish was stirred to quickly or the ingredients were added hurriedly because the taste wouldn’t be right. the recipes are all in their head, handed down through the years not conveniently written in paper, but by actual hands-on cooking.
i believe, or i would like to believe that this is were i got my penchant for food – both the cooking part and the eating part. and i also think that, from these two meticulous cocineras, came my brother’s gene of knowing his way in the kitchen that gave him the chance to have a flourishing career as a chef to the prince of saudi arabia in his fabulous yacht that’s stationed in monaco and cannes, south of france.
as a pre-teen we always spend at least of half of our summer in gensan — we fondly call it dadiangas then. summers are always fun, besides the airplane ride , in a scary fokker-50 turbo prop or the sunriser as they called it before, there were the countless cousins our age and of course the food!
lola toyang/lola inda (mom calls her inda, the capampangan equivalent to nanay, so we just added lola to inda thinking that was her name, so it’s a redundancy indeed), as we fondly called our grandma, are always delighted by our yearly visit to this booming city in the southernmost part of the philippines. the ancestral house would always be full of cousins and the auntie and the uncles, neighbors and relatives! that would mean, countless “amens” /”siklod”/”mano” to people we do not know! hahahha
food was always the center in the house. the kitchen and the informal dining is always heavy with foot traffic! lola inda would always prepare delicious food for us. it starts with breakfast of fresh and warm pandesal that was made libod or
hot pugon pandesal!
lako (peddled) by panaderos riding big bicycles (we call it the balon) with a big basket at the back containing hot pandesal fresh from the pugon, it was crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, this is old school pandesal – no sugar added and it was baked in a real pugon (brick oven), so there’s a hint of smokiness. the maids will be up as early as 3:00AM to make atang these panaderos. then the nasi (kapampamngan for rice) is highland/upland rice planted and harvested by the tribes — a little on the brownish reddish side because it’s organic and an heirloom variety. it is fluffy yet it’s a little sticky, so makagana gyud siya ug kaon. then we make bahug fresh carabao’s milk, left at the gate by the milkman early that morning. they delivered daily. so it’s guaranteed, 2 big long neck bottles of fresh, still warm carabao’s milk are served daily at lola’s table. so we put milk in the rice, a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh bananas! it was heavenly. it made you feel full the whole morning. breakfast were always before 7:00AM, so they really wake us up really, really early. that was the downside, but i always get excited what’s in the table, so i wake up anyway – or else we would get a tongue lashing from lolo! besides the milk, there’s nitrate free tocino, always made by a relative (only) and skinless longanisa that’s as always preservative free, done the old fashion way. it was always a delight! and that’s just breakfast! After breakfast, we would tag along with Lolo to his farm in Purok Malakas. My Lolo was then a banana and onion planter. The farm was also our playground. Last December 2009, I revisited Purok Malakas – it was almost like a little town already full of buildings and trappings of the urban life, a far cry from days of old when it was just all agricultural land, where hito were caught in the side canals/irrigation and the trees in the streets bore fruits free for everyone!
Lunch was either at the farm or at the old house. tinolang manok of freshly slaughtered free-range chicken with green papayas from one of tito berting’s trees, sinigang na baboy with the works – radish, talong, kangkong, fresh sampaloc etc. , grilled tilapia as big as a plate, grilled hito (catfish), grilled baboy…lola would then make us tapik2x – toyo+calamansi+sliced tomatoes. you crush/mash the tomatoes and then the toyo into the rice – damn! it will really heighten your appetite! it was always expected that i will be several kilos heavier everytime we go back home to ormoc.
snacks were mainly fruits in season – and basta summer, the best fruits (my fave fruits) are in season! durian is always
on top of my list! there are several varieties but lola and other aunties would make it a point that we eat the native variety which is smaller, a whole lot sweeter and even more pungent than the other varieties! the moment we check in at the airport in mactan, i would be all giddy thinking of all the durian i could eat! it wasn’t so popular in leyte and it was hard to come by in the 80’s and the 90’s — it’s just recently that we get to see durian casually sold in the fruit stands here. then there’s the grapes — lolo and lola have a grapevine at their backyard, and they’re in season during summer! so our playground was their vineyard! when we get hungry, we just pick on some grapes hanging above us, much to lola’s dismay — the younger cousins pick the green unripe ones or we play with them like marbles. kasab-an gyud dayon! then there’s giant hybrid guavas, the singkamas and half-ripe papaya peddled with your choice of native vinegar
singkamas with spicy uyap. announces that summer is already here!
or spicy uyap (fermented/salted shrimp fry) as dipping sauce. there’s also cheap rambutans by the kilo, the kind with firm flesh that separates from the seed. then there are other fruits a little foreign to us who are from leyte, there’s the camachille (fresh from the tree or bought sa mercado/palengke) and fresh casuy from tito berting’s farm in purok malakas. then there’s marang! yum! i could finish a whole fruit, sometimes even two. trips to the fruitstand in the national highway makes my heart beat so fast! hahahaha there’s also pinya from dole, really huge and juicy watermelons, lansones from camiguin c0mplete with the black ants – a sign that they’re sweet, pastrana pomelo/suha from nearby davao, mandarin oranges, solo papaya also from dole, big juicy- hinog sa puno mangoes! i could just go on and on! and since i have a ton of uncles and aunties and all that — they bring us these fruits for pasalubong, and that makes me even more magkalisang! one time a relative sent us a pick-up full of durian from their own orchard. i almost fainted from palpitation! so i can say that i’ve gone to durian heaven and back!
sunday’s in dadiangas were always a delight, except for waking up really early to go attend worship service at the
iglesia ni cristo in purok malakas (most of my relatives in the maternal side are members of iglesia ni cristo).no im not a member. but right after mass – lola would be donning her pamalengke get-up that makes her still look like going to a party! it was always a blouse and skirt ensemble in printed georgette and a bejeweled bespoke red velvet step-in and her trusty old wicker basket (it’s seldom that you see people bringing their own basket in our mercado nowadays). i would miss playing with my cousins because i would tag along with lola in the merkado. lola knows her way in gensan’s pamilihang bayan or the palengke! she knows her sukis…she’s very meticulous — she always makes kilatis the produce – smell them, touch them, pinch them, even taste them. the fish section was every seafood fanatic’s dream! big blocks of tuna meat, pink and gleaming with freshness! ready to be cut for either kinilaw or for grilling, huge mud crabs from surigao, and a bevy of deep sea delicacies. at a young age, i was able to surmise that their prices we’re lower than in
ormoc, since at an early age i was already accompanying mom to her sunday jaunts at our own mercado here. after mercado, i would stay in the litchen observing how lola inda prepares the food, how she cooks, and how she serves them – in little mongkoks (bowl), so the ulam will be divided into four to five bowls and laid out in the round dinner table. so the table will be a sight to behold, little bowls of different dishes plus the tapik2x and the buro!!!! nom nom nom…
it was also in gensan, in tito renato and tita linda salangsang’s house that i first ate insects: adobong camaro or duron – they’re literally fried locusts with lots of tomatoes and soy sauce. it was good, but it still has that yuck factor.
olaer spring resort
sunday’s are also time to go on a picnic to the beach (london beach), the pool in dacera, nature’s spring in polomolok (i think), or the all time favorite olaer! a very cold spring resort, which by the way was recently renovated, and it was much better and much cleaner when i last visited last year. when on picnics like this, we will always have derang-derang or sugba-sugba (grill). Sugbang baboy, talong, sugbang tilapia or hito, sisig na babi, sisig na puso ng saging, kinilaw na tuna. it is normally accompanied with burong isda! fermented fish and rice. it’s acquired taste. before, i liken it to suka (vomit), but i now, i crave it! it is salty, sour, a little pungent – it makes everything taste good! you’ll finish cups upon cups of rice if you have buro.
i’ve been craving it for years now! i didn’t find buro to take home to ormoc the last time i visited gensan last year, although nanay conching bringas served burong isda every morning for breakfast the whole time i stayed in their house.
lola used to make his own buro using tilapia, half cooked rice, it’s simple to make but you have to make sure that eveything you use is clean – from the work area to the container, there should be no flies! otherwise, it will not ferment but instead it will be filled with maggots!
last sunday i noticed that there are lots of tilapia in the market, so i am hoping to make my own buro next sunday. using a recipe i found in the internet. i’ll blog about it.
everytime we go back home after the summer has ended, we will almost surely pay excess baggage to the airline. boxes full of buro, blast frozen tuna panga,
grilled tuna panga
tuna belly, tuna sashimi, there was also this gatas ng kalabaw ng pastillas made by a relative, i think her name is indang mading (not sure), grapes from lola’s vineyard, longanissa, durian (they weren’t so strict about it then), and a whole lot more – delicacies!!!!
the last time i visited, i chanced up on a flyer given by who i believe was the owner of saranggani highlands – we were in the same flight from cebu to gensan. auntie rose evangelio and her kids brought us to this mountain retreat ala sonya’s garden. the food there was fantastic! and the view? ahhh panoramic view of the biggest bay in the philippines, saranggani bay. the owner collects bonsai so he’s got tons, and i’m always fascinated by these miniature trees – so i had so much fun there. i especially love their mango pomelo salad with a honey mustard dressing. i forgot my name!
Mango Pomelo Salad - sweet mango, tart pomelo, succulent shrimps drizzled with honey mustard dressing. refreshing!
this is dedicated to my lola inda. the last time i visited her, she was even clueless who i was, but i know deep inside she remembered me, i saw that glint of tears when i said goodbye to her last december…she knows that at one point in her life, we enjoyed stuff together – the food, the palengke, cooking! i miss her so much…if only she has her memory still, i’m sure she’ll send me a big bottle of buro :-)
here’s the recipe:
Burong isda is a product from salted fish with fermented rice.
1 kilo fish (tilapia or hito)
2/3 cup salt
3 1/3 cup rice
6 2/3 cup water
angkak (red rice)
Equipment: Fermenting vessels
1. Preparation of the fish. Remove scales from the fish. Slice from head to tail, clean, wash and drain excess water completely. Salt and cover the fish to prevent flies from laying eggs. Allow to stand for two hours.
2. Preparation of rice. Cook the rice and cool, then blend with angkak to develop a characteristic flavor and to impart an appetite stimulating color. Pack salted fish in a mixture of salt, rice and angkak into a jar. Cover the jar with plastic bag to exclude air. Ferment for 7-10 days. Fermentation gives a pinkish color to the mixture.
3. Cooking Saute the fermented mixture with garlic and onions. Fish flesh is soft and the originally hard bones becomes tender like a cartilage after it is cooked.
I am one who can not say no to any chance that will take me away from my mundane and almost routine super promdi living. So, when Ormoc native Jed Enfectana and my ex-workmate Bing Gaston, whose family name alone would reveal that she is from Negros Occidental, announced in our notorious Facebook thread that they will be tying the knot in Bacolod very soon, I was ecstatic not only because I played cupid to the two when they first met here at Sabin Resort some two years ago, but because it will be a much-needed respite. The minute I received their wedding invitation, I already booked a ticket to Bacolod and asked a friend to book me a room at the swanky and spanking new L’Fisher Chalet Tower II
It’s not my first time to visit this cleanest and greenest highly urbanized city at the northwestern coast of the Province of Negros Occidental. Known for its moniker “The City of Smiles” and “Sugarlandia”. Bacolod is a progressive city, and since every modern Filipino gauges the progress and indication of the economic activity in a city by the size of an SM City Mall. Well, SM City Bacolod is huge! Of late, Bacolod is already enjoying the Philippines’ sunshine industry – It is now known as the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) gateway to Western Visayas. Several big BPO companies are now in Bacolod, it is a testament of its continued progress.
Everytime I travel, I always make it a point to not just do sight-seeing or shopping, but to make it a gastronomic adventure. It is in travels like these that I get to actually taste and enjoy great food, or try something that’s brand new to my palate. I will also be able to recreate the ooohs and aaahs travel hosts do when they taste the food in places they feature, and of course to get acquainted with exotic, bizarre and interesting food/ingredients – by that I mean stuff that’s not found in our mercado or our Gaisano and in our limited culinary fare here in Ormoc. You see, I am a completely untrained, unaccomplished culinary oaf (my weight is a dead giveaway to that) with absolutely no expertise in food. But I have exquisite taste buds and a penchant for experimenting. I religiously watch food and cooking shows and was greatly influenced by my mother who is an accomplished culinaire‘.
city of smiles
I first came to Bacolod in 2008 and vowed to come here often, and one reason is that I was not able to visit a lot of restaurants that friends recommended. Bacolod is just teeming with eateries serving a wide array of cuisine, from heirloom local cuisine to fusion. The culture of a place can easily be seen and dissected through their food. So weeks before the trip I researched anything and everything about food in Bacolod, the must go to restaurants, and the must try. I double checked that I have my list with me before I hopped on the turbo prop aircraft that will take me from Mactan-Cebu to the City of Smiles.
just got ouf of the aircraft...hello bacolod!
We touched down at the New Bacolod-Silay airport just before sundown, some friends from Ormoc and other common friends-slash-ex-officemates and I, we’re greeted by Bacoleno Alex Alegarbis, also an ex-workmate and knows the city like the back of his hands. He was the perfect tour guide slash driver.
So we headed directly to L’Fisher Chalet Hotel conveniently located in Lacson St., Bacolod’s major thoroughfare. The posh hotel is a work of art. The lobby and the spacious rooms are laden with clean lines and monochromatic colors. It was like Philippe Starck meets Kenneth Cobonpue, it has a certain élan that’s truly Bacolod.
After checking-in at the hotel, the next agenda was dinner, and of course it had to be at Manokan Country located in the reclamation area which is downtown near the Plaza and SM City. Everyone who visits this city must pay homage to the holy chicken or else they cannot truly say that they have been to Bacolod. It would be like going to Japan and never eating sushi, or Italy and never having pasta. I know you get it. Everyone in this city comes here if they crave for authentic chicken inasal– in other words the real Louis Vuittons and Balenciagas will almost certainly be brushing shoulders with their first class tiangge doppelgangers at the Manokan Country, it is a good sign.
Bacolod Chicken inasal...namet ah! the best!
Manokan Country is a kuya version of our Barbecue Park sans the troublesome health/hygiene conditions. Chicken inasal is the most raved among Negrense specialties and can be found anywhere, like in Bacolod Chicken House or Chicken Deli, but nothing beats the ambience and experience at Manokan Country. We went to a stall named Nena’s. Alex said they are the one that serves the best-est chicken inasal. I was lucky also that there was this manang who sold big succulent fresh “sisi” or oysters. It was a steal at Php 30.00 per plate (around 30-35 pieces). They steam and shuck it for you. They were so fresh and devoid of any metallic after taste, like the ones we get from most buffets in Cebu. Gil Abano finished a whole platter of them babies. You are expected to eat with your bare hands here, kinamot only. It’s déclassé if you don’t, kinamot is the best way to eat and savor chicken inasal. But not to worry, almost all the stalls are equipped with sinks, hand soap and hand dryer.
the manokan country
They have unusual and hefty chicken cuts, there’s the paa (thigh and leg), pecho-pak (breast and wings) and just all wings. The chicken inasal was ambrosia! I saw Joel Gaquit cartwheel after his first bite! We all heaped praises upon the barbecued chicken. It was inarguably the best chicken barbecue in the known universe. Namit ah! And for a party of eight voracious eaters – the bill was surprisingly trivial.
A bottle full of orange tinted oil was sitting along with the toyo and native vinegar in the condiments tray, I was told that one will drizzle it in rice (bahug) para lami daw ang kaon, so I non-chalantly coated my rice with it and boy, It was the best! I later freaked out when I learned that the achuete oil was made out of rendered chicken fat and the color was from the achuete. It was a heart attack inside a bottle! I popped a double dose of my Diovan medication on our way out of the resto.
manang shucking the steamed fresh oysters
super fresh talaba! yum!
sub zero red horse! alcoholic bliss...
Joie de Vivre!
Bacolod’s night life is alive! There are lots of bars scattered all over the city, and even more at the Goldenfield Commercial Complex, a popular commercial center in Bacolod. From clubs, bars to restaurants, it has something for everyone. We barhopped and met fellow Ormocanons, Nacho Pangilinan and Tingtong Rodriguez who were also in town for the wedding. We went to Sibeeria where they serve you only sub zero beer, the crowd there was
great.The pulutan in most bars in Bacolod, like in Sibeeria, are gustatory delights, something that you don’t expect from a barchow. We then hopped to Ice Bar. It was jampacked. Good thing Alex got us the VIP room, and so panic attacks were at bay. The music the dj spinned was luxury house and then it shifts to electro then onto progressive, fun! Bacoleno’s has this joie de vivre that just rubs off on you. If I may add, people in Bacolod always dress to impress. So the bars are filled with people dressed to the hilt. Go to their SM and you’ll think everyone is going to a party. I felt a little too underdressed at the mall in my staple “malling” uniform: shorts and rubber shoes.
Alex then took us to a cansi house for a night cap, the name of the place escapes me – well, I was a little inebriated when we went there. There are lots of Kansi houses in bizBacolod like Timeout, Sharyn’s and in the Shopping district.
Alex said, Kansi is to Bacolod, as Pochero is to Cebu, Bulalo is to Batangas and Pacdol at Doro’s is to Ormoc. Kansi is a bone-in beef shank sour soup. They use the batwan as a souring agent. It’s much oilier than the pochero – and of course it comes with the customary cardiac delight – the bone marrow! I fell in love with the dish. If only I can get lucky and chance up on the rare batwan in our mercado and I’ll recreate the dish for family and friends.
Cafe Uma's Malasugue Salad. The best!
Cafe Uma & La Calea
The next day, I woke up too late for the free breakfast at the hotel, but my stomach is grumbling and I can’t wait for lunch anymore. So I checked my list and saw Café Uma. Jude Bacalso sent me a private message in Facebook, telling me to not dare miss Café Uma. The hotel concierge revealed that it was just right next door. It was a simple café slash trattoria. I had the Smoked Malasugue salad which was absolutely divine in a
refreshing kind of way! Fresh Romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes and artichokes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and the finest of olive oil (first cold press, most likely from some Italian estate) and then topped with generous slices of smoked malasugue (you can opt for smoked salmon too) and another dressing with hints of dill. It was the best salad I ever had, bar none. It has a certain je ne sais quoi that I find very appealing.
Cafe Uma's Boullabaise
Then I had the bouillabaisse, it was Café Uma’s owner Chef Juan Miguel Gaston’s take on the traditional Provençal fish stew. It came in a small bowl, almost like a demitasse, but the soup was something! It was decadent. Unlike your traditional bouillabaisse, the seafood was finely chopped and it was laced with truffle oil, I think. It came with garlic bread smothered with melted fresh mozzarella.
Then to satiate my hunger, I ordered the clubhouse sandwich, a little too
Cafe Uma's Club House sandwich with the works.
American for a trattoria, I know. Boy oh boy! It was a sandwich that’s only for the really, really hungry! It was a triple decker wheat bread sandwich. The first deck was overloaded with bacon; the second deck was cramped with chicken that was perfectly grilled and seasoned just right, and then scrambled egg and a rather mellow kind of cheese, lettuce and apples. It came with a heaping side of mixed salad greens drizzled with balsamic and olive oil dressing, plus a mound of handcut fries. It was one brunch that’ll cause me sleepless nights. The place is warm and cozy and they’re reasonably priced – a little pricey actually, but what you will enjoy are culinary creations that are bordering on the artisanal. The service was attentive yet unobtrusive. This lunch room was filled with busy executives; matrons who came from jogging having a tête-à-tête over what I think were blinis and caviar. They were in candy colored track suits and rubber shoes plus diamonds whose sizes borders on the vulgar and their de rigueur designer handbags sans the screaming logos, and a bunch of tikalon middle aged guys (I was eavesdropping)! Café Uma is a must try when you’re in Bacolod. Besides the food, it’s a good place for social voyeurism, mind you.
For dessert, I walked to the other side of the hotel and went to La Calea, a very popular pastry shop. I’m not much of a sweet tooth but I tried their triple chocolate mousse, it was delicious, I rate it at maybe 8 out of 10, edible, but not really cartwheel material. Their pastries are not so sweet. That is the highest compliment to cakes and pastry in the Philippines. Their selection is really vast. However, I would fail the place on ambience, it is a little too futuristic for a pastry shop though – I like my pastry shop to be like that of an English bakery, homey, country. But for what it’s worth, La Calea is a must try too.
The buffet! sumptuous
Jed and Bing chose the penthouse of L’Fisher Chalet Tower II for their wedding reception right after their wedding mass at the chapel inside the exclusive Santa Clara Village. The penthouse is a really hip place with a stunning view of the city and there’s actually a swimming pool up there, the Starck-Cobonpue inspiration is continued up here too. The food was great! Alex was even surprised, because for years, L’Fisher is known for mediocre food. It was a feast, a culinary fête in a buffet table that seemed to be endless! Spicy hand breaded squid, tanguigue fillet swimming in olive oil with chopped green olives, capers and dill, a beef stew that tasted so good, I went for a third helping. The dessert selection was to die for…platters upon platters of blueberry cheese cake! And the flowing booze? Ah, nobody is complaining.
Baked Oysters @ Imay's. Pagkalami nalang gyud!
After Imay’s we headed to the border of Bacolod and Talisay City to see the Ruins. A rather new, but actually very ‘old’, Bacolod tourist site is The Ruins. Situated amongst the farmlands in Talisay City, this heritage site is fast become a very popular Bacolod tourist attraction. The structure of The Ruins is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns, having a very close semblance to the façade of Carnegie Hall in New York City. In New England, they often were homes to ship’s captains. A belvedere on the 2nd floor, facing west, affords a beautiful view of the sunset in a glassed-in sunroom with bay windows. The mansion was built in the early 1900’s by the sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. One of the sons supervised the construction of the
mansion making certain that the A-grade mixture of concrete and its pouring was precisely followed. The mansion met its sad fate in the early part of World War II when the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East), then guerilla fighters in the Philippines, burnt the mansion to prevent the Japanese forces
from utilizing it as their headquarters. It took days of inferno to bring down the roof and the 2-inch wooden floors.
The Ruins. A must visit when in Bacolod.
The Bacolod Ruins, or Talisay Ruins as it is also called by some, has been a popular venue for Bacolod weddings, special events and parties. The most recent addition to this tourist spot is a mini-golf within the grounds of the site. The owners are continuously developing the area and adding new stuff to do so it will remain a top tourist attraction. Even for the Bacolod and Talisay residents and locals, it has become a place for family bonding activities and fun.
After visiting the ruins, we went back to the city to buy pasalubong. First we went to Virgie’s were we went gaga over their wide array of delicacies.The quintessential piaya, then of one should not forget the barquillos in different thickness and length (and they also have a much special version that’s made
Virgie's Pasalubong center
of goat’s milk), consilva (we typically call it pinasugbo), then biscocho, mammon, bañadas, and then of course the napoleones. We also went to Bongbongs, which probably is the most popular pasalubong center and then we also went to Merci’s. I got crazy, went overboard, pardon the impulsive shopper. So, when I reached the airport I realized that there is such thing as excess baggage! I had a bog box and a small box all brimming with Bacolod delicacies.
Well, before we went to the airport, I insisted that we go to El Ideal so we I can have a taste of their fresh lumpia and their pies. El Ideal is Silay city’s oldest, if not the province’s oldest bakery. It is underneath an old bahay na bato – they say it was their first and only location. At the back of my mind, I was
telling myself that it seems a bitfrivolous to pay for excess baggage because of these delicacies, particularly since the pleasure is so fleeting. But that is precisely why I consider myself lucky to be able to indulge like this every so often. And I can always make a Consuelo de bobo assurance that this is market research for Ikea! When we took off and saw Bacolod from a distance, I imagined that I was at the Trevi fountain, tossed a coin and wished that I’ll be back in Bacolod very very soon!
Without doubt the only reason why Bacolod is enjoying what it is now is because here the old is treasured, preserved, and honored, while the new is embraced, accepted, and developed.
facebook is just way too full of pillows, hearts, test and all that.
so i’ll do my sh*t here. my own private lair.
soon this blog will just be pinkbombils.com.
i’m just waiting for wordpress to process my payment for domain mapping.
meds, meds, meds!
and so i have a terrible headache.
and my left leg is hurting, gout attack lurking around the corner.
arcoxia and colchicine for lunch.
friday baya karon, ug mu hubag ni, aw tulog sayo ko ani unya.
it feels like saturday today. last night felt like friday.
i was at bebidas with gil, edward and jai. brought our own emo cd.
after almost 2 3 dozen of them red hor, we hopped to dustria.
then i forgot everything after that.
i think we had pahawhaw at the mercado.
gil slept over. when i woke up, one of zoe’s pups was beside me. licking my face.
the poor thing was hungry. the maids were natarantar when they saw that the puppies in the cage lacked one.
damn the arcoxia and the colchicine is making me hungry again.
fresh banak in baybay
i want to eat banak, like the one we had in baybay last wednesday.
it was ash wednesday, so we drove almost an hour to eat fresh fish by the bay. confession: we can not resist the chicken barbecue, so we ended up eating seyken on as winsdi.
minggay's barbecue in baybay, leyte. the best barbecue in town.
we ate at minggay’s – a couple of baybay natives told us that they are the one that serves the tastiest chicken barbecue – indeed they do! the locals eat here. the place is a little grungy, crooked floors and all, but over all it was clean. infairness.
San Antonio de Padua Chapel in Pmponan, Baybay, Leyte
guilty. and so we made a side trip to pomponan to visit sr. san antonio de padua.
The Miraculous Sr. San Antonio de Padua in Pomponan, Baybay. Not a single request was ever denied.
Murag daghan kaayo ug gihangyo ngadto ni senyor!
on the way home, choi announced that he would like to drink and have a videoke party at tata sia-gidayawan’s residence. we’ve been planning for months nownga amo i-break in ilang new videoke system. the thing has lady gaga’s full repertoire, taylor swift, jonas brothers and of course joel’s favorite standard and opm. so after a case of beer and a bottle of tanduay. it was a full concert! magtika maayo imong tingog ug magtika hubog ka na. but trust me, wa gyud mi ni kanta ug “my way”. LOL
and so i’m waiting for my flipcam so i can post videos here.
and i’ll bring my trusty kodak mini slr na permi kay nag blog naman diay ko. the d90 is too bulky, magisi ako bag.
please congratulate me kung ma sundan pa ni ug update! hahahaha
i’m so tempted to post my bacolod piece here. pero ako sa i-una sa evmail before here. hehehe
the lifestyle section will be resurrected nasad. so watch out for it next tuesday.
again: please congratulate me kung ma sundan pa ni ug update!