eating out: boylin’s

this could  be ormoc’s best kept secret. tucked in a nondescript road whose name i do not even know, at the 1st corner to the left as you enter the New Society Village (NSV) in Brgy. Can-adieng towards the southern part of the city, facing the picturesque ormoc bay – well in this case- there’s no view as houses block it. here you will find this little shack that’s been serving the best carenderia fare to a market unclassified, yet unified by their love of good home cooking.

Just lately, I learned that the place is called Boylin’s. People normally call it ” Sa baybayon” or sa “kandingan sa can-adieng“. I had my first kalderetang kanding here when i was still a freshman in high school. dad would drag me and my brother erik, to eat here for breakfast/brunch. we normally come here when they have real pawikan (sea turtle) available. it was available only for a chosen few . they would call my dad, if pawikan is available. i remember, they would hide the caldero at the back of the restaurant. it was already a little “taboo” a that time, to eat real pawikan; although the people weren’t as environmentally aware as nowadays. i only realized that our food adventures there was like a rite of passage of sorts.

i really didn’t like the taste of pawikan mind you, it revolted me. it has a funky after taste – a cross between the gamey taste of a wild land animal and the cod-liver-oily kind of taste of a sea creature. but i remember eating it a lot just to please dad. eating it was a salvador dali moment for me – eating it with gusto, but abhorring it at the same time. but i do crave it sometimes, i guess this is what they call acquired taste. and yes they still call my dad too.

what i enjoyed eating there was their caldereta, a far cry from the caldereta served in most fiesta, even in our own home. that kind of caldereta is rich, thick and as my friend would call it “pang dato” or spanish type, you know, the kind with olives and potatoes. this caldereta is the typical tagalog caldereta, the sarsa is a little thin, almost like a soup rather than a stew, with hints of tomato sauce, native bell peppers and the taste/smell of goat’s meat sans the goat-y smell that i abhor. this can only be achieved by handling the meat properly and of course slow cooking. it takes a real kitchen pro to handle goat’s meat from becoming smelly or “langsa“/gamey, so imagine doing that every single day?

calderetang kanding

calderetang kanding

kinilaw nga nangka

kinilaw nga nangka





and since this is a kambingan, they serve anything and everything goat, and other home cooked dishes of course. i love their paklay! the best paklay, hands down. to the uninitiated, paklay is sauteed chooped goat innards with pineapple and red bell pepper and lots of ginger strips.

i also love their pali. it’s goat’s lungs, boiled, sliced thinly and dressed with a sweet and sour mixture of coconut cream, native vinegar, ginger and tomatoes – almost like kinilaw. this dish is not for the weak of heart. the texture plays between soft, rough, mushy and crunchy. but it is good. you should try it at least once in your lifetime.

then i had the shai (pronounced sha – ee). this is pig’s small intestines, boiled in aromatics (bay leaf, peppercorns, native vinegar) and then deep fried. this is unlike your chicharong bulaklak, that’s crunchy. i mustered enough courage to avoid this (every guy with gouty arthritis is familiar with this predicament) but admitted defeat in the end. there’s colchicine in my drawer anyway!



sha-i in nitibong suka with sili

sha-i in nitibong suka with sili. gout attack!

joel gaquit, official model. not the agtang. nagsingot sa kahalang sa suka!

joel gaquit, official model. not the agtang. nagsingot sa kahalang sa suka!

excited to eat. ayaw sa kay mag piktyur pa ko!

excited to eat. ayaw sa kay mag piktyur pa ko!

boylin’s also serve a bevy of kinilaw. from kinilaw na isda native style, kinilaw na puso ng saging, kinilaw nga nangka. sometimes, we order everything kinilaw-ed! it makes your appetite a little wild.

if i come here early, i always have their tinolang native free-range chicken with green papapya or tinuwang preskong isda, also native style, soured gingerly by ripe tomatoes, lest it becomes sinigang! they also have humba, the kind where the fat was rendered first and then stewed in a sweet and sour sauce with taoshio (black beans) and lots of azucena (dried banana flower blossom). they also have this pickled and then cooked vegetables – ampalaya, eggplant, bell peppers – it’s really good to cleanse your palate and prep your appetite. of course they also have balbacua, pinawikan, a dish of carabao meat cooked like it was pawikan, hence the name. then they also have lechon kawali or we call it adobo here in ormoc – deep fried pork belly. kuyaw gyud intawn sa high blood! so i’ve never ordered that since like 3-4 years ago.

boylin’s is not cheap. their price is a little higher than most carenderias. but it is clean, the place is also comfortable and the servings are generous. plus they only serve really, really ice cold softdrinks – the kind that bites your throat!

you also have the choice of rice or corn for your carbs. i chose corn sometimes, but it’s a little heavy on the stomach. business starts as early as 8:00 AM. As early as that, the place is packed with office workers, businessmen, students – everyone! by 11AM, most of their dishes, especially their specialties will be gone. So you better go there early.

so, let me go take my colchicine now.


eating out: big roy’s

Let me begin by saying that i am no chef but having to eat out a lot with as a way to pamper myself, pat myself in the back for doing something good, celebrate, or even when i have extra money to blow. I guess I can say i have a pretty well-rounded sense of what’s good and what’s not when it comes to food.

so earlier today, for some reason, good friend rhoderick omega announced in his facebook message to me, that he is treating me and alex alegarbis to dinner at big roy’s. my heart skipped a beat!

big roy’s is one of the best of only a few restaurants in this sleepy city. in a place where people opt to eat at home and dining outside is reserved only for special occasions, big roy’s still stands proudly after all these years.I have always thought that ormoc’s dining scene to be old fashioned and un-exciting. but restos like big roy’s make this known fact a little more bearable. their extensive menu makes eating out here a little more exciting. extensive yet it does not overwhelm you. they are also reasonably priced – commensurate to the quality and the taste of the food that they serve you, not to mention the service – impeccable! and the staff here address me on a first name basis, so that makes it even more comforting.

i still remember the first time i had the chance to try roy and teling pangilinan’s cooking, they were still in the SRAC (Sports Recreationa and Amusement Center) then. big roy’s is almost like bigby’s resto in cebu that’s orginally from cagayan de oro. true to it’s name, their servings are rather large, american size serving as they call it and they’re reasonably priced. roy and teling do not scrimp on their ingredients, so you are assured that you are getting your money’s worth plus everything they serve you is fresh. they are also consistent to the quality and taste of their food. i have experienced one too many times when you fall in love with a particular dish at a resto, you come back a few days after to try it again, and to your dismay, that same dish doesn’t taste like the last time you had it, which was why you fell in love with it in the first place. that’s a really big let down. but at big roy’s, the food tastes exactly the same as the last time i ate there. that is very important, that could very well be one of the reason why they’re still open up to this day.

their food is fastfood sized and it’s taste isn’t too restaurant-y, you know the kind that makes you umay right away — here it’s more on the home cooking kind. stuff on their menu eventually became comfort food to me.

i particularly love their tenderloin kebabs (a must try!) – perfectly seasoned, perfectly grilled. i didn’t order that today. i was still a little full when i got there, so i opted to get their fish and fries. big chunks of firm fish fillets seasoned with hints of dill, hand breaded and fried just right. served with a thousand island-like dipping sauce + a  bed of field greens chopped tomatoes and fries.

then we had the Bouillabaisse. A creamy french seafood soup. it’s pink bombil’s favorite. it’s almost like a meal of it’s own. creamy and milky soup with butter and generous amounts of chopped fresh tomatoes and lots of fresh seafood – fish cubes, mussel meat, tender squid rings and shrimp. this soup is enough to cure any hangover.

we also had the chef’s salad. it was a typical salad, yet very refreshing. hand torn iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, slices of ham, grated cheese and slices of hardboiled egg, served with a thousand island dressing.

since most of the people in the group were really hungry, so they ordered the big roy’s barkada platter. the name says it all – it is enough for your barkada! hand breaded perfectly fried chicken, pork strips, shrimp, squid and fries with a mayo based dip and even more salad greens!


Bouillabaisse. lovely.

chef's salad

chef's salad. refreshing.

fish and fries

fish and fries...

big roy's barkada platter

big roy's barkada platter

rhodz had the chops in mustard gravy. two big chops fried and smothered with a mustard based sauce.

alex had the rellenong bangus, three slices from obviously a really big stuffed bangus served with a side of pickled ampalaya (bitter melon). it looked good. alex said it tasted good. it was a dish that looked like it took a long time to prepare.

chops with mustard gravy

chops with mustard gravy

rellenong bangus.

rellenong bangus.

sizzling chops.

sizzling chops.

kowloon style beef steak.

kowloon style beef steak.

Tata Gidayawan had the sizzling chops. 2 big slices of grilled pork chops served on a sizzling plate with the customary mushroom gravy. it was typical but it was not  “lu-od” like most sizzling dishes.

Bobby and Balot Quijada shared the Kowloon style beef steak. Generous serving of tender beef with a soy and sesame based sarsa topped with white onions. they have to order extra rice — you need lots of rice with this dish.

It was a great dining experience. we were able to catch up with each other, updates, chika, over good food. non stop laughter! after all these years, i am comfortable with the homey ambiance of the resto.

for a party of five ordering enough to fill the whole table, the tab was about Php1600.00 – that is really a great deal!

i am looking forward to our next dining there.

eating out at big roy's

eating out at big roy's

ormoc street food. part one, i guess.

a warm and humid summer afternoon.

not much money to spend.

three empty stomachs.

no time to change clothes. come as you are.

so, off we go to the tight streets of ormoc city.

it opened floodgates of warm and toasty memories of childhood summers in this city.


first stop was at city central school along carlos tan st.

to spear on some freshly made, fried on the spot fish ball from one of our suki since, hmmm, elementary?

Each ball costs Php0.50 cents only! it used to be just Php0.25 cents, but i guess borge (the vendor) got affected with the increasing prices of the ingredients.


let's make tusok-tusok the fish balls!

fresh fish ball

fresh fishball mixture...tastes much better than the frozen/japanese kind.

once they float...they're ready to make tusok!

once they float...they're ready to make tusok!

hot sauce, sweet sauce, or native vinegar for your dipping sauce. city health regulation: you may only dip once!

hot sauce, sweet sauce, or native vinegar for your dipping sauce. city health regulation: you may only dip once!

So after making tusok2x the fish balls, we headed to Carmel’s bakeshoppe, an institution in itself — they’re more popularly known as “ila ka paca” since it is owned by the Paca family, also well known cooks/bakers  in the city. we went to get a few pieces of meat bread or pan con carne and cheese bread. it is actually made of very soft sweet bread dough.   the taste of these baked goodies tastes exactly the same back in highschool. so you will know that the same recipe was used ever since. they’re located just at the back of our school in Arradaza St.  in high school we would jump over the fence to buy their bread and their fresh lumpia, risking being caught by mrs. cortes, then our highschool principal.

carmel's bakeshoppe

our lady of mt. carmel bakeshoppe

warm, fresh from the oven pan con carne...

warm, fresh from the oven pan con carne...

cheese bread!

cheese bread! best paired with ice cold coca-cola!!!

pan con carne filling

pan con carne filling of sauteed ground meat, pimientos and chopped hard boiled eggs

Then we went to the crossing of Arradaza and Cata-ag St. There we found the usual student’s merienda fare of caramelized bananas and camote (sweet potato) on a stick, turron, hot cake smothered with margarine and roll many times in white sugar, steamed/fried native chicken egg, and ice cold buko/pineapple juice.

camote, turron, saging minantikaan!


hot cake

hot cake, in an old school griddle...

hot cake!

hot cake! a steal at Php5.00 per pack of 3


hot cake!

we also got some indian mango and spicybagoong/hipon/uyap (fermented and salted shrimp fry)

indian mango

indian mango. sweet, sour, crunchy.

makes you salivate like a crazy dog!

makes you salivate like a crazy dog!

bagoong hipon

spicy hipon/uyap/bagoong

mangga at bagoong

mangga at bagoong. the perfect pair!

right beside we saw a cart selling freshly sliced queen pineapple.

ormoc queen pineapple

ormoc queen pineapple

ormoc pineapple

ormoc pineapple. sweet and crunchy sans the itchy tongue effect after eating

then, we went to the city plaza to buy some siomai and eat our loot there…on our way, we saw this manong selling fried peanuts, either regular, hot and spicy or sugar coated.

peanut by the takos

Php 5 per takos. each takos is one shot glass full.

fried peanuts

fried peanuts!

fried peanuts with lots of garlic! once you pop, you can't stop!

fried peanuts with lots of garlic! once you pop, you can't stop!

sugar coated peanuts

sugar coated peanuts

Then we had siomai. Php 20-30 pesos for a serving consisting of 3 pieces of these yummy dumplings. i’m so fascinated that this revered dimsum fare have made it’s way into the philippine streets, thus becoming a street food. it is gaining much popularity. and of late, they have the fried variety. i want my siomai

served with the chili sauce, soy sauce and a squeeze of calamansi – then eaten with the toothpick. on a hungry day – i can cinsume up to twelve dumplings with lots  of puso (hanging rice). and for some reason, street food is best eaten with sparkle – either because it is the only available soft-drink most of the time or because sparkle is much cheaper. but they’re a perfect pair, really.

sio mai!


fresh off the steamer siomai...

fresh off the steamer siomai...


siomai - best eaten with chili paste, soy sauce, calamansi and a toothpick used to pick it up.

siomai + sparkle. another perfect pair.

siomai + sparkle. another perfect pair.

at the imelda blvd/inaki larrazabal ave/the city plaza promenade covet a wide array of street food, ready to feed any hungry person making llamerda. you get to eat while enjoying the panoramic view of ormoc bay or while people watching . we chanced up on a lady balut vendor, you don’t get to see one often. we asked if she had “likos” or 17-18 days balut, but she only had the 16 days balut. it was joel’s favorite. although balut is best eaten during nighttime, joel insisted he wanted to try one since it was fresh and still very hot.

balut is a fertilized duck egg, so it has a duck embryo inside it. It is commonly eaten with salt with spicy native vinegar. traditionally it is usually sold and best eaten after dark, maybe so you can’t see how “luod” or gross it is. but to the expert, any time is a good time!

balut, salt and spicy native vinegr. kalami!

balut, salt and spicy native vinegr. kalami!

fresh balut

fresh balut, full of embryonic juices ! yum

sipping the warm juice...

sipping the warm juice...

16 days old balut. can you see the duck embryo? so cute hahaha

16 days old balut. can you see the duck embryo?

. bathe the yolk with vinegar plus a pinch of salt.

lady balut vendor also peddling chicharon. this woman is a walking heart attack!

then right next to the siomai cart we saw another manong selling boiled peanuts. we wanted to buy, but we might look for beer! and it was just 4:00 PM. Beer + boiled peanuts, they’re yet another great love team.

linung-ag nga mani! at one of the food stalls at the city plaza

steaming hot boiled peanuts!

then we also chanced up on this lady selling grilled/broiled bananas on a stick. they call it nilangkay. back in a day, good friend angelo kangleon and i would comb the streets looking for nilangkay, this was one of his favorite.

goin' bananas!

grilled/broiled bananas a.k.a nilangkay

So for less than Php 150.00 we were able to enjoy and took care of of hunger. if we opted to go to a fast food, we could have blown Php 500 easy…plus it was a great bonding experience.

There are tons of philippine street food that i have yet to feature – i haven’t scratched the surface yet. there’s the isaw, barbecue sa eskina, salvaro, bibingka, dirty ice cream, ice drop, kab kab,  a plethora of native delicacies and a whole lot more — they should be in my next subsequent entries about pinoy street food.

food is the unifying factor of the philippines. it is our common denominator. we love to eat  when we’re happy, sad, angry, bored and even on the rare occasions that we’re hungry. and part of that is pinoy street food.

pinoy street food reflects the filipino culture of ingenuity – to create something special, edible, delicious, nutritious and cost-effective out of something that is seemingly useless, plain or mediocre. that is why when americans get the hunger pangs, they rush to the nearest fastfood, while pinoys rush to the street to eat their favorite street food that is enough to satisfy one’s hunger and soul. philippine street food is soul food. it feeds the masses. Readily available, good tasting and cheap and not to mention the seemingly endless choices.

although street foods have gone to the malls too, to satiate the cravings of the well-heeled who are also into this kind of food. Even 5-star hotels feature street food in their menus once in a while (here), a testament that indeed philippine street food is a big part of philippine culture. it is always a part of the urban landscape. also, if you get to explore pinoy street food, then you will understand why we have high levels of sugar, salt and cholesterol.

We love street food, probably of  the total experience in itself. The joy that goes with getting cheap, quick, tasty and delicious food all at the same time. And It doesn’t get any better than that, because when I say cheap, it has got to be really cheap, and tasty and delicious.

the locations where these street food carts are located is a microcosm of a typical philippine community. it is here that you see the natural convergence of people from all walks of life.

although normally viewed as dirty. times have changed now, the government has even stepped in and regulated this trade to make sure proper hygiene is followed. but as they say, once you get to build relationship to your suki – you are sure that they serve you clean food, they treat you like family, and of course they don’t want family to get sick.

now if you’ll excuse me. after eating all those street food for research purposes (to photograph them), now i really need to go to the:


missing dadiangas + burong isda

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!

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

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

fish vendor

( vendor

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

adobong camaro

adobong camaro

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.

burong isda

burong isda

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

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:

Product description:

Burong isda is a product from salted fish with fermented rice.

Raw materials:

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.

food tripping + feeding program

foodies as we are (pink bombils), we understand the value of nutrition. and we are not… ok , just allow  me to quote micheal jackson’s man in the mirror

“I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs”

so as indulhensya,  a means of giving back to the community and in doing our share in community building, me, tata sia-gidayawan and some other friends decided to do a weekly feeding program in identified barangays that has a high rate of malnourished kids. we are able to do this through dr. edmund keirulf who heads the rural health unit of valencia and neighboring barangays. it has been almost two years since our first feeding program (1x a week) in valencia and it has went on since then, the last feeding session was first week of february in brgy. concepcion. wee feed 30 up to 50 kids per feeding session. each barangay feeding program, as prescribed by the DOH (needs citation) will normally last for 6 months or so, and you will definitely see results. Each kid is monitored (health condition, weight, height etc) so we can appreciate the before and after effect of the program.

currently we are just waiting for a new area to be assigned to us.

i am not posting this to brag and all that, but i am posting this to let the others now that there is a way to be able to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters – especially the kids. each session will cost you an amount that could buy you 5 buckets of red horse in dustria (weird but practical comparison to budding alcoholics like me hehehehe). so if you are interested in sponsoring a whole barangay feeding program, a one time feeding session or something like that, just holler and i’ll give you the details on how to get started, we can even accompany you to the site and assist you in cooking and preparing the food.

it is really heartwarming. nothing beats the great feeling when you see the kids enjoying the food you cooked and prepared for them, and when they say ” thank you”, when they show gratitude. the sight of little kids beaming after you give them a bar of chocolate when they finish everything in their plate – priceless. a natural high, it’s like the high you get when you’re half drunk dancing to electro house music in a jampacked dustria on a warm friday night. hahahaha bad comparison. bad. here are some photos 🙂 enjoy!

chorizo macau and chorizo de bilbao is not interchangeable + paella craving.

i must admit that i normally use chorizo macau to substitute chorizo bilbao. only because they are not readily available locally, not even the purefoods canned ones. but suggesting the two to be interchangeable is an appaling suggestion.

chorizo macau
chorizo macau


i’ve had chorizo de bilbao as a child when my grandma would cook old school, homestyle, filipinized spanish dishes – you know the kind that requires one to be in the kitchen the whole day with all the help ready on the side – washing, peeling, slicing, stirring etc.

i only got to appreciate it in college when our landlady, a 100% pure spanish mestiza woman, would serve us spanish dishes especially during sundays and chorizo bilbao is the favorite sahug , i think they used that as substitute to morcillas (blood sausages). You see chorizode bilbao is actually not from bilbao in espana, but it is just a brand name of a filipino foodmaker to compete and give his product an imported feel to compete with the real imported sausages into the country.  he would add lots of pimenton/spanish paprika to his sausage, because he realized that most imported sausage are peppery and bright colored. which i guess is the reason why most tinderas in the mercado would add red coloring to their chorizo mix, compare that to the brown color of the vigan longanisa which is brown.

chorizo macau on the other hand is the one that gives chinese bola2x siopao it’s distinctive smell. it is also found in most authentic pancit bihon, and in machang.

chorizo de bilbao is peppery, a little pale, it has a tame scent and meaty. chorizo macau is gelatinous, very oily, red, it has a strong scent  and it’s on the sweet side.

so substituting one with the other is really not a good thing!

anyway, i was delighted when i saw that dr. butch of sabin used chorizo de bilbao instead of macau in his paella. available at mario’s restaurant. it’s around PHP650 for the medium size that can easily feed four people. it is made of long grained rice and doc butch used real saffron  here, with peas, generous chicken pieces, pimiento, jamon slices, pork slices, soft boiled eggs and lots of sliced chorizo de bilbao. it is a little filipinized, unlike the real paella wherein the rice is a little crunchy still, here from the stove they continue the cooking in the oven so it is cooked all the way through.

when you order it at the restaurant, they serve it to you in an authentic paellera. it also comes in mixed and valenciana variety. the first time we ordered it, we had the mixed paella with seafoods and the last time was just the plain all meat paella.

Here’s a recipe given by a friend, let me know if it’s good. I think I’ll cook this sa weekend.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 or 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)/if saffron is available, then use saffron.
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 3 ounces cured chorizo, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or fish stock
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Several good grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • Pimiento-stuffed olives
  • sliced hard-boiled egg, for garnish (optional)
  • Heat the oil in a medium, heavy saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, and gingerroot over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion wilts and the mixture becomes aromatic.
  • Stir in the annatto and mix well, then add the rice and the diced chorizo and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock, fish sauce, and black pepper. Mix well, bring to a simmer; then cover and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the shrimp and the peas, then cover and continue to cook over low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the shrimp have turned pink, about 5 to 10 minutes.
    Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Spoon the paella into a serving dish or platter and garnish with the olives and hard-boiled egg, if desired.

sabin paella valenciana

sabin paella valenciana

sabin paella valenciana

sabin paella valenciana

enjoying sabin's paella valenciana

enjoying sabin's paella valenciana

sabin's mixed paella

sabin's mixed paella

sabin's mixed paella

sabin's mixed paella

enjoying sabin's mixed paella

enjoying sabin's mixed paella

enjoying sabin's mixed paella

enjoying sabin's mixed paella