As far as I can remember, as a child any trip to Tacloban would only mean one thing – PASTILLAS! This pastillas isn’t your run-off-the-mill kind. Unlike most pastillas, this pastillas is made of carabao’s milk instead of cow’s milk and requires intensive cooking and much attention which pales in comparison to the no-cook pastillas de leche.
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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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!
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 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.
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.
i normally do not eat breakfast.
i work mostly graveyard and so, i always miss breakfast.
but if on certain days, like after a crazy night of binge drinking , i am roused from sleep by hunger pangs. i always crave for a hot soup and some macho dish. hardcore pinoy carenderia food.
either i ask our cook to whip up a soup for me, para pahawhaw. but more often than not, i can no longer wait and to save the help the trouble, i only go to two places for this kind of craving: boylin’s located at nsv, can-adieng a.k.a baybayon (worth of another blog entry) and this little carenderia without a name, at the left side of the hill where ospa-fmc stands. (take the first left turn at the junction of r. rivilla and the ospa road).
not a lot of people know about this nondescript, hole in the wall carenderia. if i’m not mistaken, joel gaquit introduced me to this quaint eatery at the side of the hill.
me, alex, gil and joel went there this morning for pahawhaw after a night of booze and dancing at dustria until the wee hours – and that continued at the reclamation area until the nightsky turned blue.
their food is rather spartan in terms of presentation, but the taste will make up for what it lack in the looks. you will know this was prepared meticulously using quality ingredients, that’s normally unheard in most cerenderia’s, following closely guarded heirloom recipe’s handed down from generations. i do not have good info as to the owners, all i know is that they are a branch of the pilapil family who are well known cooks and other family member owns food establishments in the city.
we had my favorite calderata, real goat’s meat stew with a tomato-based sarsa, thickened by pounded saltine crackers. it has a distinctive taste. the goat’s meat was prepared properly so it wasn’t gamey at all. it is a little spicier than most calderetas that i’ve had in the past. you’ll surely need lotsa steaming hot rice for this.
too bad they did not have my favorite pancit using fresh miki and loaded with chorizo macau, wild black fungus mushrooms (bukni), carrots, baguio beans, cabbage and pork strips. what they had that day was bihon. it was alsogood, but the cabbage slices were huge! so it’s a little difficult to eat.
we also had nilat-ang baka…that was the pahawhaw — it was seasoned just right, the meat is tender but not fall of the bone tender, which i really don’t like because it tends to make the flesh mushy. it was served piping hot! beads of perspirations formed in my forehead while sipping the soup. yum! huwasan, wooh!
then we had paklay -chopped goat’s entrail, sauteed and seasoned with tomato paste and lots of bell pepper and ginger. it was delightful, but i had to limit myself to a few spoonful, lest i get gout again.
we also had humba, sweetened pork stew to the uninitiated. they use the tiyan / pigue part of the pig. alternating layers of adipose and meat. you know it was sitting on the stove, slowly cooked for a long time. it was perfectly seasoned and it was kinaraan-style with black beans. i read somewhere that the real humba uses kadyos (black eyed peas), and since it is not available in most locales in the visayas (except in the western part where it is abundant), so i guess the signoras of old used the readily available taoshio (salted black beans) as subsitute for kadyos. every locality have their own version and every cook have their own tricks from using pomelo rind,
azucena (dried banana blossoms), coca cola, brown sugar, sugar cane and nwhat have you. humba is always comfort food and it becomes even more lami when it is a few days old, when the seasoning have melded very well and then you partner this with rice, coke and maus nga ginamus (salted and fermented anchovies) with lemoncito unya gi-pus-an ug sili nga kulikot – ay sus, pastilan ka lami! ginamos is one of the cheapest ways to build up an appetite…and at this eatery it’s gratis!
they also had ginagmay/menudo kind of dish that’s swimming in orange tomato based sarsa with carrots and potatoes. it reminded me of thesame dish that was served to us at a wedding we attended in Maglahug, Ga-as…it was really lami, with hints of smoky flavor after they slow cooked the dish using firewood. this one has that smoky flavor too…there were tons of sugnod piled at the kilid of the carenderia so you know that they use that in cooking. it reminds me of olden days at the farm, where we use firewood in cooking, and the ingredients was freshly picked, the chicken sa rhapsody, gi hagwa2x pa namo a while ago…now it is in dinnertable. deliciouso!
joel had tinolang isda. the broth was so clear and sweet. they used ripe tomatoes, green onions, ginger, lemon grass and fresh fish – i think it was tangigue. pwerte gyud! it was really good… kinaraang binisaya nga tinuwang isda then pus-an nimo ug gamay nga sili for a little kick! singot hasta ang bugan! this is hardcore pahawhaw!
the good thing also of eating there, especially during early morning, is that you are surrounded with greeneries, you will have full view of the backyards down below the hill – naay nang laba, nag bugha ug kahoy, nag chismis nga mga silingan sayo sa buntag, a great view of ormoc bay and the early morning sea breeze adds up to a hearty meal…
after years of coming here for good carenderia fare, we just say “managon ta sa kilid sa ospa” — it never crossed my mind to ask the name of the store, i just realized that there was no caratola with the store name in it, when i took a photo of the place. nevertheless, whatever they name it or whatever its name is, i hope they keep up serving good home-cooked style meals that reasonably priced.
next up: boylin’s
printed feb 22, 2010 evmail lifestyle 2.0.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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.