Tawi-tawi is the Philippines southernmost province. Due to its relative inaccessibility as well as concerns about the peace and order situation in the surrounding areas, it hasn’t been attracting as many travelers and tourists as other provinces. I was fortunate however to visit it last week to see some of its beautiful sights, and sample its food.
Since it’s an island province, I presumed that seafood would be plentiful. I also knew that pork would not be available, as it’s predominantly Muslim. I found out that most of the inns/hotels in Bongao, the capital town, have their own restaurants which serve regular Pinoy fare (mostly beef, chicken and seafood dishes). There are also a lot of carinderias (small eateries) and cafes if you want to try local specialties. If you’re planning a trip to Tawi-tawi, here are some of the dishes you can try out.
I normally hate driving to some areas in Manila. Binondo, in particular, with its mad traffic and congested alleys is pretty hard to drive around. If I have to go here, I’d rather commute or take my scooter instead of the car. It doesn’t help that I drive a secondhand manual car with a really hard clutch that has conked out on the road more than once. But a few days before Chinese New Year, I found myself driving through Binondo’s streets and actually enjoying it.
Rock and Ride Biker Music Bar in Antipolo opened just last December 21, 2012, in time for the “end of the world” according to owner Jowel Rubio Yauder, an artist and motorcycle enthusiast. Jowel, who started working on the place since February last year, has been riding since his early high school days.
In recent years, Sagada has gotten a reputation for having lots of great eating places. If you’ve been there, you can probably agree that the cool crisp mountain air and all that walking around surely works up an appetite. Thankfully, there are lots of great restaurants to try out. For those who like to plan where to eat in advance, here’s a list of some of the restaurants we sampled during our five-day trip there, with accessibility ratings and distance on foot from the town center (with the hospital as the starting point).
MISTY LODGE & CAFÉ
Distance from town center: 10-15 minutes
Bonus points: Great food selection, hands-on service, WiFi
Capiz is known as the seafood capital of the Philippines. You can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood here like prawns, crabs, catfish, and oysters cooked in a variety of ways – grilled, steamed, stew, fried, dried smoked or even raw – take your pick! I really enjoyed our food-tripping experience and got to try some unique dishes for the first time. Here are some of the memorable meals I had in Capiz.
Puyoy (grilled eel): At first glance, this barbecue dish looks like something out of Fear Factor. The street-food resembles tiny snakes skewered isaw-style and grilled. I’ve tasted types of eel before in soups and stews, but this was the first time that I tried it barbecue style. It really helps if you don’t look at it directly or think about it too much when you eat because the heads are intact and you can see the open mouth of the eel through the stick. It tasted like grilled fish, only slightly slimier with tiny crunchy bones (like those of sardines). I think it would have tasted better if it were dipped in vinegar.
The last time I visited Zamboanga City was a few years ago and only for a quick stopover from Jolo, Sulu. This year, for the coverage of the La Hermosa Festival, I got to try a lot of different eating places and was pleasantly surprised at the range of great food and places to eat. From popular seafood dishes to a wide array of local specialties with “a touch of Spanish, American and Asian influences,” visitors are in for a culinary treat. Here’s my pick of what and where to eat in Zamboanga City.
The Regali Kitchen designed the most amazing treats for my nephew Eli’s Harry Potter-themed 3rd birthday! Since Eli started going to school this year, this topsy turvy stack of Hogwarts spell books represent Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Kudos to Chef JB Cada and Stephanie Santos for the wonderful treats!
It feels strange to be sitting still in front of the computer back in Manila after several days of being constantly on the move. During a very unplanned solo trip last week, I found myself hopping from plane to jeep to boat to van to bus to habal-habal with no clear itinerary, making decisions on the fly, encountering very helpful people on the road, and ending up in places both weird and wonderful.
Aside from the great surf and host of nature and outdoor adventures, the province of Catanduanes in the Bicol region boasts of some of the best food. Bicolano cuisine is known for its generous use of gata (coconut milk) and spicy ingredients. Mix that with the natural abundance of seafood in the island-province, and you’ve got a perfect match. Here’s a food diary of the most memorable meals from my trip there.
Lobster: This delicious dish of steamed lobster was served for lunch in Majestics Beach Resort in Puraran Beach, a major surfing and tourist destination in the province. The meat of the lobster tasted tender and a bit sweeter than crab meat. Since the flavor was a bit mild, this went really well with calamansi and soy sauce.