Home to the famed Petrogylphs (the oldest known work of art in the country), quirky folk art museums and restaurants serving native and exotic cuisine, the town of Angono in Rizal province is ideal for those looking for a unique art and food tour near Manila. Roads can get pretty congested especially during weekdays, but it’s easy enough to ride to by motorcycle, weave through the traffic and find parking once you get there during weekends.
The restaurant, owned by artist Perdigon N. Vocalan and school teacher Luzvimin L. Vocalan, was established back in 1983. It gets its name from the condiment made from fermented rice, shrimps, and bamboo shoots, that is a staple in every household in Angono. The sauce goes great with grilled dishes and fish.
Their most popular dishes are those of the exotic nature. Some exotic dishes on the menu includes Soup No. 5 (butt and balls of cow), sinabawang balut (duck eggs cooked like bulalo), nilasing na palaka (frogs either marinated in wine or cooked as adobo) and kamaro (crispy deep-fried crickets) makes the place popular with adventurous foodies.
One exotic dish we sampled here was uok (larva of a beetle, found in fallen coconut trees, whitish in color, cooked as adobo or steamed in tamarind fruit and tomatoes just like escargot) for P280. The juicy larva was a burst of really strong earthy flavors that was best washed down with a refreshing glass of mango shake.
Balaw-Balaw also serves as a gallery for fine art paintings and sculptures, with an extensive collection of folk art work and furniture displayed on three floors of the building.
Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant. 16 Doña Justa Subd. Ph. I Manila East Highway Angono, Rizal, Philippines, 1930 Angono, Rizal. Open: Mon – Sun:10:00 am-10:00 pm.
Right next to Balaw-Balaw is Nemiranda Arthouse and Atelier Museum Cafe, a family art museum which has its own restaurant specializing in native fare. Unlike Balaw-Balaw, the offerings here are more tame.
The restaurant is owned by renowned Angono artist Nemesio R. Miranda (more popularly known as Nemiranda) who specializes in paintings and sculptures celebrating the rural scenery and figures from folklore.
The restaurant itself is decorated in very rustic touches, using bamboo, sawali, and old recycled wood coming from Angono’s old church.
A colorful corner wall right outside the arthouse is adorned with huge sculptures of Malakas and Maganda, figures from the ancient Philippine creation myth, along with several forest animals.
The Atelier Museum Cafe serves local specialties like fried itik (duck), pesang dalag (stewed mudfish), sinigang na kanduli (a type of catfish), alongside regular Pinoy staples like tapsilog, grilled liempo, chicken barbecue and pork sisig at affordable prices. It’s a cheerful space ideal for breakfast or lunch.
Atelier Museum Cafe is located at #5 Dona Elena St., Dona Justa Village, Phase 1, Brgy. San Roque, Angono, Rizal. Tel. 451-1480. http://nemirandaarthouse.com. Nemiranda Arthouse is open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Entrance fees (for museum): P50.00/head.