pie rivera

pie rivera

She's a self-confessed chocoholic even before the term was coined. After 10 years of non-stop television productions, she embraced the call of taking trips, enjoying gastronomic sojourns and living in this epigram: live well, laugh often and eat to your heart's content. With the latter in mind, she developed her food blog: eattoyourheartscontent.blogspot.com in 2011, followed by her travel blog savvysojourns.net. Join her as she journeys to a world of pleasurable discoveries.

Social Profiles

October is a grand time for the Negrenses and a fabulous time for tourists to visit this charming province and be captivated by their warm smiles and delicious treats. As I join Bacolod City in their celebration of the famous Masskara Festival, allow me to share with you some of Bacolod’s well-loved sweet treats and Negrense delicacies.

Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, Philippines

With the annual festival called Masskara, tourists - international and locals alike flock to the party streets of Bacolod City to witness the captivating smiles of the Negrenses. Iconic masks in a variety of colorful designs can be found all-over with numerous Masskara-making contests being held in major establishments while the plaza is transformed to a party street all-day and all-night long.

Piaya, a delicious and sweet Filipino delicacy in Bacolod City, Philippines during the Masskara Festival

For the sweet tooth, Bacolod City is a haven. Bask in the country's sugarbowl and satiate yourself with a melange of nothing but sweet endings. One sweet Bacolod delicacy that has become one of my favorites is Piaya. This traditional Negros delicacy is a flat dough that has been rolled resembling a round small plate (we call platito) and filled with muscovado sugar. Through the years, varieties of fillings were born and flavors such as Pandan, Mango and Ube were used as sweet fillings. Packs of five and ten pieces are usually available to suit every budget. The small containers sell at Php20 to Php30 while the bigger ones are about than Php50.

Merci Pasalubong has the best Piaya in all Bacolod City, Philippines

Merci Pasalubong is a personal favorite when in comes to Piaya. I particularly adore their Brown Sugar Piaya (Brown Sugar Pie) which is sweetened by - you guessed it, brown sugar and infused with honey. The filling has just about the right sweetness without the umay (satiating) factor in every bite. The sesame seeds sprinkled on top of the flat bread adds a bit of nutty flavor to this local delicacy.

One of Bacolod City’s precious dining landmarks and pasalubong (take home treats) hub is Pendy’s. A family-oriented business established in 1973 in the old streets of Iloilo then later migrated to Bacolod City, Pendy's has become a landmark in this Negros capital. Generations passed and the younger broods are now handling Pendy's, even their daughter-in-law was tagged as the contact person when I asked one of the staff during my visit.

Napoleones at Pendy's in Bacolod City, Philippines
Napoleones at Pendy's

Pendy's is known for their Napoleones and Half-Moon Cake. The latter is made of egg yolk, butter and sugar which is sold at Php40 a piece. This yellow-colored delicacy resembles more of the sun with its hue but the shape is emulating the half moon. Napoleones on the other hand is definitely one of my favorites. This puff pastry is cut into square singles. Each Napoleones (Php14/pc and Php140 for a pack of 10, P210 for a pack of 15) is lined with a custard cream filling and topped with a thin spread of sugar frosting that has settled on top of this thin filo pastry. This is the Philippine version of a French pastry known as Napoleon or Mille-Feuille but the latter is made with whipped cream and jam as filling and chocolate frosting or fondant icing as topping.

So if you’re heading to Bacolod City for this year’s Masskara Festival or anytime of the year, make sure you taste some of these delicious Negrense delicacies and sweet treats. After all, Negros province is the Sugarbowl Capital of the Philippines.

  For more deliriously delicious dining discoveries, check out Eat To Your Heart’s Content

  Lacson Street; Araneta Street; Lopez Jaena
  25 Lacson Street





I never thought that dining at Liliw, Laguna would be as pleasant as dining in a reputable restaurant in Manila but at an absolutely cheaper price tag for every dish in the menu. At first sight, I was intrigued with their appetizer Fried Tofu Teriyaki. I have always loved fried tofu but I usually dip tofu in my mom’s delicious blend of sauce – soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and lots of garlic. So it came as a surprise that it could be mixed with teriyaki sauce. Covered in layers of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, the crisp fried tofu was topped with teriyari sauce. It was simply divine. And at Php50 per serving, I was in tofu haven. I almost finished the entire serving while Mike was taking photos of the other dishes. Ooops, sorry Mike!




Six dishes at their seafood selection and I got to try Thai Tilapia for only Php95. For starters, the tilapia was huge. Coated in flour, deep-fried to a crunch, and served in a soy-based sauce with minced red onions and garnished with spring onions.




Chef Mau Luto ni Tatay sa Bungkol is owned by Chef Mauro Arjona, Jr., who is also part of Manila’s fine restaurants like Kusé and the Old Vine in Mckinley and Eastwood. With such reasonable price, good service and mouth-watering dishes that is so good even to the last morsel, Chef Mau Luto ni Tatay sa Bungkol is just one of the reasons to visit Liliw, Laguna on a whim.


For more food adventures, follow Pie Rivera via Instagram or check out her Twitter better yet, drool over a collection of photos at Pinterest or simply like the Facebook Page of Eat To Your Heart's Content. Bon Appetit!   


All photos were captured by Mike Caballes.


It was not a case of serendipity when I checked out one of Laguna's pride - Aling Taleng's Halo-Halo. When my friend and talented photographer Mike Caballes pitched the Laguna topic to our 7107 magazine editor-in-chief, and upon learning our route, I instantly insisted of visiting one dining area - Aling Taleng's Halo Halo.

Why wouldn't I insist when this is one of the oldest halo-halo serving establishments in the country today (originally established in 1933 by Editha dela Fuente). As I saw Aling Taleng's Halo-Halo signage, I was jumping for joy and my heart was pounding fast - alas! I was about to taste what they are made of.




Forget about a dozen or more sweetened ingredients, Aling Taleng's Halo-Halo offers only seven. Yes, seven ingredients but these will surely blow your mind away with every spoonful. These seven ingedients are ube halaya, kundol, monggo beans, white beans, macapuno, kaling-kaling (or kaong as alternate) and tubo ng niyog (sugarcane bits). Intrigued by the tubo ng niyog, when uncooked, this is a crunchy round produce - with a white to yellowish hue. What they do is wash this, take off its brown "crown" and marinate in apog or lime then sweetened for about an hour. The result is a transparent fruit akin to a rambutan or lychee in color and texture. Each tall glass of halo-halo is topped with this tubo ng niyog when in season. We were lucky that at the time of our visit last July 2010 that all their ingredients were available, if not, leche flan may take place of this interesting ingredient.




All ingredients being home-made spells the difference in every tall glass served and I actually did not bother for additional sugar with this concoction. What's best is that it is only Php50. Pagsanjan's residents are lucky to have Aling Taleng's Halo-Halo with their every whim.

I hope you would check out their deliriously delicious offerings and savor their goodness in every bite. As I always say, Live Well, Laugh Often, Eat To Your Heart's Content!

For more deliriously delicious dining destinations, visit my food blog at Eat To Your Heart's Content.

If you want to check out more food and dining destinations, follow me at Instagram and Pinterest

Freshly made kesong puti (native cheese) for breakfast is one of the perks whenever I travel to Laguna and Tagaytay. Paired with pandesal that is still hot from the oven or pugon with kapeng barako will surely perk me up even amidst chilly air. My trip to Cavite City introduced me to another version of kesong puti. Caviteños call it quesillo. This raw cheese made from carabao’s milk and wrapped in fresh banana leaves has a creamy texture just like the kesong puti I have been accustomed to. I was able to buy quesillo at P. Burgos Street in Cavite City just a block away from the Mercado del Ciudad de Cavite (Cavite City Public Market). To my dismay, I have forgotten how much it costs as I was too eager when buying. This article was initially published at my food blog Eat To Your Heart's Content

When I think of Antipolo, I think of mostly these three things, suman (glutinous rice), mangga (mangoes) and kasuy (cashew nuts). Although these three are not native to Antipolo City in the province of Rizal - where suman and kasuy may come in other areas, while mangoes usually brought from Pangasinan or Zambales, Antipolo is still one of the best choices to getting your fix of suman-mangoes-kasuy with just about an hour or so away from Metro Manila. After a visit to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje) a number of stalls lined near the entrance of the church await every visitor. Piles of suman (glutinous rice usually cooked in coconut milk and sugar then wrapped in coconut leaves) and mounds of roasted kasuy (cashew nuts) were somehow shouting at me as I could not decide how much to buy. The lady vendor at the Nimfa Cora Mestiza Special Pasalubong even enticed my friend Michelle to try eating the suman after dipping into a jar of coconut jam. After taking the photos I needed, I bought suman and lots of cashew nuts. Other pasalubong (take home treats) goodies and delicacies available were broas, peanut brittle, polvoron, turrones de mani, lengua, uraro and glazed peanuts. This article was initially published at my food blog Eat To Your Heart's Content
I was fortunate to return to the Philippines' City of Smiles during the first week of October 2011. The streets of Bacolod City was vibrant with the upcoming celebration of the MassKara Festival. During my four-day work for a television coverage, an all-day and night shoot was scheduled during the first day of my arrival. During the day, our local / regional staff based in Bacolod City toured us to some of the sights and must-see landmarks of this charming city. We went to the Bacolod Public Plaza where some stalls were offering some snacks and quick meals. As much as we wanted to grab a bite, my crew and I were rushing before the sun goes down but vowed to return by night time and enjoy some grilled dishes available at the Bacolod Public Plaza. Night time comes, we strolled the Bacolod Public Plaza dazzling with night lights and in the mood to party all-night with dance music playing aloud. There were several MassKara Festival items from accessories and a variety of MassKara designs. But the food lover in me passed up the opportunity to buy any MassKara accessory and looked for something to satisfy my palate. A few steps from the San Sebastian Cathedral, the sight of this yellow-colored thin concoction caught my attention. I asked the two male vendors if what they were selling was crepe and both were looking for answers to my query. My colleague and friend Ate GG blurted, "anak pancake lang yan" (loosely translated : child it's a pancake). It seems to be funny now as why would I thought that crepes will be sold as a street food but the thinness and was very similar to a crepe though it was cooked in a waffle-designed pan. The pancake was vibrant yellow and with very simple ingredients - flour, evaporated milk, sugar and margarine. Will the latter help in making me taller? Not really, but it sure satisfied my curiosity of how it tasted. Just a piece would do for me as the margarine was over-powering in flavor. This article was initially published at my food blog Eat To Your Heart's Content
I cannot express my fondness for Davao City. Even before I met my Dabawenyo beau five years ago, I have heard wonderful news about this paradise in Mindanao. My mom would often tell me that celebrities like Margie Moran and Dawn Zulueta resides in Davao City and one of my favorite fruits, pomelo (suha) are locally produced in Asia's largest city. One of my trips to Davao City brought me to one of the wonderful reasons to be (moreso to live) in Davao City. As a food columnist for an internationally published magazine, my editor-in-chief at 7107 Island Travel Magazine gave me a go signal to produce an article about the king of fruits - Durian. Rich and creamy in texture, Durian will always have a love-hate relationship with anyone who takes a bite at this exotic fruit. Quoting the author of Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain, "it's taste can only be described as... indescribable, something you will love or despise... your breath will smell as if you've been French-kissing your dead grandmother." Repugnant to many, but for those who appreciate its heavenly taste, despite possessing a striking scent, the Durian fruit is probably one of God's precious creations. In 1856, a British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace wrote that "to eat Durian is a new sensation worth a voyage to the east to experience... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed." The abundance of Durian fruit in Davao City is truly amazing. What you can buy in Manila for Php250 per piece (USD6.25 approx conversion at Php40 per $1), I actually bought it for only Php45 (USD1.125). When Durian is in season (from August to October), this fruit can be bought for Php30 (USD0.75) to Php45 (USD1.125) per kilo. Durian, the king of fruits, is one of the reasons you would keep coming back to Davao region. I know I would, as there are numerous concoctions that Dabawenyos have made from this magnificent exotic fruit. This article was initially published at www.savvysojourns.net
During the last day on one of my trips in Davao City, my beau brought me to what the locals call the Seawall. I have almost forgotten this place (my previous executive producer for a TV reality cooking show first brought me in 2006) located at the Times Beach and what locals also refer to as Baywalk. It resembles a small Roxas Boulevard (in Manila) where the open water is at arms-length and a magnificent sunset can be witnessed (only the sunset here is at the right side whereas as in Manila's Roxas Boulevard it's fronting the seawall). But the similarity ends there as Davao City's Seawall has so much more to offer - to locals and tourists alike. It's quite an infamous place for conservative locals as a naked statue stands towering at about 30 feet. To some who have seen this erection (pun intended) as vulgar and indecent, for generations this statue has been regarded as one of Italy's greatest masterpiece. The original statue I am referring to is David, created by Italian artist Michaelangelo and was unveiled in September 1504. What stands at Davao City's Seawall is obviously a replica of the original statue of David in the Renaissance era. The replica has been painted and shimmering in gold. In front of the statue is a structured body of water surround by plants and has live baby sharks swimming, as if guarding the statue. I honestly do not see why some locals would maliciously tag the statue of David as indecent when in fact, it is quite a blessing for the locals to see such an art, without going to Florence in Italy where the actual statue is displayed for over 500 years. Two other replicas where built around the globe - one is in London and the other in Brisbane, Australia. Another statue was created on the shallow waters at the left side of the Seawall. I'm sure you are all familiar with Copenhagen's Little Mermaid. The legenday statue has been used in many location shootings in Hollywood films. The Little Mermaid sits on a rock at the Churchill Park in Copenhagen, Denmark for about 100 years and for Dabawenyos, they do not have to fly to Denmark just to see something like this. A replica of the Little Mermaid, facing the sea, can be found at the Seawall. Apart from these two world-renowed replicas, at another part of the Seawall are caged animals - a number of ducks and elegant ostriches roam around. My beau and I just enjoyed these international statues and a breathtaking sunset while some locals prefer to catch some fresh fish. Davao City's Seawall is just one of the many reasons why you should visit Davao City and the entire Mindanao region. What are you waiting for? Isn't it more fun in the Philippines? DAVAO CITY'S SEAWALL Ecoland, Times Beach Matina Aplaya, Davao City Philippines *The Seawall in Ecoland is near SM City and Queensland Motel This article was initially published at www.savvysojourns.net

I have been hearing about Bacoor, Cavite’s halo-halo treasure called Digman and not until I worked on my Cavite article for Republic of 7107 Island Travel Magazine that I was able to visit this legendary halo-halo sanctuary.

The hunt was quite an adventure, though I am with my Caviteña friend Michelle, we braved the streets of Bacoor by commute. Good thing her brother Ryan was just a phone call away to monitor us and made sure we did not make the wrong turns or end up in another area.

Once we got down from the jeepney at Barangay Digman, just a block away, we saw a signage with an inscription “Original Digman Halo-Halo Reg. Phil. Pat Off” and an arrow pointing to the left. This was at the corner of Rubio Street, Barangay Digman in Bacoor.

As we enter the quaint eatery with several white monoblock chairs and tables, mounds of halo-halo ingredients welcomed us. I could not help myself as I instantly order my very first Digman Halo-Halo. To make this tall cooler more satisfying, I sampled their home made siopao and empanada.

Digman’s Halo-Halo was overflowing with freshly made ingredients, cooked the very early morning and ready for the taking before they open at 10am. On regular days, you can savor 12 ingredients, while summer days bring more ingredients with fruits in season. Regulars are sweetened bananas, pinipig, kundol, beans, langka, gulaman, garbanzos, kaong, nata de coco and topped with ube halaya and leche flan. You can also have it your way, as one elder ordered a tall glass without beans. I myself would prefer not to have garbanzos and beans in my cold comfort. Oh did I mention that this tall glass only costs Php50?

Edilberto with sister Donita now manages their mother’s store which was first built during the Japanese invasion. During my return for the interview, Edilberto was ecstatic as he recalls how his mother’s venture has been successful with the simple business. What started as a nipa hut is now a two-storey concrete structure. Edilberto prides that even celebrities like the King of Philippine Comedy Dolphy would order from his residence just to have his fill of the tall glass of Digman’s Halo-Halo.

Tagaytay City was proclaimed as a chartered city by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1938. In 1992, Mayor Benjamin Erni built the iconic fruit arch marking the city's boundary. The city is further divided into 34 barangays. Tagaytay City is part of Cavite province in Luzon region.

So what makes Tagaytay City as the Philippines' 2nd summer capital and a constant weekend destination?

The iconic view of the Taal Lake and Volcano, where you can marvel at an active Volcano located in a lake. To make it more inviting, the volcano houses another lake within and that lake has an island within. Crazy you say? For all those who have not seen this natural wonder, you have to see for yourself as photographs would not give justice to this breathtaking panoramic landscape. The more you look at it, the more you are enticed by its charm. And the Tagaygay Ridge delivers 32 kilometers of vantage points from Mount Sungay, where the People's Park in the Sky was erected, to Mount Batulao in the west. As for Taal Volcano, there were recorded eruptions from the 1800s to the 20th Century. Even the 21st Century reported news of its brewing rim. The destructive force of this small volcano has killed more than 1,300 people when it erupted in 1911 and the ashes reached Manila.

As if the scenic view is not enough, add the cool crisp whip of air that envelops you 365 days of the year. Tagaytay City is characterized by abundant rainfall keeping its temperature low and its high elevation providing cooler days and nights particularly during the months of December to February.

Trudging the Aguinaldo Highway, it is only 55 kilometers away from Manila. Tagaytay City has become the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. You may opt for a day tour savoring delicious dishes from various restaurants or find a relaxing respite overnight with the many boutique hotels mushrooming through the years. Finding an affordable room or luxury hotels is not a problem when in Tagaytay City.

Wonder where Tagaytay City found its name? Legend has it that the word Tagaytay originated from a folklore about a father and his son during a hunt. When divided into two words, Tagaytay would seem to come from "taga" which means to cut and "itay" meaning father. Locals say that the father with his son was on a wild boar hunt when the animal attacked the father and the boy repeatedly shouted "taga itay!" Story say that natives heard the boy's cry and became the subject of their talks for days.

Families bond through various activities. A constant scene are horse-back riding but these past couple of years, an exhilarating ride in the zipline has also become its major attraction.

Food should not be missed when in Tagaytay City. Dining in this bucolic ridge gives a different high - you savor sumptuous dishes amidst a stunning backdrop. Whether you feel like having English Pies for Breakfast, Indian cuisine to test your ability to name the spices used, to enjoying Greek food and feasting over heirloom recipes, Tagaytay restaurants will surely bring you to heightened senses.

Still not convinced that Tagaytay City is a must visit when in the Philippines? As they say, to see is to believe, might as well experience Tagaytay City for yourself.

Login to The HoliDaze to submit articles and comments or register your blog.