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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.