Food

Edgardo’s Sinangag Plaza (Con. Pequena, Naga City)

Hello everyone! So, I’m back again with my discoveries of what’s new and what’s good value for money in the land of sili and gata, Bicol. You’ll notice that I haven’t really gotten farther than Naga City lately since, as always, I’ve been tied to work. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, I will get to explore more of Bicol so I will have more exciting stuff to share with you guys.

So, like two weeks ago, Rovi and I checked out this newly opened tapsilogan near our office. By the way, a tapsilogan is a Filipino term for eatery or resto wherein the menu is basically composed of Tapa (cured meat), Sinangag (fried rice) and fried Itlog (egg). If one does not prefer tapa, they also offer fried chicken, pritong bangus (fried milk fish), tocino, hotdogs, lumpiang Shanghai  (Shanghai rolls) and porkchop. Every order is always paired with fried rice and one fried egg. Even better, each order only costs P80!19840190_10209538802969967_1570245568_o

As with the ambience, it was very clean and newly renovated. We actually only wanted to have lunch when we went there but upon seeing the improvements of the place, we just had to take pictures. From the outside, it didn’t seem like much but once we entered, I silently thanked the heavens that there was finally a decent place to eat at near our work place. By the way, I said improvements because the said establishment was previously occupied by this restaurant called Global Kitchen which didn’t do too well and eventually closed down. The previous resto looked gloomy and sounded expensive while this new Edgardo’s Sinangag Plaza seemed more warm, welcoming and humble or what we call masa (for the majority of people) in these parts. The interiors though are pretty sassy compared to a usual tapsilogan.20107857_10209538803969992_1599876243_o20108090_10209538820210398_926941283_o(1)

As with the food, Rovi ordered Porksilog (fried porkchop) and was surprised she was given two pieces instead of just one. She said they tasted good. I remember she mentioned there were tough parts of the pork chops, I believe it was the pork rind. 20132969_10209538809010118_1289813539_o

My order was bangus (fried milk fish) but thing is, I didn’t know I had to say I wanted the head part. Turns out you either get the tail part or head part of the fish. I wasn’t asked. So, they served me this (below) – the end tail of a very big milkfish! I mean, it must have been a very big fish that there was only a smidgen of bangus belly left in the part they served me (the most delicious part). I wanted to send it back and ask for the head part instead but I got shy and thought that they’ve already fried the tail, so I had the tail. Being the opposite of assertive definitely has its drawbacks as you cannot believe how many sneaky fish bones I had to deal with. So, the next time I’m eating there I’m telling them my specs before they fry my food!20107321_10209538807690085_187295409_o

That was basically my experience. After a few days, my co-workers have ordered take-out food and so far, we were all impressed with the portions. For instance with Lumpiang Shanghai, there were a heaping ten pieces of rolls and the serving of the fried chicken was not to be underestimated as well. However, this is not for everyday eating or for those who have an aversion for fried food because in this eatery, everything they have on offer is fried.

Food

JAPAN-JAPAN (NAGA CITY)

This afternoon, Irene and Jael asked me to go out with them to eat at this joint called Japan-Japan at Balatas, Naga City. I said yes, as I was really tired and head was throbbing from all the work I had to do for the day. And I have learned to eat whenever I’m stressed out, either that or drink wine. The former I had to learn consciously to avoid further losing weight as I tend to lose my appetite whenever I’m burned out, while the latter was easy. Enough said.

Anyway, the place was very simple and unassuming. It’s one of those hidden gems you only know about if somebody actually tells you about it or if you live near the area. In my case, they let me in on it. And I’m glad they did. By the looks of the place being very basic and simple, it can be described as more of a joint than a resto. The food though is another story because the things we tried tasted great! And by food presentation, it was almost hard to believe that that kind of food was being served in that place. Uhm, that was meant to be a compliment. I meant like, “do not judge a book by its cover” because there’s more to it than meets the eye.DSC07879

What we ordered were Takoyaki (P45), Ramen (P100), California Maki (P130) and Yakisoba (P90). It’s a relief I still remember all the names and prices of the food as general anaesthesia messed up my short term memory.

So, the Takoyaki came out first as they already had a few cooking when we got there. Each order is 5 pieces but they got excited and ate one of each from our two orders before I was able to take a picture (lol!). It tasted delicious and creamy, the usual veggies are inside like cabbage and carrots, and the octopus was very soft. What made it a cut above the usual Takoyaki being sold in the malls was the sauce. I can’t stop raving about how good the sauce was because I usually find Takoyaki bland and I usually just eat one before I’m tired of it (umay factor), but with Japan-Japan’s sauce I can maybe eat all five.

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Takoyaki (P45)

Then, there was the California Maki (my favorite) which was like party in my mouth! All the ingredients like the rice, crab meat, mango, apple, mayo and the dipping sauce with wasabi all together made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I popped one in and knew that was what I came for. There were eight pieces of heavenly bites on that plate.

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California Maki (P130)

The Yakisoba was also good and they didn’t scrimp on the bonito flakes (those thin shaves of savory translucent stuff that looked like plastic). The noodles were well cooked and savory as well.

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Yakisoba (P90)

Finally, the Ramen, which did not taste like how I expected it. I thought it would taste like Korean Ramyeon but it didn’t. I love Ramyeon and my taste buds have gotten used to eating the instant Jjampong noodles (which tasted like Ramyeon from MannA Korean Resto). But I guess the Ramen, like every authentic dish, has a different character faithful to its origin or the region where it came from. I must say, it was worth a try and a great addition to our meal.

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Ramen (P100)

By the way, the place is not hard to find although not many people know about it. If coming from Centro of Naga, just ride a jeepney going to Magsaysay Avenue and ask the driver to pull over infront of West Park building or simply say Philhealth (located in that building). There is a line of pedicabs or padyak that you can ask to take you to Japan-Japan.

Over-all verdict:  Great value for money!

Food

Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt (Naga City)

This weekend, we chanced upon this business month exhibit going on at SM Naga City, today is the last day actually and we were just lucky to catch it. There were a couple of nice stuff we did see. Some booths showcased a lot of local products like furniture, delicacies, candied local fruits and wine. They were selling unique items from nipa vinegar to skin peeling products promising to make one’s skin fair and young looking.wine 1

Actually, as I am writing this, I feel a little tipsy as I have just again sampled the Lipote Red Wine that I am blogging about. That is why I think it took me a really long time than necessary to write my first paragraph. By the way, this Lipote Wine that I am featuring was made by Yulaik Wine Products located along Universal Road in Triangulo, Naga City.lipote wine 2

I have sampled three of their wines – the Lipote Red Wine, Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt and Guyabano White Wine. Among the three, my least favourite was the Guyabano wine. I found it has a bit of an unpleasant after taste which resembled bitter medicine or unripe fruit. The Lipote Red Wine, however, was pleasantly tangy and sweet. It reminded me of the baligang fruit which I know so well, being a fruit of my childhood. Now, when I tasted Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt, I thought it tasted the best among the three. The salt really did make a difference, as subtle as can be, but still a noteworthy difference.lipote wine 3

Now for those of you who are not Filipino, Lipote is a fruit that is found only in the Philippines and locally known in Bicol as baligang. It looks like blueberries but with a deeper color and a lot more tangy in taste. One bite of the fruit and the blood like juices just burst. The popular way to eat this is by first vigorously shaking the fruits inside a container along with salt and sugar. You allow the fruits to soak in its own natural juices, which resembles blood more than red wine really. Then you eat the delectable flesh which is sweet, salty and tangy all at the same time. And if you’re like me who likes these kinds of stuff, you will take a swig of the juice as well. Now this juice is so potent that it always did cause me to have red blotches all over my neck and face and I would always feel a little tipsy like I just drank liquor. And that was not even fermented yet, so you can imagine how potent the wine can be (or maybe I just get drunk easily lol).

Lipote fruits
photo credits: fruitipedia.com

I am no wine connoisseur, but drinking red wine is one of the few pleasures that I allow myself to have. There are just times when the thought of the red wine chilling in the fridge is the very thing that gets me through all those stressful Mondays. Just half a glass each time (I’m not yet an alcoholic, people).  My opinion on wine may be biased as well since I really prefer red, sweet red to be exact. My all-time favourite is Carlo Rossi Sweet Red wine, it’s just so subtle and the effect on me is a good night’s sleep each time. I buy Doña Elena sweet red wine as well. I find that it has a stronger alcohol content, less sweet, but it’s cheaper and comes in a bigger bottle.wine 2

Yulaik products also include dried fruits, jams and condiments all packaged very nicely. They will make good gifts during special occasions like weddings and anniversaries or will be great souvenirs for those who are looking to get an authentic taste of what Bicol has to offer.

Food

MannA Korean Restaurant (San Felipe, Naga City)

Hello everyone! Today, we had lunch at this restaurant that serves authentic Korean food. The name is MannA Korean Restaurant located at Parkview Executive Village in San Felipe, Naga City- about 10 minutes drive from Magsaysay Avenue. It was my second time to eat there so I know the food is delicious and authentic as the owner is a Korean couple who barely speak any Tagalog. And lo and behold! Who did I happen to sit next to? It’s Soong Jong Ki from Descendants of the Sun, so naturally, I was beyond thrilled to say the least. I am so  convinced that DOTS is the best. drama. ever. (Insert girly giggles here).19449251_10209330774929396_459787038_o

So after waiting for what seemed like 20 minutes and we were so hungry because we got there at 12:30 PM (that is already late lunch for us), we got served first with the Korean Seafood Pancakes. My favorite. It was as expected – a soft, moist, hot plate of deliciousness. The slightly spicy, sweet dipping sauce makes all the difference.

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Korean Seafood Pancake (P 150)

Then one by one they came out fresh from the kitchen. The half soy chicken, half seasoned chicken, 2 bibimbap, 1 beef bulgogi, 2 bowls of ramyeon, and 2 pitchers of iced tea. We ordered The Family Pack (good for 6-10 persons) for P1,200.00 only and everything was delicious! The kimbap was not part of the promo, but was an additional order of a co-worker.

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Half Seasoned Chicken (P 250)
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Bibimbap x 2 (P 200)
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Beef Bulgogi (P 200)
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Half Soy Chicken (P 250)
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Ramyeon x 2 (P 200)
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Kimbap (P 100)- not part of the promo

DSC0758619402345_10209330774969397_2129701268_oI noticed that the interiors haven’t changed much, just a few more tarps with pictures of their food and prices were installed. But I guess that is the charm of the place – it is simple to the eyes but explosive to the palate.19397906_10209331015455409_618644918_n

It was a very satisfying meal and I’ll gladly recommend this restaurant to the Naguenos who are tired of the usual fare and want to try something new and to the tourists who are visiting Naga City. Although it is a bit on the outskirts of the busy city streets, as it is located in the rural area in San Felipe, every bite makes the trip all worth it. So, I guess my love for Korean drama might only be possibly outdone by my love for Korean food.

By the way, thanks so much Rovi for the treat! =)

Beaches

DARUANAK AND MAINIT ISLANDS (PASACAO, CAM SUR)

It was my first time to go to Pasacao two days ago, and it was only about 40 minutes of commute from Naga City, where I live. That near, but it took me nearly six years before I was able to go. I used to hear about it a lot though. I also heard that the beach was not impressive so I was not really in a hurry to see it.

So, it was the perfect opportunity when a family reunion (Yoy’s side) was scheduled on the 3rd of May to finally give Pasacao a visit. Although I learned that it has always been their tradition to hold the reunion on that same date every year, it was our first time to attend. I guess, we always had a valid reason (or some poor excuse) not to go.

Anyway, how to get there from Naga City? Ask a tricycle driver to take you to the van terminal in Sabang near LCC Department Store. The tricycle fare is P8.00 per person while the van fare to the town of Pasacao is P50.00 per person. Upon reaching Pasacao, ask a tricycle driver to take you to Barangay Balogo where the beach is. The tricycles can be rented for P100.00 per trip to transport a whole group of people to Balogo. There should be no problem looking for a place to stay when you get to Balogo as resorts and travel lodges are everywhere.

As expected, Balogo beach was no reason to jump up and down about. The beach was crowded and loud with drunk people singing karaoke the whole night, and a bit disorganized. The sand  is also on the gray side and dogs roam about. So, at the crack of dawn the next day, we rented a boat for P600 to bring us to the island of Daruanak- the one just across the beach. And to Mainit Island after.

Daruanak Island

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Daruanak Island has a nicer beach, it is on the lighter side with broken corals and rocks. It’s a lot cleaner too, even the water looks bluer. A lot better for swimming.

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We did not take a dip that time though because someone said there were urchins, so we decided to head on to Mainit Island, which is so called because there is a spring thereat that spouts hot water.

The view on the way to the next island…

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Mainit Island

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In Mainit Island, the water is a little warm which is great for swimming. The shore is full of pebbles, all of different shapes, sizes and colors. I even found some blunt white crystals that got me a little excited. I had a field day picking my loot, only to leave them all behind on the boat when we got back to Balogo beach =(DSC02905

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It was a good day that went by too fast, then finally, it was time to go back home. Our happy faces though could mean we may be back next year. Same day too!

 

Beaches

Aguirangan Island Experience, Presentacion, Cam Sur

Sun, sea and wind on your face. Enough to make you forget all the never-ending deadlines at work and finally be free, even just for a day or two. All you need for a weekend getaway. Jason Mraz sang “You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from…” Unfortunately for the rest of us working folks Jason, we do need a vacation.

So one time, we gathered everyone and cramped ourselves in two vans and headed off to Aguirangan Island looking for just that, an escape, a weekend getaway from work.

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Aguirangan Island is located in Maangas, Presentacion, Camarines Sur, around 2 hours away from Naga City. So, we took the Pili Diversion road and turned left and drove all the way to Presentacion. Upon reaching Barangay Maangas, we coordinated  with the Barangay Captain for guidance where to park the vehicles while we spend the night on the island which was on sight from the Barangay Hall by the way. Now, proper coordination was a must for our safety and the safety of the vehicles, plus they hooked us up with the bankero (boatman) so we would get a good deal.

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Upon reaching the island, I was surprised that it was actually quite small and can be toured on foot in 5 minutes, the others said. So Manong Caretaker ushered us to this shady cottage which is a little far from the beach. They have these cottages under tall trees, which can feel a little creepy though since it felt like you’re deep in the woods. It is way better to stay in the cottages on the beach front for better view and access to the beach. Although, don’t expect to find air conditioned private rooms as there aren’t any. An open cottage is all you get, unless you bring your own tent. Our overnight stay costed us Php2,000.00 for the cottage and for use of amenities (public bathroom only) including the generator as the source of power to light up the whole place.

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Anyway, the beach was amazing! Although the sand was not as fine and as white as in Boracay, but it is more like tiny broken corals like the ones in the sand bar of White Island in Camiguin. And the water was not too cold, just perfect for a relaxing swim.

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By the way, the entrance fee for day time swimming is Php35.00 per person. There is no store on the island, so bring enough food, water and everything you think you’ll need for your day at the beach. Also, day swimming might be the better idea on this island since as nice as the place is, the state of its public bathroom was not for the faint of heart. Manong needs to do a better job cleaning it as the visitors need to be more responsible in using it.

DSC_0541The next day before we went home, Manong Bankero, as suggested by the Brgy Captain, gave us a surprise treat by taking us to a river (Salog) in the barrio where the water was refreshingly cool and clean. It was the perfect finale to our weekend getaway. (Credits to Bam for the great shot of the river below).DSC_0800

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