Sunday, June 3, 2007

The best way to a man’s heart…

--Or mine--is through the stomach. Logic and reason rarely win over this eternally capricious part of my body. It’s that part of my physicality that truly represents the real me: whimsical, stubborn, ever searching, never satisfied.

It’s 10 in the morning, the sun’s shining brightly—too bright I must say—that’s why I am here, hiding in the corner of Sans Rival, a restaurant along San Jose St. in Dumaguete City, having my fill of beefy cheesy lasagna, french toast and instant coffee. Fifty-five pesos for a full breakfast meal. Not bad at all! I’m just waiting for Ron to come in before I order their oh-so-yummy silvanas. I am not really into the saccharine stuff, but I really like this one. The filling tastes like finger-lickin’ good icing. It’s best to eat them cold so the filling doesn’t melt and blend in with the sweetness of the crust. The legacy of the recipe goes all the way back to the seventies. 77 to be exact, same year I was born.

Ron and I have been touring some of the food and bev spots around the area since I got here yesterday morning. First, we had lunch at Boston Market, a quaint country-style kind of resto that serves good pasta and entrees. I had a really savoury Tuscan Porkchop, with a salad side dish with a really peppery dressing (I finished my salad, and I don’t even love vegies! Yey!). The meal reminded me of a good lunch at the Manor House in Baguio City, only the price for this dish (at 95.00) is a mere quarter of how much I would be paying in that big log house in the City of Pines.

We then went back to our rented room, adjoining a lugawan stop called Hoy! Lugaw. It’s a really small place with overturned pots for seats. Located right in front of the Dumaguete Bay, along Rizal Boulevard, it gets a lot of the sun and heat during daytime. This is the reason why I haven’t stopped by for a taste of their lugaw just yet. But I passed by the place late last night and it was almost full of local patrons.

Ron took me here at Sans Rival for dinner last night, where I had two slices of Bistek Tagalog. Not very satisfying. But people are really here for the sweets anyway. After dinner, we went to the Spanish Heritage building where Cafe Antonio is. The building is one of the oldest in the country, and it is now being occupied by certain food and bev establishments.

Cafe Antonio is a lovely fine-dining restaurant that could easily win a five-star ranking just for its rustic ambience and simple elegance. It has tables with swing seats, ferns, an old small silent bell, clay pot falls, and a balcony that has probably seen countless “bayles” during its heydays. We stayed there for an hour and tried to write while Ron drunk iced tea and I finished my Twinings hot tea. The place was really conducive for writing and I think that I might have actually written a poem. I think, because I don’t really know if it could pass as poetry. Oh and the waiter is really friendly and continuously speaks in English even if you start talking to him in Tagalog.

After that, we took a stroll along Rizal Boulevard, where a number of families have rolled out mats sharing a dinner picnic overlooking the bay. The sight had my heart melting in a snap! To recover from the emotional assault, Ron and I went looking for a good bar. A tricycle driver gave us some suggestions and took us to a couple. The first one, called Gimmick, did not really fit our fancy. Just looking at it from the outside suddenly gave me a rush of remembrance of Iloilo’s Fort San Pedro or Kalibo’s Magsaysay Park during the Ati-Atihan. It’s not that I didn’t like those places. It’s just that I would only go there to be with my aunts and uncles.

So we then moved on to a place called Payag sa Likod, a reggae-inspired local hang-out in front of the Provincial Hospital. The place has a number of nice “payag” or huts, with bamboo mats and floor pillows. Their Payag Jam, which is a mix of vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice and crushed ice was really good. And at 100Php, it’s big enough for Ron and I to share. We left just as soon as we finished our drink (which didn't take too long realy). We wouldn’t have left that soon if the lead singer of the local band that was playing didn’t start to get on our nerves. Someone has to tell him he’s not Rico Blanco!

We then went back to Rizal Boulevard, where we had some tempura--a local streetfood that is basically fish fillet shaped to look like a Japanese shrimp tempura. There was nothing spectacular about it but it was only 3-pesos per stick. You could just shove it in your mouth for what could turn out to be hours without really having to think much about it.

We then capped the night at Le Chalet, where we had three bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Back at home, I would probably have preferred a San Mig Light over Pale. But somehow, being in the province makes me really appreciate how special Pale is. Served cold, drunk right off the bottle, it couldn’t be more perfect!

In just two days, I must say that Dumaguete—with its delectable sweets, interesting resto names, promise of more beautiful discoveries, bayside tempuras, cheap meals and ice-cold Pale Pilsens satisfying my stomach and the me I really am: whimsical, stubborn, ever searching, never satisfied—has definitely found its way to my heart and captured it.

-The other sputnik


Paredudetolpre :) said...


Great to see that you've been making the rounds over there down south. Just love your appetite-enticing descriptions for the local delicacies and treats! YUM! :9 I'm right here at my desk, working, and I'm craving for an ice-cold Pale Pilsen to down while I write my emails to Client. Haha!

We miss you both over here at the office, guys! Ron, we got to see your posted video na. Naks! Parang travelogue talaga ang dating! Bwiset naman at kakainggit masyado ang water djan! You know we're so beach-starved over here pa naman! Sigh. :p

Anyhoo, take care over there guys and keep on truckin'! Keep us posted on your adventures. We're eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Mabuhay kayo, mga naliligaw na sputnik! :)

- Ikey :)

EdiTrixiaGomez said...

i want to go to that beach in apo island! you're looking good and happy and refreshed---which is refreshing:)

cam said...

Don't care much for the food, but that jam looks "to die for," for lack of a better term. And this from someone who doesn't drink anymore.

jke said...

hi teens! hello my hunky bear! :)

i have to say... ron's photos of kookoo's nest (especially), casaroro and apo island are so very wonderful. pero sa lahat ng posts, etong food trip post ang naka-convince sa akin na pumunta ng dumaguete!!! harhar. kaya yata tayo magkakaibigan, puro tayo matatakaw! i actually opened PAL's website midway thru reading... slurp, slurp. i'm actually salivating. more food trip posts please!!! :)