Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sweet Sighting


Found this at Narita Airport. Sweet sighting for the sweet tooth!

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Image by Charie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In the Seafood Capital of the Philippines

Shrimp ukoy

Shrimp ukoy from my Aunt's table is one of my favorites. I can eat quite a few. These super delicious fritters are prepared with flavorful shrimps native to these islands.  Here's how you can make shrimp ukoy:  http://panlasangpinoy.com/2010/06/18/ukoy-shrimp-fritters-recipe/


My Uncle had this crab plate especially prepared for me. I love crab, specifically female ones as these have "aligue" which is crab fat but which I call "red caviar". I know that this is really not healthy to eat but I only get to indulge when I'm in Roxas City where crab is on the menu in most restaurants and here at our family table. Try also rich crab fu yong.

Talaba

These enormous talaba  (oysters) are always in demand, especially since it's not expensive at all to order them at any of the seaside restaurants. At less than P100/plate, it's a steal. And goes down well with cold beer. But I'm not a fan. :(


The image above is of the adobo flavored talaba or clams (not sure which). It's an acquired taste. I like chicken adobo but talabang adobo?  Hmmm.

Pitik-pitik

This rare crustacen is full of flavor. Can't get enough of them. It's called pitik-pitik. Friends brought it to our dinner get-together and I'm still wondering when I'll savor them again.

Lato

What an exotic salad! Notice the grape-like shape and texture of lato which is a type of seaweed. When you bite into it, be prepared for the juice. Try this recipe: http://www.overseaspinoycooking.net/2007/09/kinilaw-na-lato.html


There are no tastier prawns in the world than those harvested in Roxas City. I have eaten prawns in other parts of the globe during my travels but have found these flat and flavorless in comparison to those served in Roxas or other  parts of the Philippines which import fresh seafood from this city.

I had just featured (in a previous  article) what I call "giant" squid which were generously served to us in Olotoyan Island during their fiesta. Roxas City has unique seafood to offer its guests who are daring enough to sample the exotic bounties of the sea. 

Squid

Of course there's dried fish which is plentiful. A drive through Dumolog, on the coast, reveals where  and how they are dried. And at the Roxas City market, half a kilo of these costs about P40.00. There will be plenty to eat for a while.


This article would not be complete without mention of some of my favorites from the sea: tiny scallops, sizzling  tangigue, deboned and fried bangus (milkfish), and grilled or pinaputok na tilapia wrapped in banana leaves.

Scallops

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Images by Charie

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Olotayan Island - Waiting to be Discovered

Sitio Sawang shoreline

We were in Olotayan Island to distribute school supplies and slippers from Balay ni Charie to the students of Olotayan Elementary School. The kids, from Kindergarten to 6th grade, came to school on a Saturday morning to greet us and receive their school supplies. The fourth grade class received slippers thanks to the generous donation of my friend, Rose Driscoll.

4th graders at Olotayan Elementary School

To get to Olotayan  Island, we boarded a motorized outrigger from Banica Pier in Roxas City and cruised passed fishponds and mangrove to Punta Cogon and from there to the open sea. It took about 40 minutes on calm waters to get to the island. As we approached the island, the waves became bigger and the ride was slightly choppy.

 Punta Cogon

They were  celebrating their annual fiesta at Sitio Capaculan which is on the other side of the island from Sawang. There's a paved road that goes over the hill to the shores of Capaculan. If you're seeking a stretch of white sand beach with nary a soul or perhaps a handful to keep company, this is for you. But it's rustic out here. This is the day of the fiesta but since the island has a population of under a thousand, it will be this quiet till it's "discovered".

Sitio Capaculan

Since the islanders live on the bounty of the sea, here's what we were fed at the fiesta among an array of seafood.  Thank you to the townspeople and their Barangay Captain for their warm hospitality.

"Giant" squid

There are limited accommodations on the island and you'll need to bring your own food supply as there are no restaurants here.  The island is merely 100 hectares in size so it can be explored in no time. Surprises abound with uninhabited beaches around the island.

A White Sand Beach

Out at sea, the view of islands, mangrove, seaside villages in the distance and the occasional splash of  water on my skin were like a  balm I desperately needed. It felt like I'd gone on vacation during my vacation. 

An  Islet

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Images by Charie

Tinapa Spring Rolls

Tinapa Spring Rolls

I've read and heard about tinapa spring rolls but have never tasted one. So on a stopover in Manila recently, I decided to try these much talked about "lumpia" appetizers with a twist. MESA at Greenbelt 5 in Makati serves these lettuce wrapped delicacies. I could smell the tinapa (smoked fish) as the waitress approached my table.  I dipped the roll in the vinegar sauce and mmmm, what a delight! I've missed eating tinapa, tiny fish with bronze skin you can peel open intact. The tinapa meat is delicious but it has bones. There were no bones in the tinapa rolls I tasted. The kitchen must have deboned the fish first before making them.

This plateful of tinapa spring rolls is only P140.00. And it's a generous serving for one person. There is also tinapa fried rice on the menu.  I didn't try it because I ordered palabok (a noodle dish) instead.

Palabok

To make the tinapa spring rolls, try the recipe from the link below:
http://www.yummy.ph/recipe/smoked-fish-spring-roll

Greenbelt Catholic Chapel

Greenbelt is an upscale shopping and restaurant district.  My other favorite restaurant here is John and Yoko Japanese Restaurant. Their chicken teriyaki and mango pizza is unique! The Ayala Museum is also in this complex. It's worth a visit to view paintings by famous Pilipino artists like Amorsolo which are on display.

About MESA Filipino Moderne:
Greenbelt 5
Dela Rosa Street and Makati Avenue
Makati City
Phone: 63 2 728 0886

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Images by Charie 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From Lonely Planet Blog: How not to behave on an airplane

Recently while traveling from New York to San Francisco,  I sat next to two women in their 20's who made the 6-hour flight an ordeal for me. They never stopped talking during the entire flight. When the stewardess came by to pick up their trash, the woman closest to me dropped her plastic utensils and cup with some liquid leftover on my lap and didn't bother to apologize. As if this was not enough, she flatulated in her seat and left a stench all around. Of course she had to go to the restroom after that but would not transfer her laptop to her seat from the folding table to make room. So in order to get out of her seat, she stepped on my seat with her dirty shoes. And these women talked like they were well employed and the most offensive one indicated she worked in IT, a job which  requires considerable training. You never know these days who you'll sit with so it's best to spread the word around about plane etiquette and hopefully someday, we'll all have a pleasant flight. :)

Below is an article from Lonely Planet Blog about How not to behave on an airplane: a passengers' bill  of rights, the results of a survey.  You'll be able to relate to many if not most of the annoyances which plague plane passengers today.
http://inside-digital.blog.lonelyplanet.com/2011/07/13/how-not-to-behave-on-an-airplane-a-passengers-bill-of-rights/