KFC Crispy Fire Chicken | #KathChael

Amalgamation. That’s quite the thing. Brangelina, Kimye, Bennifer, Bennifer Ver.2 and in The Islands, the current Pinoy pop phenom known as KathNiel.

KathChael KFC Crispy Fire Chicken Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Food Blog 2014Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla headline more amalgamations at KFC Philippines as its brand ambassadors. The Colonel is no stranger to culinary alchemy with its KFC CO +Creations products like the Zinger Double Down, the Crispy Cheese Chicken with Clover Chips bits and the recent Double Down Dog. The PussyKat and I vainly attempted a KathNiel for the launch of KFC Philippines latest product.

KFC Crispy Fire Chicken Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Pinoy’s love chicken and a good number have the penchant for spice. With KFC’s Hot & Crispy Fried Chicken selling off the shelves since these were put out, the creative minds from KFC Philippines took “the signature pepper spice and hot sauce flavor” of a brand that has become ubiquitously Pinoy — Tabasco — and brings Hot & Crispy to a whole new level of heat in the new KFC Crispy Fire Chicken.

KFC Crispy Fire Chicken Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014As in the sweetest (or spiciest!) of my dreams, a giant KFC Bucket with a Tabasco bottle was set up at the atrium of Ayala Center Cebu. Guests were to press a button on the side to see some KFC Crispy Fire Chicken action, take photos and post on any social media with the hashtag #SoGoodItHurts and present it to the counter at any KFC for a 50% discount on their Crispy Fire Chicken orders. Acing a Q&A scored one some prizes on the spot like GC’s, mini Tabasco bottles and Daniel Padilla I Heart You Special Edition KFC CD’s.

KFC Crispy Fire Chicken Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014I’m a huge fan of the Hot & Crispy and the Zinger formulations. The addition of Tabasco furthers the spice kick but none too much to handle for the tongue. The mouth-enveloping heat lingers just pleasantly long enough to be washed down by whatever drink of choice. The sugars in the Tabasco sauce marinade reduce to a slightly sweet counterpunch to the pepper spice and the coating retains the KFC’s signature crispy crunch. It was #SoGoodItHurts, I almost didn’t have to have any of what I’d declare the best fastfood chain gravy. Then again, I just had to. The classic fried chicken side of coleslaw also mellows out the spices. Specifically created to complement the Crispy Fire Chicken, the Chicken Rice had me wanting seconds. Umami would best describe its taste. Chicken oil perhaps? Symon, KFC Marketing Officer, wouldn’t say.

KFC Crispy Fire Chicken Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014The launch activities continued through mall closing with more prizes, surprises and featured performances by Elmer Jun Hilario who sang the KFC Crispy Fire Chicken jingle and starred in the TVC. The KFC Crispy Fire Chicken is a limited time offer initially available only in the Philippines. Make sure to try this Tabasco twist to the all-time favorite KFC Chicken, soon.

 

Note: The mini Tabasco bottles pictured above are promotional items only and are not inclusive in any order of the KFC Crispy Fire Chicken but rest assured that you do get the full Tabasco flavor in every chicken piece.

 

————————————————————————————————————————–

 

Heat up your taste buds with KFC’s newest Crispy Fire Chicken

Ready for a fiery chicken experience from KFC Philippines? Together with the signature pepper spice and hot sauce flavor of Tabasco comes the newest co-creation from everyone’s favorite fried chicken brand – the KFC Crispy Fire Chicken!

Marinated in Tabasco’s rich flavors and spices, the new KFC Crispy Fire Chicken will surely fire up your taste buds with its unique tangy taste and extra crispiness that makes you crave for more.

This newest co-creation from KFC is cooked to perfection using hot pepper spices from Tabasco, the world’s leading pepper sauce brand since 1868. Its distinct taste adds intense heat and an addictive flavor to KFC’s crispy chicken, leaving you with a So Good it hurts feeling with just one bite!

The best way to experience the KFC Crispy Fire Chicken is to pair it with chicken rice, coleslaw, KFC’s unlimited gravy and a large drink of your choice. It is also available in other chicken meals like the 1-piece combo, 2-piece combo, Fully Loaded Meal and Bucket Meal.

Craving to try this latest spicy chicken recipe? Head on up to your favorite KFC store now to try the newest KFC Crispy Fire Chicken. You may also call KFC delivery at 887-8888 or visit www.kfcdelivery.com.ph. The KFC Crispy Fire Chicken is available for a limited time only so grab yours now!

Did the KFC Crispy Fire Chicken get you all fired up? Share with us your #SoGoodItHurts experience online! Tag @KFCPhilippines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

–Official Press Release

Mooshi Green Bar

“It’s not easy being green.” That Kermit the Frog is alive, kicking and still at it sixty years later may mean this hypocrisy is Hippocratic.

Health food brings to mind tasteless, calorie-diminished alternatives. On the forefront of the local Green Food Revolution, Mooshi Green Bar eases the crowd into the fold with very tasty fruit and vegetable combinations that surprisingly have absolutely no added cane sugar or syrups. Their green smoothies that come in a wide variety of blends with proprietary benefits can now be had with an equally large selection of primarily plant-based, organic food pairings. (a)

Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Pushing six years as a triathlete, Jun Angeles wanted to boost his athletic performance but was very wary of popular commercial and synthetic products. Trying out green smoothie recipes at home, he found that these gave him energy and endurance for his rigorous tri-sport training and in the equally grueling race events. Seeing marked performance improvements on top of numerous other health benefits and overall well-being, he and his wife, Cathy, decided to share the miracle of fruits and vegetables “mooshed” together in tasty, powerful potions through Mooshi Green Bar.

Mooshi Green Smoothie Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Trumping earlier pure wheatgrass-only green bar incarnations with their array of fruit, vegetable and superfood combos, Mooshi appeals to wider tastes and age groups. Most of their Green Smoothies come named after their respective benefits: Wellness, Power, Boost, Glowing, Cleansing Cilantro and the oh-yeah-it-really-does-give-you Good Vibes; among the other flavor-focused smoothies. These and cold-pressed Green Juice blends are also available in Cleanse Kits for the habitual health buff or the determined converts.

Mushroom Cheesesteak Panini Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Liquid lunches have yet to pick up locally and Mooshi is ready with their solid options. A “meaty” Mushroom Cheesesteak Panini is one of two Green Sandwiches currently available. The stack packs flavor with fresh Oyster Mushrooms, Fajita Vegetables, Mozzarella, Romaine Lettuce with Mooshi’s Signature Spinach Pesto in toasted Whole-Wheat Ciabatta Bread. This take on the classic Philly Cheesesteak promises not to make you miss the meat.

Veggie Garden Panini Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014The Veggie Garden Panini takes it further into the green zone with Balsamic-Glazed Zucchini & Eggplant, Caramelized Onions, fresh Tomato, Mozzarella and, Romaine Lettuce with the Signature Spinach Pesto. As with their smoothies and juice blends, the stellar combination of vegetables make each bite an explosion of fresh flavors.

All-Day Box Lunches Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Salad Shakers take the mess out of the salad game with the greens and the dressing in convenient shakers. The PussyKat needed to feel good and did so with an aptly named shaker with the crunch of toasted Walnuts, the creamy tang of Feta, the crispy sweetness of Apples with Romaine Lettuce bound by Mooshi’s Signature Mango-Maca Dressing. I, protein-whore, snapped up the Protein Power with toasted Almonds, Organic Quinoa, roasted Chickpeas and the tangy-nutty Lemon-Chia Vinaigrette. As choices and serving sizes can be daunting, Mooshi put out well-portioned Salad-Sandwich-Smoothie/Juice combos-of-choice in their All-Day Box Lunches.

Mooshi Pops Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014 Like the meal itself wasn’t a treat enough, Mooshi also has a selection of Mooshi Treats to cap off a meal or to just have alone. While there was Mooshi-In-A-Bowl — fruit and nuts in Almond Milk and Butter, Spinach Yogurt Salad and, Fresh Fruit Salad + Mangoes N’ Cream Smoothie, we had the handy Mooshi Pops. Mango, Organic Banana and Organic Spinach figure in that non-dairy popsicle with Coconut Cream. Native Hot Chocolate Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014Their Native Hot Chocolate was too tempting to pass up with dairy-free whipped Coconut Cream drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce. The texture and density were all too familiar to me not to know that the base was from a growing player in The Island’s chocolate scene, Charlie’s Chocolate Farm.

Mooshi Green Bar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014I’m such a carnivore but I’d say that absolutely meatless meal was quite refreshing from my usual animal proteins. I expected hunger pangs to kick in towards midnight but it did tide me over to my usual noon brunch the next day. I believe my gut also gave me gratitude with ease on the throne. Buzz among Mooshi’s other patrons report overall well-being on top of the welcome side-effect of weight loss that may have been hinted at by their kiosks’ rather svelte wooden furnishings (badum-tusss!). Sure, it may not be easy being green but Mooshi Green Bar sure makes it delicious.

 

Mooshi Green Bar has outlets at Ayala Center-Cebu, SM City-Cebu and Banilad Town Center.

 

 

 

 

(a)from this author’s own write-up for Mooshi in Sun Star Cebu’s Best Of Cebu 2014 issue Food & Drink section.

Oakridge Horizons

It seemed to me that new structures have mushroomed within the Oakridge Business Park complex overnight. Disoriented, I scanned for directional signs as I stepped up the curb. “Prom, Sir?”, the security guard asked if I was attending the one concurrent at the Oakridge Pavilion. I patted my pants pockets for loose change. It’s not always that I get mistaken to be younger than my actual twenty-one and sixteen is very flattering. “Horizons.”

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

A luxuriously large lift cab took me to the fifth level of Block Eighty Eight building and into an exclusive foyer. Warm woods, cool stone, modern glass, steel and excellent lighting design combine for a classy look and feel.

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

Oakridge Business Park unveiled its second event venue to a select handful. Oakridge Horizons is an impressive, pillar-less hall bordered with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open into an alfresco deck extending the view across the city.

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

Marketing maven Lara Agua ushered us out on deck to the soft serenade of an acoustic band. The unexpectedly serene Mandaue City nightscape twinkled softly and glowed bluish under the moon. Guests were treated to cocktails by Canvas Bistro and what is now Oakridge-owned, 10 Dove Street.

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

I instinctively reached for what looked spiked to find it was a virgin Dalandan Mojito. The tang of the citrus and the cool zest from the mint was enough to wash away that traffic that held the guests coming from across the city for the 6PM event. The bar on one end of the corner was not a permanent, open-to-public setup but gives the Horizon’s clients the opportunity to customize bar services on top of the freedom to bring in catering and other service providers of the client’s liking.

20150313_202313

Chunky pork sausage filled the core of crusty pastry in the Aussie Sausage Rolls. This one is a leap and a bound from your neighborhood bakery hotdog bread with real meat sausage filling and its layered shell. Creamy Mushroom and Herb Bruschettas were quite filling for non-meat bites. Sliced Champignons took on a meaty texture of a Stroganov dish with the cream– the savory flavors melding well with the profusion of herbs. Crepe-thin scrambled eggs were rolled with pink salmon and herbed cream cheese into little protein-packed Maki’s in the Omelette Rolls. These were my favorites in the set until I had the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with BBQ Chicken and Vermicelli, conveniently served solo in shooters with a soy vinaigrette. The rolls were deceptively light in form, bite and flavor, until I had three too many.

IMG_20140616_214540

Old Cebuano secret, 10 Dove Street, moved out of its former enclave and into a two-level commercial operation. For the launch they served Salmon in Cream on Penne. Plain & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies and Mango Pandan Cake were the sweet endings to the great tasters with coffee offered rather perceptively by the waitstaff.

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

photo courtesy of Oakridge Horizons

Food and drinks fueled almost endless chatter among guests enjoying the cool, nighttime air. The unexpectedly serene Mandaue City nightscape twinkled softly and glowed bluish under the moon. With this great soft unveiling, we’re excited for other exciting events on the horizon here at the Oakridge Horizon.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————-

 

Cebu, Philippines, March 13, 2015 – Oakridge Business Park offers guests a new way to celebrate with the opening of Oakridge Horizons, the premier business park’s second event venue.

Stylishly set on the fifth level of Block Eighty Eight building, Oakridge Horizons welcomes guests with a banquet capacity of over 300 persons, private parking slots and an exclusive foyer.

Spanning more than 900 square meters and outfitted with floor to ceiling glass panels, Oakridge Horizons is the perfect venue for corporate meetings, indoor team building activities, seated dinners, formal galas, grand weddings or a cocktail reception of up to 400 guests.

A sleek wooden deck stretches across 230 square meters of outdoor space and presents an additional entertainment option complete with impressive vistas of the city’s skyline.

To complement its launch, the upscale venue offers a Soft Opening Special. Guests hosting an event at Oakridge Horizons enjoy savings of 20% on venue rental for celebrations from March 1 to April 30, 2015. For inquiries and reservations, guests are invited to contact Oakridge Events at (63 32) 318 8476 or email events@oakridge.com.ph.

Oakridge Business Park smoothly blends business and pleasure in a stylishly versatile mix of office, event and lifestyle spaces. Nestled in the upscale district of Cebu, Oakridge Business Park spans more than four hectares and is home to the multi-awarded Oakridge Pavilion, the glass enclosed Oakridge Horizons, the PEZAregistered Oakridge IT Center 1, and distinctly successful establishments such as Rustan’s Supermarket, Starbucks Coffee, 10 Dove Street, Pancake House, Ramen Yushoken, Big Tom’s Charbroiled Burger and Baobao Babies.

# # #

PRESS CONTACT: Lara Naomi Verdan-Agua     Marketing Services Manager     Oakridge Business Park     Tel: (63 32) 318 6401     Fax: (63 32) 344 3572     E-mail: lara.agua@oakridge.com.ph     Website: www.oakridge.com.ph

–Official Press Info

4.15 Dining Room, Home of Authentic Korean BBQ | This Is Love

Quite difficult to tippytoe alongside my Brapanese brothers, I identify instead with any of the tourist or ESL populations of Japanese, Korean, Chinese Mainlander and, other Oriental nationalities when convenient. Most often, Korean. *strikes the classic Korean V-sign pose*

With the Korean Wave came a slew of Korean restaurants mushrooming all over The Island allowing the appreciation for Korean culture and cuisine beyond Koreanovela kitchen and dining scenes. While I could care less about the melodrama, funky fashion and, repetitive riffs in the music, I am a fan of their food. High on my list is the now defunct Dakimong Chicken Restaurant followed by every Samgyupsal operation along Salinas Drive and Assi Mart for hangover instant noodles, (what used to be the only shop selling) Melona and fancy Korean Ice Creams.

4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014 3

One of my favorite cousins, Arvin, tipped me off on a new Korean resto find and I set out with The PussyKat one Wednesdate. 4.15. Four One Five. Sairo. Oppang jang. Sounds like the makings of yet another KPop hit.

4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

4.15 Dining Room, Home of Authentic Korean BBQ. Read Four-One-Five, Sa-i-ro and, alternatively, Oppang Jang, is (to quote, Love) a “carbon copy” of a restaurant by the same owner, “Lyn”, in Busan, Korea and is so named after Lyn’s April 15th birthdate. In yet another play on industrial chic, bare finished concrete walls and floors serve as a blank space for a dotting of silver steel drum stools and tables. Exposed exhaust pipes crisscross the equally bare ceiling interrupted every few square feet by pendant lights. The Korean novelty begins with the seat cushions coming off to reveal storage space for the patrons bags and other items. Chalkboard menus in English and Korean occupy opposite walls while a canopied prep counter takes up the rear towards the kitchen. The upright air conditioning unit on the far corner is in perpetual Movember and a clock face is projected on a wall. Of course, we were serenaded by the latest KPop ballads broken every other song by their more danceable genres.

Love 4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Cebu Best Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

This is Love. Love love’s her job as it bleeds from her enthusiastic manner of delivering quite detailed information about the restaurant and the food, all while serving and cooking, without skipping a beat. Having been walked through the entire menu, including the acrylic mounted photos of the different kinds of meat adorning a wall, we ordered a Pork Belly and a Marinated Skirt Steak.

20150211_175435

Off came the covered table center and a tin pail of live coals was lowered into the recess. A troughed ring was set above where beaten eggs was poured into one side and the other filled with Kimchi, Radish Kimchi and Korean Bean Sprout Kimchi. Keeping up her chatter, Love explained that the pork cuts are not as uniform as you would usually get from your local butchers or grocery meat sections. Everything is cut by hand as precision cutting machines will have some effect on the integrity of the meat and its flavor. All ingredients here, and equipment, are washed with distilled water, again, to maintain the purity of tastes.

Chopped salads of lettuce with Kimchi and sweet chili-sesame dressing took up space with a generous bowl of Lettuce and Pechay included to wrap the meat in with the sauces, garlic slices and chilies. The Junuleoj was an onion sauce out of sliced onions and sesame seeds in sesame oil coming off pungent with the nutty notes from sesame. The fermented chili paste Sanjang gave out a winey heat.

Pork Belly 4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

The Pork Belly or Samgyeopsal was extremely tender and had that natural porcine sweetness I often mention. Untouched by marinade, the cooked meat was to be enjoyed with the variety of condiments which we did.

Beef Skirt 4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

More live coals were added to maintain the heat and the grill plate was replaced with a wire grill. Galmaegisal or Beef Skirt came next. The well-marbled, red meat sizzled to a soft well done. Again the meat was not marinated allowing the enjoyment of the natural meat taste. The same condiments as in the pork belly worked well with the beef, as well. I may have understood their stand on hand-cutting and distilled water-washing at that point with the registry of full meat flavors.

4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

I was good with all the meats and vegetables and The PussyKat just had to have her rice. Fragrant Ganador was topped with an inclusive fried egg. Add-ons are available for extra.

4.15 Dining Room Home of Authentic Korean BBQ Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Lyn and Love deftly flit from one table to the other of the three occupied at the time of our visit. Lyn shared that her son was studying English here. She loves Cebu and thought of bringing some Busan goodness over starting with 4.15 and (“to be continued”) a Korean Noodle Bar opening sometime later this year. The highly personal and personalized experience at 4.15 is something to go there for on top of great Korean food. The only challenge was how to call on Love for anything without getting The PussyKat’s death stare:

Love! Love! Lov…erm… Um. Miss, misss! Excuse me, misss. Bill please, misss. Thank you, missss…”

 

 

 

 

4.15 Dining Room, Home of Authentic Korean BBQ is located at FLC Center, 888 Hernan Cortes, Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Mr. India | Nameste

Nope. That’s not a typo.

Mr. India. Of all people it was pale, skinny, chinky-eyed, siopao-faced, far-cry-from-Mughal featured me. My high school sophomore class had me represent the homeroom for the male half of the testosterone-inclusive twist to what was usually a female-only annual United Nations pageant. Gamely, I took to the stage with swathes of my grandmothers textile stocks artfully draped by the pre-Dressmaking girls around my legs and around my swollen head. Two weekends of baking myself on the quad to a more believable tan only managed to legitimize me more as the Chinese counterfeit. Documentary proof of all this ever happening have been destroyed. I hope.

I love Indian food. There is always that down-to-earth, real food simplicity in it along with the vibrant complexities of spices and flavors. I’ve always wanted to go to India but definite plans have never materialized and I have so far just contented myself to the cuisine wherever I can access it. Indian sectors in cities around Asia have always been part of what’s usually a meal-based itinerary for my jaunts. Local Indian restos on The Island have also been part of my hunts.

20150314_183923

Having had some Little India, my expectations were really high for the much recommended big brother, Mr. India. It took a while to swing around here with The Gaisano Country Mall location generally out of my regular loops. Taking the chance when a promotional held nearby took us to the area, we excitedly walked into the well-decorated space. The sign outside promised “Authentic Ind an Express Cuinise“. Walls were banded in their national colors of orange, white and, green, cut by decorative gilding and framed prints of Indian cultural performances and architecture. It seemed like a slow Saturday night with only our party of four present at dinnertime.

20150314_185611

I had a Thali by default with what was labeled on the menu as Non-Veg — chicken. The standard sectioned food tray arrived looking a little Spartan with a scoop of Tarka Dal, Chicken Curry, a serving of non-Basmati rice, a Lado and just a single Roti. The Roti was as Roti’s are everywhere, slightly chewy with a lot of toasted, smoky flavor from where it was scorched. The Tarka Dal was on the watery side with a lean to the salty but bearable. The Chicken Curry had enough chicken chunks in it to be filling. I would have loved the sauce to be thicker and wondered how the mild option would taste if that order was already what they called spicy. The dry dessert Lado is possibly the Indian polvoron with its make of paratha flour, sugar and some spice. While that was new to me it didn’t quite sell itself.

20150314_185655

A side order of Chicken Paratha would have been that Thali’s parachute. The Paratha itself was fine but I had a hard time getting the chicken element. Still, it was okay but the yogurt dip was rather watery with a texture and taste a lot more like skimmed milk.

20150314_185115

It wasn’t available as a lassi but the Rose Milkshake did its trick. I’ve always liked that heady flavor since I first had Gelato Eliseo’s Rose Petal Ice Cream. More of a suggestion of the fragrance than an actual floral taste, Rose syrup takes the milkshake game up a notch from the usual.

11004421_851051648300753_1723102154_n

The PussyKat’s Chicken Masala came in a single-serve bowl for what would usually be a to-share price at other Indian places. Though the chicken pieces in it were sizable and the entirety wasn’t at all bad, it had the same watery quality as in the other dishes and we’ve definitely had better.

No different from roadside chicken barbecue in appearance, the Tandoori Chicken was a very Mars landscape red-orange with a lack of moisture to match. I’d digress on account of the accompanying condiments but the Chatni also came terribly flat. The Chai Masala was also sadly off with an sickening rancid aftertaste in the spice. Considering the world’s hungry (or the thirsty) I chugged the rest of the cup to a pronounced wince.

We’ve always wanted to come here. There must be a reason to all that buzz. They have been around for quite a while, after all. Bad night perhaps? Whatever it was just had us doing head bobbles more to shakes than nods. While picture stickers on the wall had some chick decked out in cultural regalia with “Namaste” in boldface bidding us goodbye, we all couldn’t help but feel somewhat “napeste”.

 

 

Napeste. adj. translated from Filipino: bummed out

 

 

Twenty Four Pesos Of Separation II

Twenty Four Pesos of Separation (continued…)

Proving that it’s more fun in the Philippines, we took him on a road trip down South with the highlight being the tourist trap du jour of Whale Shark Watching in my father’s hometown, Oslob. The crowd was pretty thin in comparison to the stampede-crowd-at-six-AM two years ago but the operation has expanded to milk what remains of its latent popularity. Activity prices have since then shot up to a P500 local rate and P1000 for foreigners for the basic swim package. Rafa had his encounter with the gentle giants of the deep while we commandeered a cottage and helped ourselves to the resort’s menu.

At my slightest suggestion to the PussyKat for breakfast, the resort manang conveniently popped up from behind our cottage to take our orders as if in anticipation. I predictably fell for a burger and my girl, even more predictably, went for a Tapasilog.

Butandig Burger Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Her Tapasilog was expectedly nothing fancy and did the trick. What I christened the Butanding Burger had ham, shredded cabbage, ketchup, mayo with a rough patty of what couldn’t possibly be beef between two slices of instnotthatwereoutofburgerbunsthisishowwedoit white sliced bread. I wouldn’t say it was even good but it was strangely satisfying. I wasn’t hungry until noon. Rafa finally came out of the water and worked with the apples we had with us either in atonement for sins committed at the mall strip eats and the downtown eat through of the past two days or in anticipation of more.

Sumilon Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

The PussyKat finally happy with my hard drive’s worth of pictures, we then booked a rather pricey tricycle ride for the Sumilon Island Bluewaters Resort Mainland Reception Beach at the next barangay, Bangcogon. Having our fill of the sights, and more pictures, we jumped onto a passing jeepney to my dad’s ancestral home in Mainit, Oslob.

Sumilon Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

The house was as I have always remembered it to be: a block and mortar ground level shop with a second floor of light materials finished only by the sea breeze. Accordion doors were opened to the store but the grilles kept in place for security. I said hello to Manang Alma to announce my arrival to my dad’s brother, Jesus. He came up to the grilles shortly to exchange small talk but strangely did not let us in. An awkward eternity standing with the grilles between us later, I had to ask if we can be let in to take respite from the heat and have some cold drinks. While I am admittedly not as close or in touch with this side of the family, it hasn’t been that long that I haven’t been in his company. Feeling that we may have overstayed our welcome not fifteen minutes later, I asked for leave to take my guests to the spring pool around the block and to the beach across the street. Now it is expected in what is one of the most hospitable countries in Asia to offer some sort of refreshment to any visitor but the place also being a store made it imperative for me to offer payment in gratitude and a gesture of respect. That is, of course, with the expectation along the cultural and family norm that what is due will be waived. My uncle then mouthed off the prices and summed up the total of the titular twenty four Pesos. Two bottles of Coca Cola and one C2 Green Tea Apple flavor has never left a taste in the mouth more uncomfortable than that.

“Are you sure he is your uncle?”, Rafa laughingly asked when we were finally out of the shop.

IMG_20150307_112059

A Korean-operated beachfront dive hotel probably blocks the view of the beach from the second floor of the house. But I wouldn’t know that for sure now. The beach itself remains natural and untouched. The tide was high and inviting, the sun high and oppressing. Maybe another time.

The spring-fed, flowing-water public pool looked like it had some improvements. Bipedal whale sharks may have had something to do with those and the significantly upped fees for use. The water was cool and inviting, the sun was high and oppressing. Maybe another time.

Carcar Lechon Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Catching the next available bus, we made a stop at Carcar City Public Market for our guest to have a look at the Southern city scene. We were just going to check out the lechon alley and other sections for market goodies. Just to take in the sights, sounds and, scents, you know? We had no plans of eating. The lies we tell ourselves, huh?

Puso Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Here Rafa finally had his puso. On the side was some atchara — pickled papaya, carrot and pimiento — and guso or seaweed in a salad with some onions and tomatoes dressed simply with local vinegar. Full after fending off pesky flies and peskier streetkids throughout the meal, we made our final rounds of the marketplace and courtyard.

Carcar Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Colonial parallels with Ecuador were again drawn in the plaza rotunda setup and the native delicacies. Practically everything with a Spanish name they also have in Ecuador. Chicharon, barquillos, galletas, palmares, etcetera. So much for native.

Rafa with local Flora/Fauna

Rafa with local Flora/Fauna

A multicab took us in the direction of the West Coast high up in the mid-highlands of Barili where we got off at the Milk Station. This popular stop now has their famous Carabao Milk Ice Cream as a soft-serve. It was not much different from regular cow’s milk ice cream except for a heavier mouthfeel and a slightly more intense milk flavor.

Carabao Milk Ice Cream Milk Station Barili Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

All that jumping around already wearing us down, we got on what careened around the bend only to find it already packed. Wanting to get back to the city before nightfall, we stayed on in hopes some passengers getting off along the way would free up some seats. The PussyKat took the first one beside a family too eager to overshare the most inane details of their lives to the rest of the bus. We got ours a city before Metro Cebu.

20150216_165646

One last Filipino meal at Kuya J’s of Lumpiang Sariwa, Chicken Inasal and Pork Barbeque to cap Rafa’s Philippine leg. We were too tired to even take pictures. We bid farewell with the promise of visiting him in Beijing or if it would be opportune, Ecuador.

It used to be no more than six degrees of separation between people. Now we’re quite sure it’s definitely way so much less than that. Give or take a generation, one hundred twenty kilometers and twenty-four Pesos.

 

Twenty Four Pesos Of Separation

It used to be no more than six degrees of separation between each person. The internet and social media shrunk that down to possibly just two. In more local, personal relations it is at one degree, a generation, one hundred twenty kilometers and pushed back by twenty-four Pesos.

2015_03_13_00_26_38

My year in Beijing may as well have been an internship for a degree in International Relations. Each acquaintance — each new friend — connected me to another in what would later be a picture more vibrant and colorful than a Benetton ad campaign. Former colonies all of the Spanish Crown, a predominantly Latin American motley crew naturally became my crowd. An unconventional weekend family grew over food, genuine interest in Chinese culture and everything else essentially laowai. Communication in a bastard mix of English, my Chinese-takeout menu Mandarin and whatever I could muster from college Spanish 101 helped move things along and maintained my ties across what the Great Chinese Firewall would allow a year hence from my repatriation.

photo credit: Rafa

photo credit: Rafa

Representing Ecuador for Team Latin America, Rafael swung by The Island as part of his CNY holiday. Searing himself to a well done at Be Resorts, we gave him more of the tropical sun the next day. Billeting him at the Islands Stay Hotel across Marina Mall made it easy to refer him to Meximama Cocina Latina. When we caught up for a Downtown Heritage Walking Tour, effusions for that Mexican Street Food stall in the most emphatic Latino accent quickly followed pleasantries.

Cafe Sarree Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

Catching up at the uptown branch of Islands Stay Hotel shortly before lunchtime required brunch. We decided to ease him into the scene with a mall experience, the relaxed atmosphere, homey ambience and hearty food of Café Sarree at Ayala Center-Cebu. From the extensive, all-day breakfast menu we had our favorite Fluffy Pancakes along our Silog’s and Breakfast of Champions sets. Skipping dessert, we took Rafa to Islands Souvenirs to get the requisite *name* ❤ Cebu shirt.

photo credit: Rafa

photo credit: Rafa

Our tour began at the Cebu Heritage Monument Park for a concise history lesson on Cebu in a roundabout. The next door Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home never fails to impress with its massive hoard of antiques, backstories and the very fact that the ancient structure still stands. Skipping Casa Gorordo, which was currently under repair, and, Jesuit House of 1730/Ho Tong Hardware, which was closed for the weekend, we proceeded to the oldest and shortest national road in the Philippines, Colon.

Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

The tour, of course, while keeping it cultural and historical, always attempts to introduce the very local and, if possible, the very pedestrian, with stops at every feasible food cart or hole-in-the-wall along the way. The iconic Shamrock was also closed and we ended up escaping the heat for refreshments at the nearby Ngohiong Express where street favorites, Ngohiong, Siomai and Fried Chicken came to the table. For a Pepsi-drinker, Mountain Dew was strangely new to our guest.

Waffle Sa Cathedral Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

We moved over to Plaza Hamabar, the Cathedral Museum and the immediate neighbor, Cebu Cathedral, where we had the yet another snack of waffles and drinks from Waffle Sa Cathedral. Skipping a lot more downtown delights in consideration of a later lechon dinner, we went on to the Basilica del Sto. Nino, Colegio Del Sto.Nino, Magellan’s Cross, City Hall Park and, the exterior of the upcoming Cebu Chinese Heritage Museum. Having previously established cultural similarities, Rafa marveled further at how almost exactly the same The Island and its people are to his coastal home. For once, my tour didn’t seem as much poverty porn as it usually does for my G8 guests.

Kwek-kwek Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awards Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

On the way to Malacanang of Cebu we just had to stop for some Kwek-kwek, a dredged, deep-fried quail egg. With the adjacent Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro giving Rafa a better feel of the everyman’s Sunday, we thought it best to take him on a jeepney ride to our last stop. Sadly, we didn’t make it to the 5PM closing time of Museo Sugbo. We then made for Rico’s Lechon at Acacia to drown our dismay at the latter misfortune in The Island’s iconic specialty.

Purportedly using only garlic and leeks to flavor their lechon, one would wonder what kind of sorcery Rico’s employs to infuse these ingredients into the very meat of the whole roast pig. Soft, juicy and flavorful meat contrasts with the very crispy skin in this all-occasion Cebuano favorite of already thirteen years. While their innovative introduction of a spicy version sparked the current flavored lechon trend, they remain straightforward and bring out wonderful complexities of flavor in simplicity.(a)

Rico's Lechon Rice Pot Pornografeed Best Cebu Blogs Awads Best Cebu Food Blog 2014

We wanted to have our guest experience puso but they only had single servings of rice in miniature rice pots available which made up for the puso in novelty. Calamares and some native sides rounded out the meal washed down by refreshing Buko Slushes. Sadly, the Pinterest craze for Mason Jar Mugs worked its way into the presentation instead of the ideal whole coconut. Overall, it was a wonderful meal and a great introduction to lechon for Rafa.

 

To be continued . . .

 

 

 

 

(a)borrowed from my own write-up for Rico’s Lechon in Sun Star Cebu’s Best of Cebu 2014