Showing posts with label Ilonggo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ilonggo. Show all posts

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Comfort food: home-cooked pansit molo

My recent homecoming trip to Cabatuan, Iloilo was a most welcome change of pace. I remembered that I used to come home to recharge my batteries regularly including the time when I was studying in Japan. That was almost every year until the streak basically stopped after I came home, got married, and got busier at work. Last month, I finally was able to return to our home in Cabatuan where I have a lot of happy memories that to this day I cherish and remember with fondness.

Among the memories was the good food I ate there. This was usually cooked by my aunts with Nanay Paring and Nanay Nene usually rotating in cooking our favorite dishes. Of course, it won't be Iloilo if we didn't have the popular Ilonggo dishes. As if she read my mind, one of my closest cousins, Manang Dora, cooked molo. This was quite the perfect comfort food for me and the taste brought back a lot of my childhood memories.

Molo just the way I like it
It happened to be quite rainy when I was in Iloilo and so the hot soup and dumplings were just right for us to keep warm during the cool weather. Now I do look forward to the next trip back to Cabatuan. Perhaps that should be soon and with our daughter Ally coming, too, to meet her relatives from Tatay's side of the family.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our home in Iloilo

I searched for my father's hometown in Iloilo on Google Earth and Google Maps before but didn't use the street view option. Last time around and after coming home I decided to take another look and to check if Google's street view includes the streets near our home there. Lo and behold! It does include them and the Google survey vehicle even passed in front of our home. And so we now have nice images of our home online. Below are the images that I embedded here using Google's features:

I can now go to Google Maps and click on the Street View option whenever I feel like I need to "go home".

Friday, March 17, 2017

Catholic Cemetery of Cabatuan, Iloilo

Nanay Nene was finally laid to rest last Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the Cabatuan cemetery. The cemetery is located at the outskirts of the town but along the national highway that eventually leads to the next town of Sta. Barbara as well as the access road to the airport, which is on land within the jurisdiction of Cabatuan. The cemetery is centuries old and is easily identified by its distinctive main gate and mortuary chapel. I decided to post photos I took last Monday when I visited the cemetery to see the progress of preparations at our family tomb located beside the chapel. Nay Nene was to join her parents, other siblings and close relatives who had passed away years ago and Tatay and my cousin Manong Joam already made arrangements for her interment here. Meanwhile, a close nephew, Dexter, committed to improving the tomb in addition to works he already had done for the tombs bearing his parents, my cousins.

Mortuary chapel
Mortuary chapel wall and grills
Details on the mortuary chapel
Altar and crucifix
Main gate featuring a centuries old arch leading to the mortuary chapel
There was a time when a clear view of the chapel from the main gate was blocked by the tomb of the town's most prominent son, Tomas Confesor. He was a prominent senator during the Commonwealth and after the Second World War. That tomb was eventually moved to the town plaza.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sarsa, UP Town Center

There is an Ilonggo restaurant at the UP Town Center. We sort of discovered if the one time we were there last December. We have not had Ilonggo food in a while and kind of missed eating chicken inasal and molo so we decided to try Sarsa. The Clairvoyant had heard about this restaurant by a chef who we sometimes chance upon on TV and was recommended by those who already ate here. For me, Ilonggo food was comfort food and I didn't mind eating this on a more regular basis.

The menu and their specialties are on the board
Inasal lumpia?
Pancit molo just the way we like it
Inasal na pecho (chicken breast)
I forget what this was but I seem to recall it was a special for the day (or week?) so we tried it.
Sarsa was, as expected, comfort food and it is most welcome among the restaurants at the UP Town Center. The inasal was just right and the so was their inasal lumpia. The pancit molo was also good and refreshing; perhaps perfect for rainy days. The prices are also just right for a non-fast food restaurant. It's no wonder a lot of people especially families and other big groups eat there. 

While I look forward to eating there again soon, I am not so sure about going to UP Town Center as frequently as we do to UP Village and our suki restaurants there. The traffic is pretty bad going there especially during lunch period although the parking situation's better and one does have the option to avail of valet services.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Lola's adobong manok

I had wanted to write about some happy memories late last year but thought it was most apt for New Year's Day. This is about the adobong manok (chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce with bay (laurel) leaves) that my lola, Tatay's mother, cooked for us when she was still able. I remember she used to travel to Manila from Iloilo almost every Christmas in the 1970s. We usually went home for vacation during the Holy Week when Tatay could have longer leaves. Those times, it usually took from 22 to 26 hours by boat between Iloilo and Manila but as long as the weather was okay, travel didn't make you tired so lola wasn't so tired when Tatay fetched her at the port (Pier 2 as I recall as this was where the Negros Navigation ships docked). Every time, she brought with her a small pot or caldero containing adobong native chicken that she had cooked at our home in Cabatuan. Adobo is just the kind of food that could survive a whole day's travel. There was something special about that adobo and not just because lola made it from ingredients from Iloilo but because it was made with a lot of love.

We could never enjoy my lola's cooking again since she passed away in the early 1980s. But then whenever we had a chance we brought native chicken raised at our home in Cabatuan so we can at least recreate some of our favorite chicken dishes with the main ingredient no less. Recently, Tatay came back from Iloilo with some native chicken and below are a couple of photos of the adobo.

Adobo using native chicken from our home in Cabatuan, Iloilo
A close-up of the native chicken adobo


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Old photos: Cabatuan, Iloilo

My old Pentax camera had a panorama feature that I liked to use even though it cost me more whenever I had these developed and printed. I remember I had a collection of panoramic photos but most of the negatives and prints didn't survive Ketsana's (Ondoy's) floods. One of the early panorama photos I took was of my father's hometown of Iloilo from atop the Balik hill the town uses as Mt. Calvary for its Lenten activities. I recall that my cousins and I just finished climbing the hill together with hundreds of others and marveled at the view of the town. I made sure to get a panoramic shot and it sure seemed the most appropriate to take as a souvenir back then. It still is now.

Cabatuan town as seen from atop Balik hill - the most identifiable landmark is at center left, the centuries old Catholic Church at the town plaza


Friday, November 6, 2015

Undas traffic

Metro Manila traffic is usually lighter during Undas – the days when we remember those who passed away. Many people go back to their hometowns and this is significant because many residing or working or studying in Metro Manila hail from other provinces. Of course, some people would rather go on a vacation during this time with many now opting to travel abroad rather than braving crowded cemeteries of their hometowns. Some do the so-called ‘staycations’ – basically staying put at home during the undas break (Sorry, staying in a hotel is technically not a ‘staycation’ as many people claim it to be.)

What are the facilities that are expected to be congested? These would be the gateways from Metro Manila to other provinces. These would be airports, sea ports, bus terminals and major roads connecting Metro Manila to the provinces. There would be similar situations in other gateways as well such as in Cebu in the Visayas and Davao in Mindanao. Of course, all roads leading to cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums. These roads would be filled with people (mostly walking) and vehicles (mostly private cars and tricycles and pedicabs if local roads) who congregate in these areas to remember and pay tribute to their dead.

The congestion experienced in most roads during this time of year is usually manageable and local governments can and are usually prepared to address transport and traffic issues within their jurisdictions. Tollways also employ their own strategies and tactics to deal with toll plaza congestion. The Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issues additional temporary permits to bus companies to field more vehicles along high demand routes. Meanwhile, airports and seaports would have to deal with their own versions of congestion though it is expected that such peaking or spiking up of travel activity can be handled by many airports and ports considering that these facilities are supposed to be designed for higher than usual demands.

In our case, my side of the family usually went to Iloilo during this time of year. We got to tag along as the holidays coincided with the semestral breaks of our schools. Our dead are in the Cabatuan cemetery, which is also famous for its Spanish period chapel. It's actually been a long time since I've last went there to pay my respects to our lola (our grandmother and mother of my father), our aunts and uncles, and cousins. Since it was a short break, we usually took the airplane to and from Iloilo so we could maximize the time we spent there. I will be writing about these trips in another post...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sentimental about Iloilo

My recent trip to Iloilo brought back a lot of memories. I have many photos from my childhood vacations in Cabatuan but few remain after most of them were destroyed by the floods of Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009. So every time I go back to Iloilo, whether or not I have the opportunity to pass by our home in my father's hometown, I try to get a few photos here and there to (re)create memories of the city and the towns I knew since childhood. Here's a few photos I took a couple of weeks ago including a couple taken from my hotel room. 

Iloilo City sunset - I have seen many sunsets here but I don't recall taking photos. It seemed to me as if the sunsets will always be there.
Iloilo City waterfront taken during the evening from the rooftop of the new Iloilo City Hall building.

A shot of what was the old airport at the Mandurriao district of the city. I remember we either took a ship or flew via this airport to Iloilo. My first flight that I could remember was on a turboprop plane (SD 360?) and then later there were jet services using the BAC 1-11. Those were in the 1970s and 1980s. The runway is now a highway and the old control tower is still standing. Hopefully, the developer will not demolish the tower and preserve it as a museum or perhaps something more functional (e.g., part of a fire station or maybe a restaurant?).
We bought mangoes at a fruit stand in Jaro. We learned that the mangoes are from the town of Leon. We would have preferred mangoes from Guimaras but Iloilo mangoes are also very good. I recall that Leon was also one of the province's towns well-known for its mangoes. I bought a few kilos to tide us over the week. Some were a bit green so they would ripen and be just right for eating in a few days. [Note: The bananas were not from Iloilo.]
I hope to be in Iloilo again soon and perhaps try going to Guimaras to explore the attractions of the island. Despite being Iloilo so many times in the past, I have yet to go on a trip to Guimaras. That would be something to look forward to maybe this coming summer when we plan our regular trip for our vacation.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Iloilo City waterfront

I was back in what I refer to as my fatherland for a conference in Iloilo City. Iloilo City has evolved much over the last few years thanks to good governance on the part of the previous and current mayors as well as generous assistance from its representatives in Congress including one senior politician who has been very supportive of infrastructure projects for the regional capital of Western Visayas. The city has a new city hall and the mayor hosted a post conference dinner at the penthouse located on the 7th floor of the building. Unfortunately, he could not personally come to the dinner as he was called to a meeting in Manila, which we assumed was likely connected to Iloilo being one of the chosen cities to host meeting for next year's APEC summit in the Philippines. 

While waiting for the other participants to arrive at the dinner venue, we explored the open area of the penthouse that afforded visitors with a great view of the city. Though we could imagine that the views would be good whether it was daytime or nighttime, the evening gave us a distinctive look at the city after dark. The waterfront was definitely a sight to see at nighttime especially as the lights gave a different feel for the surrounding area and it helped that there was a cool breeze that made it very comfortable to walk around while waiting for our dinner to be served.

The Iloilo City waterfront taken from the penthouse of the new Iloilo City Hall
Iloilo City has transformed a lot from the city that I knew from my childhood days. The transfer of the airport from Mandurriao to the site in Cabatuan was a big factor as the former airport grounds is now being developed into a modern CBD. In fact, I believe that efforts for restoring and preserving the old buildings that are part of the city's heritage gained significant ground as the city suddenly had more land that could be developed without demolishing the olds buildings. Decongesting the old city center is now underway and the tall buildings that are often associated with big cities are now under construction, giving the city a very urbanised cityscape in a few years. I just hope that the city doesn't lose its Ilonggo appeal with more people coming to the city from elsewhere (not West Visayas) to make it their home.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Leftovers and New Year's Day meals

It's the day after New Year's and I'm sure there are still a lot of leftovers at many people's homes much like the food left after Christmas Day. In our case, there's still some including the round-shaped fruits though I won't call the fruits leftovers. As usual, we had grilled food for media noche as well as some wine. This year we didn't have pasta for media noche, opting for lumpia and leftover Christmas ham in addition to grilled tuna, chicken and hotdogs. The new thing was that we happened upon this Israeli wine at a nearby supermarket before Christmas that we decided to try out, even laughing that the pedigree for the wine went back to Bibilical times. We forgot to bring the bottle to my in-laws' home for Christmas lunch. The bottle ended up as part of dinner at a friend's home as the Clairvoyant brought it as her contribution for their informal reunion in preparation for their High School Homecoming later this January. It turned out to be a good bottle of Emerald Riesling, a semi dry white wine, of 2009 vintage that was bottled by Carmel Zion/Askalon apparently just before it was sold by the original owners.

Wine and grilled food for media noche, and puto, fruits and native chocolate for the morning after
It's the simple breakfast of puto (steamed rice cake) and tsokolate that I miss from vacations in Iloilo from when I was a child. It's simple for most people now but for me it's unique in a way due to the sentimental value that I put into such memories that hopefully I can still recreate. The puto manapla in the photo above was a pasalubong from my father who went home to his hometown in Iloilo recently. It is popular in the Visayas and we regularly get these in Iloilo and Negros for breakfast or merienda. It's very good with coffee or chocolate.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Buto't Balat

The last time I was in Iloilo was when I delivered a keynote lecture for a symposium organized by the Metro Iloilo - Guimaras Economic Development Council (MIGEDC). That was almost 3 years ago when I was still Director of our research and extension center at UP Diliman. When we went out for dinner, my staff led us to a new restaurant near the still unfinished Plazuela de Iloilo. We had a nice dinner there and I remembered the restaurant when we recently were walking around Plazuela and trying to decide where to have our dinner. Only a few minutes walk from the Plazuela, we easily got a seat on that weekday evening.

Entrance - I didn't notice the child seated near the walkway to the restaurant when I took the photo
I found the lamps at the restaurant amusing and likely interesting to the wife
Located near the waterways, there was surprisingly no mosquitoes or other insects. The restaurant management did a good job on this and is surely a plus for their customers.
I think this photo pretty much captures the ambiance of the place. It's great for dates and for barkada nights out. It can also be a good place for clandestine meetings like those talking business over dinner.
We ordered mostly grilled food including the very delightful managat (mangrove jack). We also had soup from the head of the managat mixed with vegetables.
Buto't Balat is located beside the Plazuela Iloilo and a short walk from the Diversion Road. It can get quite crowded during weekends but on weekdays, especially early dinner, its not difficult to get a good table.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tinukib Souvenir Center

En route to Iloilo City from the airport, I spotted a large building in the middle of a rice field along the city-bound direction of the national road. I noticed a sign indicating it was a souvenir center and I asked our driver about this. He mentioned to us that it was indeed a new souvenir and a one-stop shop where Ilonggo products were on display and for sale. The name of the souvenir center is Tinukib, an Ilonggo  or Hiligaynon word that translates into "discovery." While it is not yet at the level of the huge souvenir centers in Bangkok, Bali and other cities, it is a good idea and set-up for the province and especially the  town of Pavia, which is strategically located between the airport and the city.

Tinukib features a wide range of Ilonggo products including furnitures and fabrics
These lamps including those made with capiz shells are of the highest quality. The dolls in the boxes are Dinagyang dolls celebrating the annual festival held in the city.
Hand-made products like picture frames, book stands, coasters and pen holders are popular souvenirs.
There are other items, big and small, at the center including the usual bags, key chains and shirts.
I think the best items here are those made of fabric, particularly pinya (pineapple fiber) and hablon (jusi or banana fiber), which the province takes pride in producing.  I myself prefer these fabrics for my formal wear (Barong Tagalog) and I wore pineapple fiber barong for my wedding and other formal functions that I have attended. In the photo is a hablon dress and in the background are table runners, shawls, scarves, handkerchiefs and other items made from hablon.
Hablon weave on display at the pasalubong center. Hablon is also the preferred fabric for the sablay or sash used by the University of the Philippines for formal functions (e.g., graduation ceremonies). These are manufactured exclusively in Iloilo City and distributed by the UP Alumni Association.
They have ready-to-wear barong made of pinya, hablon or a combination. There are not much to choose from, however, and Tinukib staff would recommend a visit instead to a shop in Arevalo specializing in these fabrics.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Lunch at Breakthrough

The top ten lists for restaurants in Iloilo City often have the top two as a toss-up between Tatoy's and Breakthrough, both located in the city's Arevalo district. Writing about Ponsyon in the previous post, I just had to write a brief one on its "mothership" Breakthrough. It happened that my friends haven't eaten at Breakthrough despite also having traveled to Iloilo a number of times. And so I decided to bring them there especially considering it was a nice day and I was sure we would have a great view of the sea.

Beachfront view from within the restaurant
At the beach - not white sands like Boracay but clean and not hot to step upon. That's Guimaras Island in the horizon.
Bounty of the sea - squid, shrimps, blue marlin and seaweed (the crabs we ordered were not yet served when the photo was taken). I always order coconut water (buko juice) fresh from the shell (or with the shell) whenever its available.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Ponsyon by Breakthrough

When in Iloilo, we usually try to make time to be able to lunch or dine at Tatoy's in the Arevalo district of the city. There, we enjoy native chicken inasal and grilled seafood. This time around, we weren't planning to go to Tatoy's but instead tried out other restaurants in the city, particularly at the Plazuela de Iloilo. The Plazuela is a relatively new development beside SM City Iloilo and has become a popular hangout for many people of different ages. Perhaps the most popular restaurant at the Plazuela is Ponsyon, which is related to another very popular restaurant in Arevalo - Breakthrough.

Clam soup and kinilaw na tanguigue
Grilled pork liempo and cuttlefish (lukon)
The sizzling scallops were perfect - and spicy
The sign for the restaurant indicates its affinity with the popular Breakthrough restaurant in Arevalo.
It is hard to get a table at Ponsyon during the peak lunch and dinner hours. As such, it is highly recommended that unless one is able to make reservations, it is better to have an early or late lunch or dinner. Otherwise, you'd just have to wait patiently for a table. Anyhow, their attentive staff will be attending to you and provide you with the menu so you can browse it and maybe even place your orders (it takes some time to cook).


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Singapore Redux: Chinatown

We met up with our friend Tonet at Singapore's Chinatown. Along the way, we bumped into, Art, a former student of mine UP Diliman who is now working as an engineer in the city-state. Art decided to join us to meet up with Tonet and have dinner later on. He was familiar with the area having worked there in one of their projects. I was happy to hear from him that he was involved in transport infrastructure projects, particularly the SMRT line that is currently under construction. 

Following are a few photos we took during our stroll around Chinatown. The place was very interesting because of the shops and I was very impressed not just by the cleanliness but also by the well-preserved buildings. It also helped that many were colorful and allowed for one to imagine being taken back to the past when the area must have looked practically the same as the present time.

View of Pagoda Street when one emerges from the SMRT station
View of Pagoda Street towards the SMRT station
Restaurants and shops line up the side streets. Note, too, the red lanterns that add to the ambiance of the district.
The shops include those selling souvenirs and collectibles
There are many clothes shops featuring RTWs, children's clothes and even traditional clothing like cheongsams and fabrics
Parked vehicles line up along Temple Street where motor vehicles are allowed. Note in the other photos that the main parts of the area are pedestrianized.
Another view of Temple Street with a sign indicating loading/unloading regulations
We took photos of the facades of the buildings
The facades reminded me of similar architecture in the Little India district
There are also similarities to the colorful buildings of Jonker Walk in Melaka
It would be interesting and certainly nice if Philippine cities would have programs where the old city centers are preserved. Iloilo supposedly had one a decade ago but last time I checked that went nowhere.
More colorful buildings in Singapore's Chinatown, all taken with my trusty BlackBerry Bold
I was a bit surprised to see this marker for Japanese Street, which was part of Chinatown. The marker provides visitors with information about the area, particularly its history.