Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Than Tuna Fish at GenSan

Polomolok Fruit stands
By now, my kids are now so busy with school activities, after being absent for two days for  a very long weekend vacation at General Santos City.   And yes, part of their hearts were left at GenSan...and so does mine!

Here are just some of the reasons why...

1.  The Tuna fish and products made from it
Being the tuna capital of the country, where the largest tuna canning companies are residing, its not hard to appreciate the humble fish.   You see my kids have acquired a special inkling for maguro sashimi, so that's what they really looked after when we were just planning the trip.
   With the vast supply of tuna, the locals were able to invent dishes and delicacies where it is the major ingredient.   Nothing is thrown away, the panga or jaw is grilled which I found to be very tasty specially when grilled right.   
Even the tuna skin has  found its way to the market being a well-loved junkie, Tuna Chicharon, but I don't want to consider it as a junk, since it has much less cholesterol and rather enjoyably crunchy and satisfying specially when you're on your way to the beach.

2.  Durian
Known by its stinky characteristics, the King of Fruits have captured my distinctive  taste for exotics.   When we  reached the home  of my husband's relatives where we stayed, we were immediately offered a bowl of a cool, ice-cream like in texture, but with a very pungent and strong odor, fruit.    I knew even from a few meters away, that it is the dreaded Durian.   Not to embarrass our hosts, I took the courage to try it.  I felt the cold texture of the creamy meat of the fruit, as advised, you should take a big spoon serving of it into your mouth, to truly savor it.   What magic and joy,  I was mesmerized with the play of flavors which lingers in your tongue.  It is like an almond-flavored ice cream, with a waft of jack fruit and the sweetness of vanilla on a cream cheese.
I will be doing a separate post on the different goodies made and being sold with these.  It's ample in SOCSARGEN areas but more known to be a bounty in Davao.

3. Other Fruits from SOCSARGEN

The sweet and silky Marang
Dole's Pineapples, succulent, refreshingly-sweet without that after-bite that you fell after eating a few.  See how  yellow it is and how it was easily  sliced open with its thin  skin.  We were able to buy it in a basket, at about 5 kilos or more for only P 200.  So "sulit." 

3.   The Spring waters of Olaer Swimming  Resort.

Located at Brgy.  Apopong, this premier cold spring resort at Gen San is a refreshing refuge form the heat and dust of the downtown.  You either bask in the sun or dip into the cool pool of spring waters.

4.  Gumasa Beach (Coco Beach Resort) of  Sarangani

"I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you."
-- Author Unknown
 February 26, our wedding anniversary.
As you can see, we decided to spend it with the kids this time, with friends in GenSan and my husband's relatives.  It was worth the time-spent with the them, as I've said, "what we had was a priceless experience."
The place is safe, where the waves are mild and the sand is fine and pure.  These kids enjoyed immersing in eco-friendly play with the sea creatures that are always present
The long stretch of white sand apt for sports like volleyball
Post card perfect view of the sunset

Here at Sarangani, during the day,  the sky is azure,  reflected on the sea and making the color even brighter with white sand and the greenery of the mountain ridges surrounding the bay, no wonder why it is called, the Boracay of Mindanao.
At dusk, when the sun sets, the sky ablaze with a phalanx of colors, orange, yellow, red, blue...making it a perfect back drop for pre-nup or romantic photos...

5.  Pacquio's Residence and other properties

6.  Sarangani Province Provincial Capitol

7. Crocodile and Ostrich Meats 
Crocodile Sisig
Ostrich   Steak
 This are two exotic dishes out of my bucket list, in one sitting.   I will be doing a separate blog for this , which will definitely blow your mind off.  A hidden valley in GenSan's appetite indulgence.

8.  Balbacuahan
This is where locals gather during lunch for their steamy beef soup, known as Balbacua an alternate for Bulalo.  A roadside delight to satiate every hungry travelers, factory workers and just about anyone who crave for a comforting dish that is not heavy on the pocket.  Another of those unassuming places where you get exquisite cholesterol-laden comfort dish that would only cost you  P35.00 a bowl and a small plate of rice for P 5.00.   According to Market Manila blogger, it originated from Cebu.  Mainly made of  hooves, cow skins, and oxtails.  But none of those where present in my bowl, thank God, only tender beef shanks, and some glutinous skin fats.  Smells like Bulalo, but the taste is different in that, only spring onions are present, a hint of beans can also be tasted and the brownish-red soup thickened with oily liquid  from the spices and the fatty meat made it all a good lunch partnered with a bottle of chilled Coke  to replace some water lost due to heat of GenSan.

But what made the vacation worth all the pennies is  the warm welcome we received from our relatives.  They made their place our home away from home.  Their love and  kindness made our stay so much fun and relaxing.  They have set aside their work time just to bring us to places far reached by ordinary  people,  have us experience things  we couldn't have imagined doing and even sent us off to the airport, embedding the treasure left at our hearts.
Donned in fashionable malongs, which were supposed to be "pasalubong" for friends back in Manila.
 There are so much more to see and experience at GenSan, that includes a  day tour to neighboring Southern Cotabato towns.  More restaurants and coffee shops emerging, SM and Robinson's malls and oh, no traffic!

So till our next visit, Gen San!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Missing Italy Ever So Badly!

 Eleven-thirty in the evening...
Dead-tired, but not done yet with all the house-chores, and oh why am I here blogging my way out of the  cumbersome, back-ache-giving chores.   It is at this wee hour where I can think out loud, scream my thoughts out and flood this blog with words.
It is this kind of a night when  the scattered glitters at sky tell you tomorrow is going to be a hot and sunny day and you don't have any excuse not to do your laundry or water the plants in the garden and yeah,  take care of your family.   The kind of days which reminds you of snow flakes on the window sills, gush of cold winterly wind, sniffles, warm wooly over-all's and Italy.
Here is a picture of us, five of us, nine years ago.  Taken at a busy night inside Quadrilatero d’Oro or Brera,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dark Chocolate Wrapped Pastillas de Leche

Snuggling back down into a cushion, I paused for a moment and enjoy the buzz of anticipation, as Yahoo mailbox popped open and seeing a number of my Kulinarya mates, posting their blog d=for this month's entry.   Then I crack a mid-sized dark chocolate and popped one cube part into my mouth, savoring the velvety, smooth texture of the rich cocoa flavour of Tudor Gold 55% Dark Chocolate.  As it melted  deliciously in my mouth, I remembered it wasn't this good when I was a kid, then I said "Why not?"
When I was nine years old, right after our afternoon siesta (rest), though I usually pretended to be asleep so I could watch TV afterwards or go out and play on the street, we would watch Batibot.  It is a daily children's educational and cultural show, and it is were I learned how to make Pastillas De Leche even in my childhood.  But what really ran virtually  through my mind was how it was well  presented, in those days, I guess.   In olden days, in the towns of Bulacan and Quezon, women would wrap these  heavenly sweets in beautifully cut up papers, dangles something like a miniature lantern out of craft or Japanese paper, before it was sold in stores.  
Those times when craft scissors haven't been invented, primary colored Japanese papers were only available and the local chocolates that satisfied us were Goya cubes and Serg's Milk bars, and boys tease girls for fun.   But it was pretty stern at school, boys started to get crushes and boy oh boy, this story would get more cheesy.
A pretty smile now shows on my face, remembering how having crushes and making pastillas would wake you up really early.   I particularly remember this boy, who happened to be by classmate from Kindergarten up to Grade Six.   This thin and brown boy who happened to be always on the top of our class list, graduated with a Valedictorian title and lots of medals and ribbons strung to his graduation toga, while I only have one and oh a very pretty and sweetly-scented sampaguita lace.  He was charming, though not that amicable, maybe because he is a son of a teacher who also taught in the same school.  Most of my classmates would see him as a geek or nerd, but I don't, I find him sweet though quiet.   He has the most neat hand-writing, even though he was left-handed, he sew ever so neatly,  even taught me how to, since  my mom were not with us , and no one at home taught me.  I could still remember a lot from this guy, but of course we grew up, went to different schools and college, now he maybe off to a different country and might have a beautiful family already.  And here I am...married to a guy, not that he's less comparable to my then elem classmate, but the irony is they have the same first name, Danilo.   Oh yeah, they bought love Pastillas de Leche.
So there my ultimate cheesy love-story in a short minute.
That then is my inspiration for this month's Kulinarya challenge.

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

But I made a few twists on the much coveted Filipino delicacy.   The original recipe calls for lemon rind, but I don't have a lemon, so I put a teaspoon of pure  lemon  extract.  Then I rolled it in the chocolate ground bits.
Then of course tried as I may, cut some Japanese paper, but this I think, I should have given more time, it's not as lacey and crafty as it was in the Batibot show, but that will do for now,  the goodness still lies on what's inside the wrapper, the Dark Chocolate-covered Pastillas De Leche.

Here is how to make it...
  • 1 14oz can of condensed milk
  • 2 cups powdered milk (I used Birch Tree full cream powdered)
  • 1 tsp lemon pure extract
  • grind Tudor Gold 55% Dark Chocolate

  1. Combine condensed milk, powdered milk, and lemon rind in a pan.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture forms into ball. Let cool.
  3. Dust large cutting board with confectioner’s sugar.
  4. Flatten milk mixture on cutting board with rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Cut into 2-1/2″x1/2″ pieces.
  6. Roll in slivered or ground chocolate.  This part was abit tricky, make sure the pastillas is already cool, and make sure the temp inside the room is also not hot, and chocolates are hard and cold.
  7. Wrap each piece in the finely cut up ]Japanese paper or cellophane if you choose.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chocolate on a Spoon

If only there is a job that would pay chocolate coins, I'd write countless words for them.
If only I have hectares of land to develop, I'd have cacao trees planted on them.
If there is a river of it I'd not stop from swimming in it.
If the yellow brick road leads to the Wizard of chocolates, I'd come with Dorothy and would not mind wearing another red ruby splatters.
Haahh!   If it is just like love...pain would not matter!

Last February 14, I didn't recieve any flowers, nor chocolates, nothing, even a word of love to satiate my hunger for it!    Good thing, Powerplant Mall opened the Concourse  for  A Valentines Day edition of Baker's Dozen.   Purveyors  of sweet indulgence lined up the floor siding with chocolate and candy fairies and befriended bakers making it a one stop gift market for the loved ones.
Days after, on a gloomy hour for a  late breakfast,  I suddenly came to my senses remembering the black-dotted  plastic bag, I went home with.   I pulled it out  from its secret spot inside my special box.  Got me a cup, filled it with fresh milk and  heated it in the microwave.   As the  timer ticked away,  my pores went open and hairs started to rise , though I could not run to the table, I made it easily.

Then grabbed one box of the Cru Kitchen's  Choco Spoon, Dark Chocolate.   Dunked it in the cup of steamy milk.   As I slowly stirred it, carefully so as not to spill any milk on my new table runner, my tongue go swirling all over my mouth, anticipating the smooth and sensual experience after.

Curled in a fetal position, nestled in the corner of the kitchen, I sipped a few,  furiously checking Blogger.    My descent into madness is so steep as to be in free-fall.   Then nothing matters anymore, only the the luxurious sensation and comfort a good hot chocolate it gives...with its smooth, chocolate streaks and nibblets afloat, the mini-marshmallow slowly melting, fairly sweetened with a slight bittery kick at the end.  

Thank God for late breakfasts such as this.

Oh, chocolate, forever is not enough for me to love you so...

I bought this at  The CRU KITCHEN  stall at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell.   You can go there every weekend.   They will be there  till the last weekend of Feb.   Check them out and be sure to find more delectable classic desserts and snacks.

They come in Dark chocolate, White chocolate and Sugar-free 

You may call them at 8284474/  09209278188
Email them at
Facebook:  crukitchen

My Food Trip Friday Entry

Orienting Ourselves with Kefir Ice Cream

Okay! Okay!  We've decided, we will delegate more of our time to looking for stuff that would aid us in giving our daughter longer and healthier life, that speaks for the rest of the family.   My third daughter you see, or if you may have known, is diabetic Type 1.  At 8 she  suffers  from taking insulin injection, constant  blood sugar monitoring,  yearly hospitalization and just about any other condition that goes with her disorder.    We are dying to try natural remedies, that includes organic and  herbal, yet kid friendly products. 
For starters, we managed to ban some preserved meats and junked foods in the house, even store-bought candies and chocolates.   We have separate sugar canisters, one for our regular cane sugar, and another for  coco sugar, which is specifically for her.
We have spent a lot on unbranded herbal remedies from alternative health doctors, changed our sugar diet to low-glycemic  and sugar-free snacks and  desserts, which were unquestionably expensive.  but we will not wane from doing so because in the end, we will all benefit from it.
Everyday is a day of new discovery for us, new products arising to our aid and people offering services and goods which I agree would give us a healthier lifestyle.
To end my long introduction, I want to share what I have discovered during the  workshop I attended at Sugarleaf at the new MEDI-Card Lifestyle Center, at Makati.
Instead of sharing what I learned about writing PR's  at the From Plate to Pen Writing Workshop, I want to let you in on a new dessert  breakthrough,  that would sure make your taste buds and tummy well-pleasured,  Kefir Ice cream!
To give you and me a bit of info about kefir, I stumbled upon this site Your Kefir & Kefir Grains Source.  At one event I met Ms. Jane Uy-Matiao, who talked me into culturing Kefir and the benefits you will get from using kefir in your dishes.  I only know that there is one Ice Cream Salon at Mall of Asia who serves them in a variety of flavors.
Kefir is a cultured milk drink. The word originated from the word “Keif” which means “good feeling” or “pleasure” and this has been around for centuries!  Actually it is the same as yogurt.  They are both fermented/cultured dairy products. Both are great sources for calcium, B vitamins, potassium and protein. Both have the same slightly acidic flavor too. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

There are those who claim that it is better than yogurt in the way that the good bacteria in yogurt has smaller life span than kefir and harder to take care in the process of fermentation.  And in my testimony it tastes better, having a lighter consistency and the right tartness without being stingy.
I am right now finding ways of  culturing  and  getting more  information about kefir.
Maybe we are not yet on the level of producing or culturing kefir but this will be for sure, we will come to that.   For now let me just tell you that Sugarleaf sells the non-dairy coconut kefir ice cream in tubs or in single serve cups.  Such flavors as pistachio and berries, strawberries,  triple chocolate (raw cacao-tsokolate-cocoa), blueberry cheesecake and mooncake (black bean-duck egg-watermelon seed) and a whole lot more, will teach your palate to be in the healthy lifestyle.
Wouldn't those flavors entice your interest in kefir?
You can actually savor them at their upstairs cafe, where you can also find  a delightful healthy-eats menu.   
The minty walls and comfy chairs invites you to relax at a pace where you can be educated about the modern way of conscious eating,  thus suggests their  theme,  Sugarleaf ... foods that nourish.
Here is a teaser to their all-day menu...
...a cocktail serving of their crab stick and mango goody wrap.
And so, I am now their new and will be an avid customer.


Makati branch:  MEDICard Lifestyle Center at 51 Paseo de Roxas corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Urdaneta Village, Makati City

Greenhills branch:  G/F Heatlh Cube Building, 226 Wilson Street, West Greenhills (between BDO and Kink Cakes), San Juan


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PART TWO: I Ate Around the World for Valentines

As what says on the title, this is the concluding part  to the dreamy night we had on the 13th of February of 2012.   PART ONE, gives you an idea of what to expect at Manila Hotel's  Cafe Ilang-Ilang.
Here is where I have chronicled how my tummy have tasted the different nations auctioned at the restaurant.
We were seated near the East Asian section, so begun our plight.   I'm sure, to any one dining on a buffet, you might, in one way or another have taken aback.  Of course, in any meal, you begin with soup, then the salad, followed by the entree and the rest is history.   To be honest, upon seeing the restaurant, we didn't think where to begin.  We never knew at first, how the cafe was set up.  We thought it was like more of any typical buffet you know, hotels do have different set ups, depending on the theme they proclaim,  and this was way over our prevision.
How can we fit the whole world in our tummy in just one night?
HIS:  Thai dishes, grilled pork spare ribs, sauteed spicy  prawns,  steamed veggies and Thai rice.
HERS:  Indian and Thai start-up, with sour rice covered with leaves, vegetable Samosa, Indian heart-shaped vegetable patty, pappardums with bean paste dip, Thai style  beef tapa, and chilli prawns.
 HIS:  Husband, got all the smoked, seared and fresh pink salmon slices.  And the US prime Roast beef with venison meat.
HERS:  Sopa de Binakol.   A comforting rendition of Sopa de Ajo, with coconut meats added on the soup base.  As soon as my spoon made a dent on the flaky pastry, I said "Ahhh!"  this is what a perfect soup is,  hearty with all the  crunchy stringed vegetables,  smooth chicken flakes, cooked coconut meat, all covered in a flaky pastry puff.  A complete dish in itself, which I've practically finished leaving my tummy half full.
Followed after with a variety of cheese and baguete slices with green olives,  tiger prawn cocktail, seared scallop salad.
We went berserk, frantic and deliberately gluttony, every time we replace our plates, we would take a bite off, forgetting we need to shoot it first.  So at this point we have forgotten we are food bloggers.  God forgive us, we became gluttons.