Rediscovering Asiong’s Restaurant

Fed-up, tired and cloying from staying indoor due to the pandemic, me and 3 of my close colleagues decided to sneak out of the metro.  Despite the continuous spike in coronavirus cases, we agreed to break the monotony of staying in our respective houses and drove up to the scenic city-province of Tagaytay, an hour and a half drive south of Manila just to have lunch. 

We nevertheless took extra precautions prior to leaving the metro.  We were wearing face-masks and face-shields, brought along bottles of alcohol and I even have a huge pack of disinfecting surface wipes!

But only about five minutes away from our destination, we encountered a highway check point.  To make the story short, we were prevented from entering Tagaytay because we do not have the local government’s required travel pass to enter the province.  Yeah, this is how strict it is here in the Philippines due to this ridiculous pandemic.

We made a U turn yet decided to still have lunch someplace else.  And when I turned on Google to check for the nearest highly recommended restaurant, it responded ‘Asiong’s’.

I remember having dined at Asiong’s in the past.  I know that the food is really good but the atmosphere is something I really do not admire especially that moment when it would be the first time after a very long time of not dining out.  I know Asiong’s is not even a casual dining restaurant but some sort of a low-grade canteen or a roadside eatery which in the Philippines is called carinderia.

I nevertheless still suggested to proceed to Asiong’s because of their great food!  But I warned my colleagues that the ambiance is not like the typical snooty restaurants found in Tagaytay.

But when we followed and let the GPS navigation app point us to our destination, the road we were taking was totally different.  It seem no longer the same road I took when I last dined at Asiong’s eight long years ago.  (Click HERE regarding my 2012 blog post about Asiong’s)

pose first (the obligatory photo taking session)

a collage of photos i took (with jb, willy and mj)

The location of Asiong’s now is a totally different spot in Cavite!  And the establishment is totally dissimilar from the way it was!  The concept and its aesthetics has impressively been improved.  Their alfresco dining is no longer by the dusty road side but a cool garden dining set-up.  We actually settled alfresco for we did not want to be confined in a closed area during this time of pandemic.

The only akin and parallel to how Asiong’s was in the past was the marvelous food!  The awesome gastronomic experience was still the same.

asado de ignacio (braised meat and innards) an authentic savage caviteño dish

adobong pula (pork adobo in annatto sauce)… a must in asiong’s

pancit pusit (rice vermicelli noodles cooked in squid ink)… a house specialty

crispy tawilis (a fresh water sardine exclusively found in the philippines)… this dish is gone in 3 minutes!

a filipino meal will not be complete without the rice. this one is “binagoongang rice” (fried rice in shrimp paste)

Thanks to the valiant military men manning the highway check point. Hahaha!  If not for their being so rigorous in implementing the pandemic rules and protocols of the province, I would have not rediscovered the fineness of the present Asiong’s restaurant.

A Painting In Corregidor

the guns... one of the popular fixtures in corregidor

the guns… one of the popular fixtures in corregidor

About two weeks ago while having a quiet weekend breakfast with Nengkoy, I learned that my family have close affiliation to that of the historic Island of Corregidor.  During this peaceful breakfast, Nengkoy told me that her mother (Lola Teray) actually lived and inhabited the island of Corregidor for a considerable amount of time.

Nengkoy told me that Lola Teray (though was born in Naic, Cavite) lived with the rest of her family in Corregidor when the island was still under the control of the Americans.  In fact, Nengkoy’s eldest sister (Aunt Lydia, who is now based in Canada) was born there.  She also told me that Lola Teray and the rest of her family was living at the Bottomside of the island where Barrio San Jose was located.

Three Sundays ago, I got the pleasant chance to again visit Corregidor.  It has again been an enlightening tour and visit.  I learned from the tour guide that since the island was controlled by the Americans, Filipinos born in Corregidor in the past are given the option of either being an American or a Filipino citizen.  How cool is that!

The competent tour guide however raised that at present the island is no longer inhabited by anyone and is already preserved because it has been declared a National Shrine.  Thus, there is no longer called a newly born Corregidor-ian.

But what truly moved and startled me was when I saw a rather small framed painting hanged on the wall of the Pacific War Museum (the last stop of the tour before heading back to Manila).  Surprisingly, the prolific piece of art which I never noticed during my first visit was actually painted by no less than my late Uncle Dante.  The younger brother of Nengkoy.  This further confirmed that indeed, somewhere in the marrow of my bones can be found my affiliation to the Island of Corregidor.

a street in early corregidor by dante romasanta

a street in early corregidor by dante romasanta

Painted in 1960, the painting depicts the life of ordinary citizens of Corregidor and the usual dealings of the locals with the Americans prior to the horrific World War II.  It’s a representation of a social drama which imbibes a superlative story telling skill through the usage of oil pigments and genius strokes of the brush.

At first sight the painting may seem chaotic.  But at a longer glance, it actually presents a mantra of noisy energy contained by discipline, freedom and order that is miraculously held together.  This I suppose is the glory of this painting.

super proud!

super proud!

I thought I would surprise Nengkoy about this immense discovery during that breakfast.  So when I told her about my finding Uncle Dante’s painting, she simply told me that she has known about it all along.  And that she has long been immensely proud by this artistic feat achieved by his beloved brother.

Super prawd pamangkin hir!!!

Why Nigh Tagaytay?

It’s an easeful short voyage out of jungle Manila.  I don’t have to purchase plane tickets.  And most of all I love the snuggly weather.

overlooking the taal lake

overlooking the taal lake

i love their buffet

i love their lunch buffet

I and a few members of my family did a short getaway to cool breezy Tagaytay.  We were supposed to stay overnight but after a sumptuous buffet lunch at Bags of Beans Café & Restaurant that filled us to our respective alimentary rims… everybody agreed that the money to be spent in a luxurious hotel would be more appropriate to buy miscellany of foodstuffs that can be brought back to Manila.

That is the beauty of charming Tagaytay.  Being so near Manila, you can actually return anytime that you may want or back out from it if your nutty erratic and eclectic judgment wished so.

After lunch we stepped into the coffee shop portion of Bag Of Beans and purchase us bag loads of freshly baked (and still hot) loaves of raisin bread, a box of their special and very popular blueberry cheesecake and packs of buttered biscochos.

negkoy and the raisin breads

nengkoy and her loots!!!

Of course our family’s usual trip to Tagaytay will not be complete without going to Mahogany Market to purchase the most famous and freshest local beef of the province.  The purchases done by Nengkoy is sooo plenty it felt like she bought one whole cow in that meat market!

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is it just me??? but there seem some eerie atmosphere inside this church…

Before proceeding with more purchases, my elder sister demanded that we pass by Tierra De Maria Heaven of Meditation and Enrichment.  Though very small for a church, it homes the majestic 50-foot image of Mother Mary.  Surprisingly the small room with low ceiling is filled with devotees and the walls with statues and statuettes of various saints as well as testimonies of Mother Mary’s holy intercessions.  Before I start melting and devotees start exorcism upon me, I demanded that we leave the holy place.

We then head to Rowena’s, one of those famous pasalubong-stop-over-stores in Tagaytay.  I can hardly determine the single English translation for the Filipino word “pasalubong”.  It is because this Filipino norm and convention of buying take home presents and giveaways is so Filipino.

pasalubong overload!!! inside rowena's store...

pasalubong overload!!! inside rowena’s store…

Will definitely be back to scenic Tagaytay…

Nabusog… Tinamad… Umuwi…

Flowers Feed The Soul

There is a rare inspiring feeling when gazing upon the features of a flower.  It is something that is not tangible and very difficult to explain.  Flowers are beautiful creations that link us to the miracles of nature.

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I don’t now but for me there is always something magical about the world of flowers.  Flowers somehow fades or reduces the stresses and concerns of everyday life.  It can actually feed your soul and make you incredibly alive, aware and totally animated.

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So if you have the rare opportunity to see and smell the flowers, do it.  Enjoy the experience before nature is engulfed in flames due to global warming and the upcoming end of days.

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Using merely my cellphone’s camera, photos of this post were photographed when I had the opportunity to stay overnight at the beautiful and tranquil Sonya’s Garden located in Alfonso, Cavite.

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Bulaklak sa banga! Pasok sa banga! Ang ganda no?