Saturday, April 29, 2017

Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour: Flavors of Catbalogan

A mid-morning seafood breakfast with a view of Maqueda Bay. It just keeps getting better and better at the Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour...


My second day for the Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour by the Department of Tourism Eastern Visayas and Catbalogan City Tourism Office highlighted even more traditional flavors with a sumptuous mid-morning breakfast spread, including fresh seafood and native steamed rice cakes at one of the city's picturesque spots with an amazing view of the bay. It's just another day at #CaptivatingCatbalogan...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Flavors of Catbalogan: Breakfast at King Bean Cafe

Early morning, time for some breakfast...


The second day of my Secret Kitchens Of Samar Kulinarya Tour began with a light breakfast at King Bean Cafe, a local and homegrown concept from Samar. With a wide range of signature coffee blends, pastries, cakes and even full meals, King Bean Cafe is Catbalogan's place to meet and unwind before another flavorful day of gastronomic delights in the Gateway City of Samar.

Flavors of Catbalogan: A Tasty Encounter with Tamalo at Orlando's Grill

"You have to try Tamalo." I've been told quite a number of times since I arrived at Samar for the Department of Tourism's Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour not to miss this unique dish. And I'm glad I did...


If there's one dish that distinguishes the local cuisine of Catbalogan and Samar, it's the iconic Tamalo. Tracing its roots back to the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade during Spanish colonial times, the Tamalo is the unique and savory local version of Mexican tamales, with slabs of fork tender pork belly slathered with rich peanut sauce on a soft rice flour base, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed for hours. Pampanga, Batangas, and Bulacan have their versions of the tamales, but Samar's tamalo is in a class of its own. It's one of many memorable and tasty encounters during my Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour with the Department of Tourism and the Catbalogan City Tourism Office, and it remains one of my lasting impressions in #CaptivatingCatbalogan...

Flavors of Catbalogan: Cooling Down with the Locals at Tina's Garden

Chillin' with the locals at a favorite spot not only gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the local culture, it's quite refreshing too...


After a hearty breakfast of traditional dishes and snacks at the city of Calbayog (see my earlier posts, Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour: Flavors of Calbayog and Flavors of Calbayog: Chillin' at Rebelito's Refreshments) and a sumptuous lunch at Catbalogan (Flavors of Catbalogan: Comforting Cuisine at City Grill), the second part of my Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour with the Department of Tourism Eastern Visayas and the Catbalogan City Tourism Office continued with a stop at the Capital City of Samar's favorite establishment. Time to cool down with some classic Halo-Halo at Tina's Garden...

Flavors of Catbalogan: Comforting Cuisine at City Grill

The flavors of Eastern Visayas continue to amaze and surprise at the Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour, with each stop offering yet more insights into the rich culinary heritage of Samar. And now it's the turn of Catbalogan...



After a sumptuous early morning breakfast and mid-morning snack in Calbayog (see my earlier posts, Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour: Flavors of Calbayog on that epic breakfast and Flavors of Calbayog: Chillin' at Rebelito's Refreshments for their classic Halo-Halo) and roughly an hour and half drive, we arrived at the city of Catbalogan, the provincial capital of Samar. Known as the "Gateway to Samar Region," the capital city has its own unique culinary heritage, and my Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour continues with a taste of Catbalogan at City Grill. Seafood plays an important role in Samar's economy and tradition, and City Grill's Kinilaw, with fresh fish in coconut milk, green tomatoes, and red onions is the perfect way to start your taste of Catbalogan...

Flavors of Calbayog: Chillin' at Rebelitos Refreshments

Fifty-four years after it served its very first order of Halo-Halo, the local homegrown favorite remains as popular as ever...


Since 1963, generations of local residents from Calbayog knew one place where they could beat the heat with a tasty serving of sweet halo-halo. When in Calbayog, a stop at Rebelito's Refreshments for a refreshing halo-halo is always a good idea not only to cool down but to get a feel of the local vibe...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour: Flavors of Calbayog

There's no better way to appreciate the richness of Philippine regional cuisine than to head out to the source and immerse yourself in the local culture and experience it first-hand. With over 7,107 islands, our culinary heritage is as diverse as the vastness of the archipelago, infused by the distinct local cultures of each region, and spiced up by historical influences. It's this unique diversity that makes Philippine cuisine so rich, shaped by the unique geographical features and resources of each region, and lovingly preserved by tradition and a deep sense of local pride.  


The Department of Tourism's Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour is an offshoot of the recent Madrid Fusion, an annual culinary event celebrating the shared history and culinary heritage of Spain and the Philippines (for more on Madrid Fusion, see my previous posts, Sights and Flavors at Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 and Made in Spain: Pork Love at Madrid Fusion Manila 2016). The renewed interest in traditional gastronomy, specifically regional cuisine, presents unique opportunities to rediscover comforting flavors and reconnect with our roots. And there's nothing like experiencing local cuisine, providing insights in the region's culture and history. Like they say, know what the locals eat, and you'll gain a better perspective on the local vibe. Read on and rediscover the flavors of Eastern Visayas on a virtual tour of the twin cities of Calbayog and Catbalogan with a final stop at Tacloban on my Secret Kitchens of Samar Kulinarya Tour...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Flavors of El Nido: Seeing Seafood at El Nido Grill

Not having any fresh seafood while in El Nido is missing half the point of your Palawan getaway. At Lio El Nido, you'll find a variety of new dining establishments to enjoy the day's freshest catch. And the El Nido Grill is one of them...


El Nido Grill offers fresh seafood prepared just the way you like it. Steamed, fried, grilled, your call. And with so much fresh seafood to choose from, an all-seafood feast at El Nido is a natural thing to do, even mandatory. Just pick and choose your seafood and leave it to El Nido Grill to prepare your seafood feast...

Flavors of El Nido: Steaks and Beer at Pukka Bar

A cold beer and a good steak, always a good idea. A cold beer and a good steak by the beach? Even better...


Pukka Bar is another dining establishment inside the impressive Lio Tourism Estate in El Nido, offering great food, cocktails and ice cold beers with a beachfront view. It's part of the growing mumber of dining and retail establishments at Lio Tourism Estate by Ayala Land, the first eco-masterplanned integrated resort community in Palawan.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Flavors of El Nido: Beads and Coffee at Bead Cafe

The best way to enjoy a soothing cup of coffee is to take it slow with a leisurely and unhurried pace. It's the kind of pace that not only lets you enjoy your coffee, but also gives you enough time to complete a bracelet made with a variety of beads...at Bead Cafe.


The expansive Lio Tourism Estate at El Nido now includes a coffee shop with a cool spin to complement its growing dining and retail establishments. Bead Cafe offers premium coffee and tea, iced and blended or hot, along with colorful beads in case your feeling inspired with the island vibe at El Nido. Ready for some coffee and beads? Read on for a sneak preview...

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