Friday, March 14, 2008


Biloxi, Mississippi
March 14, 2008

Typical university students living in campus dormitories are always hungry but do not have much to eat or choices of food to eat because of the lack of money. This is true among MSU students in Marawi when I was there in 1970- 1974 and 1976-1980. I have also heard the same stories when my eldest son and only daughter were living in the dormitories in another MSU campus in Mississippi. I already warned my third child, Gabriel about limited food choices when he moves to the Mississippi State U campus this fall to start college.

Over the years, as I progress in my professional life, I have the opportunity to travel in many parts of the globe. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Eastern Canada, England, Hawaii, and several of the states in mainland USA. One thing I always concern myself during the first day of my stay is where to eat and get a couple of 21-oz glass of the local brew. The choices of food and drinks are unlimited despite the fact that I have a semi-fixed daily budget for food and drinks. I usually end up ordering more food and drinking more than what I can normally consume on a typical day at home.

Where is Tatoy's? The name kept coming back to my head during the last hour or so when I was eating my lunch of catfish cooked in a pot, boiled jasmine rice, soup, and asian salad at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I remember going to Tatoy's before and I am sure the the chicken served there was really good.

When I was in Zamboanga City in 1987, the late Doming Tan brought me and some friends to the eateries in Pasonanca Park. I remember ordering sinugbang pusit with stuffing, kinilaw nga isda, seaweed salad, of course boiled rice and lots of cold SM beer. It was truly a feast everytime we ate in those eateries. Also, we ate at the Maranao restaurants in the park where we ordered grilled fish served with a big bowl of soup cooked with coconut oil, curry, and cabbage, a bowl of the very spicy piapa, and of course boiled rice.

When I was in Cagayan de Oro City while I was conducting an economic survey in 1976, I remember eating several times at a local restaurant. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the place or food I ate there. But at the market place, I remember, eating at several small eateries serving different kinds of food, drinks and delicacies.

Where did you eat during your recent trips to Mindanao? What are the specialties of the restaurants, the quality of the service, and the price of the food and drinks? Would you share your experience so that we may know where to go and what to eat when we get there in the future?

Thank you.


Fred Yap said...

Back in the mid 1990s I used to frequent Cagayan de Oro. Often I need to catch an early bus to Butuan or elsewhere. Hotels I frequented are not ready with breakfast until 6:30 am at the earliest. And restaurants are not open until 7 am. I found out that the only place where one can have a very early breakfast, if you do not particularly care for Jollibee or MacDo, was at the Cogon Public Market. This is where I discovered putomaya and mango eaten with sikuate. The sikuate was thick and whipped to a froth using the traditional batirol -- thick enough even for Fray Damaso to have appreciated! The tartly sweet taste of the mango combined with the light ginger and coconut milk flavor of the putomaya and the dark rich chocolate is a taste combination that is hard to match.

Or there were those stalls offering balbacua using either cow's legs, tails or face simmered to almost jelly like softness with the broth that was so thick that if you are sloppy and gets them on your fingers it glues your fingers together when it dries up! A bowl of that with a large cup of rice will already last you till lunch time and induce large beads of sweat to stream from your forehead.

There were also stalls offering kinilaw. Although they looked very tempting I always avoided them because it is always much safer to eat food that is served steaming hot when in places where sanitation leaves much to be desired.

I was in CDO last year and went to Cogon market and found the place thoroughly renovated (Its now 2 storeys and equipped with a non-functional escalator). There are a lot more food stalls including a whole row offering halal food. I can no longer find my suki putomaya/sikuate stall. Price of progress!

JosetteNicolas.Balonga said...

Leave it to an MSUan to know the best and cheapest place to eat!!! :D
If you are ever on a visit here in Cagayan, I highly recommend dropping by the Night Cafe Friday or Saturday evening. The whole strip of central DV Soria (this place must at least be familiar with all MSU alumni from ages past) is transformed into a night bazaar with lots of food stalls, live music, and ukay-ukay. Definitely worth the experience!
For local pinoy food, Loreto's in Tomas Saco, Barkadahan in DV Soria, and of course David Tauli's favorite haunt Blueberry Cafe (for coffee, pastries and other delicacies) in Velez are also notable. There's also Tedday Gayas's favorite, Lantaw Cagayan near Pryce Hotel.
If RM (Remember Me, aka Soup #5 -- overseas pinoys know what this is???) is more your trip, there are some payag-type eateries near the target range along Lapasan-Camaman-an Road at the back of Ororama/Limketkai Malls. They say it's an unforgettable experience, and I chose to take their word for it. :D

William said...

Fred, I think you are referring to Tatoy's, originally a payag-payag eatery along the beach of Iloilo City that offered nothing but fresh kinilawng talaba and broiled rice.Toto Gabasa used to bring me there every time I visited Iloilo in the late '70s and early '80s.We would ate and ate a bandera or more of fresh talaba until we could hardly breath or move out of the place because of our heavy and bulging stomach.

I don't know if the original unsanitary looking payag-payag is still in its place. When I was in Iloilo a year before Rolly Platon became the Chief of SEAFDEC,he brought me to a Tatoy's along the Manduriao River where we dined also of broiled talaba cum fried chicken, litson kawali and other specialties of the place. Rolly informed me that the place was the original Tatoy's in the beach that morphed into a first class restaurant.

Toto Gabasa used to bring me also inside the mercado of La Paz, near the meat section, where he would order the truly real and original La Paz batchoy. I told him that the batchoy tasted really good because it was prepared in a peculiar way. The pig entrails were chopped on an old, round and standing tadtaran, which for every drop of the chopper some bits and pieces of the ancient wood would mix with the entrails.

Happy eating! Willie Adan

William said...

Ops, sorry for the very glaring grammatical lapse in my comment to your piece. I inserted "would" in between "We ate..." without changing the verb to the present tense (eat). Mia culpa.

BenP said...

Caloy Cuanan asked me to post his comments on Restaurants in Mndanao. I visited the blogsite and the pictures of fresh tuna made me really long for kinilaw and sinugbang tuna:

From: carlos cuanan
To: ben posadas
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:03 AM
Subject: Fwd: Butuan city FYO

Dear Kuya Ben,

Tuna from GSC, made into maka tulo laway nga kinilaw sa Butuan City.

I want to post this as a comment to the blog on restaurants/eating places. Pero dili ko kahibalo mo convert the address into hyperlink. Paki na lang.

Caloy Cuanan

From: Patria Rosales Baumstark
To: sejalbo etsuko ; Richard Blake Baumstark
Cc: carlos cuanan ; bobby
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:58 PM
Subject: Butuan city

read this; it's interesting. this is where I bought sashimi while in Butuan in 2007.

Anonymous said...

You might like Mexitalian, an exquisite restaurant offering variety of Mexican an Italian cuisines. You can also find native Filipino cuisines in Cagayan de Oro hotels.