Bicolano Cuisine: A Bicol Food Trip Part 1

Bicol is land of the coconuts. It is situated along the typhoon belt so coconut trees are planted because they can bend and sway with the strong wind… just like the resilience of their people in difficult times. I can truly say that Bicolano cuisine has its own distinct identity with their heavy use of coconut milk and chili peppers. Food is generally spicier than the other regions. In the Philippines dishes are named after the cooking method. “Ginata” or “ginataang” means to cook in coconut milk. In fact almost all vegetables are cooked in coconut milk.

One very famous vegetable from the region is “gabi” or taro leaves. They are hanged upside to dry before being used. Old folks say it is not wise to stir the dish while cooking or else it will become “makati” or itchy . Non Bicolanos use the term “Laing” loosely to refer to gabi or taro leaves cooked in coconut milk. The locals are very particular about the variations:

Laing – gabi leaves coocked in coconut milk, with shrimp paste or dried fish
Tilmok– gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with fish meat or crab meat
Pinangat – layered gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with bangot ( meaning “sahog” or sometimes minced pork).

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Day 6 CWC Naga-Caramoan-Legaspi-Donsol

Day 6 – Donsol – Swimming with the Whalesharks or Buntandings in the morning

Back to Legaspi in the afternoon


Transportation:

Tricycle to visitor center is P20.  Donsol tricycle drivers are honest.

 

Back to Legazpi:

GT Express Van (last return is 3 pm) P65

Van left us as early as 2pm so we took a jeepney from Donsol to Daraga for P60 then another jeep to Legaspi for P14 (2 hours)

Accommodations:

Tried Casa Bianca Donsol as the other known resorts were booked.

0906-3099372 / 0906-9320457   – Raffy (very professional to talk to and son of the owner  )

P1500  (AC private bath with towels)

 

Meals :

We kept on eating at Amor Resort, best value for money.  P100-200/ per meal

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Day 2 to 4 CWC Naga-Caramoan-Legaspi-Donsol

Day 2&3- Caramoan Camarines Sur, secret location of the Survivor France and Israel TV series

Transfers:Buses and jeepneys pass right infront of CWC main highway. From Naga take jeep or bus to Sabang or Talisay port.Sabang port is better for public ferry. In Talisay you need to rent a whole boat. We took the jeepney for P70 each. Travel time was 2 hours to

Guijalo
Port in Caramoan. Had to leave CWC at as early as 6:00 am to catch the boat.The last banca leaves at 11:00 am because of the low tide. It is a two hour ride at P120 per person. At

Guijalo
Port to Centro Jeep / tricycle is 15 mins for P50-P100 to the Inn.

Accommodations:

Colongan
Island for the elite marketGota c/o CWC -054 477-33-44, and Casa Roa at Centro 63-54-8115789 for the A and Upper B crowdRex Tourist Inn at Centro (AC private bath) 09198821879 for the B market and jologsLa Playa for beach front Elvis 0918-6249091 (but far from everyone else)

We stayed at Rex because Gota is fully booked until July. The “Survivor Israel” production crew are staying there while filming. Room is very basic for P800 a night/triple sharing. Expect no ambiance, but Mr. Rex gives free tricycle service to his customers.

Activities:Whole day island hopping. We were charged P2000 for 7-8 islands. Started as early as 7:00 amBrought packed lunch ordered from Lutong Bahay.Take off point to the
islands is port Bikal.

Cutivas Island

Manlawi (sand bar)

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Holy Week in Manila and Bacalao

It is a tradition in my family  to eat bacalao on Good Friday.  Bacalao is a Spanish or Portuguese dish of salted cod fish in a tomato stew. My grandma (God bless her soul) made a mean bacaloa…Then when she was too old to cook it we ordered the dish from Casino Espanol…  my abuela’s recipe is much much better. So to keep the tradition alive I make bacalao every Palm Sunday in advance….by Good Friday all the flavors of the different ingredients have come together like the melody from an orchestra! So here is the recipe:

Bacalao

15 ml Olive Oil
100g Onions minced
10g Garlic minced
100g Chorizo Bilbao (optional for those fasting)
500g Salted Cod Fish (soaked overnight and water removed)
100g Pimiento (diced)
400g Garbanzos
100g Olives
500 ml Stewed Tomatoes
150 ml  Tomato Sauce
Dash of Paprika

Saute all ingredients placing them one at a time. Simmer under low flame for 1 hour. Do not serve right away. This dish must be made at least three days in advance.

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