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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TAKSIYAPO, Extreme Magicians and Good Food: An ISDAAN Tarlac Review

A decent road trip going up North or vice versa is never complete without a.0 seeing the sights and b.0 good food.

Combining the two criteria, Phil and I brought the 4 kids over to Isdaan: The Floating Restaurant / Theme Park along the highway at Gerona, Tarlac (they also have one in Calauan, Laguna).

Owned by the same owners as Barrio Fiesta, expect the cuisine to be Filipino. Here's what we did in our stopover:

Upon arriving at Isdaan's ample yet excruciatingly hot (during midday) parking lot, they have umbrella carrying personnel ambling about to bring you to the restaurant's entrances. We walked to a waiting area where the hostess will find a table for your group. Finding a table involves walking around the maze-like floating resto, so you'd want someone to take care of this for you.

at the waiting area/gift shop
For those with kids, life vests will be issued to them before you go to your tables, just in case they fall into the various ponds (some 6-8 ft deep).

Ordering is quite a tedious business. The menus are printed in a long board, have small lettered items on it and not all have pictures. Luckily, the waiters are quite knowledgeable. With the novelty of eating in a Thai/Balinese designed floating food place in the middle of nowhere, you kinda expect the prices of the dishes to be above average (which they were).

Ordering for our motley crew of 6, we were entertained several times as we waited for the food. First up was a magician who performed on a platform in the center of  5-6 huts, one of which our table was located in. You gotta give it to the guy. Doing tricks midday in a cheesy black velvet suit out in the open, without shade was just suicidal :P

this magician's hardcore
Next up was a trio of singers, who would serenade you as you dine.Our food had arrived by then, with them in tow, singing like the folks at Singing Cooks and Waiters (still owned by the Barrio Fiesta peeps). They even take requests. We had them stop after 2 songs :)

not a fan of live music this close :P
Right after we ordered, the waiter did a head count on how many kids were with us. Right before our food arrived, Angry Bird balloons and a small bag of goodies were given to the 2 kids (the other 2 felt too old for it already), while the 4 boys were given each a bag of fish food to feed the hungry koi that swarmed around the waters where our hut stood on top off.

that's fish food kids!!!
With regards to the food, the portions were proportionate to the amount you paid for and then some, but the flavors were good. Nothing extraordinary,  but not bad either. Took pictures as an after thought (we are MEDIOCRE after all), as hunger was front and center in our brains.

pork sisig: so creamy, so tasty, sooo goood!!

fried seafood platter: a lot of everything for everybody. The calamari was our fave

inihaw na liempo (roast pork belly): tasted more like adobo

food's flavorful, you're better off having plain steamed rice (bagong sinaing) or garlic rice
The food didn't really take that long to arrive as food is also prepared in stations near a cluster of huts to get food out efficiently. Here are our food comments as well as the menu:

cooking stations dot walkways
After paying for our lunch, we headed out to look around the place. This is what we saw:

 Our favorite was the Taksiyapo place where you can let lose (without any familiar foul language whatsoever), your resentment, anger and frustration. You may break mugs, cups, plates, saucers, vases and even a tv set, all for a certain fee.

stress relievers
None of us yelled "Taksiyapo" (which is supposed to be a Kapampangan expletive). Instead we yelled out names of family members who have irritated us at one point or another. And yes, two of my sons did yell out one of their brother's names :D It was good group therapy. I guess breaking something does that to you.

don't be Koi with me (lol)

After a few more quick pics of the place, we were back on the road to head out to Manila.

I have to admit, it was a pleasant and not quite ordinary place to be in. Even the older kids enjoyed the whole thing. A pricey stopover, but nonetheless, worth it.

thumbs up to Isdaan
From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

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