About Me

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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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Thursday, December 31, 2015

How Was Cebu 2015? (4 out of 4 series): Cebu Food, Food and More Food

 I've always felt that vacations are meant to be the time when you say goodbye to most restrictions, cut yourself loose from the pressures of society and find your inner peace.

For this edition of The Mediocre Wanderer, I bring you 5 such places in Cebu that made me do all the aforementioned things and embrace my Foodieness:

I sould have used a DLSR to take a better pic, but I was in such a hurry to serve it to my hungry brood that a nearby phone cam had to suffice

1. Tatang's Boneless Lechon : 5 words summed up my thoughts on this food stop - CRISPY.BONELESS.SPICY.CEBU.LECHON (followed by the non word  "nomnomnom"at the end of that statement).  This has got to be, hands down, the best Cebu lechon experience of my life! It's flavorful, it's different, it's OMG good!!!

lechon wraps

If you're stopping by one of their restaurants and not just the take out kiosks do try the lechon wraps as well. Think tender morsels of lechon, add a stick of cucumber and singkamas (Philippine Turnip) and wrap this up in some pita bread of sorts and dip it in a peanut-garlic (ala fresh lumpia) dip, and you are going to break into a foodie chorus!
take out kiosks sell the flakes frozen. To reheat, cook in a wok with a little oil. Stir to prevent sticking to the bottom, Serve when desired crunchiness is reached

The lechon flakes are also TDF (to die for)!! Check out their Facebook Page for more info: TATANG's. Good news for Manila residents, Tatang's has several branches in the Metro. If I'm not mistaken, there's one in Gilmore, in VMall at Greenhills and one at Mindanao Ave.

frozen mochi, warm brownie cup and a chocolate mousse

2. La Marea Pastry Shop: Famous for being the home of the original Warm Brownie Cup in Cebu, La Marea does desserts REAL well. Coming in like 10 minutes after a visit to Tatang's, I was dead set against dessert. Well,  I was...until I saw what was on display.

We tried the branch at The Walk, along Abad Street.

The Walk - a strip of trendy bars and restaurants in downtown Cebu

For more on La Marea, visit their Facebook page here.

3. Sunburst Chicken: One of our travel companions from Manila had some serious fond memories of the chicken at Sunburst. I found out why when most of what was ordered from the menu were various chicken parts - fried chicken breast, thighs, legs, wings, chicken skin and isol (fried chicken butts).

chicken butts

Sampling Sunburst chicken at AS Fortuna was a lesson on what a good fried chicken is. This is how fried chicken should be. The breading, light yet crispy and tasty. The chicken, tender, juicy and flavorful! There are several branches of Sunburst Chicken in Cebu and other places down south. Google to know which one is the nearest to you.

crispy pata
For a look at their menu, please click this link: Sunburst Chicken Menu

4. Oyster Bay: White sand and a koi pond while you dine al fresco...

looking forward to some  good grub in a casual setting

white sand in a restaurant that's in downtown Cebu

there used to be sharks in this mini lagoon. Now it's only koi and other fishes left

Not feeling the outdoor vibe? They've got an air conditioned restaurant too. The food we ate was, as expected, fresh seafood cooked perfectly. That and some great Pinoy treats :)

Here's a look at what our group at:
bicol express  - uber innovative of presenting this spicy dish

clam soup

fresh raw oysters on a half shell

lato (seaweed) salad

diwal - probably the best shellfish I've ever tasted!

tuna salad (think cat food with fried wonton wrappers - not a fan)

sisig packages (YUM!!)

bagoong rice

lechon kawali
For more info, visit their Facebook page at this link: Oyster Bay Seafood Restaurant

5. Mat-Mat's Carcar Chicharon: Passing through Carcar, as we came from our Whale Shark interaction, was quite inevitable. The chicharon/crispy pork rinds that this town is known for makes for some good snacking. Our driver/tour guide introduced us to this little roadside store that sells freshly cooked chicharon, warm and crunchy - the way nature intended it to be (lol). The pork rinds retail for 600 pesos/kilo and 10 pesos a pack for the chicharon bits (crushed crispy pork fat).

ampao/ puffed rice / pop rice

6. Borussia German Restaurant and Bakery: Straight from our overnight stay at Bantayan Island, we stopped over at the beautiful hideaway that is Borussia.
restaurant, bakery and deli at your service
I also heard that they o have a room (more like a bungalow really) for those who want to stay the night at this delightful place. The landscaping is just too charming for words!

Were we not rushing to meet our dinner reservations, I would have loved to stay and sample the cuisine of this establishment. Instead, we contented ourselves with their uber yummy baked goodie - the almond bow.

Well, that and buying some items from their yard sale.

almond bows - laminar pastry dough rich in almond extra flavoring, lightly coated with dainty almond slices and dipped with what could just be dark Belgian chocolate. Seriously delish. Apparently, flavors change according to the season at Borussia. Same products, but with slight flavor variations to celebrate a particular holiday.
For details on Borussia, please check out their Facebook page at this link: Borussia German Restaurant and Bakery

So there you have it. Places to go, people to see and food to eat. Btw, should you ever find yourself staying in Bantayan Island, ask about the local seafood. Our Cebuano friends managed to arrange local delicacies (scallops, fresh oysters and local shellfish) to be served alongside Anika resort's restaurant staples.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!!!

How Was Cebu 2015 ( 3 out 4 series) : Bantayan Island and the Anika Island Resort

After a day of visiting the whale sharks and enjoying Mother Nature's beauty at the Aguinid Falls, we were, once again, up and about to start our journey to Bantayan Island.

puso, inasal, chorizo and hotdogs were sold at the port area


Located in the Visayan Sea, at the northern end of Cebu Island, lies Bantayan Island. Comprised of 3 villages - Madridejos, Santa Fe and Bantayan, we ended up staying at the Santa Fe, specifically at the Anika Island Resort.

buoys serve as markers for the sea "highway" that the ships have to follow

For this itinerary, our Cebu friends provided the transportation for our group of 18. From Cebu City, our driver took us on a 2.5-3 hour drive, all the way to Hagnaya Port. There are buses (Ceres, 125/head to Hagnaya)  too that ply this route as well as flights (1500 pesos, 35 minutes - from the Cebu Airport). Please note that the last ferry to Bantayan is at 5:30 PM.

Upon arrival at the Hagnaya Port, we then proceeded to get our ferry tickets, log on the passengers' manifesto, pay whatever fees had to be paid and waited for our turn to board the ferry. I also picked up some street food- hotdogs, grilled chorizos and puso rice from the port vendors, to prepare for the 1-2 hour ferry ride.

For those folks with lots of luggage, the cost of hiring a porter is 20 pesos per bag. Also, as Bantayan is an island, make sure that you have all the stuff you'll need for your stay there. You will not have the chance to shop around for various toiletries and medication once you get to this destination.


When we got to the port at Bantayan Island, we were picked up by the shuttle service of Anika Island Resort, which is seriously a 5 minute drive away.

Check in was quite fast, and welcome drinks were promptly served as we had the bellboys bring our luggage to our respective rooms. Arriving a little before 2 pm, we were pretty hungry.

Lunch from Anika is a varied affair, with a little of everything to choose from. Their restaurant is in the same area as the front desk and could cater to big groups without batting an eyelash.

For our first meal at the resort (we were all checked in for an overnight stay on the island), we decided to go with these:

chicken poppers

baked scallops

It was drizzling when we got to the resort, so we waited out the rain in the restaurant. Rooms are separate structures, made with tastefully decorated recycled container vans. Quite ingenious, if I may say so.

When we were led to our room, we were quite pleased to have gotten one fronting the beach.

room sweet room

The rooms are small, but comfy, with a deck/balcony at the front that's perfect tor hanging out with friends, or reading a good book, while looking at the blue waters across.

a queen bed and a single bed, a tv and fridge alog with a desk were the furnishings of our room. The en suite bathroom had hot and cold water. Zero issues too as far as the AC was concerned

The furnishings, bathroom and bedding were all to our liking. Except the towels. I'm guessing it's too much fabric conditioner that makes the towels not be as absorbent as you'd want them to be. There was also no wifi in the room. The strongest connection may be found at the resort's restaurant.

The waters of Bantayan were quite mild, high tide or low tide.

low tide in Bantayan - this was covered in water the day before. Phil injured his foot on the stiff twigs while moving around the beach

I would like to express caution though for beach combers out there as Phil cut his foot and toes from the twigs of the plants that were underwater (high tide when we got there). If you're the type who will move around, wading in the beautiful beach, you may want to wear swim shoes or flipflops.

MAX gets to know the neighbors

The 85 degree view of the sea was quite breathtaking, injured or not. The water was clean, with litte fishes swimming close to shore. It was a lovely place indeed.

Hanging out by the beach chairs, a coconut vendor selling freshly picked coconuts may come your way. Feel free to indulge. Prices are reasonable. However, if you feel like imbibing, you may have to bring your own booze as Anika does not serve alcoholic beverages.

That, however, didn't stop us from enjoying the place.

there's a small playground for the kids

MAX loved our room

Given our injuries (my sprained ankle and Phil's foot wound), we were not able to go around the island. There's an underground lake that you could swim at and lots of old churches that you could go to. Here's a list of other things you could do at Bantayan Island:

The next day came much too soon. Before I knew it, it was time to pack and head on back to Cebu City. I definitely want to go back to Bantayan!

Should you ever find yourself in Bantayan Island, pick up some Darling Danggit and support the local cottage industry 😎 (140 pesos for 100 grams in a stink free, vacuum sealed pouch)
For more information and reservations, check out their website here.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

***Check out Part 1 and Part of our "How Was Cebu 2015?" Series at these links:

How Was Cebu 2015? ( 1 of 4 series) : The Mandarin Plaza Hotel Review 

How Was Cebu 2015? (2 out of 4 series): Oslob, Revisited and the Aguinid Falls