Buro or Pickles

Batangas has not forgotten the art of making buro or pickles, and many markets still sell these in large containers.

Batangas lomi

Batangas lomi, invented in Lipa City, is notable for the absence of vegetables and its thick delicious broth.

Buchi-buchi

Buchi-buchi, a traditional Filipino snack, is still sold in many markets around Batangas.

Sundot-Saging

Those of younger generations will probably say banana cue, but there are those in Batangas who still refer thos favorite as sundot-saging.

Pinindot

Called bilo-bilo or paridusdos elsewhere, Batangas' pinindot is frequently just plain rice balls sometimes with bits of sweet potato or nangka.

Casa Rap: More for the Soul than the Belly


About 500 yards or so from where the road forks into two if one is driving from Lipa City, one branch leading to poblacion San Jose and the other bypassing the municipality for a shorter drive into Batangas City, there is this relatively unknown restaurant named Casa Rap. The word ‘unknown,’ of course, is entirely subjective; and indeed, when I arrived with a colleague last weekend, there were about 20 or so people who were apparently winding up what must have been a sumptuous lunch.

Will the Real Tamales Please Stand Up!


I was just with my elder sister and her two kids when it suddenly occurred to me to ask if they had the time – and the gas – to go to Ibaan. For those not from these parts, Ibaan is a little town about 15 minutes south of Lipa City. I have been craving for some tamales, I said; and finding the right sort is not so easy in Lipa.

Growing Black Pepper in San Salvador


Black pepper – or the humble paminta – is so ubiquitous that it is often taken for granted. Yet, without it and other spices, the world as we know it in the present may not even have come to be. It was the quest after it, as a matter of fact, that fuelled the great explorers of yore to seek out lands far and wide so that the tables of the rich and famous in Europe might be adorned by the most exotic and sumptuous of feasts.

Nanay Deling’s Smoke-Flavoured Bucayô


Forty-two years is a long time to be doing the same thing; but Adelaida Zara of San Salvador in Lipa City takes pride in her small bucayô business and what it has done for her and her family. Born in 1940 in the years of the Japanese occupation and now all of 72 years, ‘Nanay Deling’ now has on her head a mane of white hair but she continues to make and sell the bucayô that has been her and her family’s livelihood for so many years.

Lorzano’s Bakery: More Than a Paborita Story


I do not know what the humble paborita – a local biscuit – could ever have done to deserve its stereotypical association with the funeral wake; or, as we say in Tagalog, the burol. I suppose the biscuit’s relative inexpensiveness has a lot to do with this.

Sardinella Tawilis


Indeed, that is the scientific name of this tiny freshwater fish than can be found in no other place on God’s Earth except our very own, beauteous Taal Lake. Alternatively, the fish is called the Freshwater Sardinella – and not that anybody here in the province even remotely cares. We just say tawilís. Note the accented “í” with which Balarila dictates we pronounce the word mabilis, the accent on the -lís.

The Pinarusahang Isdâ


Perhaps, a direct translation offers a bit of a linguistic paradox. Punished fish – or tortured fish, as some say – suggests that the fish had somehow been sinful. Yet what do fish do but swim around all day; or be eaten by predators or get caught in fishing nets on a bad day?

Breakfast Classics: Ménage à trois with the Sinangag and Itlog


The age-old marriage between sinangag (fried rice) and pritong itlog (egg fried sunny side up) has always been, to my mind, the proverbial made-in-Heaven. In the old days, when there was nothing else inside the fridge, the two would suffice for breakfast; albeit, generously splattered with ketchup.

Padre Garcia’s Soul Through Its Food and Livestock


On any day of the week other than Friday, the municipality of Padre Garcia is a quiet little town as one can only expect of a largely agrarian community. Right next door to the much larger municipality of Rosario – of which it was a part until 1952 – and just south of Lipa City, Padre Garcia comes alive every Friday for what is called the Livestock Auction Market.

Ka Feliza’s Puto Bumbong Is Not Just for Christmas


Those among us who thought that the puto bumbong went out of fashion when the fastfood chains invaded the countryside obviously thought wrong. The puto bumbong is indeed very much alive; albeit, there are those who rather tend to associate it with Christmas carols and the simbang gabi or Yuletide early morning Masses.

The Honesty of Tia Ila’s Lomi-Licious


Perhaps, the name Lomi-licious is a tad deceiving. There is lomi, yes; but Tia Ila’s little budget restaurant in Pallocan West, Batangas City offers a bit more than what its name declares.

A Tale of the Tanigue Tail


There was, at the supermarket the other day, this tanigue tail that was just plain begging to be bought. I took one look at it and thought for a bit. I took a second look; and then I allowed myself to be cajoled into parting with some of my cash. The tanigue, it must be said, is not cheap anymore.

D’ Lover’s Line Bibingka Stays Truly Filipino


Those who wish to try an alternative snack to the sort one finds in the malls with increasing ubiquity may opt for the more traditional Filipino fare of bibingka or local rice cake. While the bibingka attains a fair amount of celebrity during the holiday season, it is by no means available only when the Christmas lanterns and trees are due to be taken out of the closet.

The Surprise of Tessie’s Goto


There are days when a terribly mundane afternoon can suddenly come alive. The other day was one such day. I was tired from a class and decided to go find something to eat.

Wa Nam Sa Bukid: Great Guisado, Among Others


Those who have dined at the classic Chinese Restaurant in Quiapo called Wah Nam may be forgiven for thinking that this similarly named restaurant in Batangas City is a franchise. It is not. In fact, the Wa does not even have an “h.” For good measure, the owners have also added “Sa Bukid” at the end of the name.

Uhm... Hawot...


Last night, I felt my previous status had become passé, so I dutifully answered Facebook’s query “What’s on your mind?” with “Hawot, pritong itlog at sinangag.”

FG Pure Chocolate: Tabliya for the Purists


Before fancy powdered and ready to drink milk chocolates became ubiquitous, there was tabliya. Tabliya is as pure as chocolate can hope to get, made as it is from roasted cacao, ground into powder and moulded into little tablets. By itself, it is almost inedible; and its bitterness will give the palate more than just a little shock.

Ka Tasing’s Pinindot: From Sunong to Cell Phone


Call it what you like. There are those, in the western section of the province, who will say paridusdos. Amongst most other Tagalogs, people will just say the generic and unimaginative bilo-bilo. However, in the eastern side of Batangas, most everyone from the very old to the very young will simply call it the totally outrageous and probably untranslatable pinindot.

The Disappearing Skill of Making the Buro


There is irony to the success of Aling Apolonia’s pickling business. In years gone by, housewives amused themselves by lovingly peeling local fruits and slicing these into thin flat strips; to be immersed in solutions of salt and sugar dissolved in water. The formula for these solutions was sometimes even a household secret.

The Things Mothers Brought Home From the Market


Long before the big fuss about McDo and Jollibee, mothers brought home an unimaginable variety of foodstuffs from the palengke to keep the litter quiet while they prepared lunch.

The Homemade Noodles of Centro Lomi Haus


In a manner of speaking, there is one dish that I will kill for just to get a taste of. This dish is none other than the Lipa version of pancit lomi. When I was a child, I would always go to a lomihan with my family after attending Sunday Mass.

Café Kampanaryo: the Thrill of the Coffee Is in the Sunset


From the name of the place itself, anyone can guess that that this has something to do with the huge church bell or the kampanâ, as it is called in Tagalog; and yes it does, literally. Who would have thought that you would find a café and snack bar directly beside a church bell tower?

The Can’t-Lose Formula of Rose’s Lomi Haus


Just in front of the main gate of Fernando Air Base, there is this food joint called Rose’s Lomi Haus. Because of its convenient location, the place is a favourite among not only Air Force personnel assigned to the base but also their dependents as well as the base’s civilian employees.

Value for Money at the BanayBanay Eatery


Time was when, in these parts, fast food meant a turô-turô. There was no airconditioning; ditto padded seats. There were no uniformed personnel to greet you with their rehearsed sales pitches.

Gotohan sa Barangay for a Quick Satisfying Meal


There are certain foods that are almost Marxian in the sense that they may be considered as great equalizers. Gotong Lipa is one of those.

Special Lomi in a Village Called Pangao


Mention Lipa City to an outsider and the latter almost instinctively makes a connection with either or both of two things: its former Mayor, Ate Vi, incidentally now Governor of the Province; and pancit lomi.

Ereneo’s Café: A Gem of a Find


How was I to know that there exists a gem of a restaurant just 10 minutes drive from where I live and at most a half-hour from the city proper on a good day? The name of the restaurant is Ereneo’s Café. While former colleagues had apparently been there before, if any of them had seen fit to invite me, I probably had to be at the football field.

Taal Bistro: the Maliputo Alone Is Worth the Trip


Perhaps, the term bistro is a tad misleading. In the original French context, a bistro is a modest and unassuming dining place tucked away in a cosy little nook somewhere. A place that can seat 200 is neither modest nor unassuming, I daresay. Who knows? Maybe it started that way and just grew over the years to what it is today.

Wada’s Pizzeria: A Reason to Visit Mataas-na-Kahoy


Although the municipality of Mataas-na-Kahoy is a mere three or four kilometres from where I live, over the last five decades, the number of times that I actually went there could at best be described as only sporadic. The reasons to go had just been few and far between; and it did not help that the town is out of the way from the perspective of my daily route to and from work.