Food Porn and Our Daily Bread

Tagbilaran / Dauis, Bohol, the Philippines

April 1 – 4, 2011

The quickest way to a traveler’s heart was through his tummy. The province of Bohol, home of the Chocolate Hills, was not known for its food though. However, this cookie-shaped island and the adjacent Panglao Island, which looked like a crumb on the map, got me at first bite.

Mom, the Food Critic, in Dauis, Bohol

I was not much of a foodie. My gastronomic standards scraped the bottom of the food chain. I was with my mom and sister on this trip so at least I was assured of decent food, not my usual sustenance of street food when I was on the road. So I let my mom (the real foodie in the family) reveal her inner food critic.

Payag Restaurant

Payag Restaurant, Tagbilaran, Bohol

After a no-meal flight, lunch topped our agenda. Upon dumping our luggage at the hotel, we hopped on a tricycle to Payag Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Tagbilaran, according to Cebu-Pacific Air’s in-flight magazine. I expected a bamboo hut with a thatched roof, as what payag meant. The restaurant, it turned out, was a cross between a bahay na bato (stone house) and a log cabin. At least, it offered a partial view of Tagbilaran Bay (actually a strait) and Panglao Island on the second floor.

The magazine highly recommended chicken inasal (roasted chicken), their specialty. The place was outfitted with happy chicken carvings and figurines lest you missed this point. Nice to know that my lunch was happy to be slaughtered and skewered.

Eating is Serious Business: Mom and Chicken Inato

I was not a big fan of roasted things, but Payag’s chicken inato (translation: our chicken) was a revelation. I found it to be more delectable than the chicken inasal that my hometown was known for. (Oh dear, I could get exiled for saying this!) The secret must be in the marinade, but mom believed it was in free range poultry, as opposed to cooped ones. That could explain the happy chicken. I never thought you could tell the difference; oh well, mother knew best! The dish came with pickled papaya, a neutralizing antidote to all that meat.

Mom’s verdict: Flavorful!

Café  Lawis

Cafe Lawis, Dauis Church Complex, Dauis, Bohol

Another tricycle ride, this time an island-hopping one (thanks to a causeway linking Bohol with Panglao Island), took us to Dauis, one of two towns in Panglao. We got off at the Byzantine-inspired Dauis Church. Tucked behind the stone church was a convent-turned-café called Café Lawis. Lawis was said to be the old name of Dauis.

The convent complex also housed the fancy Handumanan souvenir shop and an art gallery, infused with Ayala money, and it showed. We settled at the alfresco dining area under the canopy of ancient acacia trees by the bay. Perfect for Panglao’s provincial ambiance, which was as dreamy as the café’s specialty: tsokolate-eh soufflé (chocolate soufflé).

Mom enjoying the creamy Chocolate Soufflé of dreamy Café Lawis

Al Fresco Cafe Lawis, Dauis Church Complex, Dauis, Bohol

Ice cream soufflé was the ultimate dessert indulgence: you could have your cake and have ice cream with it too! The fresh-off-the-oven heat of the soufflé drenched in rich cocoa syrup (tsokolate-eh) clashed with the cold vanilla ice cream – a bipolar delight. Mom claimed she had never tasted soufflé this good in Manila.

Soon it was dusk. Lanterns hanging on the acacia trees were lighted, giving a golden glow to our last sinful scoop of soufflé. The scene was so cinematic I could almost see the credits roll.

Mom’s verdict: Exceptional!

Bohol Bee Farm (BBF)

Bohol Bee Farm, Dauis, Bohol

*****

A side note: Just as I started writing this part, a small bee (a baby bee?) flew in the window and settled on my computer desk. Maybe it wanted to see what the buzz was about.🙂

*****

The next day we had dinner at the Bohol Bee Farm. Good thing we were not deterred by the unpaved country road. This bed-and-breakfast was worth the rocky ride. The moment we arrived, my sister made a beeline for the souvenir shop that sold local products and organic food.

Bags-full of shopping later, we retreated to the BBF restaurant sitting on a cliff rising over Bohol Sea. The waters were calm, ruffled only by two small boats. In Bohol, good food always came with scenic cinematography.

Bohol Bee Farm Overlooking Bohol Sea

Spare me some ribs….

Mom and Sister Demolishing the BBF Buffet

Organic was the order of the day. The buffet opener was organic garden salad (with honey mustard dressing) strewn with flowers. The honey-glazed chicken was juicy and the seafood lasagna was just as tasty. The standout for me was the extra-tender spare ribs. Even the sauces had honey, produced by the resident bees. To cap our dinner, we had corn coffee, also homegrown in BBF’s organic farm (look ma, no preservatives!).

Dinner was delish overall. The only thing that didn’t go down well with me was the red organic rice. I always found this variety too dry. I still prefered the softness of white rice. And mom? All she could muster to say during dinner was “wow” because she was too busy eating and could not be disturbed.

Mom’s verdict: Outstanding!

Tagbilaran Tricycles

To redeem us from all that food porn, Tagbilaran also offered food for the soul. On our way to the airport, my sister noted that tricycles in the city had Bible verses painted on their sidecars. It wasn’t random, but a registration requirement. Whoever thought of this brilliantly biblical idea, bless his heart! This interesting bit totally went over my head. It paid to have a deaconess for a sister.

Of course, I needed to take a photo of it for proof. Uncannily, the tricycle that took us to Dauis on our first day was the same one our van trailed to the airport. You just have to take my word that the rest had Bible verses too. Tagbilaran was really just a small town, after all.

Tricycle 0556 in Dauis

Tagbilaran Tricycles with Bible Verses: Tricycle 0556 at the Airport

The driver waved goodbye, and left us with this verse imprinted at the back of his sidecar:

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3)

For not sacrificing our appetite, amen.

Mom’s verdict: Unique!

39 thoughts on “Food Porn and Our Daily Bread

    • I read your post, Chyng! Yes, super sarap nga, and to think I’m not much of a meat lover. Pero di ko naman kakayanin ang unli ribs! Lugi ako lagi sa buffet. Nabubusog ako sa tingin.

  1. Thankfully one does not pile the kilos by being a voyeur to eateries by the ageless traveller.

    Whatte title, Age: Food porn!!!! I was imagining naked women and men with food on them (forgive my imagination). But knowing that you are a decent man (winks), I kept my imagination in cold storage.

    I thought all travellers were fond of food but you proved me wrong. In spite of the detachment, this post was savoured by me ( and also by you while writing). Trust your mom’s judgment, always🙂

    Glad to be visiting TTT after a brief hiatus.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    P. S: Loved the way evangelism is done in the city of Tagbilaran. Amen.

    • Oh Sus! I have my mother in this post. I can’t have naked people with fetishes in it!😀

      I’m not your usual traveler, Sus. First, I’m always broke. And I’m not very adventurous. I’m also rather lazy. Finally, I’m really a homebody who just happens to want to go out quite a bit. The best time in my travels is actually going home!

      Nice to have you back, Mrs. Sus! Actually you didn’t miss much. I was off my own blog about as long as your honeymoon.🙂

  2. This looks like a decent tricycle, I must say. Café Lawis looks interesting..with the lanterns hanging all over. In fact, all the pictures pass calm vibes.🙂

  3. awww! I wish i could have a trip with my mom too. na touch anamn ako sayo, ang sweet mu ke mommy mu. hehe and yeah, somehow pareho tau, d rin ako maxado s food sa travel, street foods ok na ko. hehe

    • What I love to do most I try to do with people I love most. You can’t be as mobile and carefree though, but that’s nothing compared to the bonding moments and the memories. Priceless!

    • Wow, that says a lot despite my not posting a photo of the souffle. I do have one but I’d rather show my mom eating it.🙂

  4. Napapagastos talaga tayo pag pamilya ang usapan. Family man AJ!😀
    Nice way of sharing information on those trikes. But sheesh, the food, the food!
    It’s the dessert at Cafe Lawis that really took my attention in this post. Thanks as well for sharing stories on what else to do in Bohol. Usual talks are all about beaches.😀

    • That’s what I like about Bohol, actually. Dami puedeng gawin. It has everything for everyone – beachbums, adventure junkies, history buffs, foodies, nature trippers, art lovers, religious types, couples, solo-flighters like you and family men like me.🙂

  5. I said it before and I will say it again, Mommy Poliquit should have her own blog. Are there dishes for diet-conscious vegetarian in Bohol? he he

    • You should stay at the Bohol Bee Farm B&B. You can have an organic orgy of leaves and flowers there.🙂

      Yep, I’ve been telling her to put up a foodie blog. But she’s too busy liking posts in Facebook.

  6. aj! how could you?!!? how could you claim chicken inato is better than bacolod inasal?!?! dang! i need to bring you to my fave chicken inasal place in bacolod just to prove a point! he he he besides, i don’t like free range chicken as they have a tendency to be stringy, tough and not so meaty – just think “red rice” compared to white rice. in any case, were you able to get the pumpkin muffins? my fave in BBF

    • I knew I’d raise some hackles with this. Hackles of chicken inasal. Haha! Perhaps unfairly judged – after all I’ve only gone to one stall in Manukan Country in Bacolod and this one resto in Bohol. Sige Cacho, do prove your point.🙂

      Yup, loved the muffins!

  7. Man your title was different , i thought something else .. whew… It was great AJ trip with mom !!this post is unique ..i never seen a tri cycle like that … and what is that ribs dish all about too spicy ?

    • Sorry about the title. Were you disappointed, Sheril?😀 Oh, the tricycle – it’s ubiquitous in the Philippines. That’s how it is designed here. As for the ribs, nope not spicy at all. The meat was very tender, like it wasn’t attached to the bone.

  8. Hehe..the title also confused me! Great story AJ and your Mom looks so beautiful. I love the photo of the chocolate souffle – man that looks yummie!!!!

    • Couldn’t resist the title. Although I didn’t post solo photos of food (except for the ribs), I hope I’ve described them enough to qualify as food porn.🙂 Oh yes, Nelieta. The souffle was to die for!

  9. You’ve got me with the title!
    It definitely was full of food porn plus the bread. hahaha
    The food really looks yummy.🙂

    I’m also a frequent visitor of Tagbilaran City but never did I notice the Bible verses in the tricycles. tsk tsk.

    • Chose the title for the hits I imagined it would bring in. Hehe joke. I didn’t notice the verses either; my sister did. Do this next time you’re in Tag: the verse in the first trike you get on is your verse for the day.🙂

    • @Renevic: Right! And it’s ideal for wedding receptions. It’s just at the backyard of a church after all.

      @Jim: Amen to that! Although sometimes I do allow myself a break from all the strange flavors by going for some fastfood.🙂

  10. Pingback: Lights and Shades « The Transcendental Tourist

  11. Glad to see you thoroughly enjoyed Bohol. Since you were writing about food I’d say how could you miss Bee Farm’s Ice Cream! It’s one of a kind with such flavors as ginger, pandan and malunggay – yes, malunggay! It’s everybody’s favorite. Well, I guess you and your Mom should really come back.

    • Darn, I missed that! I can imagine pandan ice cream, but ginger…and malunggay?! For novelty alone, it’s a must-try. Yup, one more reason to go back. Thanks for the tip!🙂

  12. Oh my, food porn!! Got curious tuloy! Nice title! Hehe… Omg ang Ganda ng resto the dining area under the acacia is a WOW! I’m supposed to be in Bohol last week but got busy so hopefully I can go soon and hope to visit this place! Ganda Nya! And the food looks so yummy! Thanks or this post!😉

    • The title never fails in getting hits, hehehe. Oh yes, don’t miss Cafe Lawis in Dauis. Don’t forget to bring along your date!

  13. Hi, I would like to ask permission to use your Cafe Lawis photo for the FB page that I created to promote Bohol. If you will allow me, I will include your name on the Photo Credit portion.🙂

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