Sunday, January 31, 2010



This video shows the variation of making laswa using Lolo Greg's recipe.   

I am so glad that the webisodes have been viewed by viewers from around the globe. 

But what has me smiling more and spewing a lot of cliches in my mind is the fact that my cooking and all this technology has gotten me reconnected to my cousins,  many of whom are based in the Philippines, living within a  20-kilometer range. But with there being more than 50 of us, it's been hard to keep track of their lives. 

Yes, there's more than 5-0 of us from my father's side alone.  Apparently, during his sundalo days, Lolo Greg was swimming up to his knees in virility soup, having sired 13 children. And yes Lola Pacing was as sturdy as they came, having baked and popped my papa, Greg Jr, and his siblings in her baby bun. 

My current choice of living with just A., with no househelp and a workstyle that keeps me from mingling with big groups  may probably be attributed to my coming from a big family. 

Every special occassion takes you more than 30 minutes to greet and kiss the titos, titas, titos-in-law, titas-in law, cousins, cousins-in-law and so on and so forth.

Every family outing requires three buses and a few cars.

Every Christmas, gifts have to be placed in boxes for each family as giving them out individually may take until the next day.

Don't get me wrong, I love my big family! I just love me some quiet, too. 

My cousins, at least the ones  closer to my age, are now so used to my being absent at get-togethers that they re-introduce me to the young ones whenever I appear at family functions, it gives me  a big-family guilt complex. So I am grateful for the technology that allows me to share my memories and recipes with  my family.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Recently had the chance  to go to Banchetto, the overnight streetfood market at the Ortigas business center. They close parts of Emerald Avenue every friday night until the wee hours of Saturday morning.

 The whole place has got a whole Hong Kong vibe with the call center folk, yuppies and Pasig residents getting their fill of the sweet treats...

Got me the chance to eat ginataang page (manta ray meat with coconout cream) which I found a little salty.

Ginataang Page

The row of grills and barbecues will leave you dizzy, so i advise that you go around first before ordering your meal of choice.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Here's an earlier webisode produced by's video duo Cathy Miranda and Izah Morales.  The winsome Chef Sarah of AHA, who gave me my first toque and apron ever,  worked with me. The audio of her intro, though seems problematic.

I heard this video has had high viewership and it makes me giddy that something has come out of my blogging efforts. So, forgive me this shameless series of What's Cooking in AHA webisode plugs.

The recipe is flashed during the video but you can also check it out here.

As for finding vinegar made from tuba, the only commercially available brand I know is Sler's from Cagayan de Oro. They makes one of the fattest, saltiest, crispiest chicharon (pork rinds) on the face of the earth. My good friends Ross and Ge introduced me to it (Bless them!). I am drooling writing about it now.

Let me just wipe the drool off and get back to the sukang tuba.

On one of my last business trips to Cagayan de Oro, while doing the requisite market checks (that's malling in pedestrian parlance), I chanced upon a Sler's booth in the Gaisano mall and bought me  a boxful of the chicharon and several of the 500 ml and 1 liter bottles.  I packed those in my check-in suitcase on the way back to Manila and did not get into any kind of trouble at the airport.

I made adobo with it the first chance I got, using the only chicken parts that were available at that time, chicken lollipops. It was a hit with A.! When I tried to do it with other chicken parts, the inasal-like taste of the tuba did not seep through the poultry meat.

As my sukang tuba stock dwindled to a rop and a half, I tried to find it in many of Manila's supermarkets, wet markets and weekend markets. So far I have been unsuccessful.

So if you know anyone coming in from down south (and I don't mean Australia) have them buy you a gallon from the local wet market.

Do keep in mind that the tuba in the wet market is not commercially produced, the level of acidity may vary unless you keep getting from the same maker. This may affect how long you can  reduce the adobo sauce.

Enough of me writing, let's get cooking!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Was recently invited by the American Hospitality Academy in Makati to share heirloom recipes for the webisode series, "Whats Cooking With AHA?", produced by

I had a fun afternoon taping the webisode with Chef Sarah and the rest of the AHA family who got to sample this simple, refreshing dish. And to my relief, ang Laswa ni Lola Pacing, passed their discriminating palates.

I hope with this instructional video, you get the chance to  make Lola Pacing's laswa in your kitchen.

Just click on the photos to watch the video.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Inadobo sa Tuba

I had a string of yayas (nannies) before I was old enough to go to school but none was more memorable than Nanay Juaning. She was only four feet tall, wore a patadyong (locally woven checkered wrap around skirt) , chewed nganga (betel nut) and cursed like a sailor.

I guess I remember her best because she was the only one who did not shoo me away from the kitchen when I wanted to watch her cook. 

She would patiently demonstrate how to clean rice grains before cooking. The process, called pagtatahip, was to place the rice on a shallow, rounded woven basket and to flip it around letting the wind gently blow away the husk and powdered bits. Her stubby fingers would then trace a wavy pattern on the  rice grains and pick out small stones and pieces of dirt (this was way before hypermarkets). Before cooking the rice she would squat beside the  kitchen door and chew on her nganga, spitting out red saliva every minute or so. Once she finished her chewing habit, she would quietly  proceed to the kitchen and cook the rice.

She would let me taste the food that she liked, including fried tiyan ng bangus, pajo (small mango) and tuba (sweet palm wine). I would stop playing pretend Wonder Woman everytime she calls me to the kitchen. Time in the kitchen with her was always spent discovering new tastes and textures.

When we left Iloilo for Manila, she went with us but only stayed a while before returning to her hometown. I can't recall whatever happened to her but I will always remember her for being one of the first people who made me appreciate working in the kitchen.

I rediscovered tuba a few years back on a trip to Cagayan de Oro when I came across a commercially produced vinegar made out of tuba. I brought home a bottle and used it for adobo. The recipe eventually transformed into the one that I am sharing with you now.

  • 12 pcs. Chicken lollipop
  • 1 cup sukang tuba (vinegar made from coconut wine)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 garlic cloe
  • 1 tbsp pepper corn
  • 2 tsp honey


Place the chicken wings in a wok or round pan. Peel and crush the garlic. Place on top of chicken together with peppercorn. Pour in the vinegar and the soy sauce. Turn the fire on to medium heat. When the sauce boils, mix the honey in and lower the heat. Let it simmer until it reaches a thick consistency.  

I ate flowers at the Bohol Bee Farm

Have you ever eaten...





and Ternate?

I haven't magically turned into a flower chomping goat. The floral feast was served to A. and myself at the Bohol Bee Farm. We went to their resto at the Island City Mall and the resort in Panglao island for some gustatory experience.

   The floral Pizza bread 

   The Ham comes with a garden

   And so do the prawns

The flowers themselves don't really taste different from, well, flowers. The tangy dressing pretty much took over the palate. I just don't know if I could replicate the salad here in Manila using my neighbor's blooms.

Other notable eats:

The Halanghalang Soup made with coconut cream, chicken, carrots, yellow bell pepper, upo (bottle gourd), tomatoes, red onions, ginger and (I think) a pound of siling labuyo native chili.

The Malunggay Ice cream actually tasted like Avocado and not leafy at all. You can also have it with the cabcab (cassava) cone.

The buttery Mango spread was so good, A. and I got more than two dozen bottles to give as pasalubong.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cafe Lawis, Bohol

The Bohol mainland as seen from the Dauis Pilgrim heritage Center

Most tourists come to Bohol for some sun, sand and skimpy bikinis, often missing out on Bohol's other beautiful sights and gastronomic delights like Cafe Lawis inside the Dauis Pilgrim Heritage Center beside the Señora de la Asunción Shrine.

Sitting on the edge of Panglao island, the idyllic town of Dauis and its community of 36,000 is the first to welcome visitors from the Bohol mainland.  Aside from the Hinagdanan caves, the shrine is the only  other tourist attraction there and it has been undergoing a Rennaissance program that hopes to turn it  into a pilgrimage centerfor Marian devotees and a tourism hub to promote the town.

Cafe Lawis al fresco dining area

If you do find yourself in the area, one should not miss Cafe Lawis and the Handumanan Shop located in the picturesque rectory courtyard. While the souvenir shop probably earns its daily take from the Marian souvenirs like rosaries and laser stickers, the interesting items are the crafts made by local artisans. If you have spare cash or plastic, get a miniature colorful handcrafted urna picture frame.  Authentic Boholano urnas, tabletop shrine for religious images, are known for its elaborate carvings and are very hard to come by.

Urna picture frame from Handumanan Shop

Manned by well-trained locals, the cafe serves  pasta, pastries and a sufficient coffee and fruit drink selection. For visitors, the recommended snacks are those that highlight local flavor like the Kinampay (ube) cupcake and pork Humba panini.

Its best offering however, is the Souffle cake available in Tsokolate Eh, Kinampay (purple yam or ube) and Ginger flavors. The cake is prepared only upon being ordered and though it takes a good twenty to thirty minutes, the warm delight is worth waiting for. It comes in a long plate ceramic plate containing the puffy cake, a shot glass of Tsokolate Eh and a serving of vanilla ice cream. Using your teaspoon, you break the cake at its center and pour the Tsokolate Eh. Get a moist piece and get bit of ice cream before taking this bit of heaven into your mouth.  

Tsokolate Eh Souffle Cake

The Kinampay is just as scrumptious but we didn't get to eat the ginger version as we are not fans of the spicy root.