Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Batanes Food Trip- Part 1

As per usual, A. and I  didn't get any sleep prior to our New Year trip.  As of 3 PM, I was still working on a sample script while A. was checking scripts. We had one hour to pack, get dressed and call a cab. All work duties submitted, all familial duties fulfilled, we rushed to the airport for a very quiet New Year in Batanes,

Our first meal in Batanes was technically the breakfast they served us upon check-in at the DDD Habitat, a relatively new and modest inn near in the periphery of idyllic Basco. But since we were served the  standard "silog" breakfast platter, it doesn't count.

Before leaving for the afternoon tour, we had a simple meal of sinigang na baboy...

Pako (fern) salad...
 and sizzling Dibang (flying fish)...
 which looks like this before it hit the frying pan---

Starting the meal with the  hot and sour sinigang soup was very welcome as the chill of Taiwan winter crept its way down to my bones. The Pako salad, which is very hard to come by in Manila, was refreshing because the meaty fern was soaked in organic sugarcane vinegar and topped with chopped native tomatoes and red onion. it was also a good match for the flying fish, which had a piquant hint of the sea hidden in its dense flesh.

This meal had us ready for the afternoon ahead- scaling hills and doing the rounds of all the pretty places you wish you grew up in.

By the end of the day we were pretty tired and ready for another Batanes meal. We were taken by our kindly guide, Manong Jun, to Pension Ivatan, one of the older inns which prides itself in being the "home of Ivatan cuisine." Meals had to be pre-ordered as it was the low season and the kitchen staff had to be advised to purchase the ingredients. 

It was there that I tasted the yellow rice, colored and flavored with turmeric (and traditionally sprinkled with limestone to give the grains more luster)...

Upon the recommendation of the attending staff, we paired this with Uved balls, the fried variety. According to Mang Jun, home-cooked uved are not really made into balls, just sauteed. But some locals will make it into balls and steam it. I know some people might think they look like animal dung, but it's really made of banana ubod (banana tree palm), minced pork and pork blood (which gives it the earthy color).
We were also served an Ivatan salad platter, which was mainly a mix of uncooked and blanched fresh vegetables served with bagoong (shrimp paste).
We also had the Lunyis or Ivatan version of pork adobo. This is a dry kind of adobo where only salt is used and the meat pieces are fried in its own lard.
 We were also served the Mixed Seafood, which was like a creamy version of pinakbet.
On our first day, it was obvious that the people of Batanes have a culture of self-sustenance and that its people take pride in that. I do hope that this doesn't change once more tourists discover the beauty of this volcanic group of islands.


  1. Thanks for featuring my province..
    Dios mamajes.

  2. Happy New Year and Thanks for reading the post. Dios Mamajes!

  3. Can i ask for Luniz (Batanes adobo) recipe? Thanks


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