Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rediscovering My Hometown: Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental

They say, you never know what you have until you lose it. My recent vacation to my old hometown made me realize that.

Only few people in my circle know that I spent most of my childhood years in Laguindingan. That place is anonymous to a lot people not until today when Cagayan de Oro moved its airport to Laguindingan, making this municipality exist in the Philippine map and become part of some travel itineraries.


Back when I was a child, I would often run on unpaved and dusty pathways just like in this photo. And I would go home with bruises and soiled feet and some handful of wild flowers I picked along the way. Yes, there is nothing extraordinary with this but in the world where people build cities, streets, bridges, and walls, you will appreciate trekking a road like this.

True to the saying: familiarity breeds contempt, I grew up without affinity to the place. In fact, it was easy for me to trade that laid back life to the city life. The city was enticing back then. It used to be fun and exciting. However, as I grew older, I felt that longing for the idyllic life and nature.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Enjoying Thai Dinner at Cisan's, Angeles City

I love Thai cuisine because of the blend of different flavors and textures. If I were to likened it to a person, it is like a person who is kind with that little naughtiness, sense of adventure, and a hint of mystery--it has little bit of everything. Thai dishes has many things going on every plate yet there is harmony to its flavor.

My all time favorite is pad thai. I love the saltiness, the crunchy texture of the bean sprouts and the beans, and the mixture of flavors.

Last night, we had the chance to try a new restaurant in Nepo Quadrangle. I am still amazed on how the Quadrangle has become. Certainly, Angeles has changed so fast in the past 5 years. And the place where this exciting Quadrangle now stands was just a huge space of lot where lovers used to meet at night.

Cisan's was a perfect choice to have  our dinner that evening. Cisan's is a Thai restaurant located near the Angeles Electric building.

Photo credit: Foursquare


We ordered grilled pork with bagoong rice, pad thai and milk tea. The meal was a WINNER! I simply love it.

Cisan's, Angeles City -

Cisan's, Angeles City -

The grilled pork with bagoong rice is a rice dish with green mangoes, shallots, long beans, and scrambled egg, topped with grilled pork. It cost P275. With its hefty serving, it is already enough for 2-3 persons. The pork was tender and perfect in every bite and with a little sweet flavor, which makes a contrasting taste to the rice. The bagoong rice was just awesome. I muttered: "kanin pa lang ulam na." I like the saltiness of the bagoong (shrimp paste) and how the mangoes creates a little excitement to the dish. The ingredients is well incorporated and the bagoong nor the mangoes is overwhelming.

bagoong rice and milk tea at Cisan's, Angeles City

The pad thai is nicely presented with two huge deveined shrimp. Pad thai is a rice noodles dish with eggs, bean sprouts, tofu, shrimp, and pad thai sauce. Unlike other restaurants that serve pad thai with the peanuts, Cisan's gives their customers the liberty to add peanuts and how much they would put into their dish. Chopped peanuts are served on every table. Because I'm a nut-lover, I drown mine with lots of peanuts.

Pad thai costs P275. It is a reasonable price for the winning taste, presentation, and ingredients.  

pad thai

The thai milk team was great too. And to cut the story short, the entire meal was just awesome.


What entices me to enter the establishment aside from the little spunk to try something new is the place, which was nicely designed. It is well-lighted too, which is one important factor for me because I am not fond of a resto with a very bright lighting system that hurts the eye.

Cisan's, Angeles City

Cisan's, Angeles City -


Cisan's is a new Thai restaurant in Angeles City. Little information is known about this place but I see positive feedback from customers. The restaurant owner was hand-on with the operation. In fact, she personally cooked the dishes himself.

My friend, a partner in crime, has one thing to suggest, he suggested that the restaurant be well-advertised. The place and food is great, people just need to know about it.

Nepo Quad, Angeles City

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kinilaw (Raw Fish Salad)

Kinilaw or raw fish salad is a popular dish in Northern Mindanao region where seafood is abundant. Kinilaw comes from the word "kilaw", which means to eat raw.

Popular fish for kinilaw is tuna but you can actually use other fish that includes bangus, dilis, tangigue or tanigue (sea bass), talakitok (cavalla), and lapu-lapu (grouper). Fresh fish is very important in making kinilaw. The fresher the fish, the sweeter its meat is. If it's not fresh, there is a possibility that it will develop an unpleasant smell and taste.

During my short vacation in my home town Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, I requested for this dish because I missed it so much. I glut myself with kinilaw for days.  Since fresh catch are sold and delivered by fishermen to the houses, it is easy to get your ingredients for your kinilaw.

Kinilaw is similar to Ceviche in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America, which is made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors, such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, avocado or plantain (source: wikipedia)

Photo credit: Wikipedia, Ceviche verde served at the El Bajió restaurant in Azcapotzalco, Mexico City

Kinilaw is being compared to the Japanese sashimi but unlike sashimi, kinilaw is cooked through the vinegar and lime or calamansi concoction.

Kinilaw is prepared differently in Mindanao. The reason is they used tabon-tabon (Scientific name: atuna racemosa), which removes the "langsa" (fishy smell). Tabon-tabon is native to Northern Mindanao and Camiguin.


Fresh fish, cleaned, deboned and cut into cubes
Black pepper
Chopped onions
Chopped ginger
Biasong (lime) or calamansi juice
Scraped tabon-tabon, squeeze the juice with vinegar
Chilis, chopped (optional)

Photo credit:, tabon, tabon (Scientific name: atuna racemosa)

  • Rinse the fish with little vinegar. Drain and squeeze the vinegar out.
  • Add the vinegar, chopped onions and ginger, lime or calamansi juice, and the tabon-tabon juice.
  • Add salt, pepper, and chili to your desired taste.
Kinilaw is best served and eaten with grilled pork.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

J.CO Donuts & Coffee Finally Opens in Pampanga

Are you ready for J.Co Donuts & Coffee? For donut-lovers and foodie in Pampanga, this is the moment we've been waiting for!

First 50 customers in line will be getting a box of free J.POPS on opening day, July 18 (THURSDAY), at 10AM!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pampanga: Susie's Cuisine, The Best in Pampango Kakanin

In Pampanga, the perfect place to satisfy your palabok and kakain cravings is at Susie's Cuisine. It's a culinary institution that every Kapampangan recognize by heart.

Kakanin or rice cakes is part of our Filipino culture. From the word kanin which means rice, kakanin is made of rice or glutinous rice usually mixed with coconut milk or gata. The Philippines has a wide variety of kakanin and some are distinct to certain provinces or areas. Take puto for instance which is a very popular kakanin but different regions offer variations.


Eversince I came to Angeles City in 1997, Susie's Cuisine had been one of the places we go for a quick bite. Susie's products are often present during special occasions or gatherings like birthday parties, luncheons, and dinners.

Susie's Cuisine has been in the business since 1972. Anicia Ayson founded Susie's through the motivation of her family and close friends who were fond of her cooking. And eventually got Kapampangans loved her cooking too. Today, it is now being run by her daughter Jesusa Ayson Yabut, together with her husband Glenn Yabut.

With 12 outlets in Pampanga and Tarlac, people can now easily buy Susie's products.


Susie's is famous for its pancit luglug or palabok, mochi, and tibok tibok. A visit to the store-restaurant, however, will surprise you and get you instantly salivating of the wide array of products--there are kakanin, pancit, pasta, sweets, and native delicacies.

Pancit palabok (P50/single order, P375 and P480/bilao) is my personal fave. Pancit palabok or pancit luglug is a type of rice noodles dish. As far as ingredients are concern, it looks similar with other palabok you'll find in the market. You can see the same thick red sauce, chicharon bits or pork cracklings and egg. But what made it stand out from the rest is the taste. It's more flavorful and tastier and the noodles are perfect to the bite. Susie's Cuisine in Pampanga