|Photo courtesy of Chodelyn Tion|
The best way to get acquainted with the local cuisine of a specific place is to make the Culinary Tour by riding a bike or riding a four-wheeled vehicle. As for me, I prefer the former. Aside from the fact that I give off less carbon footprint, I am also giving myself a great deal of favor due to the exercise I would be accomplishing. This activity is literally "eat-and-run!" For those who don't want to ride a bike, no worries because a multicab is available. In the event that you got tired of riding the bike, all you need to do is ride the multicab too.
|(Photo courtesy of Sir Bjornson Bernales)|
|Santa Papa! (Photo courtesy of Jervie David Montejar)|
|Me and Mark (Photo courtesy of Jervie David Montejar)|
|Shanky Baby gives a grin. (Photo courtesy of Jervie David Montejar)|
|The host team(Photo courtesy of Jervie David Montejar)|
|(Photo courtesy of Jervie David Montejar)|
We slowly made our way to Sta. Rosa to try their Pan Bisaya. If you are wondering what it is, it's a local bread which looks like the francis bread we often buy in nearby bakeries and it is also stuffed with grinded sweet coconut meat. The dough has a hint of sweetness while the coconut meat was not too sweet nor too bland. It was balanced. It is a perfect morning or afternoon snack.
After Sta. Rosa, we went to Talima to try their Huwad (Humba with Buwad). When we arrived in the barangay hall, lo and behold! We were also offered a delicious dish made of fish and bat! Yes! You heard me right! A dish made of bat! All of them were delicious! The bat dish was surprisingly good. You will not notice that it is a different kind of meat because it has a similar texture with that of a squid or octopus.
|Talima Barangay Hall|
|Dish made of fish|
|Huwad (Humba with Buwad)|
|Dish made of Bat meat|
After having a heavy snack in Talima, we made our way to the pump boat factory capital in Olango Island which is Baring. We interviewed a local pump boat maker which was present when we arrived. He explained to us how they make large pump boats. It was very interesting to see different sizes, shapes, and colors of floating mechanical wonders. In the past, they used big chunks of solid wood to build pump boats because wood was abundant. Nowadays, they use smaller chunks of wood and marine plywood. According to the pump boat builder, foreigners call their creations as Spider Boat because most pump boats have 8 legs.
|Manong Taga-Gawa ng Pump Boat answered my question, "Bangka Bangka, paano ka ginawa?"|
|The lower part of the pump boat seems to look like a surf board under Daddy Ruben Licera's feet.|
After interviewing the local pump boat maker, we went inside the Baring Barangay Hall and had a taste of Puto Balanghoy. There were two kinds being served to us, the white and brown one. The brown Puto Balanghoy meant that sugar was added to it while the white one meant the absence of sugar. The Puto Balanghoy is also a substitute whenever there is no rice available. I liked the brown Puto Balanghoy because I have a sweet tooth. The process of making the Puto Balanghoy was also explained to us, as well as the different processes it has to undergo and the cooking instruments they use to prepare it.
|Baring Barangay Hall|
|Puto Balanghoy steamer|
|Manong Magbabalanghoy shows us his balanghoy grater|
|Manong Magbabalanghoy shows us the process of removing the cyanide from balanghoy.|
|The balanghoy cyanide removal pit|
After having our third morning snacks, we passed by the floating restaurants of Caw-oy for a few minutes. There were lots of bangkas. I could also see on my video camera that there was quite a crowd who were having their lunch in the restaurants in the middle of the sea.
|Raise the roof! (Photo courtesy of Sir Bjornson Bernales)|
|Caw-oy Barangay Hall|
|Numerous bangka and floating restaurant|
|Children playing in the sea|
A few meters after viewing the floating restaurants, we went for a short stop at a house who offered cooked Saang. I love it! If only I could have the whole basin of Saang for myself! Hehehe!
The heat of the sun eventually took its toll on my body. I was loosing a great deal of body fluids. If I did not take the hydration pack with me, I was good as dead. Thanks to the support of my friends and our gracious hosts, I was able to make my way back to our bamboo house in Tungasan to take a very much needed nutrient and liquid replenishment. It is known in simple words as lunch. My eyes was greeted with the colorful array of viands being arranged on the table. Enough talk! Time to eat! Olango Island is a paradise for a foodie indeed!
|Wohooo! (Photo courtesy of Sir Jonji Gonzales)|
|Tinola na bangus|
|Tinola na bangus|
After the sumptuous lunch, it is imperative that a much needed siesta or a simple rest was to be taken because we already conquered about 20 kilometers of the island through our bikes. The fresh air and great sea view in front of our bamboo house was a perfect setting for talking with friends and taking many laughs.
After taking a much needed rest, we went to Sabang through the rough road. We feasted on fried salpo (sea cucumber) and lamao (coconut juice+meat and condensed milk). The salpo for me was a great thingy to munch on. It had a chewy consistency. Their lamao was also great because it was sweet and delicious, and the place where we had lamao was very nice. It was made up of green grass and it looked as though the whole land was made up of carpet. The wonderful ambiance was enough to stimulate our wild imagination!
|This may seem that we were on LSD. You are wrong. We were just on a natural high!|
If I am to summarize my culinary tour experience, one single positive adjective is not enough to describe it. I am in awe with the natural beauty of the island. The locals welcomed us warmly. Their food nourished us. We rekindled our friendships and made new ones. The Culinary Tour on Bike and Four-Wheeled Vehicle for me was a great success! I want to experience it again! Olango Island, I shall return!