Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Flavor of Tiny Kitchen

Little restos have been sprouting in the city. Of course there is the now ubiquitous and always full Lachi's. The newest sensation (for me!) is Tiny Kitchen. I am using the term new quite loosely here because I know they've been around for a couple of years. It's just that I only discovered it a few months ago. The place is really small, I think there are about 5 tiny tables. I am just lucky that I have not yet waited too long for a table. Not yet anyway.

Tiny Kitchen, from what i gathered, started as a bakery. They still have bakery items like focaccia and lady fingers which are my favorites from their oven. For their savory dishes, I think they specialize in Mediterranean cuisine specifically Italian and Spanish. They have paella (I haven't tried it though), a variety of pasta dishes, chicken and fish (specifically maya-maya) dishes among others. The last time we were there , we tried their maya-maya with rosemary, gambas (see photo), and salpicao.

Except for that one nosy and overbearing food server, I love everything about Tiny Kitchen. I really love the subtle flavor of the food (herb-y rather than salty), I like that the portions are not tiny but also not oh-my-gosh-can-I-finish-this big like Trellis (another new resto that we tried). Waiting time is not at all long and the prices are reasonable. I won't say that this is the best resto in Davao but they are definitely growing on me. Tiny Kitchen is currently my favorite.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kadayawan 2010

This post is a bit late but I really want to share some of the images I took while watching the floral parade in the recently concluded Kadayawan festival. It was a memorable day for me because an old man proved to me that there is still goodness in people. I left my car parked not knowing that the passenger windows behind the driver's seat (both windows!) were wide open. If the old man who promised to guard my car did not do his job or he himself took advantage of the situation, he would've gotten my MacBook and some camera lens which were all just lying in the car. I thanked the heavens for the old man while I had a hard time grasping the fact that I was a very blessed man.

But enough of my "emo" on Kadayawan, here are some of the images I saw on that day.

a kid perched on his father's shoulders

this kids were just having fun while they are being paraded all over town

the papier-mâché version of UP's Oblation

float decor, reminiscent of Kublai Milan's statues in People's Park

Melissa Ricks was a thing of beauty

LBC's women

Young men in uniform (DMMA's cadets)

After I recovered from my open-car incident, SM was the next on the agenda to take pictures of the flowers in bloom in the showcase of the Davao Orchid Society.

violet vanda

interesting flora

a little bouquet of red flowers

the queen of all Philippine flowers, the Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana)

white phalaenopsis

interesting flower (I don't know what this is)

purple dendrobium

yellow dendrobium over a man-made creek

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wild Berry Gardens

Whenever I go to Bukidnon or just feeling like I want to breathe the cool fresh mountain air, I usually go to BUDA. And when I am in BUDA I take my lunch at the Wild Berry Gardens. I only found out about this charming little spot through a Facebook post of one of my wife's friends. I used to only go to the Seagull in the Sky's coffee shop in BUDA so I was excited to come across Wild Berry Gardens.
Wild Berry Gardens is located in a community of Lorega. Lorega is a mountain barangay of Bukidnon's Kitaotao municipality. It is right smack on the border between Davao City and Bukidnon. This quaint little establishment is actually hard to find because it is not located along the highway. One has to take the small dirt road right immediately after the Quarantine Station. Wild Berry Garden is such a lovely place. There is a sense of warmth in the place. The ambiance provides an interesting backdrop for the cool mountain breeze. The owners designed it themselves including the little details like the sunflower mailbox to it's western inspired decor inside the Nowhere Cafe (that's what they call their restaurant).
Wild Berry Gardens also offer overnight accommodations for those who want to experience how it is to spend the night in the mountains. It's very cheap although it is also a very basic accommodation. But the rustic look makes the entire place appealing. As the name suggests, they have wild berries and strawberries in their garden. They actually make jams out of these berries for guests to buy.
What impressed me most though is their cuisine. Their menu is also as simple as the place but the simplicity is what is genius here. Most of the time, while waiting for my lunch, I order their Shot Gun Willy. This is the name they call their chili con carne served with hot pan de sal. I usually have it served in one of the cottages in their garden.
My favorite item to order is the pork tenderloin tips. They also have crispy hito in their menu (both in pics). Wild Berry Gardens is the little mountain resort that could beat the big resort in Buda like the Seagull in the Sky.
Wild Berry Gardens is a better option because it is rustic, quaint, and most of all, the owners are very friendly and accommodating. Their hands-on approach in running this little mountain resort makes one feel very welcome. And this is the reason why I keep coming back.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Unblogged Escapes in Black and White

May 2010 in Batangas and Manila

The Lipa Basilica in Lipa, Batangas

Taal Volcano as seen from Tagaytay

Me @ the Manila Ocean Park

The famous Manila Bay sunset from the breakwater behind SM Mall of Asia

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Camp Sabros: More Than the Zip Lines

I just came back recently from an overnighter in Camp Sabros. Camp Sabros is this small mountain resort in the mountains of Kapatagan in Digos, the capital of the province of Davao del Sur. Kapatagan is known as a food basket for this side of Mindanao because it is the leading producer of vegetables in Davao del Sur. On the onset there is nothing patag (Cebuano for a flat surface of land) about Kapatagan; Camp Sabros after all nestles 4000 feet above sea level according to my GPS. But once one has a visual of Kapatagan from Camp Sabros, it will become apparent why it is named so. Kapatagan is actually a wide plateau, hence the monicker

Kapatagan as seen from the road to Camp Sabros

Camp Sabros, in my opinion is known for 2 things. One would be the zip line, the other is the amazing view. There were 3 zip lines and 1 cable ride there. The shortest of the zip lines is 380 meters, the next is 400 meters while the longest is 800 meters. I tried all of them including the cable ride. The daunting 800 meters is the most exciting because it reaches to amazing speeds and because it is quite long, it takes a long time for the breathtaking view to end.

My friends Marky, Mae, and Jake on the Cable Ride

That's me on the 800 meter zip line

But of all these things, it is the breathtaking view of the highest mountain in the Philippines and on a clear day (it was when I was there) the view of another notable mountain are the reasons why Camp Sabros was a hit for me. Mount Apo, together with Mt. Talomo, is an imposing backdrop towards the south of Davao City and this is my first time to see Mount Apo up close. The view was so good, I can see the steam from Apo's sulfuric vents quite clearly. Towards the south, South Cotabato's very own Mt. Matutum can be seen.
Mount Apo

Mt. Matutum

Add to all these things the chill of the mountain air and the company of good friends, all of these made Camp Sabros unforgettable. Thank you to Jhoi and her HR team for bringing me along. Can't wait for the next escape!