Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hai-Ma & Matias Seafood Restaurant - Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur

The road from Davao City to Davao del Sur is a coastal high way. There's the azure oceans to your left and the undulating hills and mountains of coconut trees, corn and sugarcane plantations to your right. This scenic road is lined by a smattering of houses and everything else that exists in small communities, although it's a mainly agricultural terrain.

As you go further south from the city, you will enter into the province of Davao del Sur through its border town, Sta. Cruz, population 71,153. One could take the boat to Pasig Island, or trek to Todaya Falls, but the reality remains, going further towards the deep mountains isn't a very wise decision. The highway, on the other hand, is a bastion of peace, plying through the municipality's 18 barangays which includes interestingly named barangays of Inawayan, Darong (where the huge San Miguel Brewery is), Tagabuli, Bato, Coronon, Jose Rizal, and Melilia, among others.

In the vicinity near Darong is a chain of seafood restaurants, mostly run by Muslims, a good number of whom populate the Talisay area. This was where I visited Hai-Ma and Matias Seafood Restaurant.

Nestled beside the sea, Hai-Ma offers an interesting pork-free selection that we're posting here. I particularly loved the "bihud" or fish eggs (taken from large fish called maya-maya or snapper). This particular "bihud" has been made into a salad. I would have preferred the plain boiled bihud but this "version" was interesting nonetheless.

As an added attraction, aside from the amazing seaside view: a group of children dive the shallow waters to pick up coins thrown by visitors to the sea. I was initially resistant to the practice because I thought it exposed the children to the unnecessary dangers of the seas. However, upon realization that the water was just knee high, it wasn't that dangerous after all. This frolicking activity of diving for coins has become "tradition" in this area; and has become an interesting watch. I'll feature this in our succeeding post.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

"Guso" salad. Guso is a gelatinous substantial seaweed, blanched, with vinegar dressing, onion, tomato, salt and coconut vinegar (tuba). This costs PhP35 per plate.

Bihud or "fish egg" admixed in a salad at PhP160 per order.

Fried chicken at PhP65 per order. I ordered this just in case I didn't like my "bihud" salad.

Clams or "imbaw" soup at PhP120.

Fried noodle or "pansit guisado" at PhP35.

Scampering for money.

Very clear (clean and shallow) sea.

Waiting for coins at the other restaurant.

Up next: Dolly's House of Seafood - and more of bihud.

Check out a curving (sloping) horizon.

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