Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Taste of Davao - Delongtes Restaurant & Yummy

Sometimes, people start out with a specific vision that eventually turns out differently. This is evident in the names of two restaurants we've sampled in Davao City.

Delongtes, for example is named "Delongtes Seafood Grill and BBQ" and though it still is basically a barbecue place, most people order non-seafood. One reason is that they are relatively cheaper. I prefer chicken barbecue most times, then add side entrees like grilled liver or those crunchy calamari. The sauce they use for their barbecues is a delectable mix of mouth watering concoction that drives you to empty your plate.

Delongtes has been in the business for several years already. I remember when they were still a simple eatery similar to dimly-lit turu-turo bars, but they have since upgraded to a posh, sophisticated place with a relaxed atmosphere and laid back charm. Most nights, they employ live music - though quality of their live performers tend to be uneven; some excellent performers, others mediocre. But the salient feature of any restaurant solely rests on the quality and taste of their food. This is where they have absolutely succeeded.

The odd name - "delongtes" - is actually a Visayan word play of "The Long Taste", whatever that means. Their barbecue orders are inexpensive: pork bbq at P26 a stick, liver at P25 a stick, calamares at P230 an order, crispy kangkong (crisp water spinach leaves) at P120 a plate, steamed rice at P20 an order, coke in can at P20, San Miguel Beer pale pilsen at P40, etc.

Delongtes has two branches: one at Tulip Drive beside SM City Davao and another at NCCC Mall. Call 082-2293294 for inquiries.

Chicken and Pork barbecue with chicken liver


Live performers: a great duo that does justice to the songs of Alicia Keys, then suddenly switches to a "Stars on 45" medley. :)


Yummy Chicken and Pasta Haus is a relatively new joint, although its signage outside says it started in 1988. Despite its name (i.e. chicken and pasta), one of its specialties isn't pasta, but the very local dish - pork and chicken humba (pictured below). A plate includes rice and macaroni salad. And it tastes as heavenly as it looks.

What I like about this joint, aside from excellent food, is its minimalist design and how clean it is. Everything glistens. And nothing beats a spotless joint where food is concerned. This restaurant is located at Amigleo Building, along Torres Street.

Finally, we are taking note of the emergence of the dragon fruit in Davao City. Though Dragon Fruit or "Strawberry Pear", also known as "Pitaya" in southeast asia (thanh long in Vietnam, buah naga in Malaysia and Indonesia, kaeo mangkon in Thailand) is quite endemic in Asia, this is almost virtually unknown in the Philippines. But it is gradually making its presence known, although in pricier rates. We first tasted this while visiting Luang Prabang in north Laos. We got the red variety (sweeter, but leaves violaceous stains on your hands and lips). The other variety is the white one. Another side effect of Dragon Fruit: it helps to "move" bowels, like the durian, papaya and pomelo.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Dragon Fruit is the fruit of a cactus species. The red variety is rich in phosphorus, while the white (yellow) is rich in calcium. It's also believed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure; and when eaten regularly helps prevent cancer (it increases excretion of heavy metal toxins). Though very cheap elsewhere in Asia, it costs P100-160 per piece in the Philippines (almost 4-5x more expensive).

Two Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) varieties.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faces of Davao 08 - Random Images

Like fast moving clips from a projector, images of a vibrant city are captured in seconds: school children crossing a street; a mall energizing a fast growing metropolis; a lady smoking in a non-smoking city; vehicles moving towards Chinatown (Sta. Ana); colorful flags billowing along Bolton Bridge; a gigantic green-colored billboard dwarfing shanties down below; a deserted spare-parts shop; a busy street populated by multicabs; and a university standing proud before an afternoon sun.

They all have hundreds of stories to tell. I can only imagine.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

SM Mall has energized the city and has spawned brisk development in a once-sleepy district.

Brave lady smokes in Duterte's no-smoking land.


Bolton Bridge

Gigantic billboards lend support to an embattled lady mayor.

Spare parts shop

CM Recto Street's multicabs

Ateneo de Davao University

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Faces of Davao 07 - Marco Polo Davao Hotel

How is a room at the 14th floor of Marco Polo? Considering you had to shell out more than 10x the price of staying at a less hospitable place like Roadway Inn, the difference is staggering. In fact, you notice every exponential increase in the quality of service, amenities and atmosphere. Marco Polo Davao is centrally located. It is also the city's tallest building. Just across it is Aldevinco as well as Ateneo de Davao University.

Though security is tight, the lobby is relaxed. A special painting hangs at the foyer - 16 yellow roses on blue vases. This was a gift from beloved former president Corazon "Cory" Aquino. The rooms provide awesome views of the sea and of Samal Island. Every inch of the premises is spotless. For the fitness buff, it has a two-story fitness center. If that isn't enough, the outdoor lap pool - all 25 meters (82 feet) is always at your beckon and call. They also have the Lazuli Spa in the same floor as the swimming pool and "The Deck" (a resort-style restaurant beside the pool). The hotel has five restaurants: Cafe Marco, Eagles Bar, Lobby Lounge, Lotus Court (for Cantonese cuisine and your seafood fix) and Polo Bistro (for intercontinental cuisine).

It's hard to complain about Marco Polo's amenities and services. World class hotel with world class rates. Does anyone expect less?

Marco Polo Davao is located along CM Recto Street. Check them out here:

This is the Eye in the Sky!

President Cory Aquino's "Yellow Roses" is on display at the lobby.

Davao sea and Samal Island

Ateneo de Davao University

Outdoor lap pool provides amazing views of the city.

Comfort and class

Waiting lounge beside the pool

Lazuli Spa

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Faces of Davao 06 - Mindanao Taoist Temple

A hidden and partially ignored temple in Davao City is tucked in a residential commune of RG Village in Agdao - Mindanao Taoist Temple.

This taoist temple sits on a quiet neighborhood that looks abandoned, with gates shut most times. It has a central octagonal building with an altar facing the entrance. Its more distinctive characteristic is not only its thematic octagonal shape, but the windows surrounding the building - they are shaped like "bagwa's" which, in Chinese belief, are objects that encourage the flow of chi (life force) and deflect bad luck. This three-storey building have cabinets decked with figures of their saints. You have to make your way through a narrow spiral staircase to get to the 2nd and 3rd levels. Curiously, one of the "saints" on display was that of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I was told by the caretaker that the Taoists are also mostly Christians (Catholics), thus this religious sect doesn't necessarily veer away from the main religious movement of the country.

Adjacent to this octagonal temple is another hallway that contains names of dead Chinese people hanging down pieces of paper, placed inside a cabinet. This is a place where people could pray for them, a sanctuary for the departed.

Entrance is free, but you have to offer gratuities to the caretaker for showing you around the compound.

Mindanao Taoist Temple is found in 41 Juan de la Cruz Street in RG Village, Agdao district. The easiest way is through JP Cabaguio. When you see NGK Auto Supply or MDC Trading, turn left to Garnet Street; then turn left at the next, passing through a misplaced post in the middle of a narrow road - a tight passage for 4x4 vehicles to pass through. You can't miss the temple from there.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Bagwa windows

An octagonal ceiling.

Taoist altar. Notice a cabinet full of replicas of their saints. There's more in each floor.

View of the 2nd level... with more "saints".

View of the altar from the 2nd level.

Spiral staircase.

View of the 3rd level.

Jesus Christ on display.

Prayer Hall for the departed at the adjacent building.

Caretaker leading the way.

Names of the departed on display at the prayer hall.

Prayer Hall

A bell?

Graceful curves characterize the roofs.