X is exciting

Jamon Serrano y Pan de Tomata
….and, your mind is raging wild.

Depending on what era you belong, the Betamax age or the Rave generation, the picture of the letter X your imagination is painting are poles apart- the original scandals caught on film (when “bold” was a woman in a wet white t-shirt) encased in a bulky plastic case versus the blue pill that complements electronic music.

But this new X served in town is totally legal and guaranteed to excite everyone, no matter what age and generation. This X comes from the land of the “chirimiri” in Northern region of Spain, and you better have the appetite of a wolf to make the whole experience orgasmic.

It is all about the Basque and Euskara, their ancestral language. The absence of “ch” is replaced with “tx” but pronounced the same way- “chirimbolo” for circular slice is “txirimbol”, “chistera”, fish basket, is “txistera”, this year’s animal is the “conejo” or the “untxi”. This makes the Pais Vasco the original “tx” country, not the Philippines, and that’s considering there were no mobile phones in those days.

In articulation, nothing in lost, really. But consider the X’s in their thesaurus more of a gain, most especially when it concerns what this region is most famous for- the cuisine.

They say that the Basque Country breeds great chefs. I concur. I know one personally, his name is Chef Mikel Arruiz, and a trip to his hometown proved this declaration. With great chefs comes great cuisine. More than the picturesque hills and seascapes, my gastronomic journey around the Northern Spain would be the highlight of the trip. To say it was sublime would be an understatement.

Basque Chef Mikel Arruiz
While the rest of Spain produce “tapas”, the Basque create “pintxos”. 'Pintxo' is 'Basque-ified' Spanish 'pincho' (from the verb 'pinchar' which means 'to pierce'), canape traditionally pierced with a cocktail stick. And I dare say that nowhere in that country have I seen such an extraordinary variety of delectable bites to feast on than in San Sebastian. The tapas bar-lined alleys of the Parte Vieja (Old Part) of this city is where I had my first genuine “bar hopping” experience.

The good news is the pintxos of the Spanish Northern Region are in town. Davao is very lucky to have the Captain’s Bar at the Pearl Farm Marina. It was recently launched and Basque chef, Mikel Arruiz, developed an array of mouth-watering of pintxos on the menu (I recommend the Black Tempura with alioli sauce and of course, the usual Spanish tapas of Jamon Serrano and the Tortilla Espanola). To complement your savory fare, there is an impressive array of vinos on the wall of wines (priced very inexpensively) to suit anyone's palate.

The Marina is more than just your jump-off point to the posh resort, it is a great place to chill. The Captain’s Bar is private and serene, offers a picturesque view of the Davao Gulf and Samal Island day or night, serves the pintxos among other cuisine, superb wine choices and yes, it can be pretty romantic or exciting, depends on who you are with.

The X has just marked its spot in the city.

Black Tempura with alioli sauce
Potato bombs

Pearl Farm Beach Resort's General Manager Benjie Banzon
ANFLOCOR's Tony Boy Floirendo
Fuego Hotel's Alfredo Roca