July 2014 musings: Foods that bind

The Davao media with our Western Visayas loot—fresh oysters! Thanks DOT-VI RD Helen Catalbas, Pam & Raymond.

BY FAR, this month has been the greatest number of calories I took in. The past six months’ intake was a measly number compared to July’s. Boom! I hear the triumphant cheers of the fat cells all over my body louder than the whooping Germans as they hug the glory of wining the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Had loads of these in Iloilo, brought more home to feast on. 

It’s all worth it though. I can burn them and will it gone but the time spent with those I shared the food was precious. Rarely do I get to hangout with these equally busy guys and catching up with them over a meal is good reason enough to shun the carefully watched diet (to avoid another bout with the doctors—the cholesterol pill-prescribing internist and the cannula-wielding surgeon).

Piaya eyes. Never can say no to #1 fat cell feeder- - sugar!

Over RBG’s Quick Fire Meals, we met new GM of Park Inn by Radisson, Pavan Kakar. The meet up was short for everyone had a busy day, which made the new lunch fare very appropriate—the mix and match offerings was quick to be served, filling, very tasty and more importantly, priced right (P375 for a 3-course meal).

Over RBG’s Quick Fire meals we met Park Inn by Radisson’s new GM, Pavan Kakar, & Chef de Partie Kristina Collante

Of course, the entire offering was set on the table for the media to try and from the spread, I recommending the Roasted or Baked Chicken, Grilled Tuna and the Beef Salpicao (I just had to try it). The pork dishes, crispy fried and grilled, were a hot among my peers.

One of my favorite RBG's QUick Fire meal-- the Grilled Tuna

This RBG Quick Fire dish is a MUST HAVE-- tender, juicy Beef Salpicao.

Messy fingers dining with the bi-polar bunch came next at the new branch of the Boiling Crabs & Shrimps at the Lanang Business Park. Aside the staple favorites, we feasted on the new entries on the menu—the Garlic Pork Riblets (again, I had to taste this new meat dish) and the Buttered Cereal Shrimps. Busog is not a healthy way to end my night as I had an early bedtime, which means no calorie burning time in between.

Messy fingers I don't care about. Dig in!

It was “hola” and “sawatdeekrup” in two different dinner affairs. On the “hola” gathering with friends arriving from different parts of the globe, two tables were set, one with home-cooked paella and lechon (among others), and on the other, mahjong tiles. As usual, chika of all sorts came up on the two tables.

The "TILES that bind," friendship bound my mahjong tiles LOL. Quorumites Chin, Maricris, Brenda & Maite.

Hola! The paella at the center of it all. 

On a noisier table was the Ateneo high school gang, a dinner hosted by Dino, the birthday celebrant. High decibel laughter was the perfect accompaniment to the Thai cuisine and Osvaldo’s divine desserts. With long (and crazy) reminiscing of the past and updating each other’s statuses (more personal than Facebook), imagine how long the meal took. I wish reunion-ish dinners occur more often.

A birthday bash cum high school reunion over Thai food.

Sooner than wished, another high school gathering was called, this time to celebrate a barkada’s golden year with a few close friends. To go with the healthy food on the table were topics about health and medicine (LOL) and bits and pieces of teen-age escapades and mishaps.

Me-an recently touched by Midas.

An intimate celebration. Table topic: health & medicine. You need not ask why.

The 5 candles of July—four birthdays and a wedding anniversary— were lighted and blown. Of course, the big celebration called for a feast! This is one of those moments that I can’t seem to control the amount of food I take in, like consuming good for five parties. LOL.

How else can a couple start a healthy relationship better than putting healthy food at the center of it all? That’s what Meg & GM did when they tied the knot. Sea Green, where food leans to the healthier side, was the venue of the intimate gathering. It was touching (the wedding), fun (the company) and filling (the food- the Eggs Benedict, pastas and Summer Salad are always yum that I say ‘I do’).

Happy & healthy start. Meg & GM tied the knot with healthy food at the center, and pretty Tatiana, too.

The noisiest table in the wedding reception according to the bride (because of me)

Just like a teleserye with a happy ending. GM & Meg got hitched & Tatiana is happy. Witnessing it all are Mike Dakudao, rites officiated by Judge Jill Lo, DOT Asec Art Boncato & Paul Borromeo.

To end the forget-the-diet month with a bang, DOT-VI invited us to visit Bacolod and Iloilo, and you know what that means—a helluva eating! These Visayan cities are known for their cuisine, the sweets most especially (my weakness). In between piayas, barquillos, and Calea cheesecakes were the savories of Chicken Inasal, Molo Soup, fresh organic veggies, fresh seafood starring the (tons of) oysters and scallops.

Bacolodian feast hosted by City Mayor Monico Puentevella. Chicken Inasal time for the Davao media with DOT regional officials & Mrs. Puentevella.

When in Bacolod, eat this-- Chicken Inasal.

Calea scores high with its cheesecakes, I can;t say the same for the other offerings.

The prettiest organic salad.

July’s not yet over and that may mean more eating. I pray (extra hard) that I won’t go back to being a pear when the month ends. Let me get back to the gym and burn whatever I can.

Thank you for the blessing of good food and great company, Universe! Please don’t make me fat.


For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 27, 2014.