March 2015 musings: Put your arms in the air & wave

TODAY is Palm Sunday and if you’re a practicing Catholic you must have put your hands in the air and waved it—holding a palm leaf. It’s that Lenten tradition commemorating the entry Jesus into Jerusalem, the onset of the Holy Week.

Earlier, Davao had a lot of good reasons to raise their hands up high in the air. It is one of the two big festivals hosted by the Durian city—the Araw ng Davao. It’s the city’s 78th foundation day but the celebration wasn’t confined to a day nor a weekend, but an entire month of activities to highlight the festival.

Mutya ng Davao 2015, Kris Abegail Guanzon (center) & her court (Photo from page FB City Govt of Davao)

On the weekend before March 16th, Davao’s traffic was at its most terrible. It seems that everyone was out to celebrate, not mention that it was a payday weekend. It’s the same traffic that stopped this commuter from heading out to the streets and meeting the mob head on.

So I missed the events I wanted to go to (which I committed to) —the gourmet collective in Lanang, a concert with a good friend in the band, the mall shows, the coronation of a new city queen and the dance parties at night.

Congratulations to the organizers for the successful festival, and congratulations to the new Mutya ng Davao 2015, Kris Abegail Guanzon, and her court.

Luckily, I was able to join a few of the “celebrations” that didn’t fall on the days with heavy traffic on the city streets—a night out with the Smile Magazine team (can’t wait to read about more of Davao in the Cebu Pacific in-flight magazine); a hearty dinner (with rice, mind you) at Hoy Panga! where the dishes are simply divine!; a despedida at Huckleberry for a good friend who’s venturing greener fields; and a good friend, who at 40, finally got the first big party in her life. I can’t imagine how she must have felt during the fete in her honor.

Davao will fly high again on board the Cebu Pacific planes via the pages of Smile in-flight magazine

Holding back the tears. At 40, Vanessa finally got her first big party

This month must be the month I consumed my required calorie intake for the net two years with the introduction of two sweet havens. I found a favorite cake in Missy Bonbon, the CDO-based bakery who put the Pastel on the top of the pasalubong list, and it’s called the Cheesy Sponge, a taco-shaped sponge cake with cheese and cream filling (the ube filling is a winner, too).

Miss Missy Bonbon herself, Joanna Yu, at the store opening at GMall

Must try is the new pastry collection called Works of Aarts. Seven (perfectly sweetened) pastries, was launched by Bistro Rosario. The new line is Amylou Aarts’ latest addition to family’s food treasures. Under the tutelage of a Dutch pastry chef, the collaboration gave birth to the line that incorporates local fruit flavors in some of them.

Work of Aarts. Amylou Lizada takes charge of the new pastry line of Bistro Rosario. Here with consultant, Dutch pastry chef Jan Jansen

Another discovery is Habi at Kape’s Ninimbiran Suman paired with thick, rich Sikwate, and the Pobrecito Pasta, pasta topped with dried fish-salted egg -olive oil sauce. Totally enjoyable in the quiet corner of Abreeza mall where you are surrounded with the beautifully-crafted products of Mindanao.

Suman at Sikwate, a must-eat at Habi at Kape, 3rd level, Abreeza Mall

Mindanao is never short of good food and great talents, and this was showcased again in the Mindanao Big Bites, a project of Baby Montemayor. The three-day showcase of the island’s flavors and budding chefs will end today at the Abreeza Mall.

Baby Monetmayor & Ruby Ochoa at the Mindanao Big BItes, a culinary & food fair at the Abreeza Mall

Judging the buffet centerpiece at the Mindanao Big Bites, with Susabel Reta & Jing Pientespina

Watch out for the opening of the next big thing in the Davao dining scene. REKADO, a chic, modern home for Filipino comfort food, will open in April. Picture your mother whipping your favorite food in your modern home made of glass. The few REKADO dishes I was lucky to try were superb! With every bite, the food unveils its different layers of flavors. Totally addicting. Believe me.

REKADO is the chic, modern home of Pinoy comfort food

And most importantly, my hats off to the new graduates!


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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 29, 2015.