My Durian-eating challenge in Davao

Davao City is known to be a dazzling cornucopia of things to see and do. It offers a wide range of exciting and extraordinary adventures and activities that any tourists, even locals, won’t dare to miss.

Davao has been very well-known in housing the tallest mountain peak in the Philippines which is the Mount Apo. It is also home to the very rare and exquisite orchid—the waling-waling. Aside from these, it has also been inherently identified as the haven of the Philippine eagle.

But among all these treasure-trove offerings, the most exciting and must-try experience (for me) is eating the durian fruit. In fact, Davao City has been dubbed as the “Durian City of the Philippine” for this exotic fruit grows abundantly in this city.

As to why eating durian became a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. The odor is like a fume from the unknown jungle (I might be exaggerating here but really the odor is no good at all). After eating, too, the smell in your breath won’t give up that easily. It would last until the morning even after having mouthwash or bubble gum.

I have observed from the durian eaters, though, that they would eat the fruit with their bare hands. This, they said, makes durian-eating all the tastier. Of course, I thought, the odor of the durian would stick on to their hands. The folks, though, gave a very simple hint that could wash the odor away. And that is by pouring water in the durian’s shell and washing your hand in it. Same thing goes with relieving the smell from your mouth. Pour water in the durian’s shell and use it as a gargle.  I did not try this tactic but these folks attested its wonders. I might try this when I get a chance to eat another durian fruit. I promise! It is not the most appetizing description to a fruit, yes, but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it’s Davaoeños famous dessert.

And to give you an idea how this durian fruit looks like and how I struggled to stuff it into my mouth with all the super powers I can summon, take a look at the photos below.

I was able to finish four huge chunks! Yehey! And for an adventure-seeker, must-try-it-all person that I am, this is one of the challenges I’ll forever cherish. It wasn’t really easy to keep stuffing it in your mouth but indeed it’s worth a try.

After surpassing such challenge, for sure you’ll say: One more!

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/my-durian-eating-challenge-in-davao/)

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‘Bulcachong’ is unlike your ordinary ‘bulalo’

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From exquisite landscapes to extraordinary treasure-trove experiences, Davao City speaks of nature’s beauty and the trappings of modern life all at the same time. And when it comes to unique, extraordinary food offerings, the city has a long list of must-see restaurants that can sate the rumbling stomach.

The long list includes various seafood cuisines and other delectable nourishments that one can choose from without having second thoughts.

One particular eatery in the downtown area which carries an intriguing name stands out as it has become a talk of the town for locals and tourists alike. It has become a favorite stop-over for travellers, too.

The name of the eatery is “Bulcachong”. It carries a tagline that says, “Rapa sa Toro, Sarap para sa lahat.” In Pilipino that’s “delicious carabao dish for everyone”.

The restaurant offers a unique dish that one must partake to capture its essence. The dish is also named bulcachong, a concoction whose secret is known only to its master chef—Chong.

Bulcachong is a buffalo meat recipe which can be similar to bulalo (Filipino beef shank and bone marrow stew) but is uniquely different when it comes to appearance, aroma, and taste.

The chunks of meat are meticulously cooked for three hours until it becomes very tender. It is then mixed with various ingredients that include atsuete (lipstick plant or annatto); a natural coloring, and a minute amount of flour which makes the soup orange and thick. It has a strong aroma which fills every nook and corner of the restaurant.

But what makes bulcachong particularly different and loved is its gingery taste which gives an extra spicy kick that lingers in the partaker’s mouth for at least a minute. It is not the most appetizing description to a dish but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it has become a must-try exotic food like that of thefamous durian fruit.

For a first timer, the first reaction is to back out due to its strong aroma, but as the thick soup slushes down the throat and the extra soft meat melts in the mouth, the wonders work by itself where the partaker finds himself or herself keep stuffing more into his or her mouth until his or her stomach can take no more.

And what’s the other secret? The calamansi juice which can be poured over the soup which makes it all the more mouth-watering that one opts to order again.

The master chef, Chong, commonly mistaken as a Chinese, is a Filipino. He is a gourmet cook and he likes preparing esoteric dishes such as the bulcachongwhich have gained popularity among locals and tourists alike over the years. He cooks the way he lived his life—meticulously and very properly.

The bulalo special which is good for 3-4 persons is sold at Php300. For thebulcachong, which serving is normally good for one person, there are two dining options. One can choose to dine outside the restaurant amid fresh air at Php75; or inside with an air conditioner which is served at Php90.

The main store is open for 24 hours. Its peak hours is from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. It has become very popular among locals who look for a hot soup to bring them back to a sober state after a night of drinking session.

While there are many restaurants and eateries that mushroomed all over Davao City, the Bulcachong restaurant continues to thrive because of its secret ingredient that no one has succeeded in imitating yet.

Since the Bulcachong restaurant was built, many locals would tried to mix and blend several ingredients just to come up with the exact exotic but delightful taste of the bulcachong but only to no avail. The secret ingredient, Chong said, will remain a “secret” in him and his most trusted co-chef who have worked for the restaurant for 18 years now.

After dining at Bulcachong, one, for sure, leaves with a satisfied and delighted stomach and exclaim: “Lami ah uy!”

That means: “unbelievably delicious!”

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/savoring-bulcachong-an-exquisite-davaoeno-delicacy/)

12 best places I visited in 2011

Capping my 2011’s wonderful and worth-reliving moments won’t be complete without giving them justice through photos.

Being an innate adventure-quencher that I am, I have been to several places around the Philippines as well as outside the country. While most of the places I have been in 2011 were more of a duty,( as part of my job so I can gather stories), I always took time to capture the beauty being offered in every place I set my feet to and immortalized them in photos.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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2. Bangkok, Thailand

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One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. :)

One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. 🙂

Enchanted Kingom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the 'magic' enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the ‘magic’ enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

4. Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park , Kawit, Cavite

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you'd love to keep your body dipped for hours!

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you’d love to keep your body dipped for hours!

5. People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay City

People's Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It's a sure eye-treat!

People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It’s a sure eye-treat!

6. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort (Border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo City, Laguna)

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

7. Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

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8. Katigbawan festival in Catigbian, Bohol

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! :)

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! 🙂

9. Blood Compact Site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

10. Streets of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

11. Davao City

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12. Chocolate Hills, Bohol

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And there you go—the best 12 places ever that has completed my 2011 and made it even better. Plus, this is my 70th post. Hooray!

(https://joahnadiyosa.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/12-best-places-i-visited-in-2011/)