Earlier this year while I was in China, I made an impromptu decision to join Nick in the Philippines and meet his family there. Coming from the bone-chilling cold in China, the heat and humidity of the Philippines hit me like a brick. I had just one outfit with me suitable for the 85+ degree heat (initially packed for a long layover in LA), which I wore every single day and hand-scrubbed at night. Despite this, I had an incredible time experiencing a new culture, and am happy the two pieces I brought turned out to be rather appropriate for the vibrant, colorful country.
Buying streetside bbq’d skewers for dinner, grilled on the spot then paired with mangoes, sticky rice, and salted fish.
While flying Philippine Airlines, I got hooked on their Happy brand chicken adobo-flavored peanuts. Unfortunately, each package contains about 5 peanuts so I had to restock early on. When asked how much, the lady at this shop replied “one twenty five.” Aghast that she was trying to charge me a hundred and twenty-five pesos (~ $3 USD) for five little peanuts, I huffily went off, looking for another vendor. Turns out this flavor is more popular than I thought, and I ended up right back at this vendor 30 minutes later, faint from the heat and still peanut-less. I forked over the money and found out that she had meant 1.25 pesos (~ 3 cents USD) per package.
We first stayed at Casa Escano, a bed & breakfast run by a young UC Davis graduate. It was fun to wake up every day and try a new breakfast out on the terrace. Below top: chicken arroz caldo, a Spanish-influenced rice porridge served with egg, scallions, peppers and fish sauce. As a Chinese congee lover, I couldn’t resist trying this despite the heat and humidity. Below bottom: A variation of loco moco, a Hawaiian-influenced breakfast involving a hamburger patty, a fried egg, plus gravy.
We had dinner once at AA BBQ at the recommendation of our hotel owner. Thank goodness growing up in China trained me to not be skeevy about food safety : ) We got in line to pick our “catch” and skewers of meat from open displays, then handed them over to be cooked in whatever way we pleased. The open-air restaurant was quite bustling with many families enjoying a meal together.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my Philippines travel diary. This post was comprised mostly of snapshots from Cebu city, before we made our way to Nick’s aunt’s remote beach hut. The second part of the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I can’t wait to share photos from that next.