Aug 26, 2016
Good Eats with Mel Pangan's Davao Food Tour
GPS waypoint: 7°03'57.6"N 125°36'28.3"E
Location: Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines
Anyone can do a food tour...just read up on food on a destination, connect the dots and do the leg work. As a DIY budget backpacker, that's how I do it. I could get lost, maybe get scammed, maybe the place closed down, or just couldn't find the place. There are no guarantees. However, I got the chance to actually participate in an organized food tour of Davao by Mel Pangan. Big difference!
kinilaw, grilled tuna tail, deep fried pork rinds (crunchy chicharon) and Filipino Ratatouie (pinakbet) for a sumptuous lunch!
Mel is a local who knows Davao like the back of her hand and can articulate on the why, hows and who of Davao's rich history and current on-goings. More importantly, she has a knack for planning and logistics which immeasurably help in her food tours. Her family comes from a long line of prominent Dabawenyos including her mother, Dr. Rizalina M. Pangan who is a 2006 Datu Bago awardee. They run a quaint family hotel, Bahay ni Tuding, that is centrally located in the heart of Davao. The tour meeting place is at the hotel - best to check-in here if you're visiting Davao.
There was another one in the group - Noelle, a doctor visiting Davao for the first time. It would be the three of us from 8am to to 3pm - Mel, Noelle and myself. The tour itself was good bonding for all of us. At the end of it, we were not only full, but blessed to meet such kindred souls.
First we went to Bankerohan by cab to try the kinutil and puto-maya. Kinutil is a local hard-to-place morning health drink - a blend of hand-whisked chocolate drink, egg, fermented coconut juice (tuba) and milk. Can you imagine the taste of it? You can't! You simply have to experience it. Puto maya is a popular sticky rice offering either in purple, brown or white. There are many stalls offering the breakfast combo, but Mel seems to have selected the best and cleanest stall of the lot.
Not necessarily a food destination, but an essential stop to any tourist who wants a deeper understanding of Davao. The place gives a historical backdrop of the city using artifacts, preserved pictures, old maps, etc. This is where Mel stood out. She explained many things why Davao came to be, adding more to what the museum tour guide was saying. The museum tour guide said Davao became a city in October 16, 1936. So what? Met added dimension to that event by explaining why it became imperative for Davao to become a chartered city - a clever political maneuvering to keep the power of the dominant Japanese in check. The Japanese that time, before the WWII, enjoyed an overwhelming dominance of Davao. In fact, Davao was called Little Tokyo.
Most of the products of the Lumads (indigenous local tribes) can be found here from wood carvings, sarongs, t-shirts, malongs, etc. It's also the place for souvenirs and Davao memorabilia. We didn't stay long but it was a good stop to check things out.
Davao prides itself in serving the best tuna dishes from kinilaw to panga ng bariles, to tuna tail. Yes, they are all good. But where do you go to savor the best? Again, Mel seems to have nailed that one down. We went to this unpretentious but decent restaurant serving Davao's staple - kinilaw, grilled tuna tail, deep fried pork rinds (crunchy chicharon) and Filipino Ratatouie (pinakbet). It was one of the best meals I've had in Davao. I couldn't pick on a better dish...they were all good and cooked fresh!
Prominent on Davao's tourism map is Malagos Farmhouse - they make their own artisan European cheese and they produce their own chocolate which have won in international competitions. Everything about Malagos is a culinary level-up from the usual local offerings. We helped ourselves to cheese on crackers and washed it down with their very own iced chocolate drink.
Durian and Marang
Magsaysay Park is the default place for durian. They get the first pick from the freshest harvest. Yes, you pay a premium but you have the assurance you get the best durian in the city. The thing about durian is that you either hate it or love it. It was Noelle's first ever. Tasting the D101 variety, which is probably the most benign, she still couldn't take it in. After 2 seeds, she threw-in the white towel. Good for me! I devoured the rest. The marang we had was perfectly in its peak - juicy ripe and sweet without the tarty after taste.
Durian Ice Cream
We went back to Bahay ni Tuding for our last indulgence - durian ice cream poured with local liqueur. Voila! It tasted like a frozen cocktail drink - very refreshing in this humid and hot climate.
I can only burp in satisfaction while writing this. This is one heavy dose of gastromic indulgence. I felt like a king feasting on food fit for a king. Thank you Mel! This is one highlight for me!
ps - If you want me to objectively cover your food tour or food event for this website (openings, food tasting, menu launch, etc.), email me.
Aug 26, 2016
Davao City, Philippines
- Bahay ni Tuding - central Poblacion location, wifi, hands-on owner
160 San Pedro Street, 8000 Davao City
0947 361 3544 | 7°03'57.6"N 125°36'28.3"E
- The Pinnacle Hotel and Suites - central location, new management, newly renovated
Sta. Ana Avenue, Davao City 8000, Philippines
(+63) 932-8708621 | 906-3185885 | 7°04'34.2"N 125°36'54.2"E
- The Apo View Hotel - Davao's iconic hotel, old world charm, casino
150 J. Camus Street, Davao City Philippines 8000
+63 (82) 221-6430 to 40 | 7°04'09.2"N 125°36'27.4"E
- North Zen Basic Spaces - great rooms at affordable prices
Sobrecarey St. (corner Lapu-Lapu St.), Davao City, 8000
(082) 295.3997 | 7°04'43.0"N 125°37'04.3"E
- Urban Living Zen Hotel - newly opened - all NEW!
F.s. Dizon Bacaca, 8000 Davao City
(082) 287 3133 | 7°05'28.4"N 125°36'22.3"E
- The Royal Mandaya Hotel - heart of downtown Davao City
J. Palma Gil Street, Davao City, 8000
(+63 82) 225.8888 | 7°04'09.4"N 125°36'36.8"E
- Alu Hotel Davao - central downtown location
M. Roxas Avenue corner Padre Faura Street, Davao
+63 82 227 5232 | 7°04'07.7"N 125°36'51.7"E
- One Oasis Davao - hotel accommodation in a condo unit
Eco-west Drive, Ecoland, Davao City
email@example.com | 0925.500.3211 | 7°02'49.2"N 125°35'19.1"E
- Apollo Van Rental - Davao City tour, Samal Island tour, airport transfer
0925.500.3211 | firstname.lastname@example.org
yoga | health | fitness
- one of the cleanest potable water in the country
- smoking is banned from commercial establishments
- pineapple samurais are endemic here and nowhere else in the country (pineapple vendors who cut-up whole pineapples into chunks with just a few strokes of their carving knives)
- public utility drivers conspicuously display their IDs
- durian Mecca of the Philippines (not to mention Marang, Mangosteen and Sweet Pomelo)
- you want to add some more? please submit on the form below
- the weighing scale of fruit vendors specially the durian push cart vendors are a blatant cheat - showing almost twice the actual weight
- Revisiting Davao Aug 22-Oct 31, 2016
- A Roof Over my Head in Davao Aug 22-Oct 31, 2016
- Davao Yoga Scene Oct 31, 2016
- Pranayama Oct 24, 2016
- Yoga Beyond the Mat Oct 21, 2016
- Grilled Tuna Overload in Davao Oct 13, 2016
- Duterte Mania in Davao Oct 12, 2016
- Sirsasana, Sarvangasana - Yoga Makaranda II Oct 7, 2016
- Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Oct 5, 2016
- Ashtanga Yoga with James Fritz Freire at Holiday Gym and Spa Oct 1, 2016
- There was a Bomb Explosion? Sep 30, 2016
- Jin in Davao Sep 29, 2016
- Scrubs and Hilot at Holiday Gym and Spa Sep 22-29, 2016
- The Fabulous Dabawenyos Aug 22-Sep 26, 2016
- Nirvana Breathing Fitness with Lita C. Quisumbing Sep 21, 2016
- Massage, Sauna and Ear Candling at Holiday Spa and Gym Sep 17-19, 2016
- Downpour in Davao Sep 18, 2016
- Lounge One Yoga Sequence by May Bel Le at North Zen Hotel Sep 16, 2016
- Celebrating Davao's King of Fruits - Durian! Sep 11, 2016
- The Blast that Rocked Davao Sep 2, 2016
- Hatha Flow Yoga with Joanna Lizares Co at Holiday Spa and Gym Aug. 31, 2016
- Conducting a Power Yoga Class at Yoga Davao Aug 29, 2016
- Good Eats with Mel Pangan's Davao Food Tour Aug 26, 2016
- Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Aug 25, 2016
- A Gifted Dell Laptop from the Usual Suspect Aug. 24, 2016
- The Duterte Phenomenon Oct 21, 2015
- 20 Days in Davao City July 4- 24, 2014
- Goodbye Davao...Again! Sep 28, 2013
- Wine and Cheese at Malagos Farm House Sep 27, 2013
- Custom-made Peanut Butter at Davao City's Bankerohan Market Sep 27, 2013
- Yoga in Davao Sep 26, 2013
- Celebrating 25 Years of Habitat for Humanity Philippines Sep 18, 2013
- Clobbered in a Vicious Karate Match Sep 17, 2013
- Back Into the Black Sep 1, 2013
- No Reply Aug 30, 2013
- Full Body-Cavity Search without the Latex Aug 25, 2013
- Fun Day with Crocodile Sonny and Sports Unlimited Dynamic Duo, Dyan Castillejo and Marc Nelson Aug 15, 2013
- Fun! Fun! at Maxima AquaFun, Samal Island Aug 11, 2013
- Goodbye Davao Jan 22, 2013
- Davao City's Peace and Order Jan 21, 2013
- Holiday Spa Yoga, Davao City Jan 20, 2013
- Free Yoga at People's Park Jan 12, 2013
- Davao City: Family Ties Dec 15-22, 2012
- Breakup Diaries: Chance Encounter in Davao City Dec 19, 2012
- Davao City June 20-23, 2009
- Davao City March 18-20, 2008
- Mount Apo March 15-18, 2008
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