When all you want to hear are the noises of the bloody lessons you need to muster in school, then Seekhana Study Hub Cafe offers you a much-needed silence.
Since two of my best friends got into law school, it partly changed our taste in coffee shops where we hang out. We now choose coffee shops that are conducive for studying and reading rather than be spoiled in our usual chitchat-kind of bonding moments. In fact, one of them allowed me to go with them given that I should not talk. I eye-rolled okayed. Lol!
I am supportive though but my nocturnal tendencies often stimulate me to speak more. I become an impulsive storyteller, expressing every bit of nonsense in my head. I thought it is impossible I wouldn’t become a welcome distraction to them.
We turned to Seekhana Study Hub Café, a revolutionary coffee shop in Davao City that doesn’t only sell unlimited brewed coffee but a cozy space and peaceful atmosphere to complement one’s study routine or a day job’s overtime.
The culture shock was real. Noisy people will be penalized! Just kidding. LOL! They discourage noise and chatting as it may disturb other customers who need silence to finish their stuff. They are an antipode to the common environment of coffee shops – noisy, busy, and distractive among others.
Aside from that, they are also a membership café. You don’t just sit there, order a latte, and proceed. Be a member by paying 749 pesos which can give forty (40) hours of usage, 999 pesos for sixty (60) hours, and 1,499 pesos for one hundred (100) hours. The membership is inclusive of usage freedom, unlimited coffee, free internet connection, and a plug-in of one gadget. You don’t have to use them at once though.
However, if you are the type that seldom needs tranquility in your endeavors, you can avail of their walk-in rates. Your 100 pesos can be used for three (3) hours and an unlimited coffee while adding 50 pesos to it entitles you with additional, unlimited lemonade. Since they also decided to stay up late to cater those who need their place, staying there for twenty-four (24) hours only costs 200 pesos.
Other amenities to support your study and work habits are meals and beverage, napping kits, power outlets, comfy seats and cubicles, printing, copying, and scanning services.
It was a game-changing café experience. They somehow achieved their visions. The place was well-lit and the people are accommodating. What only bothered me is that they did not have the heart for binge-eaters. Nyahaha. They should consider adding variety to their finger foods other than nachos.
Nonetheless, I got things done. My friends were able to study except that they can’t discuss as much as they wanted to. Well, it is just how it is. You have to adjust. After all, they want you to learn, in Hindi, “Seekhana”.
You might want to try them; Seekhana Study Hub Café is located at Unit G & H, L36 &37, Blk. 10, Marfori Heights, Circumferential Road, Davao City. Their contact numbers are 287-3997 or 0943 229 1404. Follow and like their social media accounts for updates of their promos: Facebook (@Seekhanastudyhubcafe), Twitter (@seekhana_SHC), and Instagram (@seekhanastudyhubcafe).
I arrived in the city of Zamboanga as a side trip from my deployment in Jolo, Sulu. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel. In my first few months as a media relations officer in a government agency, I was able to reach the “Asia’s Latin City” in the Philippines – Zamboanga City. It is one of the cities that I have longed to visit, especially that some relatives of my father was in Zamboanga Peninsula, particularly Dipolog.
Our deployment really was in Jolo, Sulu. But because we failed to hitch transport that will bring us directly to the venue from Davao City, we flew to Zamboanga then took an 8-hour sea trip aboard a commercial ferry to Sulu. That was real quick because our schedule demands us to be at the venue ahead. But I and my co-officer promised to be back.
And so we did.
After the day’s work in a not-so-safe area, we hurriedly booked a commercial ferry ticket. Aside from the fear in staying longer in Jolo, it was the chance to go around Zamboanga that made me excited.
Our flight back to Davao is in the afternoon so we did not waste time as soon as we arrived in the city. Good thing we have the PIA in Zamboanga who served as our tour guides. We went around the city and fed our eyes with the romantic view of breaking dawn at the port for a while and they introduced iconic spots in the city – the Fort Pilar, the markets, and the preserved Hispanic or European architecture of the City Hall among others They tell stories that made me realize how much I neglected listening to my history teachers. Some fast food establishments also willingly adapted its architectural designs, keeping the Spanish feel somehow consistent during the tour. That tour was also quick as we responded more to the growl of our tummies than to the hunger of our sense of sight.
And one way to make the most of your travel is to eat something original. So we ditched the fast food and turned to some of the famous Muslim delicacies. Zamboanga City can be considered a food haven as it offers its own iconic gut-fillers.
As soon as the morning breaks in Zamboanga, we headed to Jimmy’s Satti House in Pilar St., Zamboanga, Zamboanga Sibugay. Looked nothing modern in this seemingly carenderia but it is the home of the residents’ long-time favorite satti.
Satti, according to our friends from the PIA, is an ideal breakfast for Tausugs. It is beef, chicken meat or liver barbecue “swimming” in the pool of spicy, orange, viscous sauce with cubed rice. To someone who only thinks that sauce was just meant to be dipped on, the liberality of sauce in a plate was overwhelming. Now I understand why it is a favorite. But my co-worker find it too saucy, something she is not into. Oh well, you can’t please everybody.
For our lunch, we went to the rustic and cozy Dennis Coffee Gardenseated in San Jose Road, Baliwasan, Zamboanga. It is a restaurant distinct in their focus on Tausug cuisine. Aside from that, they are promoting the Kahawa Sug, the authentic Sulu coffee.
What do we have here?
Since there are a lot of us, we decided to order the resto’s food platter. If I am not mistaken, it is called Latal. The platter comprised of the mother of the Tausug dishes, the Tiula Itum.
Tiula Itum is a spicy beef soup cooked with turmeric and blackened by burnt coconut flesh. In his article, the Sulu-born and Halal and Peace advocate in Zamboanga Peninsula Rezai Mijar described Tiula Itum as the “head of all viand”. “Without it at the center of a food tray, to some, it is incomplete,” he said in his blog, All Tausug. “Tiyula’ itum is a food that symbolizes the Tausug pride most likely the ethnic Buranun,” Mijar added. It is probably the reason why it is placed at the center of the platter. That’s cool!
Another delicacy beside it is the Pastil. It is a pastry that looked like empanada except that it has bean sprouts or rice noodles as its fillings. The thing about this that intrigued me is its condiment. They said it is “suka” or vinegar. It looked like one, yes. But it doesn’t taste as sour as vinegar. So you can be generous in putting it on your pastil. In fact, the more you drench the food with its warm ‘vinegar’, it becomes tastier, more exciting to eat.
Next up is the Kulma or the beef curry in a skewer and the Tyula Sug or the beef soup cooked almost similarly to Tiula Itum.
Lastly for the viand is the Chicken Piyanggang. It is a spicy chicken dish with burnt coconut meat and coconut milk.
One distinct characteristic of the Tausug cuisine is the spicy taste and the use of burnt coconut, perhaps a manifestation of the Malaysian influence. Sulu in the Philippines is geographically a neighbor to Malaysia and Indonesia.
For the dessert that is not really light, we had the Juwalan (fried banana dipped in latik or caramelized coconut milk) and the Putli Mandi (sticky flour balls filled with bukayo, rolled in grated coconut). Burp!
I sealed my meal with a cup of hot chocolate which ultimately pleased my sweet tooth. We walked out the resto uber satisfied!
Aside from the food places that offered authentic cuisines, we also tried some of the food hubs which were as old as like the pastry house Tsokolate.
There are still a lot to discover in Zamboanga. I failed to try their famous Knickerbocker and the Curacha (deep-sea crab) in Alavar sauce among others. Our food trip was swift because of our flight schedule. But it was already a well-cherished, satiating cultural gastronomic adventure one should not miss. I am definitely going back! Who’s with me?
The fact that brown rice is an essential element for a healthy diet already gives you a great reason to consume it. Brown rice is known to be packed with health benefits. It has myriads of vitamins and mineral ranging from Selenium for the heart, Manganese for the bone and metabolism, fiber, anti-oxidants, stabilizes blood sugar level and most of all, my favorite part is it promotes weight loss.
But you just don’t eat brown rice because it is. Just as how we become picky with the white variety of the Southeast Asian staple, we also wanted something we can enjoy, the kind that is fresh. Taste and quality should not be compromised.
The first time I tasted brown rice was at a Christmas gathering. It is the only kind of rice they served. As a rice person, I was used to eating the usual white rice and it is never absent in my meals. Thus, I was curious at the same time idealistic enough to try it having known its ample nutritional benefits.
Call me ignorant but I was frustrated having eaten quite hard grains. It seems like it is half-cooked or probably, it should taste that way. How should I know? That was my last.
Not until I was invited in a brunch with Sun Made Brown Rice. I thought it was a risk but it is actually worth a try. Contrary to my initial impression, Sun Made Brown Rice is as soft as its white cousins. You won’t notice it is brown rice you are eating.
This similar experience is one of the struggles of the Mindanao Agri-Network Corporation (MANCOR), the miller and distributor of Sun Made Brown Rice, in encouraging people to this healthy option.
MANCOR Vice President Carlo Lorenzana said there is a need to inform the consumers the right way of preparing brown rice.
“People kasi who eat brown rice they have a lot of bad experiences because you need to educate them how to cook it properly,” said Carlo Lorenzana, MANCOR Vice President.
The process has few variations from what we do with white rice.
How To Cook:
Rinse rice thoroughly under running water and then remove any dirt or debris that you may find. Soak rice in water for at least 30 minutes. Use two cups of water for every one cup of brown rice. You can increase the amount of water for softer rice or decrease the amount of water for a firmer consistency. Cook for about 45 minutes. To extend the rice’s shelf life and retain its freshness, refrigerate uncooked and cooked leftover brown rice.
Aside from the preparation, Lorenzana admitted it is also quite difficult to market this kind of rice because it is expensive.
“It is more costly than white rice. You can’t pack it in 50 kilos because the nutrients which are in the outer layer or skin that made it brown is prone to bukbok (rice weevils). That is why it is packed in small amounts,” he said.
But what are just few dimes if it is an investment for your health. Brown rice is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and anti-oxidants. It can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
The good thing about Sun Made Brown Rice, being the leading brown rice brand in Davao, is its reasonable price. Added to that are the mill-to-table freshness and the promotion of fair-trade among its farmers because when you buy this product, you help small farmers get better income.
Lorenzana added that the reason why it is soft because they only produce the premium variety. This is a proud product of Mindanao as its farms are in Matanao, Davao del Sur.
Recently, Sun Made Brown Rice made a pact with WapatDC, a Mindanao-based cycling group to intensify their health and fitness advocacy as well as promote tourism in Mindanao.
“Sun Made Brown Rice supports WapatDC by giving financial and promotional, and co-branding support, and fueling their long, arduous trips with fresh, fair-trade, and healthy brown rice,” said Mancor in a statement.
Having found the right brand, anyone can now be confident to make a healthy switch. Sun Made Brown Rice is a great complement for your fitness goals, especially if you are a rice person.
I will no longer be afraid to eat brown rice again, as long as it is Sun Made Brown Rice.
Sun Made Brown Rice is available at Robinsons, Rustan’s, Shopwise, Echostore, Gaisano or SM supermarkets. In Davao City, it can be bought at Gaisano Mall of Davao, NCCC Mall and Park N’ Shop Supermarkets. The prices depends on the supermarkets.
Davao chefs and culinary enthusiasts roll sleeves as the biggest and prestigious Davao Culinary Cup this year kicks off June 16 to 18, at SM Lanang Premier Atrium, Davao City.
The LTB Philippine Chefs Association Davao Chapter brought the culinary event that will once again showcase the culinary skills and expertise of professional and students in Mindanao.
“The Davao Culinary Cup aims to continually raise the standards of culinary excellence and professionalism in Mindanao and provide students and professional chefs a platform to hone their skills and showcase their talents in the culinary field,” said LTB Philippine Chefs Association in a statement.
“”Promoting camaraderie and learning opportunities, this event will not just exhibit individual skills, techniques, and styles but also promote the Filipino Culinary Professional and improve the level of culinary and food service in Mindanao,” it added.
Culinary enthusiasts will compete for the Savory Categories namely Filipino Cuisine Challenge, Young Chefs Team Challenge, Local Fish or Seafood, Pasta, Quick Fire Salad and Creative Breakfast Challenge.
For the Pastry Categories, they will vie for Plated Desserts, Wedding Cakes, Dress the Cake and Fantasy Davao, a new category that will feature Davao’s famous fruits like Mango, Pomelo, Durian and Mangosteen.
They will be judged and joined by the country’s top chefs and culinary masters Fernando Aracama, Jackie Ang Po, James Antolin, J. Gamboa, Norbert Gandler, Carlo Miguel, Jerome Valencia, Sito Senn among others.
The event is in partnership with the LTB Philippines Chefs Association, the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines (PAP), World Food Expo (WOFEX), SM Lanang Premier, Del Monte Philippines, Inc., Department of Tourism and the City Tourism Office of Davao.
Participants and audience are invited to join including Chefs, Executive Chefs, Sous Chefs, Pastry Chefs, Hotel and Restaurant (HRM) professionals and owners, caterers, cake artists, food and beverage officers, and food enthusiasts, as well as the general public in the region and in Mindanao.
The first time the event was launched was January 14, 2015.
Last night, I and my friends discovered new few food stalls that adds in the long list of droolworthy options!
When we got off the jeep, the first thing that caught our attention were the fanciful cupcakes. We peeked for a while but we didn’t buy yet. I wasn’t able to ask how long will the cupcakes be there. I have not seen any name except for a box labeled “Cupcakes”. I stole some quick snaps though. So pasensya ahead. Hope I’ll not be arrested for this.
On another corner was a small stall selling frappe. Again, we are drawn not because it is fancy or colorful but it took advantage of our weakness – COFFEE! From the name itself, it is coffee frappe. The couple managing the business said they franchised Barako Frappe. They also put a stall of it in Abreeza Ayala Mall here.
The Barako Frappe have an array of coffee frappe to choose from like the Choco Drizzle and Lava Flow. For those not a fan of coffee, there are also non-coffee options like Cookies and Cream.
The couple claimed that the non-coffee frappes are inspired by Zagu while coffee-based frappes are inspired by Starbucks. Every sip of the cold coffee frappe is heaven. Though we were not able to taste everything because aside from freezing our brains, our winter has come to our budgets too. Maybe next time. They start displaying at 5:00 in the evening.
FRIED ICE CREAM
Alexis might have ordered a frappe but she wasn’t able to resist the Fried Ice Cream. Ironic as its name suggests, it was just a liquid ice cream mixture spread over a freezing cold pan until it hardens. It is then scraped to roll and placed in a container, then drizzled with a chocolate syrup, an unconventional way of serving ice cream. The flavor she picked was bubble gum. I tasted it. Mind-blown. Brain froze.
Perhaps, they are really not new. I only just have discovered them a little late. Nonetheless, I hope to return when winter has left and try them all. And I am looking forward that you’ll join me in the next food trip.
There were times when statuses and memes with these messages flood my facebook news feeds. Guys, according to them, prefer to have a relationship with girls who they can treat with street food; girls who they can date with sticks of isaw (fried chicken intestines) or proben, who they can date without their budget compromised. The same is also true with girls. And Davaoeno ladies and gentlemen just know where to find them- Roxas Avenue.
Roxas Avenue in Davao City can be described as the city’s street food hub. It is where gastronomes up for a food trip flock. It is a hodgepodge of different kinds of street food; some have already existed while some are products of Davaoenos’ ingenuity.
As soon as the clock hits 6:00 in the evening, Roxas Avenue or better known as Roxas begins to get busy. Street food vendors are done setting up their stalls. People from all walks of life-students, professionals, even foreign guests start to swarm these stalls that are lined up on the street side. The stalls and the space for the food seekers occupy almost half of the road. The remaining space is intended for jeepneys and other passers-by.
Me and my workmates, who happens to be my closest friends often agree to make our way to Roxas especially if we can’t decide where to eat for dinner or when we simply crave for proben. And sometimes, I go there alone for no other reason but eat.
According to Psychology, you tend to consume more if you have a lot of choices. And visiting this place might just prove this theory right. When you visit this place, you just can’t stop to pop as if you are stress-eating. Anyone who goes here for the first time would perhaps be overwhelmed with the food’s variety. Plus, everything is so cheap. The prices peg at five pesos to twenty pesos average. I can even blame this place for my seemingly inevitable weight gain.
Most of these indulgences are fried so if you are worrying about calories or gaining weight, you might just forget it at the sights and aroma of these and you’ll end up singing ‘Hakuna Matata’! If you plan to lose weight, you can just ditch reading further.
So here are some, if not all, of the food you can find in Roxas, aside from your ‘forever’.
On top of the list is the synecdoche of the boys’ ideal girls’ favorite food, Isaw or skewered chicken intestine, covered with flour or cornstarch and fried. Done in the same manner are the Proben or chicken proventriculus and the Gizzard, basically a chicken gizzard. Usually, stalls selling also have chicken skin, fat and feet or the Adidas in their menus.
Kwek-kwek and tokneneng are also quite famous. Who wouldn’t recognize the boiled chicken eggs or balut coated with orange batter and deep-fried? They come with cubed cucumber and guso (or technically, Eucheuma), sprinkled with either salt or cheese and drizzled with vinegar or suka. Tokneneng is made out of quail eggs. Other than orange, some stalls serve them fancy in multi-colors. For gastronomic adventure-seekers, Balut or penoy, the Filipinos’ popular steamed duck eggs are never absent here.
Anong kulay ang tokneneng mo?
If Goku is not a food lover, he would be disappointed if he looks for the Dragon Ball in Roxas. The Dragon Ball you can find in Roxas is “a ball of mixed ground seafood like squid and shrimp wrapped in shredded lumpia wrapper.” It is great for gastronomic adventure, made even delectable when dipped into chili sauce.
The Buchi you can buy in fast food chain Chowking can also be bought in Roxas, with an additional twist. The gooey Buchis are filled with chocolate. For chocolate lovers like me, this is a must-try. The moment you bite it, the hot choco lava just oozes out. (This is the tastiest description I ever have. I am having goosebumps as I write this.). You have can have 3 pieces for 20 pesos.
Lumpia, chicken and sharks’ fin dumplings are also available. But the sharks’ fin dumplings does not really contain shark’s fin, because if they do, I would report them to authorities. Good heaven, they are not.
Finger foods like Siomai, Kikiam, Tempura, Fish Ball, Squid Ball, Cheese Sticks, Crab Sticks and Nuggets, and Fries can also be found here. Once you decide to buy a plate or two of it, the vendors will fry it for you. It won’t take long. It is good if you want enough just to satisfy your cravings. It cost 20 pesos at most.
There was also a new way to serve potato-based foods other than the common French fries. It is the Potato Twister. I borrowed the name from the commercialized potato sliced using a special kind of machine to make it spiral. It is then fried and sprinkled with either cheese or sour cream. The first time I saw it was in the mall. I never thought the street food vendors knew the secret behind its spiral form.
Hungry now? Wait, there’s more.
In case you are not fond of fried street food, perhaps you are a fan of grilled ones, or you might just become one.
Grill stations or those stalls serving grilled pork, pork fats, chicken intestines (isaw),chicken thighs, hotdogs, fish and even large pusit or squid also have their own space in Roxas. They can grill your choice for you while you wait on the table intended for their customers. Again, each skewer starts at five pesos. And oh! The rice? Same price.
Does Mang Danny’s Ice Cream, the intriguing ice cream for having unbelievable queues every evening to the point of grabbing the attention of the national media, ring a bell to you? He was featured in GMA Network’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. Mang Danny’s ice cream became viral for some time and now, he has offered a break in one of the malls here in Davao. But his journey to fame started in Roxas. His dirty ice cream is a pride of Roxas, I must say. Mang Danny is just one of the ice cream vendors in Roxas.
Dirty ice cream and vegan ice cream also have their places in Roxas Avenue. For the vegan options, you can choose for pistachio or taro among others. Good thing, I was lucky enough to taste his ice cream after waiting for almost three hours in a very long queue. Lining up for Mang Danny’s ice cream is a risk. You might be waiting for hours but will still not get a scoop.
To seal the meal, drinks like Buko Juice, Gulaman in Ube, Halo-halo and Buko Pandan flavors are also at bay. Sometimes, vendors of the abovementioned food choices sell these drinks as a complement. You can have a cup for five or ten pesos and not without a refill. If you want a more textured drinking experience, you can try the fruit or flavored shakes.
Oh! You’re on a diet? I think pineapple can burn the fat after the meal. Good news, you can eat sliced pineapple in Roxas, again for five or ten pesos. Aside from that, there are the droolworthy green mangoes, or the watery singkamas (turnip), guavas or papayas. Mix them with salt and vinegar or bagoong. My saliva is building up now.
So now? Have you found love? Come to Roxas. If you still can’t find your ideal girl or guy here, I am sure this will be your new found love. Who knows, someone will ask you to be their ideal man or woman while you savor a skewer of isaw.
The foods are perfectly safe to eat since the vendors are required by the City Government of Davao to undergo Food Safety and Sanitation Seminar. For you to be sure, eat in the stall where you can see their certificate of participation in the seminar. Bon Appetit!