Sunday, January 31, 2016

More Filipino Fun

I think my favorite thing about our trip to the Philippines is that I can now correctly spell "Philippines".  Try doing it without looking, it ain't easy!  Though I have mad spelling skills I have no idea why it's spelled Filipino with an F and not a Ph, but it is.

Since my last post I've come into possession of a detailed map of our journey.  I think it is a super handy overview of where we went, what sites we saw and which camps we stayed at:

While this looks like quite the distance I can assure you it was not.  Using the same map I showed you last time, this is how far we went:

So we've only seen a teeny, tiny slice of the Philippines.  There's tons more to see.

Most of our days were spent snorkeling, so it's only fair I show you some pictures of the nifty underwater world we got to explore.  The highlight of the sea being several turtles:

They are incredibly difficult to capture on film.  I was shocked to see we got such good footage of this one (all underwater pics are stills from a GoPro)!  There was lots more to see down there.

The fish in these pictures were pretty tiny, so you have to blow up the photo in order to see them well.  Their colors were insane!  I didn't know colors that bright were found in nature.  They were legit neon!

This pic does not do justice to what it is:

 It's a lion fish!

Much better pic courtesy of Wikipedia
These are venomous to humans and can kill you if you're old, young or have a compromised immune system.  Healthy adults like us would just suffer miserably for days and days if stung by one of these.  As you can see we weren't close enough to it to be in any danger.

Another huge highlight for my fat ass was, unsurprisingly, the food, which can be summed up in one word: Fish.

Everyday, fish!  Almost every meal, fish!  Fish, fish, fish.  Locally caught, too, very locally caught.  Either by our crew off the back of our boat or bought from local fisherman along the way.

Fish weren't the only sea creatures we dined on, however:

Sea urchin
But only 98% of our food came from the sea.

The fanciest camp we stayed at just happened to be on New Years eve, which also happened to be at the official Tao farm., which was a fun coincidence.  It was a real, working farm.

My favorite were the little piglets.  So cute!  So I should have felt extra bad about loving the hell out of our NYE dinner (the only one we had without fish):

The cruel, cruel circle of life.  More like the tasty circle of life!  This pig (not the mama pig pictured above, by the way, what do you think we are, monsters?) weighed 43 kilograms (95 pounds) and we picked it completely clean.  It fed not only the 22 guests and 8 crew but various other Tao staff at the farm.  Everything organic, nothing wasted.

(fried pig skin)
Dessert was for the most part absent from our journey, and I think I understand why.  Because what they consider dessert is really rather heinous.  I present to you, macaroni dessert salad:

Ingredients include macaroni, sweetened condensed milk, fruit cocktail and...cheese.  Bits of cheddar cheese.  It was the most bizarre thing I have ever eaten.  It wasn't bad per se, but it was just so random.  I stuck to drinking the sweetened condensed milk straight so it was actually quite pleasurable.

I can't complain about lack of sweets, though, as we had some great sweet snacks on the boat like fried bananas:

We had very little time off the boat in which to explore Filipino cuisine that wasn't fresh fish so we tried hard to make the most of our limited time on dry land.  I wish we had more time there just to eat!  Filipino food has not made the global rounds the way other Asian cuisines have, which is unfortunate.  So let me educate you on the culinary delights that the Philippines has to offer:

Chicken adobo

Adobo, to me, is the quintessential Filipino dish.  It's the one thing I had heard of before going there.  It's any type of meat marinaded in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.  Surprisingly un-vinegar tasting.  A must try.


This may or may not be the face of a pig.  Traditionally sisig is made with pork jowl, ears and liver, which I knew from my research.  I was hesitant to order it because, hello, pig face, so I asked the woman at the restaurant if this was "normal pork" or "face of pork".  She assured me it was just normal pork, which I believe roughly zero.

So I very well might have eaten pork face!  It was very tasty, though, I don't regret ordering it.  But holy man was it greasy.  I think it's safe to say that the Philippines is the fattest country in Asia and I'm beginning to see why.


This is dried, marinated beef with a really interesting texture.  You can tell it's dried, like jerky, but it's still moist.  It's not the easiest thing to chew, I don't recommend it for denture wearers, but it's good.  And it's served for breakfast with rice.  The chef on our boat called rice "Filipino power" I think because it's so ubiquitous.

The shining achievement of Filipino cuisine, in my opinion, is garlic rice.  It is incredibly delicious, and eaten at any meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I truly think my favorite meal of the entire trip, also a breakfast dish, was this:

Fried chicken for breakfast!  In my defense it was lightly fried.  Served with garlic rice, of course.  Again I refer to the obesity epidemic.  It was so tasty and satisfying!  The perfect way to start your day (and angina).

More breakfast fun:

Whole squid
Keep in mind we chose these breakfast selections.  We could just as easily have picked pancakes or some other lame western dish we could eat any day of our lives.  But no!  Trying local stuff is far more interesting.

I like Filipino food because it's Asian-y, without being distinctly Asian.  It's unique, that's for sure, and a crying shame that the world doesn't see more of it.

The final dish I will present is not a dish at all, but rather leftover garbage from the cooking process.

Fish eyeball.  This crazy Scottish chick ate a fish eyeball!

I will spare you the gruesome rest of it, but that bad ass chick ate it without barfing or dying. I'm impressed!  I included that here to knock myself down a few pegs, lest you start thinking I'm adventurous for eating something as boring as pig face.

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