Cafe Abuelita

27 06 2010

Every time I go to Batangas on weekends, I would always want to try out a restaurant not only because I want to blog about it but because I want to be able to experience how much Batangueรฑos have evolved when it comes to food. Last Saturday, dad ordered merienda to welcome us ๐Ÿ˜› (that’s one thing I like about going home.. mum and dad always prepares something for us). He got pancit and chicken from Wa Nam. Those from Batangas would remember that Wa Nam was known for their pancit, lumpiang Shanghai and fried chicken. This is not to say that things are still the same but still, the pancit and chicken merienda brought back fun childhood memories ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyhow, going back to the topic, I saw this Cafe Abuelita tarpaulin outside SM City Batangas and as always, we followed the signs. It led us to Fil Oil, a gasoline station in Gulod just after the Bridge of Promise if you’re coming from Alangilan, or before the bridge if you’re coming from SM City like us. It’s a mini-Spanish bistro that does not go heavy into the Spanish cuisine. The menu, I’d say, is a little confused because there’s just too many off-Spanish dishes going on. Nevertheless, we enjoyed lunch because everything was prepared spot on. The dishes were simple but since they were cooked on the spot, they were served hot and just in time.

sorry the menu is a bit glossy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

small cozy interior

more tables and chairs outside

This one is from Cafe Abuelita’s FaceBook page:

Cafe Abuelita is a Spanish-inspired cafรฉ which offers a rustic yet homey ambience. It boasts of its one of a kind list of Spanish coffee, including its very own Cafe Cortado (Espresso with a little bit of cream), Cafe Negro (black coffee), Cafรฉ Carajillo (spiked coffee) and Cappuccino. It also offers its very own recipe for Bocadillos (sandwiches), Batangas Adobo, Crepes, Hot Chocolate and home-made Gelatto.

Cafe Abuelita is a fusion of Filipino and Spanish influences of Batangas and presents its rich and diverse culture. The cafรฉ offers its unique recipe of classic Batangueno culinary delight while showcasing a gallery of one of the cityโ€™s most influential personalities in the field of arts, Rosie Ilustre. The gallery depicts the life story of our abuelita, as well as her legacy insofar as the Batangueno culture is concerned.

My folks and hubby got the “silogs”:

tocino with egg

tapa with egg

boneless bangus with egg

I, on the other hand, ordered Batangas chicken caldereta with pasta ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not to say that the chicken caldereta is bad. But… I like the beef caldereta pasta of A&M better. The chicken caldereta would have went well with rice. For pasta though, specifically spaghetti, beef works well. It’s worth a try though because the caldereta is really flavorful and I love the olives.

Aside from soda and bottled water, we also got the following drinks:

dalandan juice

iced cafe mocha

The drinks are refreshing although I was hoping they won’t be that sweet. The good thing though is that the cook was very willing to adjust everything for us ๐Ÿ™‚ She fixed the drinks to temper the sweetness ๐Ÿ™‚

I just have to say that they have the sweetest cook/waitress. Yup, our lunch was a one-woman show. There’s five of us with different orders and she managed to handle everything gracefully ๐Ÿ™‚ I forgot to ask her name so you could look for her when you go there. Daymn ๐Ÿ˜›

So there ya go. That’s another Batangas restaurant for you try. I know it’s impossible to try all the restaurants in Batangas in one go. There are just way too many good ones out there. However, I would really suggest that you try them all.

Cafe Abuelita is in FilOil Gas Station, Gulod, Batangas City. You can email them at for inquiries. And if you have a FaceBook account, learn more by joining Cafe Abuelita’s group ๐Ÿ™‚


Cafe Casa Rap

14 06 2010

I remember passing by Casa Rap all the time whenever I go home to Batangas. However, I never really thought of trying it out because from the outside, it just looks like a house covered with trees and the name sounds like it’s a beer house of some sort. Sorry about that misconception ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I realized that it’s a safe place to go to after seeing it in my friends’ pictures over at Facebook. I heard they serve good tea and I decided to bring hubby to it the next time I go home. Well, it’s been a while and after so many months of loitering in and out of the country, I finally found the time to hit Cafe Casa Rap.

I’m afraid it’s not easy to find it if you’re not familiar with the place. Cafe Casa Rap is in San Jose and it’s a little hard to describe the location because it really is hard to find for a first-timer. For those familiar with the place, going to Lipa City from Batangas City via pre-Star Tollway route, it’s a couple of kilometers (more or less) away from the bridge just before the San Jose “Y” junction. You’ll find it at the left side. It’s the reverse for those coming from Lipa City going to Batangas. This time it’s at your right and you’ll find it a couple of kilometers before you hit the San Jose “Y” junction.

I was quite surprised when I entered the place because I didn’t expect it to be a real functioning garden restaurant ๐Ÿ™‚ We first stopped at the reception area where we placed our orders. Mum and Dad were not hungry so they just ordered coffee and a fruit shake. I got prawns. Hubby got fish. I ordered the house salad for everyone to taste.

The reception area is interesting. We saw lots of these pieces lying around. There were a couple of antique benches to sit on while waiting for an available table. We went there on a Sunday so it’s not that crowded and we had the benches all for ourselves ๐Ÿ˜›

After placing our orders, we were led to the garden for our seats. We saw the nursery and some carpentry going on. The garden is not just off the reception area. We had to walk through the garden to go to the cafe itself.

hubby ๐Ÿ˜›


finally, the garden cafe ๐Ÿ™‚ see that basket of fruits on the floor? those are apple-mangoes for sale ๐Ÿ™‚ yum

The cafe is not air-conditioned but even so, it’s not humid nor hot at all. Thanks much to the trees and plants and the electric fans scattered all over the placeย  ๐Ÿ™‚ When we reached the cafe, there were different pieces of tables and chairs to be seated at. To be honest, I’m quite happy that there’s a nice stop over in San Jose but… I find the place to be dusty and chaotic. I don’t know if that is the “art” behind the place but I’ve seen a couple of garden restaurants and this one is a little cluttered. On a brighter side though, the pieces are really interesting. With a little fix, I’m sure it will be a lot better.

Anyhow, here are some of the things you’ll find inside:

this is a write up about the place and the owners. it's on a desk along with interesting magazines and books ๐Ÿ™‚

those are not mushrooms, silly ๐Ÿ˜› they're garden umbrellas

Now, let’s go to the food, shall we? ๐Ÿ˜›

As I said earlier, Mum and Dad didn’t order anything but coffee and a fruit shake. I didn’t take pics of them anymore. On the other hand, I ordered prawns and hubby got fish.

these are real fruit shakes (watermelon and ripe mango) and are very refreshing

grilled gindara (P150). the big one is juicy. the other one is dry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

ginataang sugpo (prawns with coconut milk). also for P150. really yummy!

I also ordered Casa Rap Salad, the small one (they have big and small versions).

small Casa Rap salad (P300). it has dragon fruit, okoy, cucumbers, hard oiled eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, and those cute dainty blue flowers that i'm uncertain of as to whether they're edible or not ๐Ÿ™‚

We were very happy with the food. I’ll go back there to try their more famous dishes. I’m the kind who orders what I have in mind and not what others would normally recommend hehe ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve heard about their hot tea, ice cream with lambanog, halo-halo, sinigang, and suman. Next time, I’m gonna get those ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, I’d say that Casa Rap is a worthy addition to the Viaje Del Sol culinary/cultural journey. Don’t expect a Sonya’s or Antonio’s but given that Casa Rap serves good food, I’m sure it will improve a lot over time as more and more people come in and share their experiences ๐Ÿ™‚

Casa Rap is in Km. 90 in San Jose, Batangas. It is open daily from 7am until 5pm. For dinners, contact them two days in advance for arrangements. You can contact them at 043 726 2873. If you need a map or directions, you can drop a comment and leave your email. I’ll get back to you ๐Ÿ™‚

A&M Village Restaurant

4 03 2010

The owner of this restaurant in Batangas City is the family of of my elementary classmate/friend. I’ve been to A&M Village Restaurant even in my grade school years because that’s where we usually practice for cheering contests (they have a huge parking space, at least to me when I was young… a child’s perception of space changes as he gets older *wink*) ๐Ÿ˜› I have to admit that I didn’t go back to A&M until I started teaching in Batangas on weekends. While Dad always tells me that he brings his clients and friends to A&M for business lunches/dinners, I never thought of going back to A&M to eat with friends or even with family.

There was this one time when our Dean invited us to a faculty meeting in A&M. All the members of the faculty were saying that they serve good food. We were convinced ๐Ÿ™‚

We usually hold our meetings in Hotel Ponte Fino but this one time,ย our Dean thought it would be good to dine at a uniquely Batangueรฑo restaurant. We thank him for bringing back A&M into my system and for introducing hubby to this restaurant.

Since then, every time we go home to Batangas, A&M has been our Sunday lunch venue.

Finding A&M is easy ๐Ÿ™‚ Before reaching University of Batangas, there’s a junction with all these signs:

Can you see A&M’s sign? ๐Ÿ™‚

Turn right and go straight ahead until you see this:

You can verify that you’re already at A&M when you see this in front ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s not a fancy restaurant. It’s a house converted into a restaurant so the feel is homey ๐Ÿ™‚

There are lots of things going on in the wall. You’ll find masks and some art pieces. These two are the most interesting for me ๐Ÿ™‚

This one makes me want to put up a resto and call it The Gourmet Dept. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, if you ask me about A&M’s specialty, I’d say that it’s their Beef Caldereta. It’s so good they even offer Caldereta Spaghetti ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s like that pasta in Cyma with beef shanks. What we usually order there is their Native Lunch for only P240.

Yup, you read it right. That’s sinigang na hipon or isda AND inihaw na baboy or caldereta. Mix and match galore! There’s more. I want to tell you that you can tell that a restaurant is owned by a Batangueรฑo if instead of patis, they offer Bagoong Balayan ๐Ÿ˜›

Our sauces, take your pick (from down right: toyo-mansi, suka’t toyo, bagoong and calamansi with chili, pure suka)

I’m sure you’re excited to find out what we got ๐Ÿ™‚ For that day, these are what we ordered:

Frozen buko juice
Calamares with sweet n sour sauce
Beef caldereta… so yummy!
Sinigang na hipon (native lunch portion)
What a native lunch combo looks like: sinigang na tanigue + inihaw na baboy ๐Ÿ™‚

Next time you are in Batangas, please don’t settle for any restaurant in SM City. Try A&M Village Restaurant. They have lutong bahay at its finest! ๐Ÿ™‚

*my original post is in YadaYadaYada

Byaheng Batangas

4 03 2010

I went to Batangas last weekendย to visit my parents and to settle with themย the itinerary for our US trip this Aprilย (for those of you who don’t know yet, Batangas is my hometown) ๐Ÿ™‚ It always feels good to go to Batangas because it is such a laid back province. It is actually a progressive place and Batangas/Lipa cities are some of the highly urbanized cities in the country. But it’s very unlike Metro Manila. Metro Manila is all hustle and bustle whileย Batangas is more like everything is a breeze. Life there is simple, serene,ย  and is always embraced by the love and support of friends, families and neighbors.

Yes, neighbors. It’s something I don’t experience (or rarely experience) in all of the sixteen years that I have lived in Manila. In Batangas, neighbors will welcome you when you come home. They will stop to say hello and ask how you’ve been. If you’re lucky enough, they’ll send food if they cooked something special in their household too. In Manila, no one cares to greet me when I’m inside our condo elevator. When I make an effort to greet them, they usually think I’m being plastik or just weird.

Going to Batangas now isn’t as taxing as it used to be. I remember allocating 3 to 4 hours of travel time to before because we had to traverse the National Highway from Sto. Tomas all the way to Batangas City. If my geography is correct, this is the order of the towns we had to pass through to get to Batangas City: Sto. Tomas, Tanauan, Malvar, Lipa, Banay-Banay, San Jose, Concepcion, Balagtas, Alangilan, then Kumintang ๐Ÿ™‚ Batangueรฑos, please correct me!

When Star Tollway was opened, it was like a dream come true for us ๐Ÿ˜› We still had to pass by Calamba and Sto. Tomas because Star Tollway’s first station is in Sto. Tomas but hey, Star Tollway helps us save 30 minutes on travel time! I’m so excited that from the South Luzon Tollway, they are now gonna make an exit straight to Star Tollway. That means, no more sight-seeing in Calamba ๐Ÿ˜› Kidding, that means faster and less time-consuming travel ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some of the pics I took while inside the car. If you happen to plan something for summer and it’s beaching in Batangas, take note of the pics. Will help you find your way ๐Ÿ™‚

exit to batangas

view of Mt. Makiling
the original rose and grace
i love it, “lalawigan ng MAGIGITING”

exit to Star Tollway in Sto. Tomas
welcome sign and tweety ๐Ÿ˜›
star tollway
batangas city exit
told you, this is Batangas City..
uhm, did i tell you it’s Batangas City?
now you believe me!

We left Manila on a Saturday at 2PM. Save for traffic in Bicutan and Sucat area, we reached Batangas City at 4pm. Not bad ๐Ÿ™‚

SUMMARY: From EDSA, go to South Super Highway until you get past Alabang and enter South Luzon Expressway. You won’t pay any toll fee until you exit the last toll booth. Toll fee for Batangas exit is P87. If you’re a frequent traveler, get the E-Pass. From Batangas exit, drive all the way until you see Star Tollway exit. Toll fee until Batangas City is P55.

Asย a side story, we saw this lady standing on the table while selling her goods.

She lost balance and to save her ass from hitting the ground, she had to hold on to her make-shift roof made of some old Coca-Cola tarpaulin ๐Ÿ™‚ It was funny seeing her panic and all that. Whoever told her that it’s a guaranteed way to sell lambanog, lagot ka! What’s funnier is that when she saw me pull down our car window to take a picture of her, she started acting like she’s cool and was just fixing something ๐Ÿ˜›

Haaay… I wish I can go back to Batangas everyday ๐Ÿ™‚ More pics of what I did in Batangas in next post.

*my original posted is in YadaYadaYada

Ano Ga?

11 02 2010

Hello! Welcome sa blog ko about my province, Batangas ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry, wala pang laman. In time, mapupuno ko rin ito ng mga entries. Kung may mga gusto kayo i-contribute, ok lang din. Email or PM lang ninyo ako. I’d be happy to write about them.

Excited na ga kayo? Ako rin eh. Medyo nakaka-worry mag-write about Batangas, masyado kasi maganda at malaki ang ating probinsya. I might not be able to sustain writing about different stuff all the time. But I will definitely try my best.

Madami ako gusto i-post dine eh. Yun gang mga lugar na bihira laang din mapuntahan. Gaya ng mga kainan na turo-turo pero pagkasarap naman ng mga luto. Dun na laang sa may Lemery bago dumating ang Calaca, may masarap na bulaluhan doon. O kaya dyan naman sa may Bauan, may pansitan na panalo ang pansit. Sa Balayan, mayroon doong resto na pagkasarap ng crispy pata. Kow, kadami pa. Food trip at travel ang tema nire, pero tungkol lahat sa Batangas.

Aysha, hanggang sa muli! ๐Ÿ™‚