Friday, September 08, 2017

Cebu: Parilya Lunch Cebuano-Style with an Old BFF

My visits to the Philippines are always about food and I am not really complaining =)

It’s just that every time I am visiting, I always gain an extra kilo or two or more. Gaining weight in your late 40’s is very easy. It is almost like a natural thing, like breathing air, and losing it is like signing up for a 100-kilometer marathon that will happen the following week.

Old girlfriend Sheena and moi go back to our high school days.

My parents joined us for the lunch.

I have now lost between 6-8 kilos since my trip to the Philippines (and China and Vietnam as well) last year. I did not diet at all. I do eat healthy food and devour huge amounts of vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. The only consolation I have is that I love to eat them. We also always cook at home. I bring my own food to work, too. Another consolation is that I am not very fond of sweets and baked products fattened up with lots of butter and sugar. It’s really more about the portions that I am watching. Because I love to eat, haha. In addition to this, I do some running on the weekends.

Anyway, this post is about one of the lunches I have had in Cebu. My friend was a bit surprised that I have packed some weight. If you see me during my younger days, you will also wonder. I weighed under a 100 pounds / 45 kilos you know! Hence the weight rant =)

But I love lunches, especially if they are long and lazy and with people I know very well. The best lunches I have had though were always the ones in the Greek Islands during summer with the Dutchman. But this is another blog post.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

So in Cebu, I managed to meet up with a very old friend which I shall call Sheena, a name that she loved to use as a pseudonym when we went out back in those days. We met in high school as classmates in an all-girls school. After high school, we enrolled at the same medical college. We were again classmates in a few non-major subjects, one of which was Spanish where we were painting our nails in blue and green colours while the teacher is lecturing the class the difference between nosotros and vosotros. #wewerenotthatbad

Nothing good came out with our stint at this medical college; it wasn’t the degrees we were looking for. We carried on with education, attended separate universities and eventually – hallelujah – graduated. We still met up every now and then but when I moved to Manila and then to the Netherlands, the realities of life got on the way. Thanks to Facebook, I am able to reconnect with old BFF’s!

Sheena now has her own family. She has 2 beautiful boys and is recently a grandma (seriously!) of a little girl. Career-wise she manages her own set of businesses in the city, one of which is a tutorial school for international students. She dabbles in the laundry and travel business as well. She is also helping her husband in their infrastructure projects with the government. She’s a very busy business gal and always multitasking non-stop. Quite far from the Sheena I knew when we were 18, walking the uptown streets of Cebu in our matching high-cut Reeboks – hers was black and mine was white – and hanging out in Robinsons (then classy department store in the late 80’s) and the stretches of Mango Avenue (Mango Square Mall all the way to Rustans). Those were the days...

We laugh about those days and it’s such a good feeling to be able to reminisce and talk about it, just like it was yesterday. We were so young and naive. We had no clue about life at all, lol.

I can clearly see my nicely defined chubby cheeks and chin. I have since lost 6-8 kilos. Travelling to the Philippines is never good for your weight, haha.

Outdoor tables of Parilya Restaurant, right on the waterfront.

So we met up for lunch at the Parilya Restaurant on Il Corso SRP. The restaurant serves native Filipino dishes with a focus on Cebuano cuisine -- lechon, seafood and grill.

Il Corso, on the other hand, is a new lifestyle and commercial complex on the waterfront of Cebu South Road (also known as SRP) and the area wasn’t finished yet with development when we visited last year. My mom tipped me about Parilya Restaurant because she wants to join the lunch as well. She basically wants to try their food, but she also wanted to see Sheena after all these years. Hmm, a good reason and an excuse altogether so it seems, haha. Sheena was anyway more than happy to see my mom again.

We ordered each 1 dish, so that's 4 dishes, and individual rice servings of course, which came wrapped in smoked banana leaves. Because we were not the sweet-toothed types, except for my mom, we shared 2 desserts together.

Here is our lunch:

I started the order with a fresh and chilled coconut (buko) juice. I eat the coconut meat as well.

Crispy Kangkong with their signature dip. Crisp battered and deep-fried water spinach. I really loved this but need to watch out as it is very greasy. I would prefer to dip this in vinegar or some lemon sauce concoction.

This is love. Typically Cebuano dish, the Kinilaw na Tanguige, fresh raw mackerel cured in vinegar and coconut milk with ginger, onions, tomatoes and chili peppers, and topped with chopped fried pork to give the oomph.

Some huge and juicy prawns in a delicious creamy sauce. This was really fresh and very good.

The rice came wrapped in smoked banana leaves.

We also ordered grilled tuna with a tomato and onion side dish. Slice the small lemon (lemonsito) and squeeze it on top of the tuna. Yum!

For dessert, we ordered 2 of these, for sharing: Linusak. It's made of cooked plantain bananas and coconut mashed together and usually eaten with coconut shavings and sprinkles of sugar on top. Their version is different though, they caramelised the coconut shavings and added vanilla ice cream and more caramel juice. Linusak, by the way, brings me back to my childhood days.

My parents, Sheena and moi.

Il Corso on the waterfront of SRP. The lifestyle commercial complex was not yet finished when we visited last November 2016.

The Il Corso complex was not totally open to the public when we were there last year, November. Only a few establishments were operating and many workers were still busy with construction and fixing the details. I have to say though that the Il Corso is a great location, right on the newly developed seaside stretch of the Cebu South Coastal Road. It is situated on the promenade, and you can catch a nice breeze if the wind is cooperating and lovely serene views to the water. In tropical and humid Cebu, the setting is a breath of fresh air and a great alternative from the hectic restaurants in the city.

Moreover, there is free parking, of course, and the Il Corso complex has direct access to the national coastal road which experiences less traffic than the rest of Cebu.

Driving in Cebu City; the Cebu Capitol in the distance.

After our lunch, I accompanied Sheena to her business dealings which meant doing convoys (rather, trying my best to tailgate her) in the traffic-laden streets of Cebu City. It’s a miracle how the Cebuanos manage to survive the horrible traffic. In my days, a 15-minute drive is already too far. These days, however, the 15-minute drive that we used to dread are now 1 to 1.5 hour’s drive, mostly sitting in traffic!

So I spent the rest of the day and evening with Sheena, catching up all the years we have missed, and yes way until past midnight. You know, I quite like these kinds of catch-ups =)

Well, on a separate entry, I will soon post the place we went to for dinner.

Travel Period: November 2016
Destination: Cebu (Visayas), Philippines

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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