Savoring Pinoy Delights: THE LUSCIOUS LANZONES

I look forward to the early -ber months in Laguna because I can enjoy one of my favorite seasonal fruits, the lanzones!




For our foreign readers, LANZONES (Lansiumparasiticum) is a seasonal, tropical, exotic, and edible fruit which originated in West Malaysia and is widely grown in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia.



Clustered like grapes, this fruit is elliptical, ovoid, or round, measuring 2-7 cm (0.79-2.76 in.) by 1.5-5 cm (0.59-1.97 in.) in size.

It has a thin, leathery, slightly-fuzzy yellow skin that varies in thickness from 2-6 mm (0.079-0.24 in.). The yellow skin will gradually develop brownish-black spots as the days go by as this fruit spoils quickly and does not have a long shelf life. So, eat it immediately after purchase. My advice is to buy only what you can consume within 2 days.



This year, fruits were harvested in early September in Laguna, and priced at 80-90 pesos per kilo (2018). I personally prefer the smaller variety since I find that they are sweeter and have smaller seeds, if any at all.

Lanzones is known under a variety of common names worldwide: bhubi (Bengali), bon bon (Vietnamese), buahan (Cebuano), buwa-buwa (Tagalog), ceruring (Balinese), dau da dat (Vietnamese), dhuku (Javanese), dokong (Malay), duku (Burmese, Indonesian, Malay), gaduguda (Sinhalese), kokosan (Indonesian), langsak (Burmese), langsat (English, Indonesian, Malay, and Thai for thin-skinned variety), langseh (Malay), langsep (Javanese, Malay), lansa (Malay), lansones (Cebuano. Tagalog), lanzones (English), lon bon (Vietnamese), long kong (Khmer), longkong (Thai, for thick-skinned variety), lotka (Bengali), and pangkai (Mizo language).

The larger variety of lanzones is called Duku. It has large round fruits, a thicker skin, and some consider it sweeter than the smaller variant.The hybrid between Duku and Langsat is called Duku-Langsat. Another variation is Longkong, or Dokong, introduced in Indonesia and Thailand. This variant has a thick skin, sweet aromatic taste, no latex, only a few seeds or is seedless.1

Lanzones is grown in different parts of the Philippines: Camiguin (known to yield the sweetest lanzones during the month of October), Laguna (fruits harvested from September to November, depending on the onset of typhoons and strong winds which may affect the flowering stage), Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, and Northern Mindanao.2

The Lanzones Festival is held annually in Camiguin Island for 4 days during the 3rd week of October, to celebrate their lanzones harvest, the precious livelihood of the residents there.3

Legend says that this fruit was originally poisonous.3 The name itself, lanzones, comes from the Filipino term for poison – lason! It is said that there was once a town with bountiful trees which bore round and pale-colored fruits, but the people were afraid to eat them. They saw a man who tried to eat a fruit, but he died as soon as it touched his lips. This made the people afraid of even touching the fruit. Then, one day, the town suffered from drought, food became scarce, and the people became hungry. Suddenly, a mysterious lady came to town, sang and danced in the streets, picked a fruit from the poisonous tree, pinched it, and ate it. To the amazement of the people, the lady did not die. She claimed that as she pinched the fruit, she took out the poison. She then asked the townfolk to eat the fruits, and famine eventually ended.2

A second version of its origin goes like this: lanzones was poisonous and extremely sour but one day, a woman (believed to be the Virgin Mary) and Her Child (the Baby Jesus) travelled along a road, were very hungry, and found only lanzones trees all around. Having no other option to eat, they ate the fruits and, henceforth, the lanzones became edible and sweet.4

The fruits, when allowed to ripen on the branches of the tree, are attractive to flying animals at night, like bats. The people from Paete, Laguna, in the Philippines, hang kerosene lamps on the trees to repel bats and other nocturnal animals.1

When completely ripe, the fruit is eaten as is, or added to cooked/processed dishes/items. Its thin skin is opened by pinching/squeezing the stem end until the skin opens and is then further easily peeled back to reveal about 5-6 translucent white, smooth, juicy and sweet (sometimes, a bit tart or sour) fleshy segments, which, together, may have 1-3 dark green, bitter-tasting, inedible seeds of different sizes. Break the segments apart, and eat them one by one. Discard the inedible seeds, if any.



Peeling may yield a milky latex, especially when newly picked/harvested, that may stain your fingers with a slightly sticky blackish-brown sap. Personally, I do not mind this sap because this fruit is one of my top favorite fruits.

However, if you are turned off by the black sap on your fingertips after consuming a sizeable amount of this fruit, worry no more! There are 5 ways to avoid/address this concern: (a) use a paper towel when removing the skin; (b) apply oil to your fingertips to avoid the stickiness; (c) dip the fruit into boiling water to eliminate the sticky substance; (d) apply alcohol on stained fingers and wipe off with a paper napkin;or, (e) my dear father taught me to simply rub my stained fingers through my hair several times till all the sticky sap is gone. He said the natural oil in my hair removes the sticky, sappy dark stains, and you know what? It works! But if I do this, I see to it that I shampoo my hair thereafter. Try all these techniques and tell me what really works for you!

Lanzones is used in beverages, desserts, fruit salads, jams and jellies. Its fleshy segments are added to curries and soups. These are also added to other fruits like bananas, pomegranates and strawberries, to make popsicles.3

Each segment contains fructose, glucose and sucrose. It also contains carbohydrates, fiber, pantothenic acid, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C, and minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.This fruit is low in fat so this is good for weight-watchers! It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, as well as an abundance of natural antioxidants (e.g., polyphenols) that can help the body to fight disease-causing free radicals.5



This fruit is considered a healthy snack for people with diabetes because of its high fiber content, along with the presence of the antioxidant polyphenol, which improves glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar.3



There are no known side effects when eating this fruit. However, this fruit is known to cause gas so overconsumption is not good for people who easily bloat. Also, pregnant women should consult their doctors before eating lots of this yummy fruit.3

The bark, leaves and/or segments are known to: aid in weight loss; be effective in de-worming; boost the immune system; cure dysentery, malaria, scorpion stings and ulcers; improve metabolism; reduce cholesterol levels; regulate blood sugar levels; relieve diarrhea and eye inflammation; and treat bloating and fever.

Did you know that the dried skin of lanzones is traditionally used in the Philippines as a natural mosquito repellant? I recall my Dad who used to sun-dry the peels and light them up in our terrace during night time. The smell was pleasant and guess what? I had no mosquito bites!

So, what are you waiting for? Go to your nearest fruit stand while supply lasts!

Most of the information was obtained from the Wikipedia page, “Lansium parasiticum”.6

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6”Lansium parasiticum,” accessed September 8, 2018,



It is rainy season in the Philippines so lunch or dinner with hot soup, smoked or fried fish, and a side dish of chopped tomatoes and salted egg is a welcome treat, to be enjoyed with the whole family. Such a simple pleasure yet so satisfying!

2-collage-2      take your pick of fried fish (tinapa, galunggong or tulingan) with salted egg salad

And talking about salted eggs, I recall with fondness Ang Tindahan ng Itlog ni Kuya at Iba Pa, located at Barangay Banca-Banca, along the National Highway of Victoria, Laguna. I buy salted eggs as “pasalubong1” for family and friends in Metro Manila during my visits.1-Antipolo-San Pedro-6             from the Facebook account, ItlogniKuya – Antipolo and San Pedro Laguna

Now, when those who are not familiar with the store ask me where I bought the eggs, they smile at my answer, and ask me again because they thought I was joking, knowing my sense of humor!


Anyway, for those who are not familiar with this store and have not seen its feature in various television/radio shows (Agribusiness Talk Show, Everybody Happy, GoNegosyo, Kusina Master, My Puhunan, PinasSarap News TV, Radio Negosyo, Rated K, Something to Chew On, Umagang Kay Ganda, and Unang Hirit), read on. It was even awarded the Golden Globe Annual Award for Business Excellence on September 19, 2015.2

There is indeed a store called Itlog ni Kuya, for short, and the salted egg they sell is so delightful!

interior of Victoria, Laguna Store

2-orderboard                                        Items offered by the Victoria, Laguna Store

2-pasalubongOther goodies offered by the Victoria, Laguna store, open from 8:00 am till 8:00 pm daily

Personally, there are four reasons why I like its salted egg. First, the egg is processed more hygienically in a common traditional method and the egg shell is not colored (unlike what has been the widespread practice in early times using a dark pink or red dye). I appreciate this feature as my hands will not be stained when I cut the egg in half.

1-Lucena branch-1                     from the Facebook account, Tindahan ng ItlogniKuyaLucena branch

The resulting salted egg has a plain white shell with a small sticker printed with the Itlog ni Kuya logo. Do not be misled by its simple exterior marking; the egg inside has a high quality which will definitely satisfy you.

Second, this salted egg is organic. The ducks are fed with rice bran, fishes, sweet potatoes, and fresh water shells (called “tulya”).2 Natural products like probiotics are used; no antibiotics are used.

Third, the egg yolk has a very desirable dark orange color with a pleasing grainy texture and the much sought after characteristic, the oily portion.

Fourth, the flavor is just right, it is agreeably salty and the yolk’s grainy texture and oiliness are so enjoyable.

Personally, I mix chopped salted eggs with chopped ripe tomatoes but when I find pako3 in the wet market, I see to it that I make Pako Salad (blanched pako, chopped salted eggs, tomatoes and onions, served with a vinegar dressing or one made from calamansi, honey and fish sauce).2-Pako Salad

At this point, allow me to tell you how this store started. Victoria, Laguna, is the town between Calauan and Pila (when you are cruising southward along the National Highway, coming from SLEX-Calamba exit), about 90 km south of Manila. It is known as the Duck Raising Capital of the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page “Victoria, Laguna”.4 Thus, it is no surprise that Itlog ni Kuya started in this town.2-location

The duck products of Itlog ni Kuya come from the Leo Dator Duck Farm of Victoria, Laguna, owned by Napoleon “Leo” Dator, Jr. and Josephine Dator. The farm started in 1983 with 1,000 birds, and, in 2006, the Peking Duck Farm was added. Together, these two farms comprise what is considered as one of the largest leading duck raisers in the Philippines.2

In the mid-2003, Leo began to use cassava as his sole basal feed. Today, his dry feed ratio is made of 70% cassava, 15% fish meal, and 15% rice bran (which serves as a binder), mixed and consumed daily. He also adds amino acids as well as vitamin-and-mineral premixes. The ducks are dry fed three times a day.2 Supplementing the cassava-based dry feed, Leo mixes fish meal with pond snails (suso) to produce wet feeds that are given to the ducks four times a day.2

Itlog ni Kuya also sells fresh and dressed US-breed, locally grown, Peking ducks.2-live peking

Breeds include: Cherry Valley of London, Long Island, Philippine Mallard, Dumalaga, and native duck.2

The ducks are not grown free-range; since 1984, they are sheltered in elevated buildings, called “houses,” that have slatted plastic flooring, in order to keep their feeding consistent and eventual production consistent as well, even during the rainy season.2

Each “house” has about 2,000 birds, or a density of five birds per square meter. The floor is covered with rice hull.2

The female-male ratio is 10:1 and the females remain productive for two years, with selective culling as the practice to keep only productive ducks. Unlike in layer chickens, duck eggs should be fertilized because they are used primarily for balut5 and salted egg processing.2

Leo has ready-to-lay birds in different areas, including the provinces of Bulacan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino and Tarlac.2

So here some of the duck products offered by Itlog ni Kuya2, depending on the outlet/branch:

  1. Organic salted egg – different sizes1-Antipolo-San Pedro-7-ok

2. Balut5 and penoy61-Tarlac Branch-2                            from the Facebook account, Tindahan ng ItlogniKuya –Tarlac branch

3. Dressed duck

4. Fresh and Dressed Peking Duck – the duck is grown within 50-60 days for meat, with an average live weight of 3.3 kilos

5. Crispy Fried Kinulob Peking Duck – the duck is cooked in ten herbs and spices for three hours until tender, roasted then deep-fried1-Antipolo-San Pedro-5                      from the Facebook account, ItlogniKuya – Antipolo and San Pedro Laguna

6. One-day old duckling, ordered in advance

7. Duck Ham (November till the Christmas season)

8. Organic Salted Egg Potato Chips

Have I convinced you to try its salted egg? Are you craving for it now? Here are some of its outlets:

  1. Purok 3, Barangay Banca Banca, Victoria, Laguna – 09173701158, 09156468134 (orders), 09172424547 (for dealership)
  2. Barangay Bacnotan, Calamba City, Laguna – 09362044767, 09062011823
  3. National Highway, Real, Calamba City, Laguna – 09998354711, 09556888354
  4. By Pass Road, Barangay Lamesa, Calamba City, Laguna – 09953141747
  5. Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
  6. Maharlika Highway, San Pablo City – 09175640714
  7. White Plains, along (former) Katipunan Avenue (beside Libalib’s Garden), Quezon City
  8. ADB Triangle, Sta. Rosa Road, Barangay Francisco, Tagaytay City – 09276092758
  9. Francis Square, Doña Julia Vargas Avenue corner Bank Drive, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City – 09168763028
  10. Block 1, Villa Carolina 1 National Highway (beside St. Pedro across Petron Gas Station), Tunasan, Muntinlupa City
  11. Daleon Street corner Merchan Street, Barangay XI, Lucena City
  12. Unit 3, Ground Floor, Citadel Building, Fairlane Subdivision corner By Pass Road, San Vicente, Tarlac City, Tarlac, Tarlac – 09664668854
  13. Lipa, Batangas (in front of Flowers and Greens and Jake’s BBQ)
  14. Unit 3, Citadel Building, Bypass Road corner Fairlane Subdivision, San Vicente, Tarlac City

1-Tarlac Branch                       from the Facebook account, Tindahan ng ItlogniKuya –Tarlac branch

I have only visited the main outlet, the one located in Victoria, Laguna. It also offers other goodies and even pasalubong1 items. Just zoom the pictures below to see them.

The restaurant, adjacent to the store, is being renovated. I will update this information when I have time to go back. Otherwise, just contact them through the information mentioned.

Visit its official website:; Facebook: Ang Tindahan ng Itlog ni Kuya

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my purchases in this store.

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Pasalubong is the Filipino tradition of travelers bringing gifts/souvenirs from a destination they visited to people back home. The term is also used to refer to the gift/s purchased as such. Information is from the Wikipedia page “Pasalubong”.7

3Fiddlehead fern (Athyrium Esculentum)8, called pako in the Philippines, is grown along the banks of streams or rivers. This vegetable fern is commonly sold in bundles at a very affordable price, about 3 bundles for a hundred Philippine pesos. It is abundant during the rainy season and can be eaten raw (but it is best to blanch it before using it as a fresh salad ingredient) or cooked.

4“Victoria, Laguna,” accessed June 27, 2018,,_Laguna.

5Balut, or balot, is a popular Filipino delicacy, often sold as street food through vendors during nightfall, typically repeated shouting on a low-high tone: “Baluuuut, Penoy, Baluuuut”. It is a boiled or steamed (14-21 day-old, ideally 17 day-old) fertilized duck egg with a developing embryo inside. The contents are eaten directly from the shell, with salt, or a chili-garlic-vinegar mixture. The rounded end of the balut is opened just enough for the person to place a pinch of salt and sip the precious broth surrounding the embryo. The shell is then peeled to enjoy the yolk and young chick. The partially-developed embryo bones are soft enough to chew and swallow as a whole. The white albumen may be consumed, depending on the incubating period, but when it is tough and rubbery in texture, it is not eaten. Information is from Wikipedia page “Balut”.9

6Penoy is another Filipino street delicacy, like balut5, but the duck’s egg is unfertilized or not properly developed after 9-12 days, even after undergoing the incubation period, according to the Wikipedia page “Balut (food)”.9 Penoy is only semi-developed and is sold, along with balut, through vendors at night. Bottomline, penoy is an unfertilized balut. There are two kinds of penoy: a soupy kind called “masabaw” and the other is dry, called “tuyo”. The latter looks, smells and tastes like a regular hard-boiled egg. Both can be eaten just like balut, with salt or vinegar mix. Vendors use a pencil to place a mark on the shell of the two kinds of penoy, like a horizontal dark line and a vertical line for the other.

7“Pasalubong,” accessed June 27, 2018,

9“Balut (food),” accessed June 27, 2018,








Another favorite fruit is siniguelas (Spondias purpurea), from the flowering plant family in the cashew family called Anacardiaceae. It is a seasonal, ovoid drupe1 fruit, 3-5 cm long and 2-3.5 cm broad, ripening red, sometimes yellow, and contains a single large seed, according to the Wikipedia page “Spondias purpurea”.2

Alas, it is only available in the Philippines during summer, and is becoming less and less abundant as the years go by, unlike when we, Seniors, were younger, when it wassold even by traveling vendors.

Most commonly known as jocote, this tropical fruit is also called ciriguela, cirigüela, cirguela, ciruela, ciruelahuesito (in Venezuela), hog plum, java plum, jobito (in Ecuador), purple mombin,2 purple plum3, red mombin3, red plum3, siwèl (Haiti), Spanish plum3, and wild plum3. It is commonly called “food of the gods” in the Philippines.4

It is native to tropical regions of the Americas and can be found from Mexico through Central America and down to Brazil. It is also very common in most of the Caribbean Islands.

The first time I saw a siniguelas tree with fruits, I was so delighted. It has a stout trunk and branches. It loses all its leaves during fruiting season, and what a site to see! The individual fruits are attached to the branches through a short thick stem, almost side by side.

The raw, firm, semi-ripe fruit is quite pleasing to the eye, even with its yellow-green skin and large patches of red. The smooth thin skin is firm but easily gives in to every bite. The flesh is very juicy and sweet. The texture of the mesocarp, or flesh, is firm, yet has the right softness to be chewed away from the seed. I do not like it when it is very green and unripe, or when it is very ripe and the flesh is very soft or soggy.

1-siniguelas-1         I enjoy it washed as is, or chilled in the refrigerator, and dipped in rock salt.

Others prefer eating it unripe, along with vinegar and salt.4 The single large lethal3 seed is not eaten. Remember, dear Seniors, our elders always advised us to eat this fruit in moderation because excessive amounts can lead to indigestion and hyperacidity, especially if taken on an empty stomach.3 Looking back, I always ate a lot at one sitting, and have not experienced a single tummyache to-date!

The ripe fruit is also popular for its medicinal uses and health benefits. It is high in ascorbic acid (good for boosting the immune system, controlling cholesterol, and acting as an antioxidant), amino acids (like lysine, methionine, threonine and tryptophan), calcium, phosphorus3 and dietary fiber.

It is used as diuretic (for the production of urine for cleansing the body) and antispasmodic (for preventing muscle spasms). The fruit is boiled and used as antiseptic for preventing infection of wounds and healing mouth sores. It is commonly used to clean wounds, burns and cuts. Its liquid extract has antibacterial capabilities. The fruit’s syrup is used to remedy chronic diarrhea or for preventing loose bowel movement.3

Siniguelas is also made into a tart or green sauce, jelly, vinegar or wine.3

I cannot wait for summer 2019 to savor this yummy fruit once more!

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1A drupaceous fruit is a stone fruit with an outer fleshy part (exocarp or skin and mesocarp or flesh) surrounding a single shell (pit or stone) of hardened endocarp with a seed (kernel) inside, according to the Wikipedia page “Drupe”.5 Examples are apricot, cherry, duhat, peach, plum and siniguelas.

2“Spondias purpurea,” accessed February 18, 2018,



5“Drupe,” accessed February 18, 2018,

GERRY’S RESTAURANT & BAR: Gratifying Grilled Gustation

Location: Ground Floor, Butterfly Garden, Resort Drive, Newport City, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

When we crave for “inihaw1”, one place that definitely comes to mind is Gerry’s Grill!

Its first restaurant opened on February 14, 1997 at Tomas Morato in Quezon City. After 21 years, it currently has 95 branches nationwide: 2 in Cagayan Valley, 12 in CALABARZON2, 15 in Central Luzon, 5 in Central Visayas, 3 in Eastern Visayas, 11 in Mindanao, 37 in NCR, 5 in North Luzon, 2 in South Luzon, and 3 in Western Visayas. It also has 6 branches overseas (3 in the USA, 2 in Singapore and 1 in Qatar).3


This family-casual dining restaurant offers a wide array of Filipino dishes: appetizers, soups, char-grilled items, sizzling selections, seafood, chicken, pork, beef, rice, vegetables, kinilaw4, merienda5 treats, desserts, shakes, juices, soft drinks, hot drinks, cold drinks, and alcoholic drinks.

It has been decades since we last ate at the original Tomas Morato branch but we were recently in the Newport area and opted to have lunch there.

This Newport City branch is open daily, from 10AM till 12 midnight. It offers airconditioned dining as well as outdoor seating. The latter would be ideal for unwinding after work with cocktails or other alcoholic drinks, accompanied by appetizers or char-grilled orders.

We arrived half past noon. It was very hot outdoors, so the place was packed; but we found a table at one corner indoors. Parking was a problem, though.

I liked the large menu card which really entices customers to order since the colored pictures are so good to look at! Here are the pictures:

3-GerrySoups and Kilaw, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

4-GerryAppetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

5-GerryOther Appetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

6-Gerry.jpgVegetables, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

7-GerryPork and Beef Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

8-Gerry.jpgChicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

9-Gerry.jpgOther Chicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

10-Gerry.jpgChar-Grilled Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

11-Gerry.jpgSizzling Treats, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

12-Gerry.jpgSizzling Selections, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

13-Gerry.jpgOther Sizzling Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

14-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

15-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

16-Gerry.jpgMerienda Selection, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

17-Gerry.jpgDesserts, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

18-Gerry.jpgNon-Alcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

19-Gerry.jpgAlcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

20-Gerry.jpgFresh Fruit Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

21-Gerry.jpgSummer Treats 2018, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City


After a weekend stay in a resort with buffet meals, we decided to stay away from pork dishes. We finally agreed and ordered the following:

24-Gerry.jpgThe Sinigang na Boneless Bangus6 was served hot but was not sour enough. However, this was good for the kid with us.

The Sizzling Kangkong7 a la Pobre was served on a sizzling plate but was not sizzling at all. We were disappointed because it was watery, lacked the expected garlic taste, and was mostly stalks, instead of leaves.

26-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Pusit8 was the winner for this visit! It was grilled just right and one order could be shared.

27-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Manok is a half-chicken order that is char-grilled and could be shared as well. However, it was too dry and lacked the anticipated marinated taste.

25-Gerry.jpgThe Special Binagoongang Rice9 was good and perfect with the grilled items we ordered.


22-Gerry.jpgThe watermelon shake was refreshing and not too sweet.

23-Gerry.jpgThe fresh buko10 juice was served chilled, with a straw, and still in the buko shell. (Note to balikbayans who miss this drink: one could not get it any fresher!) We requested the bukos to be opened after sipping the juice. The buko meat was thin and easily scooped with a spoon.

Waiting time for orders was about 20-25 minutes. Service was slow, the waitstaff was not attentive, and getting the bill and change took some time too. My observation: It was almost 2PM but the restaurant was still full. Business is good! Unfortunately, service suffers.

Contact details: (02) 332-1111. Visit its official website –, Facebook account –, and Instagram – @gerrysrestaurant

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Inihaw is the Filipino term for grilled, roasted, barbecued, or broiled.

2CALABARZON, or Region IV-A, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon, with Calamba as its regional center. CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s five provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

4Kinilaw is the Filipino term for a raw native Filipino dish, similar to ceviche. It literally means “eaten raw”. The fresh cubed fish/seafood, or lightly grilled and chopped meat, is mixed primarily with vinegar, plus a souring agent (usually calamansi or dayap), and flavored with salt and black pepper, ginger, onions, and chilis.

5Merienda is the Filipino term for morning or afternoon snack.

6Bangus, or milkfish, is the national fish of the Philippines. Filipinos usually prefer it prepared “boneless” because its numerous pin bones would otherwise make eating it a bit difficult.

7Kangkong is a semiaquatic, tropical vegetable-plant, grown for its leaves and tender shoots, according to the Wikipedia page, “Ipomoea aquatica”.10 It is also known as swamp cabbage, Chinese convolvulus/spinach/watercress, water morning glory, and river/water spinach. It is a popular vegetable in Filipino cuisine, used in a variety of dishes like sinigang and adobo.

8Pusit is the Filipino term for squid, usually cooked as adobo or grilled.

9Binagoongang Rice is a Filipino version of fried rice made with sautéed shrimp paste (called bagoong) and thin slices of raw-ripe mangoes.

10Buko is the Filipino term for young coconut harvested for its sweet and refreshing juice/water and thin, easy to scoop, meat.

10Ipomoeaaquatica,” accessed April 20, 2018,



The duhat (Syzygium cumini), from the flowering plant family called Myrtaceae, is a seasonal fruit which Filipinos look forward to eat and enjoy from April to July each year. This drupaceous1 fruit resembles large oblong or ovoid berries.

1-duhat sa tree-collage

It is also called black plum, jambolan, jamun, or Java plum. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent, adjoining regions of Southeast Asia, China and Queensland.

The unripe fruit is green and its color changes to pink, then to shining crimson red, and finally to black.1-duhat-4

Oh my, what big duhats you have in Nagcarlan, Laguna! Compare their size with my thumb and sunglasses! So big, so juicy, so yummy!

1-duhat-6                      Just image picking the fruits beside your window or on your roof!

Duhat is a rich source of vitamins A and C as well as minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur. It is medicinal for people experiencing dysentery, diabetes and diarrhea.2

This favorite raw fruit of mine tastes so heavenly when it is fully mature or ripe, with the right combination of sweet, mildly but pleasantly sour, and astringent flavors.

duhat, sold by transient vendors, by the bunch or measuured by the glass

I love it when I refrigerate it, then shake it with rock salt! How about you? The saltiness compliments the abovementioned flavors so I see to it that I chew away all the yummy “flesh”from the seed which is not eaten (although it is said to have healing qualities in Ayurveda, Unani and Chinese medicine). The down side is that it definitely colors my tongue blue-violet since I eat a lot of it at any one time, but I do not mind that at all!1-duhat-3

Duhat is also made into brandy, distilled liquor, juice, tarts, sauces, vinegar and wine in different parts of the world.

Most information is from the Wikipedia page “Syzygium cumini”.3

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1A drupaceous fruit is a stone fruit with an outer fleshy part (exocarp or skin and mesocarp or flesh) surrounding a single shell (pit or stone) of hardened endocarp with a seed (kernel) inside, according to the Wikipedia page “Drupe”.4 Examples are apricot, cherry, duhat, peach, plum and siniguelas.

3“Syzygium cumini,” accessed February 18, 2018,

4“Drupe,” accessed February 18, 2018,


Some friends of mine look forward to summer for the seasonal PAHO, sometimes spelled PAJO. It is a very small, unripe, green mango-like fruit, native here in the Philippines, available from March till April. Its species name is Mangifera1 altissima. Actually, it is more of a vegetable rather than a dessert fruit.2

It is called by different names in the country: paho in Tagalog, Pangi in Visayan, and Popouan in Kapampangan.3

Pajo has a unique taste – sour, acidic, tart, bit sappy or bitter, and mouth-puckering, depending on other ingredients added.

Some simply munch on pahos dipped in rock salt. Paho is used mostly as an ingredient for a salad where it is pitted then cut julienne-style, mixed with chopped tomatoes and onions, patis (fish sauce) and even wansuy (cilantro), bagoong (fermented fish or krill) and/or chopped itlog na maalat (salted eggs).

It can also be enjoyed with anything fried or roasted/barbecued, like as a side dish for fried fish, longganisa or tapa, chopped and mixed with bagoong balayan or even just patis.1-pajo-salad-fish-collage


The Batangas-Laguna residents savor pajo with sinaing na tulingan (braised tuna). I do not eat these but those I know who do swear that they tend to eat more rice and food when pajo is served as an accompaniment.

Other Filipinos pickle and even “buro”pajo, i.e. they are sliced, pitted, placed in a container, preferable a glass container, and soaked in a salt-water solution. This can then be kept in the refrigerator overnight and, the next day, enjoyed as a delicious and crunchy treat. Properly refrigerated, it can last for a few weeks.

Some consider it a bit expensive since it costs PHP80-100 per small bundle in the wet market.

1-pajo-wet mkt      pajo, sold in small bunches, as displayed in wet markets, along with other items

However, only a small amount is needed to enjoy it as a side dish or snack. So, a bundle will be able to satisfy a lot of people.

For balikbayans and people who miss this seasonal treat, sorry but you just have to wait next summer to enjoy it!

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Mangifera is the flowering plant genus of mangoes, according to Wikipedia page “Mango”.4

4”Mango,” accessed April 4, 2018,


Location: G/F, Greenbelt 1, Greenbelt Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

My husband and I were accompanied by three relatives when we were in the Greenbelt area for early Christmas shopping. It was the middle of the afternoon when we all became hungry and they agreed to join me in a sentimental Pinoy merienda (snack) at Via Mare in Greenbelt 1 which was one of my favorite casual dining Filipino restaurants when I was single.

Z-1-VMfacade – Via Mare, Greenbelt 1, Makati City

Now, dearest Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask, why there, Tita S? There is one at Greenbelt 3 and it is newer. I know that, SCs, but this Greenbelt 1 branch is so memorable for me before I got married. Anyway, indulge me, please, ok?

This outlet is open from 8 am till 9:30 pm (M-F), 9 am till 9:30 pm (Sat.-Sun.), and 10 am till 10 pm (during holidays). It is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 1, opposite National Book Store, my favorite bookstore. Via Mare’s facade and interiors still looked the same and the diners were mostly families or seniors, alone or with a companion.

I can’t help but think that the other seniors also eat there not only for the yummy dishes but recall delightful memories of dining there for years/decades as well. For me, it was way back 1990s.

This outlet offers breakfast, a wide selection of Filipino merienda treats and kakanin (native Filipino rice cakes served mostly for snacks), as well as different soups, main dishes, oyster specialties, vegetables and rice for lunch/dinner.

I was feeling nostalgic when I got hold of the menu and I wanted to order lots of native merienda (snack) treats but stopped myself because of eating out too much when I go to Metro Manila.

Z-Via Mare-2We ordered only four kinds of merienda items First was BIBINGKA VSP (175 pesos), meaning this traditional Filipino rice cake was very special because it had all the toppings possible. It was served warm and soft and its flavor was enhanced by the yummy toppings (butter, cheese and salted egg), accompanied by freshly grated coconut and sugar.

Z-Via-Mare-3PUTO BUMBONG, with two pieces per order, served with muscavado sugar (partially refined sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor), quezo de bola (Edam cheese) and freshly grated coconut (106 pesos), was also ordered. It looked so delicious and we even ordered additional queso de bola for a more delightful combination.

Z-Via-Mare-4The PALITAW (a traditional, sweet, sticky Filipino rice cake), with three pieces per (55 peso) order and a generous topping of freshly grated coconut, sugar and linga (sesame seeds), was served next. It is definitely a MUST TRY, dearest Seniors! This boiled, flattened, small, rectangular, Filipino rice cake was so delicately soft, contrasted by the texture of the freshly grated coconut mixed with sugar and linga. We had to ask for an additional order because we couldn’t have enough of this native delicacy.

Z-Via-Mare-5DINUGUAN AT PUTO (205 pesos), another Filipino favorite, was a satisfying, thick, savory pork-blood stew with pork offals and meat, complemented by the small white putos (traditional, round, soft, Filipino steamed rice cakes).

Bottomline, we enjoyed all our orders but rave about the palitaw! My younger companions learned to appreciate these Filipino treats while I reminisced good times in this restaurant with every bite I took. Happy tummies! Happy memories! Happy meee! Happy weee! We will surely go back for more, perhaps for lunch or dinner!

Prices stated were based on charges when we dined in this outlet; they may change. Visit its official website: for outlets, catering services, updates, etc. You can also call (02) 815-1918. For a quick look at the menu of this outlet: (1) simply type “via mare greenbelt 1 menu” and click on the option, or (2) type and type café via mare greenbelt 1. View the menu at the bottom of the page.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in this restaurant or in any of its other branches? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!