Sometimes food is the center of our universe. Whenever the gang and I go anywhere for vacation entire days are planned around food, rather than “more exciting” activities like riding a Banana Boat. Looking forward to meals alone is certainly exciting enough. Besides, we use more of our senses while eating, as compared to while riding on an inflated platform behind a speedboat, screaming your lungs out and falling off. And you even spend less on it!

During our Boracay stay we had comfort food at our island home, Crystal Sand in Station 1. By comfort food I mean home-style, for us who enjoy hanging out at the trellised dining area in front of Rm. 105. That’s where we can be found at different times of the day, sometimes as early as 5am, having coffee and watching people. Chinne likes to imagine back stories about people that catch her fancy, such as the foreign gentleman impersonating barbecued pork while clad only in tiny bile-and-orange plaid trunks. Or the Korean honeymooners in their his-and-hers outfits. Or speculating on who the Gumamela Man might be, with his native hat, glorious long black hair festooned with hibiscus, as he rides by on his racer bike. Comfort food might be Bicol Express, with some grilled tanguigue or callos.

One night we bought a couple of big fresh lobsters, and since we couldn’t really afford a lobster per person, the Crystal Sand kitchen made Lobster Thermidor. It was my first time to taste it. Not bad, but I prefer seafood plain steamed, if it’s that fresh. Still, we had an al fresco dinner in front of the resort:

Our other favorite breakfast place is Cafe del Mar, next door to Crystal Sand. They have this pancake breakfast, where the pancake looks and tastes like bibingka. They serve it with sausages and fruit, usually pineapple. I would gladly have it over conventional pancakes anytime.

Another favorite place is Happy Ongpauco’s Hawaiian BBQ (also in Station 1) which serves great babyback ribs, fantastic roast chicken with gata and garlic mussels to die for. We’ve tried the strange but yummy Spam rice on a previous trip. It’s the kind of thing you end up craving for after a night out at the karaoke.

We also enjoyed the food at Saneh’Thai restaurant (yellow pork curry, chicken stir-fried with fragrant basil, squid sauteed in garlic, and the ever-refreshing green mango salad). It’s the one opposite our favorite creperie Crepes St. Michel, which was unfortunately undergoing renovation. We were greatly disappointed at not tasting our favorite Nutella crepes — considering we found Cafe Breizh (where I used to have breakfast crepes filled with bacon, egg and cheese) closed down. Alas. Fortunately, there’s Cafe Breton here in Ortigas Center, but it’s not the same without the sand beneath our pedicured toes.

While we were having coffee and drinks at Cafe del Sol (a white Russian for the curious me, San Mig Lite for Chinne, coffees for the boys and this humongous biko-like rice bibingka) who happened to be there but Lorna Tolentino and the Fernandez brood! They were accompanied by the still-gorgeous Amy Austria, Tirso Cruz III and his wife, Jinggoy, and various alipores. And there were any number of Brazilian-looking models scattered around the place (I can’t tell anymore, but they’re all twice my height and half my width). Of course, Chinne the people-watcher was hard at work, while reporting to one and all via cellphone.

More food tripping in the next entry — Boracay: Lemon Cheesecake, Crispy Pata & Karaoke Overload. Thanks to Jopet and Jovic for sharing pix from their cameras.

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