It was one of those spur-of-the-moment weekend trips, many years ago, when my friends and I decided to drive to Angono, Rizal. We didn't have a plan, well, except to have lunch at Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Folk Art Museum.
Angono Rizal is known to be the arts capital of the Philippines. It is the home of national artists Carlos Francisco (for arts) and Lucio San Pedro (for music). The town is filled with art museums, galleries and shops, murals, and sculptures. Agono is also known for its Higantes Festival. These higantes are giant mascots made of bamboo and paper mache.
Balaw-Balaw Restaurant has been featured in both Anthony Bourdain's and Andrew Zimmern's food/travel shows. And I totally understand why this restaurant made it to these shows. It is known for its bizarre menu as well as delicious filipino cuisine. It is also one of the famous pit stops in Rizal.
For the brave of heart, you can order Nilasing na Palaka (frogs marinated in wine and cooked as adobo), Soup #5 (cow butt and balls), Uok (larva of beetles steamed in tamarind or cooked as adobo), Kamaru (cricket dish), Palos (freshwater eel cooked as adobo).
We were not that brave, so we ordered the traditional food. We had sinigang and a huge serving of Minaluto. It is served in a big bamboo container lined with banana leaves. It has a little of everything -- shrimps, pork and chicken adobo, vegetables, fish, crabs, tahong, tomatoes, itlog maalat, and rice. It could serve 6-10 people.
These musicians/singers serenaded us while we had lunch. It was very nice.
Balaw-Balaw is quite charming as it used to be an old house turned into a restaurant. It is also an art gallery. Both the first and second floors are filled with artwork -- from paintings to sculptures. Truly a feast to the senses!
We all loved Balaw-Balaw, we left the restaurant happy. We toured around Angono after a really long lunch and were amazed at how much talent this town has. I swear to go back someday and perhaps, try Balaw-Balaw's rose petal tempura. :D
How to get there:
Take Ortigas Avenue Extension and pass through the towns of Cainta and Taytay. Turn right at Manila East Road. Drive straight towards SM Taytay. Just drive straight until you reach a fork road. Take the road on the left leading to Binangonan. Dona Justa Village is just a few meters away from there.
Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Folk Art Museum
16 Don Justo, Dona Justa Village
Phone: +632 6510110
Opens from 10am-10pm