Sunday, September 30, 2012


Balut - an all-time Filipino favorite

In the Philippine street scenes, particularly in the late afternoon until midnight, you will hear a familiar chant of vendors shouting, "Penoy - Baluuuuut! . . . " Then, a rush of balut enthusiasts and customers immediately encircle the balut vendor, each buyer patiently waiting his turn to be sold and savor this all-time favorite street food among Filipinos; a delicacy loved by millions of Filipinos since time immemorial, and a must-try for everyone visiting the Philippines. No trip to the Philippines would be complete without sampling our lowly and yet famous Balut.

Balut is an incubated duck egg that is boiled and then eaten in the shell by gently tapping the pointed tip of the egg until it cracks open a small hole, just enough to shear-off the paper-thin sac where a juicy light-colored broth can be seen. The light-colored broth is actually the amniotic fluid of the egg which tastes a bit a cross between sweet and salty, and sipped with either a pinch of rock salt, or a dash of plain or spicy vinegar, or a combination thereof, to augment its flavorful and juicy taste as with the entire egg: the embryo, yolk, and white hard mass; consumed by slowly peeling-off the shell.

To the uninitiated, the mere sight of the nearly-developed embryo with its grayish feathered head, beak, eyes, pinkish little limbs, wings, claws, and veins in between can evoke a mixture of disgust and awe. But when sampled, the partially formed skeleton of the embryo mixed with the broth is what gives the Balut its distinct crunchy and juicy taste. Balut is naturally rich in protein, vitamins and high-quality nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, B6 and B12, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, and Iron. While the nutritional content is higher than a regular chicken egg, a duck egg contains more cholesterol and the albumin or the white hard cartilaginous mass is high in uric acid content. In fact, the Balut is popularly regarded by Filipinos as a virility-enhancing and stamina-boosting aphrodisiac; a healthy evening snack, and as a delectable appetizer that perfectly goes with beer. However, Balut with beer, they say, cause hypertension followed by headache. Expecting women are often discouraged from eating Balut as it is commonly believed that their babies might acquire Hirsutism or excessive hairiness. 


Balut (balot, depending on pronunciation) means "wrap" in Filipino. It is believed that Chinese traders and immigrants of old introduced the idea of eating fertilized duck eggs to the Philippines; from the Chinese "Maodan," meaning "feathered egg." However, overtime, the art of balut-making has been localized by the balut-makers, or the "magbabalut." While there are now mechanized production to yield more and better baluts, much of the balut production in many parts of the country, is still done manually in the traditional way.

There are actually two different kinds of incubated duck egg: the Balut, and "Penoy," and both are from Mallard Duck or "Itik" and are usually sold together. While the Balut is a nearly-developed embryo, usually 16 to 21 days old, the Penoy on the other hand is actually the by-product in the production of Balut after incubation. Instead of a nearly-developed embryo, the Penoy egg is only a soft mass of plain white and yellow embryo and, when boiled, the white portion would solidify and the yellow mass would coagulate.

Great care and much attention is observed during incubation of the eggs. In traditional incubation, fertilized eggs are kept warm under the sun, wrapped upon layers of thick cloth and stored in wicker baskets to retain its warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held against a light to reveal the embryo, if any, inside the shell. Embryo development is easily distinguished by its shadow-like presence visible through a background light. A nearly-developed Balut of about 17-days old, without discernible beak, feathers, claws and underdeveloped bones, is considered an ideal balut, and is called "Balut sa Puti," meaning, "wrapped in white." An additional 3 to 4 days more will yield a distinguishable embryo, firm yet still tender when cooked. Approximately eight days later, the Balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Duck eggs that are not properly developed after incubation are sold as Penoy, which look, smell, and taste similar to a regular hard-boiled chicken egg.


Penoy usually produces two kinds of boiled egg: the masabáw (soupy), and the tuyô (dry). Penoy that is considered "masabáw" is not actually soupy, but rather moist and jellylike, while tuyô is nearly dry; somewhat similar in appearance to an ordinary boiled chicken egg. Balut vendors would usually put a distinguishing mark on the Penoy eggshell to easily differentiate a masabáw from the tuyô: the masabáw, has a straight and vertical pencil line drawn on the shell (sometimes a letter "S" for sabáw); and a crossing spherical line for the tuyô, while the Balut bears no markings.
Balut is produced and sold in the streets all through out the Philippines. It is usually peddled by vendors the traditional way - walking around, on their arms holding a wicker basket filled to the brim with Balut and Penoy wrapped in layers of cloth to keep the eggs warm, accompanied by small packets of salt, usually of recycled graphing paper or in a small plastic bag, and a plastic bottle of spicy vinegar; or in a much convenient way, either peddled in a street corner in a metal or plastic container which holds more eggs thereby bringing in more profit, or through the use of bicycle, enticing buyers either through the traditional chant of shouting, or the use of horn. Either way, the Balut remains warm and fresh, ready to eat. To the more enterprising vendors, they also sell chicharon (cracklings) alongside with Balut.
Over time, the lowly Balut, because of its unmatched popularity, and the ever-increasing interest of Filipinos in his insatiable pursuit of culinary arts, eventually evolved into haute cuisine served as appetizers in restaurants, cooked adobo or sinigang style, sizzling or stir-fried in omelettes, or even used as fillings in pastries. The imagination and possibility of more balut-based recipes are endless . . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Davao City - 2012 National Literacy Award Hall of Famer

For the third time, Davao City has won the prestigious National Literacy Award under the Highly Urbanized City category by the National Literacy Coordinating Council (NLCC), and the Department of Education (DepEd) last September 19, 2012 in Baguio City, and placed Davao City in the Hall of Fame. The city won the same award in 2008 and 2010.

Under the same category, Pasay City placed second, followed by Butuan City, Tacloban City, Baguio City, and General Santos City. In the component city category, Balang City, Bataan won the award followed by Tabaco City, Tuguegarao City, Alaminos City, and Malaybalay City, while Plaridel, Bulacan won the municipality category.

The Award best indicates the success of the city government's efforts in its untiring pursuit of excellence in literacy programs and projects to eliminate illiteracy in the city under its BAROG program (Barangay empowerment, Academe, Resources, Peace and Order and Governance) - a development thrust of the city government to further enhance the improved quality of life of everyone in Davao City.

According to the 2010 census, 98.5 percent of the city’s population aged 10 years and over are considered literate. The population of 10 years old and above is 1.05 million or 73.06 percent of the city’s total population of 1,449,296. 

Davao City's Trophy for the 2012 National Literacy Award

Many thanks to romix and dinabaw of SSC-Davao

Monday, September 24, 2012

Freedom Park in Davao City

In the Philippines, local governments are mandated to designate a Freedom Park where people can exercise their constitutional freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful gathering, rallies or protests; a venue where they can ventilate and be heard of the various issues and concerns of the city that confront them. 

Millennium Park

In Davao City, Freedom Park consists of two parks: the Millennium Park and the Clifford Park. The Millennium Park is located in the center island along the stretch of Roxas Avenue across Ateneo de Davao University, while  Clifford Park is the wide and spacious intersection of Claro M. Recto Street (old Claveria Street) and Roxas Avenue, fronting Ateneo de Davao and Marco Polo Hotel. Clifford Park was named in honor of a United States Army commander who was killed in action during the liberation of Davao in World War II.  

Clifford Park

Clifford Park in Davao City

Clifford Park

This wide and spacious corner of Claro M. Recto Street (old Claveria Street) and Roxas Avenue, fronting, in this photo, Ateneo de Davao, and Marco Polo Hotel, from where this photo was taken, is called Clifford Park. It was named in honor of a United States Army commander who was killed in action during the liberation of Davao in World War II.  

The Park is one of the two parks that consist the Freedom Park in the city; the other one is called Millennium Park which is located in the center island along the stretch of Roxas Avenue across Ateneo de Davao University.

In the Philippines, local governments are mandated to designate a Freedom Park where people can exercise their freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful gathering, rallies or protests; a venue where they can ventilate and be heard of the various issues and concerns of the city that confront them. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adobong Mani (Roasted Peanuts)

Adobong Mani or roasted peanut is an all-time favorite street food of Filipinos. It is usually roasted in cooking oil and sprinkled with lots of salt and roasted garlic and, occasionally, chilies (siling labuyo). Freshly roasted peanuts are sold by street vendors in almost every street corner of the country. It comes in small retail-sized brown paper pouch. It is usually taken as a light snack, and is best paired with beer. In the Philippines, roasted peanuts are widely popular appetizer among beer drinkers.

Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients, and are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese and phosphorus. They are  also naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein.


These are mobile pork siomai vendors negotiating through J. P. Laurel Avenue in Davao City, on their way to the different parts of the city to sell the popular Chinese delicacy. 

Siomai, also called dumplings, is a type of traditional Chinese dish consisting mainly of grounded meat to a paste of either pork, or beef, chopped shrimp, among others, seasoned with extenders such as green peas, carrots, wrapped in very thin, round sheet of unleavened dough called wonton wrappers. It is cooked either steamed or pan-fried resulting in a crispy exterior. It is normally dipped in soy sauce and squeezed calamansi with an oily, chili (siling labuyo) and garlic mix.

In Philippine food stalls and fast food restaurants, siomai is usually eaten through the use of toothpicks to facilitate handling, or with rice using spoon and fork.

Siomai used to be available only in Chinese restaurants but now it is one of the favorite street foods in the city. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Davao City Police Dog named Spike


This is Spike of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO). He was a bomb sniffing police dog who served during the term of the then Davao City Police Director, Police Superintendent Isidro Lapeña, under  the direct supervision of PD1 Roger Dy, a certified canine trainer from the Special Response Group.

Spike was a indispensable member of the DCPO's Canine Unit since 1996. He was a hardworking canine, having served in the clearing operations during important events in the city including the Kadayawan and the Araw ng Dabaw celebrations. He was also responsible for the clearing and paneling operations whenever the President of the Philippines and other high ranking officials and dignitaries came to visit the city. 

Spike's distinguished accomplishments included the finding and recovery of an IED found at the basement of Gaisano Mall on March 5, 2001, and the finding and recovery of an IED inside a plastic container that was left in a public utility vehicle on March 11, 2003.

Spike retired in 2008 after serving the Davao police force for 12 fruitful years.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Venue

There once stood a party place in Davao where locals and visiting guests of the city converge in a night of fun, music and dance from dusk 'till dawn. It is called, and now defunct, The Venue. It was a large, multi-level entertainment area of about 1,200 square meters which can easily hold 1,500 persons at one time. It was a favorite hang-out place at night and a popular venue for live concerts, band performances, big fashion shows, corporate parties, product launches, conventions, national and international billiard competitions and other events that required a huge area. The Venue featured a multi-level dining areas, a big dancing area, nightly entertainment which featured Manila's and Davao's best bands, had state-of-the-art sound and lights system, four themed bars (one was the Espresso Bar of Blugré Café), 24 billiard tables, and the largest Video Wall in Mindanao. 

The Venue opened its doors to the public on November 15, 2000. It was a major project of Holiday Entertainment and Music Corporation, the same owners of Linmarr Davao, and the Holiday Transport Group.

Inside The Venue

The Venue was located close to the corners of Emilio Jacinto Street and Elpidio Quirino Avenue, fronting the Central Bank in the downtown area. At the parking lot were different cafés, cocktail bars and restaurants. It was a place to bee seen, eat and party in the city. 

Bar 1

Bar 1

Cafe Breizh

Rows of bars and restaurants

Space Burger

Huge umbrella

View of Marco Polo Hotel from The Venue

View of Elpidio Quirino Avenue from The Venue

Today, since December 2010, the very corner where The Venue once stood proudly is now a P35.8 million call center facility of Sutherland Philippines - a business process outsourcing (BPO) company based in the United States.

Sutherland Global Services Philippines

Millennium Park in Davao City

Millennium Park 

This is the Millennium Park in Davao City. It is located along the stretch of Roxas Avenue right across Ateneo de Davao University. The Park is one of the two parks that consist the Freedom Park in the city; the other one is at the corners of Claro M. Recto Street (old Claveria Street) and Roxas Avenue, fronting Marco Polo Hotel and City Triangle, called the Clifford Park, which was named in honor of a United States Army commander who was killed in action during the liberation of Davao in World War II.  

In the Philippines, local governments are mandated to designate a Freedom Park where people can exercise their freedom of speech and expression in a peaceful gathering, rallies or protests; a venue where they can ventilate and be heard of the various issues and concerns of the city that confront them.

Millennium Park with Marco Polo Hotel in the background
Millennium Park with Ateneo de Davao at the right

A bust of an Indonesian hero at the Millennium Park

Fabulous Fifties Café

Fabulous Fifties Café is a great place to chill-out after a hectic day. Its warm ambiance is nostalgic of the 1950s. They serve a wide selection of delectable Filipino and Korean dishes, and an array of wine list from ice-cold beer to cocktail drinks and thirst-quenching coolers. It is located at the Crown Regency Residences along J.P. Cabaguio Avenue in Agdao, Davao City, approximately three kilometers or about 10 to 15 minutes drive from the Davao International Airport. It is easily accessible by private or public transportation. 

Fabulous Fifties Café is open 24 hours, daily.

The Bar Area

Dining Area

Back to back dinning tables

Entrance to the Fabulous Fifties Café

Crown Regency Residences Davao where theFabulous Fifties Café is located

Map to the Fabulous Fifties Café

For more information, please contact

Fabulous Fifties Café
Crown Regency Residences
J.P. Cabaguio Avenue, Agdao, Davao City
Tels +6382 255 8188

Korrokan KTV Resto-Bar

This is the now defunct Korrokan KTV Resto-Bar located at the back parking lot of Victoria Plaza Mall in Bajada, Davao City. It was a first-class KTV restaurant and bar that catered to high-end guests. It was here that I saw high-profile politicians from Manila, Davao City and other parts of Mindanao; visiting government officials from the different agencies; well-known businessmen; local celebrities, etc. However, just like in any similar establishments in Davao City, all are welcome regardless of one’s stature in life. There are no exclusive clubs for the social and economic elite nor are there forbidden ghettos confined to the less fortunate and marginalized. Celebrities and famous people are treated like everyone else. No special treatments for those in powerful positions. Elitism and haughtiness are treated with much disdain in the city. 

Korrokan had about 14 VIP rooms and a common area where the cocktail bar was located. At its peak, there were over 50 PR managers assisting guests and more than 150 women entertainers. Nightly, Korrokan was filled with guests and oftentimes a reservation in advance was necessary to obtain exclusive use of the VIP rooms. It also had a branch along Timog in Quezon City. 

Bar and Common Area

KTVs and Karaoke were such a big hit in the Davao in the late 90s and from early to mid 2000s that everywhere you go in the city, be it in a town fiesta, birthdays, weddings, or simply an afternoon of fun with families, friends, office colleagues and even with neighbors, you will find people holding microphones joyfully singing before a cheering crowd and curious spectators, each one patiently waiting for their turn. But the fad seemed to have gradually subsided, but not totally out. In fact, Korrokan actually just moved to a new location in Ecoland, in a much bigger building with better and added facilities, and renamed it World Palace Business Center

World Palace Business Center in Ecoland

Victoria Plaza Mall in Bajada

View of the huge parking area immediately outside Korrokan



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Davao City Traffic Management Center Advisories and Updates

I chanced upon the following very important traffic advisories and updates from one of Davao City forums and thought of posting these for everyone residing in, and visiting the city. For more information, advisories and updates, please follow the Davao City Traffic Management Center Official Twitter Account -

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