After spending countless holy weeks in Boracay, we finally have more things other than staying on the beach all day (which isn’t so bad) wading in the sea or watching the people walk around while sipping shakes. On this trip, we were able to find adventures away from the island and realized that there really is so much more to see, especially for those who seemed to have “done it all” in the island. On our second day of our trip, we were invited by Dos Mestizo’s Tito Binggoy Remedios to join him in his farm where he has a fresh water river beside his home.
Tito Binggoy and my dad have been friends for years. But this is really the first time we’re going to spend almost half the day together after he invited us to his farm. So we took a boat to Caticlan, where he picked us up across the jetty. Tito Binggoy’s dream for his farm (which he is already starting to set up) is that it would turn out like a little Filipino village. Where tourists can visit to savor simple farm life only minutes away from Boracay island. We crossed the airport’s strip, where the guard’s had to close the gates on us and we watched a Cebu Pacific plane rampage down the runway for landing. We stopped at a small “sari-sari” store where dad and tito Binggoy bought some fish and meat. And after a few winding roads, we were in the middle of a tropical jungle and was entering the bamboo gates of tito Binggoy’s farm.
Rows of small greenhouses welcomed us and a golden retriever named Coffee came barking down this huge elevated nipa hut. Tito Binggoy was starting to plant arugula, cilantro and different greens organically..he even has a cycled compost bin and a small nursery for all the delicate herbs and sprouts. We walked by his nipa hut, where these two gargantuan akitas’ seemed to want to get a piece of my leg off…good thing they were in a pen…a big bamboo pen! Beside his large hut is a river, which is low because of the summer. His dog, Coffee, quickly dove into the river when tito Binggoy said “Swim! Swim!” Beside the river was a barbecue pit (what can you expect from a chef’s home) and they were firing it up to grill the pork bellies (liempo) and the large tuna tail he bought from the store.
We all jumped into the “river” which resembled a deep stream because of El Niño and we began poking around the rocks since it was rich in wildlife like gobies, cichlids and other kinds of fish, even fresh water shrimp! I borrowed a hawaiian sling from the helpers hoping to get some fish (but it was too big for the fishes in the stream). He set us up a few lounge chairs on the stream, so we can relax by the water and sun bathe at the same time. I played with Coffee and tossed a few stones in the water, and I also collected some fresh water plants for my aquarium.
When we went back up to the hut, Tito Binggoy was already cooking in his kitchen. I marvelled at this guy’s kitchen…for a nipa hut, he managed to get a stainless steel table and sink in here (again, what can you expect from a chef…but in a nipa hut?! it was pretty cool). I couldn’t wait to eat, dad already opened a Rose to go with the Foie Gras Pate and Crackers that Tito Binggoy set up. This place was beautifully bohemian, it is probably the coolest hut i’ve ever seen. The bathroom was like being in a hotel, it was modern and all white…with a peek-a-boo shower…a few days here and I’ll start questioning why I’m living in Manila. This is a food lover’s dream…you would never imagine a city girl thinking of living here but for a moment there, I strongly considered it. Organic food, fresh fish, barbecue pit, the river full of wildlife, stainless prep table, the windy weather and the ultra-modern bathroom…this was a place that made me question how I lived…that this would be the next best thing if I wanted to really settle in away from the city (did I mention that this was less than an hour away from the island of Boracay?).
Lunch was fantastic. I always love home-cooked meals! There was grilled pork belly, grilled tuna tail, buttered vegetables, fish curry by dad and a tomato and mango salad with cilantro. The pork belly and fish were perfectly grilled and seasoned, coupled with the veggies, curry, salad and rice! I had 3 servings! And dessert was also memorable, he simply fried a few bananas, put brown sugar on top and doused it with Mompo wine. This was heaven!
After our full lunch, Tito Binggoy took us up river where it was deeper and would could actually go around for a swim. The water was a bit murky when you jumped in but when you take pictures under water, it was crystal clear. Coffee was with us too and Tito Binggoy took us to the best swimming spot in the river. My brother also found some baby prawns and a whole lot of wildlife while getting there. Too bad we didn’t have a basket to catch them. This is definitely a place for those who want to get away from the busy island since Boracay is getting quite crowded and noisy.
Part 2 to follow. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of these pictures. 🙂