Monday, July 27, 2009

going hot, hot, hot in Makassar

Kayangan Restaurant (Ayam Kampung and Ikan Segar)

My nose was running and my vision was quickly blurring. Tears welled in my eyes but these are all good. Despite my avowed tolerance, spice and chili still do that to me. I love what I was having.

Rumah Makan Kayangan
the simple restaurant front of Rumah Makan Kayangan

Rumah Makan Kayangan is your typical Makassar restaurant - they are invariably scattered along and in the periphery of the boulevard at Losari beach downtown – cheap, no-frills and brimming with the freshest of produce caught in nearby waters. Displayed over ice to keep them unspoilt for the day, the choices of fish, crabs, prawns are wide-ranged and impressive.

fresh seafood on parade
fresh seafood displayed on ice

It’s difficult to do wrong in a Makassar restaurants. Whether you chose to have the seafood steamed, deep-fried, or stewed, your selection reappears on your table fast. Here, cooking has been fine-tuned to a clockwork science that commands just about 5 minutes from ordering to delivery. Or 10 minutes tops.

ikan kakap putih digoreng
ikan kakap putih digoreng or deep-fried fish

kepiting saus sambal
kepiting saus sambal or crab cooked in hot sauce

Because Makassar is a hub of farming or fishing, food is relatively cheap when compared to other big cities like Surabaya, Jakarta or Bali. If the desire is for the freshest catch though, premium still has to be paid. Still, I find the prices quite reasonable. The ikan kakap putih which easily was more than a kilo only set us back about 3 USD and the live blue crab was about 7 USD, cooking charge included.

mango and mint
mango and mint, basic ingredients for the sauce

4 sauces
four hot sauces, traditional in Makassar cuisine

In Makassar, the secret in the taste, and this differentiates cuisine in Indonesia, is the set of sauces that come with the food. As a rule of thumb, Makassar sauces are spicy. There are at least 4 on the table, from pure peanut paste, to various sambal mixes ranging from the tolerably hot to the devilishly unbearable. Always, where there are chili seeds, beware! Not that I could stop myself. If the biting heat of the pepper calls for sacrifice, I, for one, am willing to be punished.

kangkung cah
kangkung cah (water lettuce salad) as a delectable side dishL

es jeruk manis
freshly squeezed local orange juice can be useful in downing the heat of the spicy dishes

To go: Rumah Makan Kayangan is in Jl Datumuseng No 20, Samping RS Stella Maris Pantai Losari, Makassar, South Sulawesi (tel +411 325273).

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

the Cacing Diaries #45

pretty in pink

For the first time in her young 1 ½ years of existence, Cacing cried when I said goodbye today. It’s just one of my usual week-long trips abroad – there’ll be lots more down the road – but increasingly, each time I leave for a trip, Cacing is becoming more aware of her emotions. She still has no concrete concept of time. It is safe to suppose that she quickly got over my departure. But soon it would be different and I’ll have to contend to her heartache. And mine.

the girls in my life
the muses of my life, at my mom’s place in Talisay this May

testing the grown
testing the crown

smart eyes
those eyes are smart!

smiling like a clown
smiling and clowning

playing with the roll brush
the roller brush as a toy

pink princess
a pink princess

testing the jackfruit
testing the jackfruit

teasing the camera with her mommy
a tease in front of the camera

Cacing lying on the backseat of the car
at the backseat of the car

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

hand embroidery, Balinese style

If wood carving were the artistic domain of men, women are traditionally associated with the fine art form in embroidery. In pre-colonial times however, Balinese women were known to go topless. Fine cut and pierced or lace embroidery may not exactly be a Balinese art after all in a historical perspective. The fact remains that when Dutch mores of modesty were implemented early in the 20th century, the requirement to be fully clothed in public was met with resentment by women and going bare was used as a form of protest.


In modern times, Bali has already fully adopted full clothing, especially in the context of Indonesia being a predominantly Muslim country. Like the rest of the nation, Balinese costume wear is derivative of the kebaya blouses native to the Javanese.


But despite being late in the game, Balinese women, judging from the quality of lace work displayed in several artisan shops spread all over the island, already have become master embroiders in their own right.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

pining for more wood carvings

It’s like a malady. I’m hooked on wood carvings, particularly those from Bali . My particular addiction dates back almost 10 years now and my collection is growing.

mechanical saw (side)

chiseling (front)

When in Bali, I also make it a point to visit workshops to personally select which pieces I would like to bring back. As wood is heavy and luggage allowances are limited, I am finicky with what I buy.

hammering a chisel (back)

staining a frame

In my next trip to Bali next week, I probably would visit this particular Denpasar shop. I’ll be ordering something big and probably would have it shipped to Cebu. Call me excited.

man chiseling (backside)

mechanical saw

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Monday, July 20, 2009

the seaweed farmhouses of Hingutanan

In Bohol, particularly in the northern part of the province facing Leyte, seaweed is big. Considered as one of Bohol’s most productive centers is the small island of Hingutanan. The island is politically part of the municipality of Bien Unido and is now divided into two barangays, East and West. A visit in Hingutanan would however reveal that seaweed is largely grown outside of island, a bit further into the reef. There, tens of farmhouses have been erected on stilts, serving both as a drying platform and as an entrepot of dried seaweed.

Hingutanan farmhouse
bamboo is the common material of the seaweed farmhouses

green and brown seaweed at Max's Hingutanan platform
green and brown seaweed at Hingutanan

seaweed lines at Max platform
seaweed lines being planted on the reef of Danahon

arriving at Pimpi's Hingutanan platform
arriving at a platform at Hingutanan

Seaweed farming started in late 70s and today, it is considered as a popular industry for its low capitalization requirement and steady market. There are two types of seaweed grown in Bohol- cottonii and spinosum. Both may appear in various morphological types, sizes and colors. Spinosum, the cheaper variety, is noted for its spines that are arranged in whorls around the thallus. Cottonii, is free of these spines.

seaweed being dried at Pimpi's Hingutanan platform
seaweed being at a platform in Hingutanan

weighing the harvest
weighing the wet harvest

dried fish
fish, dried under the sun

brown seaweed at Max platform
motorized outrigger boat serving the farmhouse

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

rediscover some Sukawati treasures

The art market of Sukawati Bali is one of my favorite haunts. Practically every handicraft sold in Bali can be found there in cheap prices. Quality could be suspect but if you know where to look for, a deal is always there to be had. Here is a selection of some novelties that were begging to be photographed.

miniature pajeng
a miniature 3-layer pajeng umbrella set

drying frangipani
frangipani flowers being dried

straw thingies
some kitchen or ceremonial straw items that I cannot identify

Balinese altars
some Balinese altars

traditional Balinese offerings in front of a shrine at the market

wooden buddhas
wooden buddhas for sale

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

off to Tigwatian (Crystal Cove), Boracay

Crystal Cove. The name sounds commercial and it is. It is the popular name of the resort which occupies Laurel island which just 30 minutes by boat from Boracay. Blessed with the same sugar-fine white sand which makes Boracay a byword in world-class tourism, it is famous for its two caves, as well as its prime takeoff location for diving and snorkeling.

approaching Crystal Cove
approaching Tigwatian or Crystal Cove

boracay boat with red sail
the paraw- Boracay’s local outrigger boat

boracay boat with red sail

In our island hopping in Boracay last May, we only stayed in the island momentarily. Laurel island is formerly known as Tigwatian, an onomatopoeia of the sing-song chirp of an exotic bird. There’s another tale that the island is the home of the fairies too. Either way, and by any other name, the islet is enchanting.

boracay boat with red sail
behind the boat is Caticlan, Aklan

docked at Tiguatian

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

the Cacing Diaries #44

at Mactan, Cebu, the Philippines

Seems like an eternity when Cacing was able to go to the beach. Blame it on the stormy weather. It is rainy season in the Philippines and we don’t like going out when it’s wet.

wild tresses
tresses gone wild

loving the sea
loving the sea (with my wife’s mom)

tasting chocolates
testing chocolates

The opportunity came when my wife had her high school reunion. As a fitting finale, their batch decided on family time at the Portofino Beach Resort in Mactan. So we got a room for the day. As always, Cacing was the star of my wife’s family and mine.

gee... my hair is long
gee… my hair is long

checking out her hair
checking out her hair

modelic pose
a modelic pose

pool play
in the pool with her yaya Jinjin

racing to the beach

pool play

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