Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Balaw Balaw: Art and Food in One

It was last Saturday, a day after the whole of Manila was submerged in flood waters by Tropical Storm Falcon, Ninya and I met up in SM Taytay to have coffee. But I was not yet in the mood to go home just yet, so I told her we could go to the art capital of Rizal: ANGONO.

I've been in the town of Angono once before when I was still a writer for our travel magazine, Travel Plus. We had a CALABARZON road trip, and the province of Rizal was first on our list. We visited a lot of museums that time, but one that really stuck to me was BALAW BALAW RESTAURANT.

Balaw Balaw is found inside a middle-class subdivision, and serves both as a museum and restaurant. Ninya and I first went around the museum. It was a trip down memory lane for me as I walked down the familiar corridors of the museum. It's cool that you have a new perspective of things when you re-visit a specific place, you get to see things you didn't pay particular attention to before. Although I would have to say that they really need to spruce up the place. It's dark, dusty, and is in bad need of a makeover. Maybe the artist's family should consider this to entice more people to come.

The museum showcases works done by Pedrigon Navarro Vocalan (photo above). You'd see hundreds of his paintings and sculptures on display. I'm not artsy person, so I just look at the paintings and the sculptures with an amateur eye.

As for his sculptures here are some that really caught my eye. This is found at the dining area, and it's a lady washing her hair in the river.

This is a life-size image of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, complete with all of His 12 Disciples.

Amihan or the Northeast Monsoon

And if there's Amihan, there's Habagat or the Southwest Monsoon

And in the center of the second floor, is a collection of mini sculptures

One more thing that caught my attention is their antique collection of statues that clearly depict our deep Roman Catholic faith.

After all the walking around the museum, it can really work up an appetite. So on the first floor, is the dining area of Balaw Balaw Restaurant.

Balaw Balaw, for folks who may not know what it is, is actually an appetizer. As written in the front page of their menu: "A delectable appetizer or sauce the Tagalogs serve together with Sinigang. It is made of small shrimps mixed with gruel and "angkak" a herb that gives reddish coloring. This mixture is preserved and fermented in an earthen jar for three days. After 3 days, the BALAW BALAW is ready to eat or sauteed with young bamboo shoots."

Would really, love to give this a try. Although am not really a huge fan of fermented stuff ever since I had a really bad tummy ache after eating a couple of spoonfuls of Pampanga's BURO! :(

But what made Balaw Balaw famous are their EXOTIC FOODS. Some of their exotic dishes include, Uok (beetle larva), Nilasing na Palaka (frogs marinated in wine), Kamaro (crickets), Soup No. 5 (butt and balls of COW), Sizzling Butt and Balls, Sinabawang Balot (fertilized duck eggs cooked like bulalo), Sizzling Balot, and Bibingkang Abnoy (duck eggs cooked in banana leaves). CAN YOU GUYS HANDLE THIS?! HAHAHA! Although I remember the first time I was at Balaw Balaw some 2 years ago, I ate something with FLOWERS. I think it was their salad, but it had actual flowers in them.

No Ninya and I didn't eat any of these, although it would've been cool for me to eat another round of exotic dishes much like when the BFFs and I went to Everybody's Cafe in Pampanga. Ninya and I settled for a safe and much-loved Filipino dish: ADOBONG MANOK AND BABOY (Chicken and Pork Adobo).

It was really good! The sauce was perfect with the rice, and the chicken and pork meat were all tender. We inhaled it in minutes (plus we were really hungry, too)! We even ate the pork fat (yes, it was that good or we were just THAT hungry hehe). And the serving size is really good for 2.

So why not visit Balaw Balaw Restaurant when in Rizal? You guys could get some Filipino culture and art appreciation. The museums of some of Rizal's famous artists are all close together, so it's not really that hard to find. And then after your visual arts trip, you and your family or barkada SHOULD make that detour to Balaw Balaw Restaurant! :)

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restuarant and Art Cafe
#16 Don Justo St., Doña Justa Village
Angono, Rizal
Telefax: 651-0110


  1. thank you for writing about us recently,i hope you visit us soon again. more power to your endeavors!
    -Rembrandt Vocalan
    Artist / owner
    Balaw Balaw restaurant

  2. Hi Sir Rembrandt! It's a new experience every time in Balaw Balaw...I think I would be visiting again soon, my Mother's interested in tasting your food after I raved about your adobo hahaha will make sure to ask for you when we go back there! Thank you for visiting the blog, too, Sir!! :))


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