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From ‘ginataang baluko’ to ‘pinangat’

/ 04:55 AM August 15, 2015

There is much adventure to be had in Sorsogon: swimming with whale sharks and watching fireflies light up the night sky in Donsol; surfing Gubat’s uncrowded beach; kayaking and nature-tripping at Mount Bulusan Volcano Natural Park; and the list goes on.

After all that action, trying out the cuisine of Luzon’s southernmost province is an adventure unto itself. A good place to enjoy Sorsogon food is at Siama Hotel.

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Fifteen minutes away from Sorsogon town, Siama Hotel is for anyone looking to get away from city life. There are no TV sets in any of its rooms. Each corner of this modern Asian oasis, resplendent in greenery, was designed for exploration or introspection.

The hotel’s owner, designer Milo Naval, meant its food offerings to be an exciting experience, too. Perhaps the most exotic must-try from Siama’s kitchen is the baluko, a versatile, meaty shellfish which can be cooked three ways—basted in coconut milk, fried, or adobo.

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Ginataang baluko makes for chewy shellfish oozing with gata goodness. It’s a favorite at Siama, and you can even tell the wait staff how spicy you want it.

Fried baluko is easy enough to prepare, and with its crunchy consistency and a little spicy vinegar dip, easier to enjoy for either snacks or meals.

The baluko shellfish, like everything served at Siama, is always from the fresh catch of the day in the nearby local seaside market.

Winged beans, more popularly known as sigarilyas, are called pagulong in Sorsogon. Cooked in coconut milk, with a generous addition of pork mince, prawn meat, garlic and chili, pagulong makes for a crunchy, juicy dish.

Not to be confused with laing, pinangat is also a popular Bicolano dish. Siama’s chefs take pains to stew fresh gabi leaves, chili and other ingredients in coconut milk in an intricate process, ensuring that their take on this southern comfort food delivers.

Siama’s dessert take on the Bicolano staple, pili nuts, served in the serene setting of Siama Hotel, makes for a truly fulfilling trip.

Visit www.siamahotel.com; tel. nos. 0917-8816497 or 0998-9828101.

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Cebu Pacific flies daily to Legazpi City; www.cebupacificair.com.

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TAGS: Donsol, Gubat, Mount Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, Siama Hotel, Sorsogon, Travel
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