Discovering Filipino Food around CALABARZON: CAVITE and BATANGAS (Part 1/3)

On the last week of April 2019, Department of Tourism Region 4A and QuePATTA (Quezon Province Association of Travel and Tour Agencies) organized a 2-day culinary tour around CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in line with the celebration of Filipino Food Month. Every April, Filipino food is put in the limelight, highlighting it as an integral part of our Filipino culture and heritage.

Day 1

We met up early in the morning at Makati and left around 6 am to travel to Silang, Cavite.  
It was a smooth ride from Makati, passed through Nuvali in Laguna and Tagaytay. Arrived at Silang around 7 am.

Asiong’s Caviteno Cuisine Restaurant

First stop on our CALABARZON culinary tour is Asiong’s Caviteño Cuisine Restaurant located at Buenavista Street Bucal, Silang Cavite.

As you enter the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by a collection of plants and vines masquerading it as a humble restaurant at first glance.

Inside you’ll be surprised to find a spacious dining area with high ceiling and decorated with paintings and pictures that walks you through the history of Asiong’s Restaurant. Even the wooden frames of the ceiling to the wooden chairs and tables reminds you of memories from the past like coming home to your lolo and lola’s house. If you want to eat surrounded by nature, Alfresco dining is available at the back of the restaurant.  

In 1960, a fire in Cavite City destroyed the commercial center including parts of their house. Rising from the ashes, Ignacio Asiong Lua began cooking and selling home cooked meals to their neighbors and became well-known for their delicious Caviteño food.

Founders, Ignacio Asiong Lua and his wife Crisanta Trias

Cavite’s culinary history is so rich and diverse. Cavite City’s food is heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine with an injection of Chinese and Mexican cuisine as well. Being a peninsula, Cavite City is a perfect place to dock and conduct commercial activities (Galleon Trade) during the Spanish colonization. It became a hotspot for other countries like China to trade their rice, silks, and manpower for Mexican silver. Along with the trade, they brought their food influence to the people of Cavite City and infused it with the local produce and abundant coastal resources in the area.  

Later on, the continuous flooding in Cavite City became a problem and they decided to move to the highlands of Silang with their family heirloom recipes.

Sonny Lua, Asiong’s youngest son is now the owner of Asiong’s Restaurant and continues his family’s legacy. He said that Asiong’s Restaurant is a purely Caviteño restaurant which uses ingredients and raw materials which all came from Cavite. He prepared a hearty Caviteño breakfast for us which includes Carioca, Pan de Troso with Quesillo, Pako Salad, Bacalao, Imus Longganisa, Pancit Pusit and Silang Sapin-sapin.

Alfresco dining at the back of the restaurant

Caviteño breakfast with Pahimis Blend Coffee with Pirurutong Rice

Carioca in Cavite is ‘giniling’ or ground pork with potato, carrots and green peas. It is paired with egg, fried saba drenched in brown sugar and with fried rice. It can also be used as palaman for pandesal.


Pan de Troso is a 1950’s bread of Rosario, Cavite with a hint of Rosemary and garlic. The origins of this bread was out of the laziness of the baker to cut it into smaller portions and had to put the whole thing in the oven just like a long uncut pandesal. This bread is usually paired with Quesillo, a creamy soft cheese made of carabao's milk with herbs. Quesillo’s origins can be traced back to Mexico and the Galleon Trade that happened in Cavite City.     

Pan de Troso with Quesillo as palaman

Bacalao/Bakalaw, a heritage dish from Cavite City is usually eaten during Lenten season.
Dried salted cod is soaked 24-36 hours in water to remove the saltiness and cooked with Mexican cuisine influence with the addition of garbanzos, potatoes, tomato and pimiento. Bacalao takes time to prepare and cook and seeing it served in front of you on a Good Friday is a Caviteño tradition truly worth partaking.


Imus Longganisa is an adobo type of longganisa, not too sweet like the others and savory. It also uses natural ingredients with no preservatives.

Imus Longganisa

Pansit Pusit or Pansit Choko (Squid in Chabacano is Choko) is a heritage dish in Cavite City. Bihon or sotanghon noodles is mixed with sauteed garlic, onions, squid and added with squid ink that came from inadobong pusit. Put in the vegetables and topped with crunchy chicharon bits, sliced kamias rounds and spring onions.     

Pansit Pusit

Sonny Lua’s version of Pansit Pusit, freshly cooked right in front of us, has a more savory and peppery taste together with kamias bringing balance to the dish. Also love the crunchy chicharon and the tenderness of the squid delightfully dancing in my mouth as I eat.   

Sonny Lua with his own version of Pansit Pusit

Now rooted to Silang, Sonny Lua created a sapin-sapin with layers of ube, buko and langka as a tribute to Silang, Cavite. Silang Sapin-sapin is delicious with right amount of sweetness!

Silang Sapin-sapin

Their pako salad is also prepared fresh, ypu can see the staff picking the herbs in the garden next to you when dining alfresco.
Silang Sapin-sapin

What I like about their Pako Salad is that it you can guarantee the freshness as you see the staff gathering and choosing the best herbs in the garden to prepare with your salad.

Pako Salad

After your meal, you can also check out their pasalubong corner near the entrance. You can take home breads, coffee, rice coffee, chicharon, cookies, salad dressings, bagoong, lettuce, and quesillo.

Pasalubong Pasalubong

Asiong’s Restaurant takes you home when you dine as it offers traditional and authentic cuisines from Cavite. As Sonny Lua said, if you want high class and fine dining, you can go somewhere else but if you want food that will enrich your soul and be educated with the rich history of cuisines of Cavite, then Asiong is the place to be.

After having a culinary enlightening breakfast, we now ride our way to our next destination which involves love and coffee.

Descending from the uplands of Cavite, we made our way to Batangas and passed through the scenic road of Mataas na Kahoy, enjoying the view of Taal Lake.
Asiong’s Restaurant offers Caviteno cuisine that gives you a sense of home and family. Comfort food with a deep culinary history that spanned from Spain, Mexico, China to Cavite is what you get when you dine here. If you’re not familiar with food in Cavite and want to be enlightened, Asiong’s would be the resto to go to.    

Asiong Caviteño Restaurant
Location: Buenavista Street, Bucal Silang, Cavite

We finished breakfast 10:30 am and proceeded to Lipa on our next destination. Passed by the scenic view of the other side of Taal Lake in Mataas na Kahoy going down to Batangas.

A side trip on our culinary tour, we visited Casa Segunda in Lipa, Batangas. A Bahay na Bato which is a tropical house with Spanish architecture. Casa Segunda has a lot of history which is home of Rizal’s first love, Segunda Katigbak.

Casa Segunda Courtyard

Entrance to Casa Segunda

The affluence of the families in Lipa came when they became the sole supplier of coffee in the whole world during the time when the coffee plantations were infested in Europe and America. Lipeños then built the bahay na bato with its grandeur and symbol of aristocracy.

Lilet Malabanan, granddaughter of Segunda Katigbak, sharing the history of Casa Segunda and how coffee bloomed in Lipa.

Coffee tree with its fruits in the courtyard

There were no nails used in this house, only bolts and the wood works still intact. Some of the furnitures and decorative pieces came from Europe through Galleons.

Silong or the Ground floor

Dining Area

Sala Mayor or Grand Sala

Chess Board where Rizal played during his visit


One of the neighboring houses where relatives of the Katigbak clan lives.

Segunda Katigbak

Sadly for Rizal, Segunda was already betrothed to Don Manuel Luz from one of the rich families of Lipa. Borrowing the words of Lang Leav, "Your first love isn't the first person you give your heart to―it's the first one who breaks it."  

Casa Segunda
Location: 198 Rizal St Lipa, Batangas
Entrance Fee: 60 pesos

After the ancestral house tour, we had lunch near Casa Segunda and our second food stop.

Don San Juan Boodle House

At 1 pm, we arrived at Don San Juan Boodle House in Lipa, Batangas. Ready for a boodle feast which is a Kamayan style of eating. Using your hands to eat is more delicious as they say, more comfortable and more intimate with your food and the company you dine with.

Modern contemporary style, incorporating capiz shells on the windows

Families and friends dining inside

The boodle of choice for our lunch is their Taal Specialties Boodle which is good for 4-6 persons. Lipa is near Taal Lake and some of the Batangas dishes are influenced by the lake and the farms beside it.

Included in the Taal Specialties Boodle are Tapang Taal, Adobo sa Dilaw, Ginataang Sitaw Kalabasa, Longganisang Taal, Sinaing na Tulingan, Inihaw na Baboy, Itlog na Pula with Kamatis, Onion, Atsara, Sliced Watermelons, Fried Small Fish (not Tawilis) and of course Rice!

Taal Specialties Boodle costs 1449 pesos

Adobo sa Dilaw

Tapang Taal

Sinaing na Tulingan

It was a filling and delicious lunch with special mention to Adobo sa Dilaw and Tapang Taal, yum!

Don San Juan Boodle House
P. Torres Street corner G.A. Solis Lipa, Batangas

The boodle lunch had us full and sleepy but the culinary tour moves on from Batangas to the next province. It is where coconut based cuisines and products abound and also a province with a famous president named after him.

Blog feature by AARON NOMO of
For Azrael's Merryland Blog