Without question, Bongao in Tawi Tawi is pretty remote. It’s not just the physical distance per se that gives one that feeling but also the absence of the usual, ubiquitous fastfood outlets that line up Zamboanga City for example. Not that we miss the Jollibees, Mcdos and Chowkings. Out here in Bongao, it would be interesting to find out what the locals eat. One breakfast time, we decided to take a walk and see where our feet (and noses) will take us. We eventually ended up at Al-Madina-1, one of the coffeeshops that line the main street of Datu Halun.
A tray of surprises
Lagal[og] said: Upon sitting and settling in, we were handed a tray full of goodies. I sheepishly thought ‘wow, do we have to finish the whole tray?’ It was much later that I read somewhere that it’s a common practice to be presented a whole tray of breakfast stuff. It’s a feast for the eyes to see so much food in different shapes and colors, it’s also tempting to sample a little (or much) of everything.
Ironwulf said: It’s also amusing to note how they put one glass on top of another when serving hot drinks. Neat idea so you won’t have to touch the hot glass. Putting all the goodies on the tray is also ingenious, it can actually tempt to customer to try out the other goodies when they see it.
Lagal[og] said: There were some food stuff that looked vaguely familiar, resembling delicacies of other regions/provinces. There’s Buchi (Red Sesame Seed Balls) for one, but in lieu of sesame seeds, this one has sugar on top. There were also some that were very familiar but bear other names such as the Juwalan (Fried Banana Slices).
One delicacy that has a funny name is the Pali Kambing, owing to its round shape which, pardon my saying this, resembles goat droppings.
Ironwulf said: I like their version of Buchi, it taste more like pan de coco with coconut fillings. Their rice delicacies are also worth a try. The Junay Iban Itlog is a kind of sticky rice paired with egg. The sticky rice taste has this smoked flavor and is a nice match to the egg. The other sticky rice delicacy, the Apam, tasted like champorado. One of my favorites was this lumpia-looking rolls but it’s actually soft bread with coconut fillings.
Lagal[og] said: We ate quite a lot and was surprised our bill totaled less than P40. The delicacies were so nice and interesting, I forgot how the coffee tasted. I wouldn’t mind having this here in the city – delicious, filling and cheap breakfast treats.
Al-Madina-1 Coffee Shop
Datu Halun St., Bongao Tawi Tawi