2.122 Pancit Bihon Guisado


7 (Sat) May 2011

Pancit Bihon Guisado


at Fiji

(Plantation Bay Resort & Spa)

-Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines-

with W and DJ

Research Trip to WHO + First Overseas Family Vacation (Day 4 of 6)

In Cebu.  During the week, I participated in an expert consultation on public health law at WHO WPRO in Manila.  Now in Cebu with W and DJ for a weekend holiday.

At Ninoy Aquino International Airport, waiting for our flight to Cebu, this photo is funny for 3 reasons.

A matter of good timing gave us an opportunity to take our first overseas family vacation together.  Fortunately, the scheduling of the meeting at WHO coincided with a “golden weekend” in Korea, bracketed on one end by Children’s Day (Thursday, May 5) and on the other by Buddha’s Birthday (Tuesday, May 10), both national holidays.  Earlier this morning, W and DJ flew into Manila, where we rendezvoused at the terminal and took a short flight down to Mactan Island.  With the hotel booked for Saturday and Sunday nights, late checkout secured for Monday afternoon, and the return flight scheduled for later that evening, we have nearly 3 days to play.  Due to arrive back in Incheon at 0530 on Tuesday, the off-day will thankfully allow us to unwind for 24 hours before going back to work Wednesday.

We’re staying at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa, a mid-range establishment located among many others along the southern coast.
In selecting this particular place, the main draw for us, having a 4-year-old, was the interior “lagoon,” an expansive artificial wading salt-water pool comprising the core of the resort, the guest rooms and restaurants and other facilities dotted along its circumference; in addition to the lagoon, the resort also has 4 freshwater swimming pools and access to a private beach.
From the rear balcony of our first-floor “lagoon-side” room, the water is about 10 meters away.

For dinner, we selected Fiji, an on-site seafood restaurant overlooking the ocean.  They offered a fairly wide range of items each influenced by different Asian cuisines, mostly Korean and Japanese (e.g., ojingeo bokkeum, sushi), as well as a few Philippine choices.

Pancit bihon guisado is a Filipino dish.  It consists of noodles (pancit), specifically rice vermicelli (bihon), stir-fried in a garlicky soy sauce with pork, shrimp, chicken, and various vegetables (guisado).  Essentially Chinese in character – indeed, internet food historians seem to agree that most noodle dishes here, which are served in some form or another on every table at every meal, owe their origins to Chinese immigrants back in the day; even the word “pancit” is supposed to have derived from the Chinese dialect of Hokkien.  Pancit bihon guisado can be found on the menu of almost every mainstream restaurant in the Philippines, one of the country’s most popular dishes.

Pork Adobo Maki (2.0)

The food overall was mediocre, the pancit barely being an exception. But I was most disappointed that the prices were unreasonably high.  The meal came out to 3,100 pesos (a bit over US$70), which is not cheap by any means but outright astronomical by local standards – a small meal on the streets can be had for as little as 30 pesos per person.  I wouldn’t have minded so much if the food had been good.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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