Philippines, Davao

When in Davao: Colasa's BBQ, Merco, Kusina Dabaw and Lola Abon's

Well, I learned that Colasa’s also has a branch somewhere in QC but the Original Colasa’s BBQ in Davao is a legend.

It is located very near the San Pedro Cathedral, a police station, and a park. The BBQ they serve here is very humble, yet has a very powerful and distinct taste than even if I was already a permanent resident of Manila for 11 years, when I came back home, I made it a point to eat here again.

When I was a kid, and I mean late 80’s and early 90’s, eating at Colasa’s is a very big treat. It reminds me of balikbayan relatives, big birthday celebrations and milestones in our lives.

They are known for their chicken BBQ (again, my favorite in the world), and then soon evolved to anything BBQ. The place is old. They haven’t moved nor renovated. And the taste remained the same. Except of course, the prices changed. Nevertheless, it’s still a masa price.

Please don’t expect a high-end restaurant here. The tables and chairs are mono block, the plates are not expensive, the servers are not clad in make up and hairnets. But the food is G-R-E-A-T!!

When in Davao, don’t ever miss this. Dinner is the best time to eat here, just beware of your belongings and be watchful of your surroundings. Oh, God! I am so hungry right now =(

Next stop: Merco. It’s a unique cakeshop that is only found in Davao.

On a holy week, as anywhere else in the Philippines, not many food establishments were open and not so many jeep ply the main boulevards. Joy and I walked downtown and saw that Merco is open. Before goldilocks and red ribbon became famous in Davao, Merco has been a household name. All sorts of events would find themselves highlighted with a Merco cake. It is the ultimate dessert, the happiest birthday handa, and the sweetest pasalubong for every family in Davao when I was young.

And so on our way to visit my most-loved mentor and educator, Ma’am Tessie Adriano, we bought this cake and spent the afternoon remembering how it was 11 years ago, and now.

Oh and by the way, since we got tired of walking, Joy and I chanced upon one other Davao specialty, the Kusina Dabaw

Here you can find the best siopao and pancit in town. Lomi, canton, bihon, mixed, pretty much anything.

Because it was just an afternoon “light” snack, we ordered the famed Siopao Asado, which is the best seller of the house, and a bowl of Pancit Lomi. Of course, we have Kowloon, North Park, Hen Lin and all those siopao in Manila. But when in Davao, this is the place to be. =)

Last but not the least is Lola Abon’s durian and other preserved fruit delicacies.

On a regular day, one can find Lola Abon’s stalls practically everywhere. But because it was the holy week, malls and the one at the People’s Park were closed.

So we had no choice but to go to their main store, which is also their residence, in Matina, a little bit south of downtown. I am very familiar with this place because I spent 15 years in this part of the city. In a separate blog entry, Joy and I even went to see our house that got “sequestered”, just very near Lola Abon’s. More of that emotional moment in a future blog. =)

One can take the cab to Lola Abon’s, or a jeep going to Matina, and a tricycle to take you to their house.

Here, the products are cheaper than when in the mall. So when you plan to buy a carton-full of pasalubong anyway, plan to come here and save a lot.

My friends and Joy’s family enjoy the Durian candy so much that we had to buy a lot of those. They accept cash only. But in the malls, cards can be used. At the airport, the PhP 20 / pack durian candy we bought at Lola Abon’s, became 3 for 100. Imagine the savings if you buy like 20 packs. =)


One more thing, if you’re also looking for pasalubong, the best place to go is Aldevinco, along CM Recto St., near the Ateneo. One can find malong, sarong, batik, paper wallet and anything Mindanao.

I just thought you may wanna know. **wink**

Don’t miss these places when in Davao, alright? Enjoy…

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