The smoothie bowl comes to Ilocos


We like to Instagram everything, and the so-called breakfast photographers are now the influencers of the world. Yassss, bowls are the new plates! Next to rice, what about spooning our smoothies from a bowl?

According to Earth Bowls, set to launch a pop-up stall at the iconc La Paz Sand Dunes, in Laoag, at the start of summer, this coming March 30-31, a healthy eating lifestyle change should be fun and delicious. Barely out of college, Laoagueños Modesty Eugenio and Brandon Tan have partnered to introduce the smoothie bowl as well as promote nutrient-dense eating.




BlauEarth: I know you two are foodies, like always in the kitchen, or eating out, and now, you yourselves are making food a business. What made you fix on smoothie bowls?

Modesty: Bran and I always love eating, but for the past year, we started to eat clean as frequently as we can, and smoothie bowls are yummy healthy snack that we think everyone can actually enjoy.

Natural and/or organic are on average costly. Will an earth bowl be affordable?

M: Healthy eating has always been perceived as costly, but with great effort, we managed to source locally made ingredients to make every earth bowl affordable and healthy because we believe that these two can go hand in hand.

Brandon, were you also part of recipe development?

B: Yes, Modesty and I both gave our own list of recipes. We made a total of 12 recipes and cut it down to 5 with the help of family and friends. We spent two straight days tasting every recipe and there was no guilt eating through all those bowls of fruits.

What is your favorite earth bowl?

B: My favorite earth bowl would be the one with mango, spinach and strawberry (there’s no name yet). I never knew these three could go well together. Definitely, love at first taste.

Food preparation as a business can be very demanding, it is also an art that requires skills, how prepared are you trying your hand at something new?

B: I’m the type of person who loves trying new things. Being the first to introduce smoothie bowls in Ilocos is exciting, and to sustain the trend is challenging.

I see it’s a pop-up stall, do you imagine it as a brick-and-mortar business soon?

M: Yes, definitely, the original plan was a cafe-like establishment but we didn’t have much time to plan due to conflicting schedules. We are planning to launch it before the month of August. And once it’s put up, we have our fingers crossed that it’s going to be the go-to snack stop in Ilocos.

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The game-changing Laoag sandboarding on its 9th year

The LEAD (Laoag Eco-Adventure Development) Movement kids, who helped put the Laoag Sand Dunes on the adventure map, now grown-ups, in a more adultish vid.


So many changes since that trial ride on August 2, 2009 in La Paz. A co-op has brought together LEAD, the originators of sandboarding in the Philippines, and all the other operators who came after LEAD, for a common good, which is to boost tourism in Laoag City and the rest of the North. The expansive dunes which also cover parts of Paoay and Currimao make Ilocos Norte extraordinary. Have you had your own sand adventure yet?


Saté, new and the only Indonesian restaurant in Ilocos Norte


Last night we were brought to Indonesia via Saté, an authentic, I repeat, a real deal Indonesian restaurant that opened in San Nicolas just a few days ago. Of course, nasi goreng and sate (satay) ring a bell, but on my latest gustatory adventure, my taste buds were treated to a higher level — a full course dinner prepared by Indonesian Chef Robby Satiawan, a former executive chef at Banyan Tree in Macau, who has also worked in other parts of the globe like Maldives, and Qatar, where he met his Filipina wife, Marie. Looks like they are loving their new home, as I feel the excitement radiating from them.


How we found ourselves at Saté was by accident, utter serendipity, as my besties Marla and Louie and I planned to go to another resto, then we changed our minds in the car ‘coz someone said there’s a new Indian or Hindustani resto in the next town, then we were thinking yogurt-based, masala and so on, and then I realized Brandon told me about an Indonesian restaurant he saw last week, but couldn’t remember the exact location (he said he went to so many places that day, if that’s not premature Alzheimer’s).


The diverse menu says a description of every dish, so ordering is easy. Found Ilocano gado (gado-gado/salad), but desired all traditional. We started with brief dishes (a la banchan) of veggie appetizers. Our fave was the pickled Ilocos ampalaya (bittermelon). By the way, Chef Robby buys everything from the tiendaan (public market). Another appetizer, perkedel, a fried corn dumpling that reminded me of our very own squash okoy, when topped with the shallot-sambal condiment (something like a spicy atchara), made beautiful contrast.


I love unusual drinks, so hot bandrek, a black pepper pandan drink with coconut bits, traditional in Indonesia the chef said, was surprisingly refreshing. Imagine a spiced sago at gulaman (the liquid).

Chicken sate and kukus (steamed chicken marinated in chili and sambal) went great with coconut rice. If you’re a chicken lover or on a diet, I highly recommend kukus, easily our favorite. Isi tahu (stuffed tofu) was also light and lovely.


The langka (jackfruit) sweet course on the menu was not available, but my discontent vanished as soon as we scooped out the flavors of the two other desserts. Penyet, grilled bananas with toasted coconut flakes and cubed jelly (with the texture of Turkish delight) sent me to cloud nine. A West Javanese treat, sarang burung, which means bird’s nest, but had pseudo bird’s nest (agar-agar) has Chinese influence. I remember to have tasted a cold sweetened bird’s nest soup back in the days when I was eco-ignorant.

Chef Robby’s cooking has fantastic balance, nothing overly seasoned nor cloying, aromatic yet delicate. And spiciness was tempered as he is still in the process of feeling the local palate. But I’m sure you can request your level of hotness.


Had to have a photo with my FB friend Trixie Ablan, who is apprenticing with the Indonesian chef.


Ending this post with a message to Chef Robbie and Marie, naragsak a isasangbay idtoy Ilocos!

Sate Modern Indonesian Dining
NationaL Highway, Barangay 1-San Francisco, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

MMSU Tourism students celebrate World Tourism Month


In line with the theme Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility, of World Tourism Month, gave a talk on “promoting the country to the world through writing and photography” at the Teatro Ilocandia of the Mariano Marcos State University (Batac), before a crowd of students and their advisers from the school’s Tourism department.

Proudly representing the Laoag Eco-Adventure Development (LEAD) Movement, shared in all humility my own personal blogging and writing experience, and the passion, as an illustration to future players in the sphere of tourism. Going global is not anymore a difficult endeavor since the world has gone digital.


Thank you, MMSU! A meaningful World Tourism Month!

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016