Can you believe Davao also grows strawberries, herbs ?

Big red strawberry fruits can be seen hanging from the bamboo poles laid side-by-side about one meter from the ground. Around 700 gms of strawberries per plant per year on the average, can be grown by Romana’s Garden farm. It’s probably the only hydro-phonics grown strawberry farm in Davao.

Newly harvested strawberries ready for pick up by the German visitors
Newly harvested strawberries ready for pick up by the German visitors

NEARLY 70 kilometers northwest of downtown Davao, you’ll find some of the best strawberries and exotic herbs grown in this country. Can you believe that? I’m probably a bit detached from what’s going on in this “fruit basket” of the Philippines, I don’t even know some people here can actually grow robust, sweeter strawberries than the ones grown in Baguio in northern Luzon.

   I accompanied three foreign restaurant owners— one from Germany and two from Netherlands— to a chilly, fog-covered mountain farm about 1,000 meters (3,600 feet) above sea level in Marahan, a mountain village in Marilog district here in Davao the other week. It’s a strawberry and herbs farm called “Romana’s  Garden” on a small forest clearing below the mountain top. This farm is easily accessible by the concrete  highway from Davao to Bukidnon — the same road that will take you there if you drive over there by yourself. If you’re familiar with this place, it’s just a short distance to “Buda”— the border between Bukidnon and Davao.

Cold fog started to drift into the mountains of Marilog when we arrived at the strawberry farm of Larry Suarez
Cold fog started to drift into the mountains of Marilog when we arrived at the strawberry farm of Larry Suarez

The guy who owns and runs this farm, Larry Suarez, 74, a lively and talkative former executive of a company, is so proud of his strawberries, he thinks they’re far sweeter and better than Baguio strawberries. “Baguio strawberries are tasteless and sour,” Larry told the foreign visitors. “Mine is sweeter. Go on, take some of our strawberries.”

The German owner of Precious Garden Restaurant and Resort in Samal island, Ulli Kronberg tasted one strawberry and agreed with Larry. “Yes, it’s sweeter, it’s better tasting,” he said. Kronberg immediately ordered some samples for his Samal restaurant where the island’s foreign residents usually meet for chess games and night entertainment.

Using some of the exotic herbs and strawberries from Larry's farm, German visitor Ulli Kronberg shakes up a new exotic dish.
Using some of the exotic herbs and strawberries from Larry’s farm, German visitor Ulli Kronberg shakes up a new exotic dish.

A short visit to his small strawberry farm shows Larry’s farming technique of using “hydrophonics” farming system of growing the exotic fruit. Long bamboo poles, are cut opened at one side and filled with rice stalks, sand and coir peat, where the strawberry plants are grown, all irrigated by drippings of a nutrient solution mixed and dissolved with some amounts of fertilizer. Big red strawberry fruits can be seen hanging from the bamboo poles laid side-by-side about one meter from the ground. Around 700 gms of strawberries per plant per year on the average, can be grown by Romana’s Garden farm. It’s probably the only hydro-phonics grown strawberry farm in Davao.

Guidebook publisher Mary Mina Remis gives one good look at the strawberry garden plots before harvesting the fruit
Guidebook publisher Mary Mina Remis gives one good look at the strawberry garden plots before harvesting the fruit

Larry is also so proud of his exotic herbs farm that he won’t hesitate singing the words, “Parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme !” at the top of his voice, from the song “Scarborough Fair” as he showed his foreign visitors his herbs farm beside the strawberry farm section. Those herbs had been there during the last ten years, attracting so many herb buyers from Davao— mostly chefs from big hotels and restaurants— to get some of the rarest herbs from Larry’s herb farm.

Food Guide Davao blog editor Aurelio "Boyet" Pena (left) and farm owner Larry Suarez closely inspect the robust strawberry plants grown on his "hydrophonics" farm plot in Maranahan, Marilog.
Food Guide Davao blog editor Aurelio “Boyet” Pena (left) and farm owner Larry Suarez closely inspect the robust strawberry plants grown on his “hydrophonics” farm plot in Maranahan, Marilog.

Some of these herbs include Basil, peppermint, applemint, chocolate mint, english mint, Vietnam mint, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, etc.  —  but Larry also grows mountain-fresh giant tomatoes, big green bell pepper, giant lettuce, Romanian lettuce, Lollorosa lettuce, which are all gobbled by the chef buyers from Marco Polo Hotel, Claude’s (French) restautant, Apo View Hotel, Habana foreign-run restaurants, Tiny Kitchen , etc

Chefs from all these prestigious hotels and restaurants are expected to visit Larry’s strawberry and herbs farm in Marahan sometime next month, Larry told us after setting up this special event with professional Davao guide Bong Suico who coordinated this special visit of the foreign restaurant owners to his mountain farm in Marilog..

(For inquiries, pls email us at > or text us at mobile phone 09424052044 )

—  Posted September 28, 2015




Looking for the best place to dine in Davao ?

FOR ALL you people out there with such sensitive noses and discriminating tastes that only seek nothing but the best cuisine you can find in a city like Davao, we’re left with no other delightful choice but to come up with something like a directory of some of the best places to dine.
It’s really just a simple idea that had been crying out to be born— a “food guide”— that has nothing else in it except Davao restaurants, cafes, bars, with each one featuring their very best menu and cuisine that they alone can create and offer.

The "Food Guide" published edition in Davao

That’s why we’re offering almost all the pages of this Food Guide to all restaurants in Davao wishing to have their own ad page featuring only their dining place. Restaurants getting their own ad spaces will give them the opportunity to show off what they have to offer. They can show how their restaurants look like from the outside, and how they look from the inside. They’ll have the chance to showcase the best cuisine they can offer to visitors, tourists, travelers as well city residents dining out on weekends and special occasions.
If you’re a frequent traveler to foreign countries, you might have seen one of these small, handy “food guides” or “dining out” magazines handed out by tourism officials trying to promote their own country’s culinary delights. Got anyone of these food guides lying around in your table cabinets ?
Well, we got one of these guides from our friend Jason who picked it up from a counter in Brisbane, Australia and it was easy to figure out why a city like Davao would need the same guide, if only some brave soul could pick up the idea, take the risk of publishing it with no capital funding nor any kind of support from the city. Almost all the glossy pages of that 66-page “diner’s” guide contain full color pages of Brisbane’s restaurants, cafes and bars.

Warm welcome from a Japanese restaurant

If a visitor picks up one of these diner’s guide, all she has to do is to turn the pages and “visit” each of these restaurants and look at their mouth-watering color pictures in the ad pages and make their choices right there instead of guessing or asking around. They don’t have to pick a restaurant’s name blindly off a phone directory, not knowing how the place looks like and not knowing what type of food they serve over there. You won’t even know if they really have something special that makes it worth your time going there in the first place. You’d be glad if there’s a “food guide” available to help you find the best places to dine in Davao.
And that’s exactly why we accepted the challenge of coming out with this type of publication designed only to help Davao restaurants, cafes, etc reach out to the thousands of visitors, tourists and travelers arriving in this southern city in increasing numbers.
—- The Editors


FOOD nooks are usually hard to find, but the hassle of looking for a special place somewhere in the nooks and corners of a large city like Davao could be worth more than the dinner you paid for. That’s how we look at Nanay Bebeng’s Restaurant, the pioneer in buffet dining, hidden among the heavy foliage of mango and camachili trees beside Mabini street just a few meters near the corner of Florentino Torres street that brings you to one of this city’s “food belt”.

Nanay Bebeng restaurant in Davao

If you have the patience of surfing all the Pinoy food blogs, you won’t miss Nanay Bebeng as bloggers write about the restaurant they all describe as the “buffet pioneer” which started the “eat-all-you-can” tradition in Davao. To Bebeng’s son Don Ramon”Sonny” Garcia, it’s a most rewarding career all these years since he started the restaurant business in 1996, about 15 years ago, adopting all his mother’s own Filipino recipes that had made her famous as a caterer in Davao from 1958 to 1972.
Perhaps it’s Nanay Bebeng’s home-cooking that makes all the difference, specially when her recipes remind Filipinos of their own home cooking by their parents back home where they come from. To many, it’s very refreshing to know that one restaurant has stood fast amidst the onslaught of fast-foods and exotic foreign food, to keep the tradition of Filipino cooking alive.

Kare kare dish at Nanay Bebeng

OBOZA HOME. If you’ve seen the corner of Rizal and Ponciano (“crooked road”) street , we’re sure you’ve seen that old Oboza ancestral home— an old two-storey residence building that have stood the early 1930’s period when Americians and Japanese were still running the early Davao abaca plantations.
How most Davao ancestral homes, including Oboza’s, survived the last war could probably be linked to the fact that the Japanese, whether you believe it or not, has a soft heart for Davao, considering they even called this city as “Little Tokyo” when it was sprawling with Japanese hotels, bars, department stores, restaurants, etc during those few years before the war.
That’s why we find it rather fascinating to see how the well-known French restaurant Claude’s de Ville at Rizal street has taken over this old ancestral home as its new restaurant site, together with the couple Vincent and Beatrice from Bacolod who are putting up their new place called Cellar de Oboza which will serve some exotic combinations of Spanish-Filipino cuisine. Tessa, who runs Claude’s told us they got a yearly lease on the Oboza old building which hasn’t lost its pre-colonial tropical ambience, appealing to old timers and veterans who’d love to re-live the good old days.

French dish at its best

The atmosphere, we like to admit, seems perfect for Claude’s and its French cuisine so we expect its regular diners to find it even more fascinating to travel back in time to the old days in just one moment of dining at the Oboza ancestral home. That moment is to be surrounded by capiz shells and old mother of pearls, antique chairs and tables and looking out from the patio to the gardens below, while dining at the Oboza ancestral home……

Find the best steaks in Davao thru this food guide

STEAK ZONE. A Canadian who was doing business in Dubai and Iran half of his life couldn’t start talking business in Davao unless he sink his teeth into a medium-rare beef steak but doubted whether he could find a really good steak in this southern city. A taxi driver who seemed to know his way around brought him to one of the steak houses at Florentino Torres street and found one steak house which nearly knock his socks off. Even his Indian business partner couldn’t believe they could find “one of the best steaks we ever tasted in Asia” but wouldn’t name the place. But the driver reminded him that Torres happens to be the city’s kind of “steak zone” where a string of cafes and restaurants from end to end offer some of the best steaks in the city. This includes of course, places like Sarung Banggi, Coco’s, Bistro Rosario Bigby’s cafe and others along that same street.

Best steak dish in Davao

GRILLED TUNA. It’s typical for many visitors who come to Davao to look for the best-grilled tuna “panga” (jaw) or “buntot” (tail) and aren’t disappointed when they’re brought by their guides to a decrepit-looking place along Quezon Boulevard that serves some of the best grilled tuna in the city—- that’s Luz Kinilaw of course. Manilans can’t still figure out why the supposed “rejects” of a fresh tuna processing plant that exports the fish main body to Japan, are the best-tasting parts of this big fish that prowls the deep sea waters of Davao Gulf, Sarangani Bay and the Celebes Sea.

Some of the best tuna are found in Davao

If you have the chance of watching fish workers at the Toril fish processing plant, you’ll be fascinated how they cut off the tuna’s head and tail and ship only the main fish body to waiting Japanese buyers who supply the sashimi kitchens of that land of the rising sun.
But what our local culinary experts do with the tuna head and tail is something that makes our Nipon friends salivate with envy. To many Pinoys, those hard-to-reach fish meat inside the tuna head and tail tastes much better than the body itself. Grilled over hot charcoal and brushed with a secret concoction of native vinegar, sauce, lemon, hot spices, pepper, salt, garlic, and other “trade secrets” they’d rather not name,

Mouth-watering grilled tuna in Davao

TUNA SECRETS. It’s not only grilled tuna that separates Davao from the rest, it’s also the many other exotic recipes that the city’s best cooks can do with “bariles”— the Pinoy word for tuna. That is, if you don’t mind going over to Pampanga district near Lanang along the national highway going north. You won’t miss the huge billboard of “Marina Tuna” in Lanang that points the way for you. Just be sure you look for Domeng who runs the place and happens to be the pioneer in fresh tuna exports to Japan when he was still in his early 20’s. What his squad of cooks does to make tuna dishes taste better and different from what you’ve tried before is a secret they won’t reveal to you. Just enjoy those tuna dishes listed in their menu—- eye soup, sinigang, grilled, adobo, vegetable mix, seafood galore, etc, etc. Domeng’s passion for tuna is such that he’ll talk of nothing else over a sumptuous lunch of tuna surrounded by big tarpaulin banners that tell you their family’s history of pioneering in fresh tuna exports from General Santos South Cotabato in the late 70’s.

A surprising tuna cuisine from a Davao restaurant

Despite its distance from the city proper, sometimes you’ll wonder why the place is always jampacked with hordes of diners at lunchtime or dinner. And you could tell it’s not the ambience that brings them there— it’s the food.

CAT’S COFFEE. Deep inside, I love cats no matter what they do around the house, even if they crap all over the place. But that’s precisely why many people, specially women, hates cats around the house. The smell and the crap they leave behind are just too much, that most often, domestic cats are not allowed to stay inside the house.
That’s why many people find it so funny that “Asia’s most expensive coffee”— costing almost P300 in a small cup—- comes from a cat’s crap. (If you still don’t know what “crap” means, it’s what comes out from their behind after eating a lot) The smell from an ordinary house cat’s crap could be so foul and over-powering —- but what if that cat ate a lot of coffee beans ?

Ever tried the world's most expensive coffee?

Most of us still don’t know that right here at the forested slopes of Mt. Apo, there are wild cats called “civet cats” who loves to eat ripe coffee beans. These coffee beans turn yellow, orange and red when very ripe, easily attracting black civet cats from Mt. Apo to gobble them up in the deep of the night when the coffee farmer is fast asleep.
Naturally, these civet cats, after a hearty feast of coffee beans, are energized by the caffeine found in the beans. Weighed down by a churning stomach, mixed with their own musky fluids, these cats go to their mountain “toilets” to defecate their odorous crap—- a musky odor that penetrates deep inside the coffee beans.
Coffee farmers, besides harvesting their usual ripe coffee beans for processing and drying under the sun, also “clean up” the farm area, looking around for that smelly cat’s crap among the fallen leaves and farm wastes, knowing that this crap can also earn them a lot of money.

Nothing beats the time spent sipping coffee

These beans are then roasted and processed and turned into the most expensive coffee in Asia. From a small bottle I found at Chicco de Café here in Davao, it looks like it’s made right here at the Crocodile Park, Maa right beside the Davao River. I don’t know how authentic this coffee is, but this exotic coffee is available to coffee lovers at Chico,—- which means it’s authentic enough to be offered to the public
It might be safe to assume that beside Chicco, this wild, exotic and expensive coffee could also be found at Blu Gre, Basti’s Brew, Figaro’s, Firenzo’s, Bo’s, etc, etc —.otherwise other coffee shops could feel left behind if they can’t serve an exotic coffee like this “civet’s cat” coffee.
Real coffee lovers wouldn’t dare compare this exotic coffee with cheap instant coffee like Nescafe, Great Taste, Kopiko, etc— and even other types of new coffee mixes concocted by many coffee shops in Davao.
Because it’s so expensive, it rightly belongs to a special category as “exotic coffee”, perhaps locked safely in a steel vault that can be opened only by a password or number combination.
Someone who feels like a billionaire one day with some 1000 peso bills to burn, can order three cups, sit back and relax with his friends, breath deeply and smell that odorous civet cat’s crap wafting by his nose….

DAVAO CUISINE : What’s on the menu ?

HOW DOES a typical Davao menu looks like to a typical food lover whose palate couldn’t resist those exotic native concoctions that go into the secret mix of a southern Pinoy cuisine ? Well, here are two lists of menus you can choose from that are served either hot or cold, and come with native Davao soup, carvery and dessert. If you’ve been to other provinces like Cebu, Negros, Panay, Bohol, Misamis, etc, you might try to find that distinctive Davao taste in these two menus that makes it far different from the rest :

Mouth-watering kinilaw at a Davao restaurant

MENU – 1

Cold servings :
1. Tinapa Pate — smoked fish pate
2. Sisig Terrine — roasted pork head terrine
3. Itlog na Maalat with Sundried Tomato Boursin – salted egg and sun dried tomato cheese spread
4. Kinilaw — marinated fish sashimi
5. Adobo Rilletes — preserved meat flakes flavoured with spiced garlic vinegar
6. Smoked Fish Wonton — crispy fried wantons stuffed with smoked fish and tropical salsa dip

Hot servings :

One can't resist the aroma of manok inasal

1. Kaldereta de Kabrito — a colonial-style braised goat stew with olives
2. Chicken Inasal Paella — grilled southern chicken flavoured with lemon-grass and spices in its own rice
3. Kare Kare with Alamang — peanut stewed beef and offal with salted shrimp paste.
4. Bangus sa Utaw — milkfish wrapped in soy bean skin with annatto sauce.
5. Adobo del Diablo —mixed meats cooked in garlic, vinegar and spices.
6. Pastel de Pichon — colonial-style pigeon pie
7. Bacalao Filipino — dried fish cooked with peppers and green plantains.

Some of the best kare kare is found in Davao

Soup serving:
1. Sinigang na Baka — traditional sour soup with beef
2. Bulcachong — drunkards beef soup with corn and pate

1. Lechon with Liver Sauce — roast whole pig with grilled liver sauce.
2. Hamonado pork/chicken — festive ham style glazed pork or chicken

Dessert serving:
1. Tibok-Tibok — fresh milk and coconut pudding
2. Hopia baboy / Ube — Filipino Chinese mooncake
3. Bibingka — traditional coconut rice cake with salted egg and white cheese
4. Sansrival — traditional meringue torte with butter cream
5. Durian Sansrival — traditional meringue torte with durian flavored butter cream.

MENU – 2

Cold servings
1. Crab Fat Pate — made from crab fat with garlic and spices
2. Galantina — colonial style chicken loaf
3. Burong Manga — drunken green mangoes
4. Sinuglaw — pickled sashimi with grilled pork belly
5. Ensalada paborito — mango, tomato and onion salad with sautéed shrimp paste
6. Dinakdakan — spiced chopped pork head

Looking for the best crabs in Davao ?

Hot servings
1. Asadong baka — slow braised beef with annatto and spices
2. Pininyahang Manok — pineapple cooked chicken
3. Pastel — mixed chicken and tongue pie with mushrooms
4. Callos — colonial style braised tripe with peppers
5. Guinataang Hipon — spicy shrimps in coconut cream
6. Bringe — turmeric rice topped with adobo and Chinese sausages
7. Adobo Manuc Ating Dilo — braised chicken in spiced vinegar and turmeric
8. Adobong Tugak Ating Dilo — braised frog in spiced vinegar and turmeric

Soup servings
1. Sinigang na Hipon — sour soup of shrimps
2. Binacol — traditional spicy soup with coconut milk

Best way to eat crunchy lechon is with your fingers

1. Paella con Lechon — roast pig stuffed with Spanish rice

1. Leche Flan Gatas Kalabaw — traditional custard flan flavored with lime
2. Ube Halaya — sweet blue taro puree
3. Biko / Pirurutong — coconut black rice risotto
4. Mango Sansrival — traditional meringue torte with mango butter cream

Ever tried eating a “kwek kwek” in Davao ?

UNLESS you’re someone who loves to walk around (even if you have a car) you won’t have a chance to try some of the tastiest street foods around this southern city. To do this, you also need to be someone who don’t mind being seen by friends nibbling on a grilled chicken’s feet, bar-b-qued intestines or that ever-present fried boiled egg called “kwek-kwek” and downing all of them with that iced cold “buko” juice that can put to shame even Coke’s own “sakto” drinks. If you’re the type who’ll dine only in elegant five-star restaurants, you can lose your “glamour image” if seen eating some street foods—are you?

Buko pandan: you can buy this from the streets!

MACARONI. Our own favorite (even if you disagree with us) are the cold macaroni salads being peddled at the corner of J,P. Laurel Avenue and Cabaguio street right at the street corner that brings you to the Davao Medical Center (DMC) or “regional hospital” which is, of course, the old name of the present Southern Philippines Medical Center. A cup of that delicious home-made salad mix cost only ten pesos (P10). But its so frustrating that the only time we can ever try one is when we find ourselves walking by that corner.

Kwek kwek ! try this on Davao streets

KWEK-KWEK. The first time street vendors came out with this street food was more than ten years ago, if we’re not mistaken. We remember paying only five pesos only for one piece of hot kwek-kwek, complete with fresh sliced cucumber (pipino) and fresh seaweeds. Yes, that’s the combination that completes your lunch or dinner for only five pesos.

Street vendors like these are common all over the Philippines

But the price has gone up to seven pesos— and now to ten pesos, but it’s still great for students and employees with limited allowances on their way home from school or work who hardly have anytime to cook when they get home (specially when there’s nothing to eat at home). All they do is gobble up one egg dipped in spicy vinegar and salt, take it with seaweeds and cucumber— and they can call it a day..

You'll find all kinds of street food in Davao

FRUIT SLICES. For only five pesos, you can balance your meaty diet with fresh slices of pineapple, mango, papaya or guava packed in tiny plastic bags and sold by street vendors along Ilustre street, San Pedro street along with cold buko juice and fruit salads. Nice thing about these pineapple vendors, you’re allowed to choose any pineapple off their big pile and slice it open right in front of you. We’re sure somebody trained them to use that curve knife that they skillfully use to curve out the fruit core, from its thick skin and cut the slices into small chunks. They provide you with a small sharp bamboo stick which you can use to pick the chunks up into your mouth. They do the same thing to papaya, mango, guava, etc. You can find many of these fruit vendors near schools ( UM, Ateneo, PWC, USEP, UPMIn) because students always look for them !

Tourists love to drink buko direct from the coconut


STREET VENDING. Probably realizing by now that food street vending is such a huge market to ignore, big name brands are beginning to sell McDonald’s, Pure Foods, Dunkin Donut, Coca-Cola, etc. like they were street foods. They’re even pulling their prices down to the levels that many students can now afford to pay. We’ve seen the “McFloat” being sold for P10 in small cups along the street in front of Holy Cross College, We’ve seen how Pure Foods is selling a stick of delicious hot dog for only P12 apiece.. We’ve seen how Dunkin Donut making efforts to find street sides to sell donuts alongside other street foods in Davao. If you’re a marketing man, you can’t ignore where the market wants to buy their food…..
—- Boyaks / FOOD GUIDE

NANAY BEBENG : Keeping a Filipino tradition alive

PARTLY hidden by ornamental bamboo plants and shaded well by the overlapping foliage of a huge mango tree and camachili tree, it looks like big provincial home in the countryside—- but make no mistake, this is Nanay Bebeng Restaurant at Mabini street near the corner of Florentino Torres street.

Nanay Bebeng's at Mabini street in Davao

This is the street that stretches all the way from Father Selga street near Bankerohan, all the way to the corner of J.P. Laurel Avenue at Bajada, a well-known strip of road in Davao filled with restaurants on both sides of the road.
Don Ramon “Sonny” Garcia, now in his early 70’s, points to one of the posts of his restaurant. “That’s a real coconut trunk,” he says, stressing that almost every material he used to build this cool, airy, high-ceiling house are native— coconut, bamboo, sawali, abaca, nipa, capiz shells, rattan, etc— to capture the Filipino atmosphere right inside his restaurant.
“As much as possible, we like to make the atmosphere here very homely and very Filipino. Coming here is like coming home to enjoy home Filipino cooking,” says the slim and active Garcia.
Garcia, who owns and manages the well-known restaurant today, started the business way back in July 10, 1997. He inherited the 1,800 square meter land at Mabini street from his mother, Isabel Yuvienco Garcia also known popularly in Davao in her early days as “Nanay Bebeng”.

Interior of Nanay Bebeng restaurant in Davao

Although Nanay Bebeng left her mark as a favorite caterer of delicious Filipino food to family and company parties, she actually started from the bottom as a meat vendor at the public market. selling fresh pork and beef from dawn to dusk right after the war till the 1950’s.
Doing everything on her own, from doing the marketing— picking the right fresh vegetables, fresh meat, spices, etc— to doing all the cooking in the kitchen with limited utensils in those days, Nanay Bebeng started making her mark as a professional caterer in 1958. The gutsy, struggling caterer managed to build a name for herself in catering authentic Filipino cuisine over 14 years in Davao.
When her husband Delfin Garcia died in 1972, Nanay Bebeng started a traditional Filipino bakery called Ginger Bread that sold hot pan de sal, native pastries, cookies, etc gaining foothold in the bakery business, alongside her catering business. This was in keeping with her long family tradition of the baking business . Bebeng, a native of Naic, Cavite, comes from an old family of bakers, including her own father who migrated to Davao in 1937. Her late husband Delfin who comes from Iba, Zambales, was a former BIR employee and the son of an ex-governor of Zambales.

Grilled tuna at Nanay Bebeng's restaurant

SONNY HAD a brief stint of around three years running the Cebu plant of the Bandag tire retreading business of Sarmiento Management Corp from 1980 to 1983. It was during those years in the Philippines that living here was becoming more dangerous amidst deadly demonstrations and rising rebellion that prompted this young executive to leave the country for the United States where he lived and worked for around five years.
Returning back to this country in 1988, he spent eight more years living with his family in Bacolod City, planning his future and weighing his options. Around 1996, seeing the flurry of restaurants rising all around Cebu, Bacolod and even Davao with resounding successes, Sonny saw the great potential of turning his mother’s catering recipes into a full-scale menu for a full-blown all-Filipino restaurant.
“My mother’s catering recipes was a gold mine. I devoted a lot of time filing, recording and archiving all of those recipes and decided to put up this restaurant, branding it with my own mother’s name,” Garcia said.

Nanay Bebeng fast food at Gaisano Mall Davao

With the help of his family led by his wife Imelda Maravilla and three children Theodore, Therese and Terence, a family corporation was formed around the name of Nanay Bebeng, thus keeping her tradition of authentic Filipino cuisine alive in the restaurant business. Each of his children who will eventually take over the business, according to Garcia, would be the first “franchisees” of Nanay Bebeng, as he hinted the possibility of franchising the business sometime next year.
Although most food bloggers are all crediting Nanay Bebeng for “pioneering” the eat-all-you-can buffet-style dining in Davao, Sonny is still reluctant in claiming this credit, feeling contented and satisfied that most of the customers who come to his restaurant these days are people he doesn’t know personally.
“When you don’t know anyone from among all these customers filling up this place, then you’re doing well,” Garcia says, breaking into a big grin as customers filled up every corner of his spacious restaurant at Mabini.
—– Aurelio Pena / Davao Food Guide



1. APUNG KULA , Anda-Rizal Sts, 222-7472,
2. ATE APRIL , Amgar Bldg, Ilustre St, 304-0382
3. ATE LOLENGS, Tower Inn, Quirino Ave, 221-1099
4. DENCIO’S KAMAYAN, SM Mall, NCCC Mall, Damosa
5. GARDEN OASES. R\Porras St, Barrio Obrero, 224-1402
6. HARANA, F. Torres St, 227-3937
7. IMPIT PUROK, Metro Complex, Torres St, 228-6181
8. JALTAN, City Hall Drive, Magallanes St, 305-6484
9. KUYA ED’S, Magallanes St., 224-2162
10. LORING’S, Km 2, McArthur Highway, 298-1752
11. McCASTILLO, Sobrecary St, Barrio Obrero, 302-4044
12. NANAY BEBENG, Mabini St near Torres, 222-3201
13. PINUTOS REPUBLIK, Prime Square, F. Torres St,
14. PAMPAGUENA, K7 Strip Bldg, Lanang, 234-4150
15. PROBINSYA. Victoria Plaza, Bajada, 225-1455
16. SAGAY CAFÉ, Casa Leticia Hotel, Camus St, 224-0501
17. SARUNG BANGGI, F. Torres St. 221-5615
18. SALU-SALU SA ULAS, McArthur Highway, Ulas, 296-1578
19. TITA ANNIE, Gaisano Mall, Bajada, 301-5967
20. GERRY GRILL, Abreeza Ayala Mall,
21. RANCHERO, Abreeza Ayala Mall,
23. CHIKA-AN, Abreeza Ayala Mall
24. KAMAYO CAFÉ, Royal Mandaya, Palma Gil St
25 RED KNIGHT Garden Café, Guadalupe Village
26 MINER’S Food Haus, Ponciano Reyes St
27 TINY KITCHEN, cor Torres-Mabini Sts


Looking for a really good tuna cuisine?



1. BINGGOY’S Gourmet,Villa Margarita,Bajada,221-5675
2. BULWAGAN NI TITA MYRN, Amazon St, Bacaca Rd
3. BOSS BUSOG, Sandawa Road, SIR Matina 222-1774
4. CORA CHAD’S CAFÉ, Davao Airport Complex,
5. D’FARMER’S MARKET, Pryce Road, Torres St, 225-4861
6. EVY’S RESTAURANT, Km 12, LosAmigos, Tugbok
7. KUSINA SALERA, Legaspi Suites, Legaspi St, 221-2695
8. NEW KUSINA DABAW, San Pedro St, 221-5858
9. SUNNY POINT, Magallanes -Anda St
10. SHIELA SAMPULA, Madrazo Bldg, Ponciano Reyes St
11. MARINA TUNA, Pampanga, JP Laurel Ave 235-8653
12. YELLOW FIN SEAFOODS, Sandawa Plaza, Quimpo Blvd
13. LUZ KINILAW, Quezon Boulevard,
14. BOODEL’S GRILL, N. Torres St, Barrio Obrero

Start hunting for a steak house in Davao now!


1. ANTONIO’S Bar & Grill, SM City Mall, Qimpo Blvd
2. BIGBY’S Café Restaurant, Abreeza Ayala, SM Mall
3. BISTRO ROSARIO, F. Torres St, 221-9021
4. MONMARTRE CAFÉ, Grand Regal Hotel, Lanang
5. COCO’S SOUTH BISTRO, F. Torres St 222-3494
6. GREEN VILLAGE, Diversion Road, Buhangin 300-4697
7. POLO BISTRO, Marco Polo Hotel, CM Recto St 221-0888
8. PACIFIC HARBOR, Legaspi-Gen Luna Sts 225-1860
9. PABLO STEAKS & CRABS, Metro Complex, Jacinto Ext
10. RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Indangan, Buhangin 301-7101
11. RIVERWALK GRILL, Crocodile Park, Maa 303-2387
12. ROSITA’S STEAK, Jacinto Extension, 302-2333
13. RANCH & REEF, Abreeza Ayala Mall 321-4051
14. SWISS DELI, Damosa, Lanang 234-0271
15. VINTA BAR, Waterfront Insular Hotel, 233-2881
16. HAGAR’S PLACE Insular Village, Lanang 2331018
17. BAR-B-Q BOSS Steakhouse, Prime Square, F. Torres
18 GRUB Resto Café, Duterte St


1 CHOW KING, SM, G-Mall, NCCC Mall, Victoria Plaza
2. DAVAO TAI PAN, Tapia Bldg, Anda St, 227-5787
3. DIMSUM DINER, Damosa, Quirino, Gmall, Fairlanes
4. DAVAO GREEN BUFFET, Legaspi-Gen Luna St
5. DENCIA’S Restaurant, Genera Luna St, 227-6777 .
7. LITTLE KOWLOON, Roxas St, 305-3910
8. MTB KUSINERS, Times Square, Ilustre St
10. MONGOLIAN GARDEN, F. Torres St, 221-2615
11. NEW DAVAO FAMOUS, Magsaysay Ave,
12. SHANGHAI, Magsaysay Ave, 227-1092
13. SEN TON WHAN Hong Kong, Victoria Plaza
14. UY CHING SIONG, San Pedro St, 222-2000
15. WORLD PALACE, Acacia St, Juna Subd
16. BUFFET PALACE, Victoria Plaza park

Look for the best Japanese teriyaki in Davao!


1. D’JAPANESE TUNNEL, Balusong Ext, Matina 298-3705
2. MAUI TERIYAKI, Times Square, Matina
3. OFUKULOSAN, Victoria Plaza Mall Park
4. RAI RAI KEN RAMEN, Abreeza, Robinsons, SM, GMall
5. TADAKUMA, Damosa Gateway, Jacinto Ext
6. TSURU, Abreeza Mall, Camus St, Damosa Gateway
7. NONKI, Davao Convention Center, F. Torres St, 226-3058
8. ZAKOYA, F. Torres St, 227-7760
9. SANKAI Restaurant, Jacinto Ext, 222-1799


1. SUMANG KIM CHI Korean, near Victoria Plaza mall, Bajada
2. DAVAO KOREA TOWN, Victoria Plaza park area, Bajada
3. BAR-B-Q KING (Korean), Victoria Plaza park area, Bajada
4. TASTE OF MALAYSIA, near Carmelite church, Lanang
5. HANOI (Vietnamese), Camus St, Abreeza mall 225-4501
6. HAN WOO RI, Victoria Plaza park, Bajada,
7. BANGKOK WOK, Robinsons Cybergate, Lanang, 234-4774
8. KONG AI VEGETARIAN, Gempesaw St, 225-5894
9. ASEYA CAFÉ, Tropika Hotel, Lanang
10. KRUA THAI, Metro Complex, F. Torres St 228-6181

Find the best crab cuisine right here!

11. NEW ASIA CUISINE. Villa Abrille St, 226-4988
12. MONGOLIAN GARDEN, F. Torres St, 221-2615
13. ASIAN FUSION Restobar, MTS Matina 297-4704
14. LASSA ASYANO, Tiongko-Arellano Sts
15. MANNA KOREAN, Lanang near Grand Regal
16 CAFÉ MARCO, Marco Polo Hotel, CM Recto Ave
17 JACKY’S CAFÉ, Hotel Elena Nova Tierra Village
18 ENTRÉE CAFÉ, Apo View Hotel, Camus St


1, CLAUDE’S Le Café de Ville (French), Rizal St, 227-9405
2. SWISS DELI, near Damosa Gateway, Lanang, 234-0271
3. CAFÉ MEDITERRANEAN, Gov Sales St, Abreeza mall
4. LA TOSCANA, (Italian). Dacudao Bldg, Quirino St, 305-6556
5. LA PIZZERIA Nel Traliccio, F. Torres St, 221-5610
6. HOLA ESPANA.(Spanish) Damosa, Lanang, 234-6434
7. PIZZERIA MICHELANGELO, Damosa Gateway, 234-6434

There are several Italian restos in Davao where you can find this kind of pasta !

8. PICOBELLO RISTORANTE, 5F, Gaisano South, Ilustre
9. SPIRALE RISTORANTE (Italian), Damosa Gateway,
10. PRECIOUS GARDEN (German),Libudan, Babak, Samal Island
11. DRIFTERS PUB (British), Nova Tierra Village, Lanang
12. SALUTTI (Italian), Habana Cp, Rizal St, 303-5183
13. LA PARILLA, Waterfront Insular Hotel, Lanang
14. LE GRANDEUR CAFÉ, Grand Men Seng, Magallanes St
15. MONMARTRE CAFÉ, Grand Regal Hotel, Lanang
16. EL CELLAR, Rizal cor. Ponciano St
17. LE BONTE European, Rizal St
18 HAGAR’S PLACE, Insular Village, Lanang
19 AL’S & ROBZ, (UK-US) Ponciano Crooked Rd


1. KHASH KABAB (Iranian) Quimpo Blvd
2. MAJID’S KABAB (Iranian), Rizal St 297-6400
3. MOGHAL Restaurant Bar, Jacinto Ext, 305-5849
4. TURQUOISE Turkish Restaurant, SM City Mall,
5. TAJ MINAR Restaurant, Medical School Drive, Bajada
6 ZABADANI Café, Ponciano (near Tesoro) St

Lechon manok can be found in almost every corner


1. BAK-BAK NATIVE Chicken, Pryce Park, 286-0964
2. BANOKS IHAW, Quimpo, Torres, Camus, Diversion
3. BC CHICKEN House, Quimpo-University St, F. Torres
4. CHIKIES N PATTIES, Guerrero St, Magsaysay Ave.
5. COLASA’S BBQ, Magallanes St (near Museo)
6. CLYDE’S ROASTED Chicken, GMall, Bajada
7. DUSK TIL DAWN, Torres St, Rizal St, Quimpo
8. DONEY Chicken House, Tionko-Mapa Sts .
9. DOZEN MATTER Native Chicken, Araullo St
10. FLYOVER IHAW, front Victoria, Bajada and Matina
11. HONEY BEAR Chickenhouse, Quirino Ave 221-4286
12. JOLLIBEE, Rizal, SM, Victoria, NCCC, Gmall, etc, etc
13. JO’S CHICKEN INATO, Quirino Avenue
14. KOOKEL’S Chicken, McArhtur Hi-way, Matina
15. MANG INASAL, Robincon, Abreeza, SM, Gmall,
16. MAR’S Lechon Manok, DBP Village, Maa
17. MAMO’S Fried Chicken, Times Square, Matina
18. OMBU Chicken House, Sequoia Hotel, Monteverde
19. PRITO SA PLATO Chicken, Lim Bldg, Quirino Ave
20. PRITONG MANOK, SM City Mall, Quimpo Blvd
21. RAMS CHICKEN Grill, Quimpo Blvd, Ecoland
22. REAL TASTY MANOK, Tiongko Ave 222-2215
23. SUNBURST Chicken Haus, Tiongko – Mapa
24. TRELLIS N VINES, Davao Convention, Torres St
25. WINGS N TIPS Chicken wings, Arellano St
26. TORYANO’S Chicken haus, Camus St
27. PAPA CHING’S, Barrio Obrero
28. MAX CHICKEN, Abreeza Ayala Mall


1. AHFAT SEAFOODS, Victoria Plaza park, Bajada
2. COGOT SEAFOODS, Quirino cor. Jacinto Ext
3. D’ FARMERS SEAFOODS, Pryce Road, Torres St
4. DEI’S GOLDEN Seafoods, McArthur Hiway, Matina
5. DELONGTES Seafoods, Ateneo Food Court,
6. DWENZYL Seafoods, Times Beach, Matina
7. JADE BY THE SEA, Matina Aplaya

How about a mouth watering kinilaw ?

8. PARD’S SEAFOODS, Ilustre-Camus Sts
9. PENONG’S SEAFOODS, Ilustre, Sta Ana Ave,
10. SEN TON WHAN Seafoods, Victoria Plaza park
12. YANTIS SEAFOODS, Km 15 MacArthur, Matina
13. ISLAND SEAFOODS, Abreeza Ayala Mall
14. EMERALD SEAFOODS, Victoria Plaza park

You'll be looking for crabs!


1. NEW ASIA CUISINE, Villa Abrille St 226-4988
2 GRAB A CRAB, Abreeza Ayala Mall
3. LET’S CRAB IT, Davao Convention, F. Torres St
4. HANOI (Vietnamese), Abreeza Ayala Mall
5. AHFAT Seafoods. Victoria Plaza park


1. MICHELANGELO Pizzeria, Damosa Gateway
2. MAMA’S PIZZA, Hotel Elena, Nova Tierra
3. PIZZA PAMILYA, Bajada near Victoria
4. GREENWICH, Ilustre, SM, Victoria, GMall
5. SHAKEY’S PIZZA, SM, Duterte St, Gmall
6. PIZZAIOLO, Waterfront Insular Hotel, Lanang
7. PIZZA HUT, SM Mall, Gaisano Mall
8. ZED PIZZA, Bonifacio St near Anda

Italiano! how about a plate of pasta today?

9 PICOBELLO, 5F Gaisano South, Ilustre St
10. LA TOSCANA, Dacudao Bldg, Quirino Ave
11. LA PIZZERIA, F. Torres St 221-5610.
12. FARFALLA PASTA Bar, Victoria Plaza
13. D’YUMMY PASTA, F. Torres St
14. TAXI CAB, Damosa Gateway, SM


1. BASTI’S BREW, Victoria Plaza, Legaspi-Rizal
2. BO’S COFFEE, Abreeza, SM, Torres-Jacinto
3.. BLUGRE COFFEE, Landco Bldg, MTS, SM
4. CUTFLOWERS Coffee Shop, Palma Gil St
5. ELYSEE’S Coffee Shop, Hizon, Lanang
6. FIRRENZO Coffee , Qurino cor. Jacinto St
7. GLORIA JEANS Coffee, Casino, Grand Regal
8. HAZEL Coffee Shop, BMP Bldg, Bajada 225-4424
9. JOSE RAFAEL Fine Coffee, Insular Village, Lanang

Relaxing time for coffee

10. COFFEE MONSTER, Ilustre St near Gaisano
11. KARL’S COFFEE, SM Mall, Quimpo Blvd
12. BOGSER’S Coffee Shop, Central Park, Bangkal
13. CHICCO DI CAFFE, Roxas-Faura Sts,
14. TATA BENITO’S, Legaspi Suites, Legaspi St
15. RYNMA Coffee Shop, Damosa Lanang
16. PRONTO MARIO Café, Paper Tree, Sta Ana Ave
17 FAGIOLI’S Coffee Club, Quirino-Gen-Lina St
18 COFFEE CAT, Sutherland, Quirino-Jacinto Ext
19 KOPI ROTI Coffee, Jacinto Ext


1. MCDONALD’S Victoria, Abreeza, SM, Gmall, etc
2. JOLLIBEE, Rizal, SM, Victoria, Ilustre, Gmall, etc
3. CHOWKING, Bolton, Victoria, SM, Gmall, NCCC
4. KFC, Abreeza, Gmall, SM, NCCC
5. PANCAKE HOUSE, Damosa, SM, GMall,

Care for a giant burger ?

6. SPACEBURGER, Damosa, Mt Apo St, Juan Luna
7. TAPS, Bolton, Duterte, Torres, MTS, Palma Gil
8. MINUTE BURGERS, Ponciano, Lanang, Damosa
9. BROTHERS BURGER, Damosa Gateway


1. 183 CAFÉ & BAR Rizal St, 300-6249
2. ACCESS BONN, 183 Rizal St
3. BULBAGABA, Taboan, MTS, Matina
4. BLUE OPERA KTV, Km 7, Lanang
5. D’ AQUARIUM, Nova Tierra Vill, Lanang
6. BLUE POST Bar Billiards, Lanang 226-2553
7. CHICOS Jazz N Samba Restobar, Rizal St
8. CARA VISION KTV, Quirino Ave, 226-4268
9. CASA DE AMIGOS Bar, Ponciano St,
10. LA TAVERNA, Damosa Gateway
11. Q – Resto Bar, Damosa Gateway
12. KANTO Jazz Blues, MTS Matina
13. KOROKKAN KTV Bar, Victoria Plaza park
14. KRISTOFFER Video Bar, Anda St
15. MROSE HILLS Resto Bar, Dona Vicenta Vill
16 MS-I COCKTAIL Bar, Villa Abrille-JPLaurel
17 SIDE RUSH Resto Bar, Prime Square, F. Torres
18. SHANGRILA KTV, Cabaguio Ave, Agdao
19 SOME PLACE ELSE, Habana paseo, Rizal St
20 VERDEBAR, Davao Auto Center, F. Torres St
21 VOICE CLIPS Restobar. KI Bldg, Matina
23 WHISTLE TOP Restobar, MTS Matina
24 YUKEMIE Restobar, 183 Rizal St
25 YANTIS KTV, Km15, Matina 297-8184
26 VOYZ OUT KTV, Rizal St
27 ANNA LEE KTV, Ponciano Reyes St


1. BROWN CARABAO, Porras-Lacson Sts
3 EL GATO CAFÉ, Crocodile Park, Maa

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