Right, here we are again, hopefully with this appalling site working.  I really am going to get a new blog site next trip.

I'll repost the image from the last effort.

We're back to Genghis.
I'll once again let my Virtual Tourist page serve here.

"At time of writing (mid April 2012) I have been hanging around Dumaguete City for about two and a half months and thought I knew the place pretty well. I am always banging on here about taking advice from locals and the advice in this case came from an expat of long-standing if not actually a Filipino. Whilst discussing restaurant options in town, he seemed genuinely surprised when I said I had not eaten in Kri restaurant or indeed even heard of it. Armed with good directions, I set out last night to remedy the deficiency in my gastronomic repertoire and was hugely pleased with the results. I suppose this vindicates my theory about local knowledge even as it blows my belief in finding the best places clean out of the water.

I was greeted immediately and courteously at the door by a young waitress who was later to serve me and thought the place looked a bit empty. It was only later whilst using the facilities that I dscovered there is a much larger dining area to the rear of the premises. I was very happy with the modern, fairly minimalist surroundings where I was.

It was obvious from the off that this was a "classy" joint by local standards. The glass of iced water produced immediately and the frosted glass for the beer whilst perusing the menu reinforced this impression. The crudites (pictured) certainly got the digestive juices flowing. Be aware though that they are fairly liberally laced with chilli, just the way I like it but not perhaps to everyone's taste. I did look at the wine list (I am not really a wine drinker) and it looked quite extensve by local standards, including Spanish bottles at about 1250 pesos.

I had been recommended the blue cheese and truffle (yes, you read that right) burger with what are apparently excellent French fries but my eye was caught by the Genghis Khan beef. I enquired of the waitress what that might be. Pieces of tenderloin served in a slightly spicy sauce. That sounded OK up to a point so I enquired would it be possible to have it served really spicy, along with the usual SE Asian pantomime of telling her that she wasn't going to kill me and no, I wasn't going to sue them if they burnt my mouth off. Really, I know people mean well but it is very difficult to get really spicy food in a restaurant in this area as a Westerner unless you insist and make a point of it.

A wait just long enough to indicate the dish was freshly prepared but not long enough to be a cause for complaint brought the absolute delight you can see pictrured and chef (of which more later) had produced exactly what I wanted. The beef was tender to a fault and the sauce was obviously ramped up a notch or two as they would probably not have served it this hot normally. Whilst it carried the heat I was lookng for, it did not overpower the other tastes of the sauce (I am guessing soy, honey, chilli here). The plain rice served as part of the dish was ample, although they have various other rices (garlic etc.) should you wish.

A little internet research shws that the chef patron here is a guy called Ritchie Armogenia, and I know his family is responsible for the Azalea resort on the road up to Twin Lakes as well. Chef, I was informed, was in Cebu on business but I would like to meet the guy some day and shake his hand. Whlst going to the spotless, if slightly distant, facilities I had a chance to scan the open kitchen, always a good sign in my book. None of the staff looked over about 22 years of age and if Mr. Armogenia has them this well trained, he gets my vote.

I realise that it is ridiculous to make such comparisons but I would happily have paid three times the paltry 250 or so pesos I paid for this meal. In an ideal and imaginary world, I would love to drop a Michelin Guide inspector here with the windows blacked out so he didn't know where he was. Food, service and ambience would gain it, if not a star, at least some sort of honourable mention. I know this all sounds like hyperbole, it is not. This place really is on the money."

So now you know.  Think I might head back there tonight if it doesn't hack it down with rain.

It doesn't look like much now.
 This is an incredible place.  A guy I know and have incidentally just been chatting to is an American called Gary from Oregon.  He is some sort of preacher, I am not sure what particular branch of Christianity he subscribes to but he is a nice guy and his Filipina wife of 27 years is delightful.  After yet another pretty hairy off-road ride we arrived at what can only be described as a compound.  It is certainly nowhere nearly finished but it is the basis of some sort of eco-farm place.  He has over 4 hectares there.  Don't ask me what that is in proper measurements but having had a guided tour it is an impressive spread. 

Gary has large stands of bamboo, various hardwoods, three tilapia (fish) ponds at various stages of maturity, a byre for beasts, carabou (buffalo), raised vegetable gardens, a pretty scary guard dog and the best treehouse I have ever seen.

What he also has and you see above, is the beginnings of what is going to be a Church / community Hall for the local barangay (district).  It is very impressive and I have promised to go and give him a hand sorting out his PA.

I do have serious reservations about missionary work, probably best not gone into here.

The stage.
It is going to be a very impressive place when it is finished.   It is absolutely huge, I reckon it will seat about 500 when it eventually opens.

View from the prospective soundbox.
The motorbikes give you a sense of perspective here.  I can tell you I have played in pubs that were smaller than this stage.  I'm not joking!  Anyone remember the Greenwich Inn in London?

Gary amongst the flowers.
Here is Gary standing amongst some flowers which frankly don't look like a whole lot.  Apparently when night falls they come to life, look a whole lot better and give off the most beautiful scent.  I am seriously not going to ride that road in the dark so I'll have to take his word for it.

The treehouse.
As I mentioned, Gary lives in a treehouse, yes really, and this is it, quite one of the most impressive structures I have ever seen.  Obviously the outside needs a bit of finishing but it really is the most incredible structure inside with three floors, three bedrooms and two bathrooms and all topped off with a crow's nest some 40 odd feet above the ground offering the most wonderful views one way over Siquijor and Apo and inland over Mt. Talinis the other.  And yes, the tree really does run up through the middle of it, I have never seen the like of it, it is something an interior designer could not even dream of.

I know I promised you a few other little things but time has yet again caught up with me, so they will have to wait for next time.

Stay tuned.

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