3 PH cities in 3 days

My geography teacher would be proud of me spanning the three major regions of the Philippines in three days. Luzon on a Friday, Mindanao on a Saturday, and the Visayas on Sunday. To be specific, work assignments took me to the cities of Pasay, General Santos and back home in Cebu.

That weekend went by like a flurry and it’s something I would rather do sparingly in the future. Like the old Bible verse goes, “the thrill-seeker is willing but sleeping hours are more demanding,” (LQ3 version).

Order of business had me first covering the Cebu Pacific event in Metro Manila, which promoted its destinations in the Asean region.

Dinner that day took our delegation to Casa Buenas, a signature restaurant—with executive chef Godfrey Laforteza at the helm—which serves its brand of eclectic Filipino and Spanish dishes. It is located in Newport World Resorts (formerly Resorts World Manila). Chef Laforteza was executive chef of Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan Cebu from 2014 to 2018.

Situated amid the thrills of gaming, hotels, entertainment, dining and retail that Newport World Resorts offers, Casa Buenas (House of Luck in English), surely offers its diners a pleasant drink and dine stop with its interiors reminiscent of a classic Filipino ancestral home and exquisite Filipino-Spanish cuisine.

The place is nothing short of luxurious, and is truly a place where guests are both impressed and immersed in a setting arranged to look like a heritage Spanish home.

We were treated to a spread of great food, and some favorites I would like to highlight are the restaurant’s take on the classic Bulalo and Beef Caldereta. The former is simmered beef in clear broth with vegetables and served with bone marrow. The latter is beef stew cooked in tomato sauce but its version is served with Manchego cheese and bread. The Paellas are must-tries as well.

Casa Buenas is located on the ground floor of the Newport Grand Wing, Resort Drive, Newport World Resorts, Newport City, Pasay City.

The following day took me to General Santos City, the “tuna capital of the Philippines,” to join the celebration of the first anniversary of Grand Summit Hotel General Santos. Grand Summit is the newest upscale brand of Robinsons Hotels and Resorts (RHR). It’s worth noting that RHR only has one Grand Summit to date, and it has found its home in General Santos.

As part of the fantastic program filled with song, dance and prizes, we were treated to a buffet spread featuring international fare. My stomach, however, gravitated towards the tuna carving station (unli tuna sashimi) and the Japanese station, which had sushi with the fresh tuna.

The best way to appreciate a destination is through its food. The best way to appreciate food is when it’s served closest to its original state. Straight from the Mindanao Sea, the city’s fresh tuna alone is reason to visit General Santos.

Grand Summit Hotel is located on Honorio Arriola St. cor. Arrazada St., General Santos City.

Day 3 had me packing and headed back to Cebu. A quick national food trip comes to a close.