Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Balaw Balaw Exotic Food Restaurant Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal

The Balaw Balaw restaurant welcome sign

Welcome to Balaw Balaw
Balaw Balaw is a native specialty restaurant in Angono, Rizal in the Philippines that doubles as an art gallery. Established by local artist and crafstman, Perdigon Vocalan and his wife, Luzvimin in 1982, Balaw Balaw became known for its menu which includes adobo crickets and timber grubs. If you're a tourist looking to experience a new and challenging culinary adventure in the Philippines, then this is the place to go to. You can find Balaw Balaw restaurant along the Manila East Road near the corner of Doña Aurora Street in Doña Justa Village in Angono


Looking down from the 2nd floor
There are plenty of the surprises inside the Balaw Balaw restaurant. There are several floors and rooms that are open to guests where they'll find all sorts of wood and paper sculptures and also paintings depicting local culture. The house itself is a wonder to behold with it's winding staircases and local antique charm. You can start your exploration in the dining area where there are already plenty of installation art and sculptures from local festivals on display. The ground floor is bisected by an artificial creek that's obviously been sitting there untended for a very long time. You'll find a little bridge of rocks that you can cross to get to the other side where the art gallery actually begins. The sculptures there appear old and untouched so don't be surprised to find huge cobwebs and a spider or two staring back at you. But it's all part of the thrill of the old house. 
The Balaw Balaw dining area

A roomful of paintings
There are lots of very old things to discover inside Balaw Balaw restaurant and if you go visit when few people are around, like two in the afternoon, it can feel like you're exploring an abandoned house. You might get an eerie feeling when looking at the many sculptures with faces and religious iconography, and at times you might feel like you're being watched from a dark corner. A section of the house is actually occupied and the rooms are connected by obscured passages, so you might get startled when someone suddenly appears when it seems you are alone in a room. Just hide your surprise by pretending to admire your surroundings or by asking if the piece of art you're looking at is for sale.
Head up to Balaw Balaw restaurant

A partly hidden room
At the roof deck, there's a quaint garden of potted plants and a shed where paper mâché masks used in the local Higantes (Giants) festival held in November are displayed. Be careful going in there because there's likely a guard dog in a corner of the room (another one of the little surprises of Balaw Balaw). It's actually where the art workshops are held. 

So, if you love adventure when it comes to eating exotic food and exploring old art houses, why not get a taste of Balaw Balaw restaurant? It might not be the kind of place for a first date, but if you are into art, antiques, strange food, eerie things and a meditative state, this is highly recommended. Go to Balaw Balaw for the experience. The memories will stay with your for a long time and enough for you to take a few friends or tourists along so that they can also experience it with you as their guide. 

What does balaw balaw mean? The term refers to a local delicacy in Rizal made from fermented shrimp paste and rice. 


The grand room of driftwood sculptures

Join the Last Supper of Balaw Balaw Restaurant

The wooden spiral staircase of the Balaw Balaw house
The art workshop

Balaw Balaw Restaurant house facade



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