Saturday, 1 April 2017
Isdaan Floating Restaurant - Gerona, Tarlac
Flickers of the excitement I have felt days before the trip began to charge the atmosphere as I slowly gazed without blinking at the plane bound for our next adventure. We have one important agenda in mind and it was Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac.
When we landed in Manila, it was a bit gloomy and looked like it was about to rain. It wasn't an omen though, just inevitable knowing how unpredictable the weather conditions in the Philippines could be.
It's a three-hour bus ride from Manila to Paniqui Tarlac, and a good 20 minute trike ride from Paniqui to Gerona where the floating resto is situated. So we ate our breakfast at the airport before heading to Five Star Bus Terminal in Pasay City. We each paid P257 one way and the bus thankfully has its own Toilet. (Note: inform the driver that you need to disembark at Chowking Paniqui where there are trikes available. Trike Fare is P15 from Paniqui to Isdaan)
Ironically when we arrived in Tarlac, the place was scorchingly hot as if the territory was never drenched with rainfall at all. The dry lands were bare witnesses as we silently explore the region via the tricycle on our way to Gerona.
Upon arrival, diners are greeted by a beautifully designed landscape and gleeful staffs. The restaurant was oddly familiar perhaps because it is reminiscent of the floating restos that I have ever been. The bamboo floors, koi ponds, water gardens and fountains. The only thing different is the concept itself, it is surrounded by exuberant decorations such as the seemingly out of the country statues like Wishing Buddhas, playful sculptures like angry birds and children's famous cartoon character like Snow White and superheroes like Superman and Batman.
The place is so wide with a ceiling of pale blue skies, cloaked in a few cottony clouds with a bit of nature as a backdrop. In fact for awhile there, words blurred together that it took me sometime to decipher the meaning of the theatrical scenery offered by this majestic floating restaurant.
Of course the visit won't be complete without trying their signature dishes, Lechon Manok Tinupig and Barrio Fiesta’s Mama Chit Special.
Lechon Tinupig is a whole chicken marinated overnight which is wrapped in banana leaves then smoked grilled to perfection. This is an absolute must-try dish when in Tarlac. The meat was really tender and tickles the taste buds while the smell of the burnt banana leaves adds a smoky flavor which dominantly fills the nostrils in every bite.
The Barrio Fiesta’s Mama Chit Special is not your ordinary Surf and Turf dish. It is composed mainly of fried fish (tilapia and hito), fried chicken, crabs and Shrimps, calamares, vegetable tempura, lumpia (vegetable and shanghai) with a side dish of green mango and bagoong. It was a sumptuous meal in a winnowing basket.
It is noteworthy to mention that ordering food takes time and even more time having the food delivered to your table. So it would be best to eat something before you go there to curb the feeling of hunger.
Apart from eating, there are other activities that you need to experience when you're inside the floating restaurant.
First, you can marvel, take a photo and fervently hope that dreams do come true at the wishing buddhas. These Buddhas are so magnificent that you can't help but take a photo of the scenic views.
Secondly, the Tacsiyapo Wall where you can vent your anger by throwing things at the wall such as wall clocks, television, mugs and plates, etc. Each item is individually priced ranging from P20 to P2000.
Lastly, exploring and sightseeing. The place is filled with too many instagram-worthy, beautiful sceneries and structures that are aim to entice both local and foreign tourists. It would be a shame not to take the opportunity to capture every charming moment spent on this resto.
By the way, they do not accept credit cards since they are not affiliated with any of the credit card companies so basically they are on a cash basis only. Also kids are required to wear life vests as part of the restaurant’s precautionary measures since the water is 6-9 feet deep.
Isdaan Floating Restaurant - Fun Park
How to get there:
You can take buses at the Five Star Bus Terminal in Pasay City. Schedule is hourly. Bus Fare Pasay to Paniqui, Tarlac via TPLEX is P257 (with toilet). Tricycle Fare Paniqui to Gerona is P15.
You can also take buses going to Gerona, Tarlac via Cubao which will drop you at Tarlac City. Bus Fare Cubao to Gerona is P224(deluxe). From Tarlac City, ride a jeepney going to Isdaan - fare is P20. Also, there are a lot of Buses going back to Manila outside the restaurant. So there's no need to worry if you want to go back to Manila after you have visited the place. Bus Fare - Gerona to Pasay City is P235 (deluxe), Gerona to Cubao is P224 (deluxe).