Pulling-Over at Isdaan in Bay, Laguna
by Danny Tariman
Going south from Manila, the town of Bay (pronounced as “ba-e” by locals) in the province of Laguna is next to the budding city of Los Baños. You will notice this as the long stretch of almost straight road from Los Baños, where both sides of the road are lined with garden shops selling all sorts of ornamental plants.
Although the town itself has a good turn-of-century type of town-square where you can see the old parish church, old residential houses, my family has not yet explored the inner part of this municipality. This blog is about our Bae experience in the highway.
At the right side of the road are two popular native restaurants: the “Palaisdaan”, and the “Isdaan” – both have the same meaning in the vernacular: “fishpen”. Both offer an array of native dishes.
Palaisdaan was the first one to setup its business in the area. It was in this place my family had tasted our now-popular-family dish “sinugnô”. We liked the dish, and we tried to replicate it in our home. This dish is made from broiled tilapia, and topped with chunky, thick coconut milk. Your choice of dining on floating huts on the fish pond, or at a tree house.
Isdaan is like a themed park. The place is well designed and crafted with figurines or statuettes which will tickle your thoughts as if you are in a foreign place. I cannot tell whether the motif is Thai or Vietnamese. You have to check for yourself.
The place has a number of restaurants that offers various kinds of Filipino dishes. Almost of all of the dining areas are “floating” on a man-made lake. It also stages cultural shows on weekends where you can watch native folk dances for free.
Aside from the many nooks where you can take photos (Yes! There are lots, offering different scenes!), it also offers a boat ride for a fee, at the periphery of the park.
This is not a destination for a tour itself, but a good place to pull-over and have some good eats, whether full meal or snack.
For your next trip southbound, plan a pit-stop at this place. I am sure your family will enjoy the theme-park and the food!