Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac

Isdaan is a restaurant located half-way across the north. It is in Gerona, Tarlac, just 20 minutes away from my grandparents' home in Tarlac. I have been wanting to go there but never had the chance to until my sister came here for vacation. It's funny how I used to pass by that restaurant every time I visited my grandparents ever since I was young but only got the chance to do so now.

Anyway, since it's still vacation for students and some people, I thought of sharing this to give you guys an idea for your next trip destination!

Location : Gerona, Tarlac. (If you take NLEX, you will not miss this restaurant as this is located right along the main road.) If you are from Manila, it is right after Tarlac City. If you are coming from Baguio, it is right after Paniqui.

Entrance Fee : There is NO entrance fee to get inside the restaurant. All you need is to eat there. But for some, they go there not to eat but to just try the Tacsiyapo. (We'll talk about that later.)

First thing that visitors notice is that the place is filled with gigantic Buddhas. I personally wanted to go there because of those. One would actually feel like in Thailand because of the statues; they are everywhere the place! The place is so picturesque! It is also a great "starter" if you haven't visited Thailand yet, like me! hehe

The biggest Buddha is elevated on the second floor so you also get to capture the beautiful sky in your pictures! How pretty?!

This picture is not edited so I don't know why I have a halo.

Isdaan Restaurant is called "floating" but it's not really floating. Some of the "water" areas of the restaurant were just man-made. The huts are then placed in the 6-feet deep water to complete the "floating" promise. Don't be surprised if you see some Barrio Fiesta posters in the place, though, as it is part of the Barrio Fiesta Restaurant Group.

When we went there, it was supposed to be for lunch. So we skipped lunch. I, for one, even skipped breakfast. So, we were all dead-hungry when we got there! One thing to note, though, is to never go there on an empty stomach. I mean, when you are dead-hungry like we were. Because there are quite a lot of customers, the service could be somehow slow and lacking. If you're thirsty and ask for a pitcher of cold water, you may have to wait for 10 minutes for it. For the food, you may have to wait for up to 30 minutes for them to prepare and serve the food on your table!

Anyway, here's what we ate :

Mama Chit's Bilao of Fried Food - Php 795

This bilao is a must-try, I must say! Especially for first timers! It's not that the food in it is extra-ordinary! I'm saying, be less-adventurous on your first visit so you won't get disappointed. Have you ever experienced dining somewhere for the first time and ordering something unique just to be disappointed in the end? Yes, that kind of experience is what we do not want to happen here. So, I suggest getting this first. 

Everything in the bilao is delicious, though! I liked how everything is crispy, especially the Fried Hito and Lechon Kawali! (Ahh, I'm getting hungry writing this!)

Tinupig Lechon Manok - Php 495

This is chicken, boiled in coconut milk then grilled to perfection! It was delicious but because we got too full with the fried-everything, we did not finish the whole chicken. 

Steamed Rice in Banana Leaf - Php 60 each

Okay, that Php 60 is almost the same price as 1 kilo of rice! Nothing special about the rice. Just steamed then wrapped in banana leaf. Though, it would be something worth trying for your foreign friends or relatives that haven't tried any "binalot" food yet.

Manggan tayon!!

6 of us shared the food. I thought it wouldn't be enough but turned out, it was too much for 6 of us. I forgot we were with kids and a sister that is on a diet. But I definitely ate like a man! I'm guessing it wouldn't be enough if we came with adults or man-like-eater, like me! Hehe

Then, then! The Tacsiyapo! OMG, I have been wanting to try this. Basically, it's a freedom wall where you could vent out your stress, anger and disappointment by smashing a plate (Or a television, your choice.) against the wall! You could also shout "TACSIYAPO!" while throwing the plate... or the T.V.!

TACSIYAPO is a Kapampangan word to curse. It's almost like how you say "P.I." or "B.S.".

The catch here is that it is not for free. You could choose what item you would like to smash against the wall but you have to pay for that item. The small mugs are for Php 20, bigger mugs for Php 35, the plates are for Php 38 and the vase is for Php 130. I'm not sure how much for the T.V., though, I forgot to ask because I was engrossed in smashing mugs! hehe

So what you do is to pick among the writings on the wall. You could smash the "Magnanakaw", "Mother in Law", "Sipsip", "Taksil", "Fling Lover" and so much more! I wasn't particularly angry or frustrated at that time. But if I were to do it now, I would definitely smash the "Intrigera" with 3 televisions! hehe

I think I forgot to mention that my sister and I came with our nephews and niece. (Patriz, David and Gabriel. Charlie was the one that took the photo.) It was a fun day as the kids were able to play around Isdaan. It was first-time for most of them and I loved how I saw them play and run around.

After the Tacsiyapo, you could go around the Isdaan and enjoy the scenery. The place is a big work of art, really. Every area is so pretty. I didn't know where to run first. I was like my nephews, I got so overwhelmed with the place! 

Another thing you could freely do here is to feed the fish. The food for the fish is free and the staff would gladly give them to you, with a smile. I'm guessing they are relieved that the guests like to feed the fish because that is one less thing for them to do. Hehehe

I think we got 3 bags of fish food and my nephews were able to feed almost 50% of the fish they have there. I'm exaggerating but I just meant we had a lot of fun feeding them!

There are also bikes that the kids could use to play around. I tried riding one but it was too small for me. Yay, I feel big now! 

There are different decorations for each area. Some areas are filled with Buddhas while some have figures for the kids. There are Superman, Iron Man, Hulk, and some Angry Birds statues. This one, though, has got to me my favorite! It's us, that'w why! Hehe

I miss these people. My sister, Karen, already went back to Japan. The nephews are in Tarlac. I wish life was just about playing around, taking trips, laughing and having fun. But it is not. I guess good things happen and fun memories are built so that when you finally have to go back to reality, you'd have a lot of memories to go back to and reminisce. Memories last and never change even when some people and situations do.

It was a super fun day not just for the kids but for my sister and I as well! It was our first time there and it's definitely one of the highlights of our vacation in Tarlac. 

(I'm not sure if my Dad reads my blog but I'd like to thank him for sponsoring us this trip. He gave us money for all the places we went to. Hehe Thank you, Daddy!)

* * *

After 2 weeks, my sister and I decided to go back to Isdaan again. 

This time, we were not with the kids anymore. We went with my sister's cousin, Vanessa.

Karen wanted her cousin to try Isdaan as well so we went back. 

What we ate : (I can't clearly remember the prices of the food we had this time so everything is a rough estimate.)

Teppanyaki Boat (Sizzling Shrimp, Chicken and Pork) - ~ Php 650
Steamed Rice in Kawali (good for 3-4 people) - ~ Php 250

I don't suggest getting the Teppanyaki as I was disappointed with it. The chicken was pure white meat and the pork was bland.  I also don't think eating Japanese food at a floating restaurant match at all. 

Inihaw na Talong - ~ Php 200
Ensaladang Talong - ~ Php 150

Just like the last time, we had to wait for 20-30 minutes for our food. I was starving when we went there. They also had one of my orders wrong. Instead of the Inihaw na Talong that I asked for, they also served us Tortang talong. It was funny because there were 3 dishes of Talong (eggplant) on our table so I told them we're not that into eggplants for us to order 3 eggplant dishes! Haha

After eating, we did the Tacsiyapo wall again. But it wasn't that fun without the kids. So we only had 1 mug each then left.

Then, we asked for some fish food. We went to the area beneath the huge Buddha because that's our favorite spot! Why? Because you could get close to the fish and fish there are so fat and big and hungry! They have their mouth in O shape when you feed them! It's so cute yet funny!

After that we left the restaurant and went back to our grandparents' home.

The first visit was definitely more fun that the second one but I was still grateful I got to go back. I will always remember the joy and laughter we had on the first visit! It was so fun and memorable!

* * *

So if you still have some days left on your vacation, go and try Isdaan as well. Be sure to bring family and friends on your first visit to make it memorable like ours! Don't come on an empty stomach unless you are willing to wait with grumbling stomach. Hehe And last, go there when you have at least 4 hours of time to spend so you could fully enjoy and appreciate the place! I am proud we have this kind of restaurant in Tarlac!

If you ever decide to go there because of this blog post, then don't forget to tag me on Instagram, @RealAsianBeauty. I'd love to see what you did there with your family and friends!