Batanes has always been one of my dream destinations. But since the airfare going there is consistently the most expensive locally, I’ve always been postponing booking this trip. Thanks to the prompting of my parents, we, as a family, have finally booked and travelled to this northern-most Philippine paradise in celebration of my father’s 62nd birthday.
Our Batanes family trip was enthusiastically guided by Kuya Jeric of Bisumi Tours. With his passion and pride on all the sights, culture and food of Batanes we truly had one of the most memorable and enjoyable vacations on this incredible place.
Years before, I was already well aware of a unique sizzling pancit of the island and have been for the longest time, looking forward to trying it. However, our tour guide kuya Jeric, has not been encouraging about the Sizzling Pancit Ivatan and of the place serving it; Pension Ivatan. According to him, the owners and cooks of the said place are not really Ivatans or locals of Batanes, but are actually Ilocanos. He promised to bring us to a local pancitan that is truly home-grown Ivatan and is actually his own favorite. (More on this on my next post)
Pancit being my passion, it did not discourage me to go and try it out. After our day tour on the first day, I invited my siblings to head over to Pension Ivatan for our dinner. It was 10 minutes walk away from our homestay. The place, which is offering various dishes – Filipino, foreign and native Ivatan, is packed with tourists that night. After 15 minutes from ordering, our orders started to be served. While everything else was just okay – the grilled flying fish, tinola and inihaw na baboy, the sizzling Pancit Ivatan was disappointing. The particular dish served to us looked a lot different from the ones I previously saw from posts of other food blogs. The vegetable were overcooked and the egg that was supposed to be fried sunny-side up looked it was overturned and transferred from another dish, the dish itself wasn’t served sizzling hot. Having tasted it, it has nothing really notable. It was egg noodles cooked with pork, carrots and baguio beans topped with egg. As per their menu, they have “plain” Pancit Ivatan which is served on an ordinary plate for Php.80.00 and the same pancit on a sizzling plate for additional Php.50.00 making it Php.130.00.
Recipe and ingredients-wise, there is really nothing special about this dish. The unique presentation in a sizzling plate and being topped with perfectly fried egg could have made this dish acceptable. To my dismay, I decided to cook my own version of the sizzling Pancit Ivatan weeks after we returned to Manila. I used dried egg noodles available on a local supermarket, cooked it in chicken stock, stir-fried it with slices of pork, liver, petchay, carrots and Bagiuo beans then topped with fried egg. Superb!
Batanes still rely heavily on products shipped from Manila. Upon walking around their market area, I cannot help but notice that all the noodles they have are from Bulacan, Manila and even Bicol. This was confirmed by Kuya Jeric. There is indeed no noodle factory in all of Batanes yet. Check us out again next week as I unravel the “real and authentic” Batanes pancit.
Pension Ivatan: National Road, Kayvalugan, Basco, Batanes