A Boracay must-go, Dos Mestizos, a restaurant dishing out traditional Spanish fare, won’t open until December 18. But tourists need not fret, the closure of the island gave birth to a new outdoor eatery serving Filipino food, done exceedingly well by the same staff used to whipping up paella and tapas for their hungry customers.
Dos Mestizos owner, Binggoy Remedios was in disbelief at Boracay’s closure six months ago. “We didn't really think they would close a whole island with people who relied on local tourism.” Closure meant the end of the livelihood of his staff of 25. Thus was born the idea of a Bulalohan. The eatery may have a lean menu of other Filipino favorites like lumpia and Lechon Kawali, but each dish is sumptuously prepared and quite affordable. By the time ANCX got to the open-air eatery, (having learned about the place from happy local customers) the adobong manok sa atay and pork sisig had ran out. “Dos Mestizos mostly caters to tourists so we couldn't continue operations during the closure,” says Remedios.
But because he wanted to keep his staff, many of whom had been with his since opening day, Remedios decided to open up an eatery that would cater to local residents who were staying on the island. Binggoy had two weeks to set up shop, right beside his restaurant, including installing toilets and a makeshift kitchen. He recycled materials including the kitchen tent, which was part of their farm greenhouse in the mainland. Needless to say the staff were happy and relieved, telling us that they took turns taking leaves. Sales were oftentimes not enough to keep the place going. But now that Boracay is back in business, Binggoy says he will keep the place open. He plans to develop the menu to include more classic Filipino dishes. It turns out he can whip up Pinoy dishes as well as his Spanish ones, having grown up in a Filipino Spanish family. “ I enjoy cooking and eating straightforward Filipino food. I love Filipino food done well.”
The 70-year old former in-flight catering supervisor, who used to work in San Francisco and Honolulu is busy preparing for the re opening of Dos Mestizos. Although they won’t be fully operational until December, he is intent on marking their eighteenth year in the island on October 31, Halloween. It’s become a tradition for them to throw a big party for the locals.
People come back again and again for their Paella Negra and Paella Valenciana. And every Saturday, their tapas buffet showcasing around 13 different kinds of tapas draws in the crowd.
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Ginataang Adobong Manok.
Soon to open.
Banana and camote cue station.
A very Boracay combination.
The frontage of the bulalohan.
Binggoy is hoping the main road will soon be passable so he can go back to serving salipacao and gambas. Despite the trials he is optimistic about the future of Boracay, “Business will get better and am hopeful th tourists will come back once the rehabilitation is finished. Boracay is our home and we hope to be around for a long long time.”
Like the rest of the island, it’s going back to basics that’s working for Binggoy and his crew at Dos Mestizos.
Photographs by Jerome Gomez and Marnie Giron