TAAL VISTA: Best Negrense Buffet by Chef Fernando Aracama! @TaalVistaHotel

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People always ask me what our favorite cuisine is, and I would always answer, Filipino Food. We especially love the regional cuisine from Pampanga, Negros, Ilocos, and Bicol.

So it’s great news that Taal Vista–in celebration of their 75th anniversary–is featuring the best Filipino chefs from Manila. As part of their weekend buffet at Cafe Veranda, each chef gets to feature their specialty Filipino dishes for two weekends.

The campaign, called “CULINARY GEMS: A Festival of Filipino Flavors“, kicked off last weekend with Chef Fernando Aracama’s Negrense food specialties. And we loved it!

Here’s a photo essay of one of the Best Negrense Buffets, which also kicks off the series on What’s New in Tagaytay 2014…

What’s New in Tagaytay 2014 Series:

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Taal Vista is known for having the best vantage point of Taal Volcano, especially on a clear day.

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The Culinary Gems: A Festival of Filipino Flavors is held at Cafe Veranda, every Saturday Buffet Lunch, Saturday Buffet Dinner, and Sunday Buffet Lunch.

Here are my favorites from the Negrense-inspired buffet by Chef Fernando Aracama…


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Pancit Molo

We love this garlicky hot soup with soft dumplings.

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Taal Vista Fresh Lumpia 

Start off with a fresh lumpia assembled for you as you order.



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✮ Porchetta Negrense (Chef Aracama)

Chef Fernando Aracama’s lechon belly with his own stuffing of garlic and spices. 🙂

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Freshly cooked porchetta with crackling skin! 

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Roast Beef Hamonado

Tender roast beef that’s sweet like ham and very addicting.

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Baked Bisugo

Baked threadfin with ampalaya for something a little more healthy.

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Paella Valenciana

A big paellera of Paella Valenciana is always available during the weekend buffet.


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✮ Beef Adobo sa Tuba (Chef Aracama)

The adobo sauce made from the tuba (coconut vinegar) is absorbed by the beef, so you can taste the salty-garlicky vinegar flavor in every strand. 


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✮ Kalkag Fried Rice (Chef Aracama)

Yellow fried rice cooked with dry alamang (small shrimps), lightly salted, and with little toasted bits.

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We couldn’t get enough of this perfect yummy combination: Beef Adobo sa Tuba + Kalkag Rice! We loved this! 

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Sigarilyas Gising Gising Style (Chef Aracama)

Healthy but a bit oily.

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Sinaglay na Isda en Papillotee (Chef Aracama)

Check out the unique presentation of this Negrense fish dish.

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The soft fish is wrapped in leaves and topped with curry-like sauce.

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Inihaw na Pusit na may Kamatis at Sibuyas

A recommended starter or pulutan to kick off your buffet.

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Chicken Inasal (Chef Aracama)

Of course, Negrense food is not complete without authentic Chicken Inasal.

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There’s also an inasal counter where they cook chicken skewers on the spot.

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Another great combination is the Chicken Inasal with Paella Valenciana. 



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✮ Dinuguan 

Taal Vista’s dinuguan is also a hit and one of the best I’ve tasted.

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We ordered bam-i specifically for the kids. You can customize the type of noodles and the toppings that go with it.

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✮ Ginataang Halo-Halo

Another Filipino snack favorite of coconut milk and ube sauce with sago and palitaw balls. 



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✮ Coconut Espasol

My wife’s favorite! 🙂

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Frozen Brazo de Mercedes

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Assorted Pastries 

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✮ Buko Panna Cotta (Chef Aracama)

Chef Aracama’s ginumis-inspired concoction.

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Of course, a Chef Aracama meal wouldn’t be complete without his signature Chocnut Ice Cream!

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Chocnut Ice Cream (Chef Aracama)

You can order it with shredded or chunks of Choc Nut. 🙂


ROOM 367

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It’s best to stay overnight to enjoy the complete Taal Vista experience. 

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We stayed in a 2-bedroom deluxe, with a Master’s bedroom…

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…and an adjacent room for the kids.

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You have your own living room with study table, sofa, and TV.

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This is our view of the garden from Room 367. You can always request for a lake view room.

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There’s only one restroom but it’s a bit big, so it’s ideal for families with kids.

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The welcome basket of fresh, seasonal fruits.



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I always look forward to the Taal Vista breakfast.

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My weakness and personal favorite for breakfast. 🙂

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Beef Tapa 

Their beef tapa has improved. It’s more tender and tastier.

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Cheese Hot Dog

The kids’ favorite, with cheese oozing out the middle of the sausage.

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Breakfast with the boys. 🙂

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The best part of breakfast is eating al fresco…

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…with an awesome view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake.

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The boys love running around Taal Vista’ vast garden…

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…especially sliding down the steep, grassy slope.

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On Sundays, there is a celebration of the Holy Mass at 10am.

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You can go around after breakfast to check out the pasalubong stalls…

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…the Taal Vista gym…

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…Game Room…

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…and kids’ play area (just make sure you bring socks with you).

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During lunch, the Bughaw Folkloric Dance Group performs traditional dances and other cultural traditions, culminating in the Singkil.

Anton and family
Congrats to Chef Fernando Aracama for the awesome Negrense buffet at Taal Vista! We finally have a photo of Chef Aracama with the boys for our Chef photo collection.

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Don’t miss our favorite Filipino Chefs at Taal Vista! Chef Fernando Aracama‘s 2nd run will be this coming weekend, Chef Sau del Rosario‘s on the last two weeks of September, and Chef Bruce Lim‘s on the first week of November.


CULINARY GEMS: A Festival of Filipino Flavors
Taal Vista Hotel celebrates 75 years of heritage and happiness with a 12-weekend buffet series featuring celebrity guest chefs and their unique interpretations of Filipino cuisine.

Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway Tagaytay City 4120, Philippines
Saturdays (lunch & dinner) and Sundays (lunch only) – P1,350 nett per person

  • Chef Fernando Aracama ✮
    September 6, 7, 13 & 14
    Restaurateur and former Junior Master Chef judge
  • Chef Sau del Rosario ✮
    September 20, 21, 27 & 28
    French-trained Celebrity Chef
  • Chef Babes Austria
    October 4, 5, 11 & 12
    Former Executive Chef of Malacañang Palace and Taal Vista Hotel 
  • Chef Edwin Santos
    October 18, 19, 25 & 26
    Taal Vista Hotel Executive Chef
  • Chef Bruce Lim ✮
    November 1, 2, 8 & 9
    Asian Food Channel host and entrepreneur
  • Chefs Jackie and Rolando Laudico
    November 15, 16, 22 & 23
    Culinary tandem & celebrity endorsers

For inquiries, please call +632 917 8225, or visit www.taalvistahotel.com

For overnight with the family, consider getting the 2-Bedroom Deluxe–P14,730/night for 2 adults and 2 children.


What’s New in Tagaytay 2014 Series:

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com 

Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Taal Vista. I wrote this article with my own biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.  

P.S. The main lobby is currently being renovated.

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P.P.S. You can order a la carte in Cafe Veranda, but the buffet selections are way better. 🙂

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CAFE VERANDA ALA CARTE MENU: Appetizer, Salad | Soup, Filipino Heritage Cuisine | Asian Cuisine, All-Time Favorites | International Cuisine, Sandwiches and Wraps | Oven Baked Pizza, Pasta and Noodles | Kid’s Menu, Dessert

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