I almost missed this ISDAAN experience. It would have been a great regret for me had I insisted on staying behind and just sleeping in the van. I took an anti-emetic tablet while in Marcos Highway and it made me sleep through the highway and Gerona, Tarlac.When the van stopped, we were at the parking area of this lovely Floating Restaurant. The group I was with had gone down after I assured them that I would rather sleep and wait for them as I was not even hungry anyway.Thank goodness my friend Ding sent me a text message urging me to go down with the promise that I will not regret it. So I did. And true enough, the place is one good specialty restaurant to go to. A theme park in its own right, ISDAAN showcases a mix of Filipino and Thai themes all throughout.
Walking past the entrance, a "duyan" arrangement greets you with their eye-catching colors. Any Filipino would definitely smile at the sight of these duyan (*duyan- hammock made of native materials which Filipinos traditionally use to put their babies to sleep. With a sturdy abaca rope/twine tied at both ends of the duyan and tied to a strong post, it easily transforms to a swinging bed for babies-- my own children were raised this way -- but you can't leave an older baby in this--or the baby will fall over)
The general theme is "Pinoy" with the outstanding feature of floating nipa huts where food is served. It is a large pond where golden lapu-lapu fish teem turning the pond water to a golden orange color. But it is hard to miss the Thai theme counterpart -- the whole place seemed to exude the glitter of silver and gold with the giant Buddha statues you can find when you walk past the nipa huts. (Funny, I don't have a single picture taken of myself beside any Buddha image when I was in Thailand-- little did I know that my Buddha pictures will be taken right here in the Philippines)
The bamboo flooring creaks as you walk on them. I made a round of the nipa huts and saw waiters dressed in the traditional Filipino native clothes as they prepare the food and set the table for you.
There are also singing groups of threes making the rounds of the nipa huts who "serenade" the guests with portions of Tagalog songs sang with the accompaniment of a guitar. (Nice job -- you don't have to memorize entire songs (^_^)
The food, as I've said in a previous blog post is superb. They do their specialty fish dishes so well but also serve excellent pork, beef and veggies..
On the whole, my ISDAAN experience is a definite winner except for one little thing that even my companions on that night also noticed -- the "floating" nipa huts are a little nauseating and killed a portion of the enjoyment.
We kidded one of the waiters to tell the management to offer a freebie on the side ---- packets of meclizine (anti-emetic/anti-vertigo tablets) .