Monday, May 21, 2012

BALTHAZAR'S TAVERN: New place to be in Gasan!

Two years ago, the Municipal Government of Gasan under the leadership of Mayor Vicky Lao Lim was given an award by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP), for Best Tourism Practices. Local tourism watchers noted how this very old town quite successfully organized its 400th founding anniversary in 2009. But come to think of it, the people of Gasan have really gotten used to organizing such activities since the inception of Araw ng Gasan in 2002.
What did not go unnoticed though was the importance given by the town residents in promoting a dynamic interrelationship between tourists and their host town, thanks to their appreciation of the value of tourism.

Then we know that there are Gasenos who have prospered elsewhere  and have always looked forward  for that opportunity to engage themselves in local long-term projects that could help boost the town's tourism potentials. Among them is a couple (the Batles) who decided to invest in the construction of a building, now known as DJ Plaza, right in the heart of town. 

Finished over a couple of years ago, the building's presence has attracted other new investors and even now houses Sioland Supermarket, Palawan Pawnshop and others. Well known establishments have, likewise, put up branches in other parts of the town, like Cebuana Lhuillier, M. Lhuillier, to name some of them.

DJ Plaza also now operates as a tourist hotel at affordable prices. It has also attracted private groups as their venue for larger meetings, seminars or workshops. Very recently, a new bar and restaurant located at the top floor was inaugurated. "BALTHAZAR'S TAVERN", managed by Joel Batle (he is the "J" in "DJ"), hopes to attract customers by serving food with special ingredients available during the season (menus are subject to change weekly).

Joel Batle has studied culinary techniques, methods and cuisines abroad and is eager to share his expertise with locals and his hotel guests.

View from Tavern of the mountains to the east dotted by caballero trees, with Gasan's Catholic Church atop a hill and Gasan's main thoroughfare below.

Looking down from the west window you see some of the town's old houses.

Balthazar's Tavern offers a view of the western seacoast overlooking the Tres Reyes Islands including that distant one, Balthazar Island.

View to the northwest.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here. Sampling of this week's menu: Grilled Pork and Beef  Burger  (served medium-well with caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese and fresh fried chips): Filipino Beef Steak (paper thin beef braised in soya and calamansi sauce with onions); Adobo Glazed Pork Cheek (slow cooked pork, kangkong with roasted garlic and tomatoes); Gulyasan Filet with Shrimp Cream Sauce (marinated and pan seared gulyasan fish with shrimps, romain and paco ferns); Drunken Garlic Sugpo (sugpo cooked in beer and spices, with braised romain lettuce). 

On the way to the Tavern you are greeted by this Morion mask and this receptionist. You could sense the excitement of the staff for the days ahead, for, just like the Batles, the town's local officials and the general populace, they too, dream big for Gasan.

These lovebirds also greet you on the way to the Tavern. BALTHAZAR'S TAVERN is slowly but surely attracting diners from as far away as Buenavista (Bellarocca guests visitng the town actually), and Boac.

And.... well, these flowers by the hallway are real fresh flowers!