I’ll take over that mic and sing once the sun sets, so says J as the song book was pushed into his hands. It was the last day of our Pangasinan trip and we were at a stilt-hut standing over a fishpond somewhere in Dagupan City. After enjoying the air-conditioning and coffee at Yellow Tree Café, we decided to end our journey by having a couple of beers and belting out songs away from the glimmering lights of the city and the curious ears of strangers.
We were quite particular on the hut we wanted to spend our last hours in Dagupan in. It has to be over a fishpond and it must look very local. We wanted nothing too polished and touristy.
After checking out a few of the restaurants situated at the ponds along Judge Jose de Venecia Highway, we were almost ready to give up. Good thing M remembered a place she bought some soft drinks on during the city festival a few months back that perfectly suited our requirements.
After a few minutes more of walking, we finally found the videoke hut; ATC Ihawan it was called. It was pretty anonymous, having no sign whatsoever. Just a small sari-sari store-looking front with a narrow pathway bound on both sides by thick vegetation that leads to the stilt huts at the back.
It was exactly how we pictured it on our mind.
The huts, which were made of bamboo and cogons were very roomy. There were seats around its chest-high walls with a table on one end. A videoke machine sat on one of its corner, waiting for us to feed it with five-peso coins.
To condition ourselves before singing, we each ordered a mid-sized bottle of Red Horse beer, which is quite cheap at this place; a measly Php45.00 for the 500ml drink. Not bad, yeah? We also asked for a plate of Inihaw na Bangus (Php75.00) and a bowl of Adobong Talaba (Php50.00).
Songs were starting to pour in as our pulutan arrived.
The bangus landed on our table first. It was almost perfect with its fish bagoong and calamnsi dip if not for the fish bones. The restaurant has no boneless ones available and we have to painstakingly remove the bones from the fish before being able to dip and eat it.
The Adobong Talaba on the other hand was wonderful. It was so tender and went well with the adobo sauce. I didn’t know oysters can also be cooked in this manner if not for this. M told us that this dish is quite common in Dagupan, she’s been having it since she was a kid.
Our two pulutans were perfect beer matches!
The mic was passed around and love anthems were sung. The day transitioned and the sun retired; the song book was passed to J. Reluctantly grabbing the mic, he started to belt out a song about trust and lost love. Cheers and hoots rang right after the song. I’ll sing another one, he said right after.
The night was still long, I thought as I chugged on my beer; I might even sing a song myself.
Address: Judge Jose de Venecia Ext., Dagupan City, Pangasinan (at the back of Jimmy Fernandez Center)
Menu: Click Here
GPS Coordinates Map: 16°01'25.4"N 120°19'16.1"E