If you find yourself in Tagum City, there is a local eatery called, Arman’s Cafe and Restaurant. It was once a small turo-turo joint in 1975, where you point (turo) at what you like among an array of viands inside cooking pots.
Arman’s has been a favorite stop for people traveling the Davao del Norte main highway. The one we were able to go to was just alongside Bonifacio Street, and those on their way to Davao City from the north will not miss it. The building (below) is new, with an air-conditioned space and another for al fresco dining.
The food is affordable, moderately-priced, and their servings are generous.
The cozy eatery is a haven for those running on a budget, but what you pay for less, you get far more: a piping hot beef nilaga (close to the Batangas bulalo), a steamy pinaputok na pompano or a higado (pork liver) or a picadillo (ground pork with carrots). And for those who like kalderetang kambing and papaitan, Arman’s is the best place to be.
I was brought to Arman’s Cafe and Restaurant by Frs. Dan Arellano and Jhoy Rivera, priests from Fr. Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) in Butuan City. We were headed back to Davao City after the FSUU faculty retreat in Mantangale Dive Resort in Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. And true enough, the food did not disappoint. It was yummy, and the best part? It was free! Thanks to Frs. Dan and Jhoy.
A few weeks later, I brought my Campus Ministers to Arman’s after the faculty retreat of the Ateneo de Davao University Senior High School. Arman’s fare was best for those who were weary because what’s on their menu were largely comfort food. And for those who are looking for merienda fare, you can try their own tsokolate (chocolate) with puto maya (sticky rice with mango). My campus ministers too raved about what they ordered.
However, the surprise was the use of a strand of fettuccini pasta as a stirrer for coffee or tea. What a conscious and deliberate way to care for the environment! Bravo Arman’s!!!
I have been writing about local restaurants to give them a fighting edge over multinationals. Since I have been invited to give talks and retreats in different places in the Philippines, my hosts would bring me to eateries and cafés owned by the locals. Oftentimes, people rush to malls, a one-stop for everything they need. Local restaurants need to be personally visited which poses as a challenge.
Thanks to many social media platforms, our younger generation are looking for adventure. Their feet are itching to go places, and their mouths drool over experiencing local fare. This is my contribution to both the Philippine food culture and to the current craze.