August 4, 2007

pineapples, steaks, and coffee

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Our weekend jaunt to the south was coming to an end, sniff, but there was still one more thing we had to do (er eat) before hopping on that plane back to Manila: the steaks at Del Monte!

Bukidnon is a rolling highland with an average elevation of about 900 meters. It is home to the world's biggest pineapple plantation and is also the biggest cattle-prducing province in the region. Now think about that for a second. That's a lotta cows and pineapples! Actually that's a whole lotta cows eating a whole lotta pineapples!

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Del Monte Philippines, Inc. owns 90 sq kms. of fertile land in Bukidnon, majority of which is devoted to the largest pineapple plantation in the Far East. In the heart of this vast expanse of land is Camp Philips, Del Monte's headquarters, where many of the top executives live while their children study at the Del Monte Int'l. School. The pride among other recreational facilities is the 18-hole golf course and a golf club famous for steaks from pineapple-fed cattle, a non-core business created to make use of excess pulp.

The club is casual and unpretentious and presents the diner with a pretty view of the gold course through screened windows. It's cool and there's a light breeze so there's no need for even an electric fan even at this time of day when the heat is usually most unbearable. We order our steaks - porterhouse for most of us - and a New York steak for my friend. Other cuts available are T-bone, sirloin, club and round. You can choose to get the full order which comes with soup, salad and dessert. I went with the short order of porterhouse (large!), with two orders of extra bread please.

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I am told their bread is fantastic, so I ask for two extra orders not knowing that my steak comes with 2 slices. But it was really, really good, so soft and perfect that I practically finished it all anyway. The steak did not disappoint; it was tender and flavorful. But since I'm not a big steak person, I couldn't tell that this was pineapple-fed. But then that's me. I couldn't tell ostrich meat from beef either, remember? :) It didn't matter, everything was delicious, the company was first-class and we were happy.

Super good bread

At the airport cafe, I grabbed myself a pack of Monk's Blend premium coffee which I first heard about from Christina who discovered it while backpacking through Bukidnon earlier this year. The beans are roasted by the monks from the Monastery of the Transfiguration I'm still happily drinking my way through some Benguet arabica a friend of mine gave me (a present from Baguio) so I haven't tried this one yet. But I think I'll brew some and give it a try this weekend. :)

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Del Monte Golf Club
Cawayanon, San Miguel, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
(088) 855-5976 to 78 ; (08822) 742370 ext. 6125/6145
Email:
clubhouse@delmonte-phil.com

22 comments:

Lydia said...

What fun! Who would have thought of getting great steak on a pineapple plantation?!

The Knittymommy said...

Hey Nens! I had heard about the steaks at Del Monte for some time. Unfortunately, I never got to visit Bukidnon, despite my Mom's family having a farm there and all.

In fact, Manolo Fortich, (was that the name of a town? or a street?) is actually my great grand relative of mine (either a great grand uncle/father).

Through your visit, I have found out what I have actually missed by never taking the opportunity to go visit.

Belinda said...

Oh, Christine, you weren't kidding about the sea of pineapples! And, wow, pineapple-fed cattle. We have Hereford cattle, but let me tell ya, the poor rascals sure don't have it that good! I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your posts about Bukidnon, what a gorgeous, magical place. :-)

christine said...

Not me, Lydia, that's for sure. It's quite unusual and I think that contributes to its allure.:)

Wow, Mieke, how interesting! I think Manolo Fortich is a municipality of Bukidnon. Your great grandfather must have been some special man! If you still have that farm, you should go! It's such a beautiful province, really. :)

Hi Belinda! The pineapple rows stretched for miles on either side as we drove for over half an hour. What a sight it was! And thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed the posts. :)

Socky said...

Hi, Christine. Wondering if the beef is anything like the beer fed cows I've only heard of. The del monte beef must be sweeter. Are they in any way sold or available here in Manila? BTW, hope you can drink that coffee soon, while it's at its best - they say no more than 18-20 days after roasting.

ScroochChronicles said...

Hi Christine!! I remember my dad telling me about this place and how scrumptious the steaks were. This was like a zillion years ago pa.

Nga pala, saw your pic in Anton's post on the food-styling class with Jo Avila. Which brings me to say that based on your pics of food, I don't think you need a stylist to make food look good. Yours look just positively delicious :)

Daisy said...

I discovered your blog just recently and was amazed at you CDO white water travel! thanks for sharing! I hope you don't mind I made a link in my own blog to yours! :)

christine said...

Hi Socky, I do believe that usually when cows are fed beer they are also massaged like Kobe beef. (I'm beginning to think I'd like to come back as a cow in my next life...) And I have not heard about the Del Monte cattle being massaged. And while I know ostrich meat can be found here in some groceries, I don't know about pineapple-fed beef. I'll ask around and let you know if I hear of anything. BTW, we had some of the coffee this morning and it was good! :)

Hi Cooke, thank you! That's really so nice of you to say. :) I organized the class just for fun really, and more for the photography aspect of it since I don't plan to do this for a living. I enjoyed it and learned a lot too. :)

Hi Daisy! I don't mind at all. It's always nice to meet a new blogger with similar interests. I'll be checking out your site too. :) Thanks.

M.Tan said...

I have to find the bit in Omnivore's Dilemna to show you; about grass fed vs corn and also pineapple fed cows. I'll email it to you.

ScroochChronicles said...

Re Socky's query...they used to sell Del Monte beef here in Manila. I used to get it at SM Supermarket. Then they just pulled it out a few years ago. Now I don't see it anywhere.

christine said...

Thanks Mila, I'd like to read that. :)

Cookie, that's such a pity. I'll ask also my cousins who have a farm in Bukidnon if they know any suppliers here and let you guys know. :)

veron said...

I've heard about the legendary steaks at bukidnon. You are right those cows eating all those pineapples must surely make their meat really tasty. The picture alone of that porterhouse is making drool right now!

christine said...

Hi veron! It was definitely tasty! On a normal day, I couldn't eat that big a steak, it's just too much meat for me. But I ate it all up, clean to the bone! :)

Joey said...

Have you read this month's Yummy magazine? Theres an article about Bukidnon and that cofee you spoke of.

Jen Tan said...

We share the same preference---I too am not a steak fan....but those bread slices do look entcing and the mention of COFFEE made me perk up! Please let us know once you've tried Monk's blend...is it the same as theones I see in the supermarkets? Haven't tried them yet. Benguet coffee is great too..I like Arabica with Robusta beans...Arabicas are most aromatic but the Robusta has the Body! =)I want that punch in my java!

What great adventures you have!!!!!

christine said...

Hi Joey, really?! What a coincidence, I'll have to grab my copy already. Thanks for reminding me. :)

Jen, I love the Arabica/Robusta blend too! I get the 50/50 from Baguio, I love it. Learned about it from Jo Avila, a photographer friend, who serves it at his studio. :) The Monk's Blend coffee is good too, not as strong but also aromatic.

katrina said...

Sorry for the late comment, but I've just finished reading your CDO/Bukidnon posts, and I am just IN AWE of everything you saw and did and ate! Once again, you've written about and photographed your experience so beautifully and evocatively (and wittily!), that even though I'd never considered traveling to CDO before, I am now wondering how soon we can go! Hmm...I think that after we return from BKK, I will be planning more domestic trips...

I'm still not sure I want to go white water rafting -- sounds a little too physically strenuous and risky for my taste -- but the rest of your trip sounds just perfect. You're very fortunate to know the owner of that farm; it truly looks like paradise! And I can't stop staring at those thick slabs of bread!!! :-P

christine said...

Thanks, Katrina! :) I always look back in wonder of everything we did in those 2 and a half days. Super sulit! But I want go back and stay in Bukidnon longer. Maybe next year for the fiesta in Malaybalay. Katrina, you would have loved that bread! It was really good.

ROSENKAVALIER said...

this comment is five months late. Anyway, I grew up in Camp Phillips, Bukidnon, and it's nice to know that the rest of the country, well at least some of you, are starting to notice the charms of Bukidnon.

I suggest that you sample the beef steak next time, because the pineapple taste (the cows are fed with pineapple pulp) manifests quite, quite wonderfully in the oh-so-juicy goodness of the tender meat.

Oh yes, the bread. Nothing compares to it, not even here in Manila.

christine said...

Hi Rosen, you are so fortunate to have grown up surrounded by such e beautiful countryside! That bread is simply amazing, I would love to know their secret. Or at least that someone sells the same here in Manila.

michelledaisy said...

i love cawayanon! thanks for the very lovely post and i love your photos! i was wondering what kind of camera were you using when you took these shots, very nice.

christine said...

Thank you, Michelle. :) I use a Nikon D40, and at that time was just using the kit lens.