I am an expat who often goes home to visit my parents in Cagayan Valley. While waiting for my flight back to Manila from Tuguegarao City airport, I would usually have buffet lunch in nearby Kusina Cagayana.
Last March, I had a very unpleasant experience dining in this restaurant. I brought a cold bottle of my favorite soft drinks after shopping from Brickstone Mall. Inside the restaurant, a woman who (does nott even know how to smile to the customers) introduced herself as the owner, said that she would have to charge me corkage for the bottle of soft drinks.
Corkage in most restaurants is normal, but in a friendly manner I said that, maybe she should waive the corkage for now as we are a group of three and that I regularly eat in her restaurant, and that I would usually bring a half-consumed bottle of soft drinks every time and did not have to pay corkage before. She agreed to waive the corkage.
But everything seemed unusual that day, the waiters looked stressed, rattled and as inhospitable as the supposed to be owner. Before finding a table, I asked one of the waiters whether they still charge the same fee for buffet and he said yes.
Later, when I went to the cashier to pay, the owner was there. I looked at the bill and there was an additional P100 for corkage. The owner said that after INVESTIGATING (what a word) her staff (as if I am some kind of suspected criminal or low-life who could not afford a decent meal), she learned that I was not a regular customer after all, that if I was indeed a regular customer I would know how much they would charge for buffet. Yeah, right, maybe asking whether they increased their price would justify that I do not regularly dine in their restaurant.
I have never been insulted this way in my whole life, not from a restaurant owner who probably does not have the slightest idea what CUSTOMER SERVICE meant. Maybe she was so pissed off that her staff previously did not charge corkage!
I did not want to call the attention of the other diners, not especially my husband and vet-friend who I was with, so I patiently said that an additional p100 for corkage would not hurt my wallet.... but her words and attitude just did i thought...golden rule: there is always a better way to say things that would not offend a customer...corkage is not the issue here but the manner she treats customers who patronize the restaurant... but you definitely lost a customer, I added. In her usual sarcastic manner, she replied,...Okay lang!
At that moment I felt like throwing up everything I ate...never again in Kusina Cagayana! How I regretted not following my husbandfs suggestion to dine at another nearby restaurant, Pampaguena or Leng-leng, where the owners are warm, friendly and hospitable,....the exact opposite of this one!
Dok's Carinderia is a local canteen located along the HiWay of Tuguegarao City, just across the Victory Liner. Don't expect much from a side street canteen though. it's the one nearest to the bus stations so I never had to scan for another Panciteria along. There's Jollibee but I wanted to try the pancit and it's good for only P50.00 for a full meal. They have no toilet nor washroom there, you'll do the washing at the Victory Terminal.
Favorite Dish: Pancit Cabagan is made of fresh miki noodles served with toppings of lechon kawali, quail eggs, mixed vegetables and served with chopped white onion, calamansi and soy sauce on a separate small bowl . The broth where the pancit is cooked is also served in a small soup bowl. You can mix it with the pancit if you wish.
Panciteria is the general term for a restaurant serving stir fry noodles or "Pansit". Normally, this neighborhood restaurant can be found at the ground floor of a house with 3-5 tables. And, don't expect anything fancy nor hygienic.
Favorite Dish: When you're in Tuguegarao, don't miss their Pancit Cabagan or Pancit Ybagan. They are both very filling, but inexpensive. One serving costs P35 or less than a dollar.
They are both stir-fry noodles with various toppings such vegetables, chopped liver, ground pork, sliced hotdogs, etc.
The difference lies on the type of noodle used. Pancit Cabagan's noodle is "thin and slimy", while Pancit Ybagan's is "thicker".
Although I just breezed through Tuguegarao, my sister-in-law Bambi highly recommends Crown Bakeshop right beside Roma Hotel. She swears by their cheese rolls, chicken ala king roll, donuts and clubhouse sandwich!
-Jeff (the cook) bested other contenders in the recently held (Year 2012) PANCIT Batil Patong cooking contest in the City