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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Isdaan Laguna : Good for the Eyes not for the Tummy

The Isdaan in Calauan, Laguna is a welcome complement to the Isdaan at Gerona, Tarlac which is dubbed as the 'Halfway to the North'. Isdaan Floating Restaurant boasts of their famous Aztec inspired setting mixed with a touch of Thai (probably because of the huge Buddha images all over the place).

The entire restaurant is built over man-made ponds to create the 'floating' theme while most dining tables were set inside a Nipa Hut for that all-Filipino atmosphere. Having said that, this place is definitely great for tourists from overseas or even for our Balikbayan relatives.

can you spot the Superhero?

There are plenty of activities for the kids, and heaps of photo opportunities too for hobbyist and enthusiasts like statues and life-size images of people especially famous personalities like Pres. Obama, former Pres. Cory Aquino and former Pres. Joseph Estrada that welcome guests to the restaurant.

This exhibitionist of a waiter also stands proud near the comfort rooms. Very naughty, don't you think?

Nude ladies by the pond...


For good measure all kids are asked to wear a life jacket in case they fall over the water. I find that an good gesture from the management and owners of the restaurant, and for that I am giving them credit.

For the kids and kids at heart, the huge statues of favorite Disney and Marvel characters are all over the area. My children had a grand time roaming around the restaurant cum theme park, posing for pictures with their favorite characters, biking and playing around the huge vicinity.


As an added attraction, a cultural show is staged every afternoon at 6 o'clock. Usually tribal dance numbers are performed followed by an acrobatic show.

If everything failed to entertain the kids, I guess the fish feeding will do the trick. The food servers can give you fish food/pellets for free if you ask them (nicely).

A short boat ride can also be enjoyed for Php20 per boat as tip to the boatman.

I didn't take much photos of the food. We've been to their original branch,  Isdaan Gerona, a few times and we already know how exactly the food tastes like. Overall, they were okay but there's nothing special in them that would make me crave to drive the 100 kilometer from Manila. The service is quite slow too, and they tend to miss orders. To give an example, I ordered Arroz Caldo (chicken porridge) for our 7 month old baby. After 30 minutes of waiting, the server came to our hut and informed us it's unavailable. We've waited that long before being told order is not coming!
I find the food overpriced too considering the portion size and the quality. I can't believe a Tortang Talong (eggplant omelette) could cost over Php200. Also the location is in the province which is quite far and out of the way so we were expecting the price to be 'considerate' if not competitive.

By the way, Isdaan is owned and operated by the Barrio Fiesta group, the same company that operates Barrio Fiesta, Singing Cooks and Waiters, etc
Tips for the budget conscious:
1. If you are after the ambience, the scenery and activities rather than satisfying your hunger, I suggest just ordering some light snack and the fruit shakes. They don't impose a minimum purchase for diners to enjoy the amenities of the resto/theme park but just to be fair to the restaurant it's good to order something.
2. Bring mosquito repellent! The place is surrounded by water and plants - perfect combination for insects.
3. Average spend per person is Php500 if having a meal (lunch or dinner) of around 3 viands plus drinks.
4. They don't serve free drinking water but rather sell bottled water. A good strategy to generate beverage profit, don't you think? Diners please bring your own water!


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