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HONORING | MY MOTHER | frills resto

By Icoy San Pedro

FOR the longest time, they have always been part of what one looked forward to whenever one went on road trips. Those decent pit stops with hot, delicious and complete meals that almost came close to home cooking. With clean toilets too. Then just as suddenly, these good old roadside eateries, almost akin to the locally called “turo-turo” (roughly translates as point-point), slowly gave way to the more capitally-backed, glittery roadside drive-ins which feature more than just the usual good meal for the weary traveler. 

These stops come with entertainment galore in the form of live bands (even at lunchtime), a playpen for the kids, a mini-zoo and a mini-mart in some, or they just simply dangle special discounts on anything one could think of. In all, a far cry from the old, usually non-air conditioned open type eateries which lined the highways to other centers. 


Since my youth when work involved road trips, traveling had always been a treat, and the expectations that flooded the mind during each slow approach to any restaurant by the road, especially after a long drive, always brings in a different kind of thrill every time. Will the food be good? Do they serve ample servings of desserts? And so on.

When the quarantine of 2020 started, the pull of the road waned considerably, as all save time stopped. Thus, too ended at least for me, that roadside pleasure one gets from stopping by some cafe or restaurant on the way to any destination, in our case, Gensan or other distant provinces. Plain and simple, there was no more destination to even speak of because of the general ban on travel. 

Suffice to say, many of the familiar roadside cafes and other related stops one by one closed down and slowly went out of business. Of course, the modern ones, with their more enduring edifices and attractions lingered, while others closed shop for good. A friend with a sharper marketing mind and owner of one such resto said, “If you were into a business like this, it is best to have a specialty that will really pull customers in.” Good for him and his family, their pastries have become popular bring-home fare through the years since his grandparents started the business generations ago.

During this 2022, with travel restrictions less strict, the neon lights on several roadside stops have made a much-awaited comeback. This precisely has been the topic during our fam’s dinner when we, out of the blue, decided to eat out and just drive down the highway with no planned destination. We finally settled on an outdoor place which very much looked like it was frequented by drivers. Upon settling down and getting our orders, my son had said of the whole experience, “No frills.” We all agreed. 

This was how it was before; you travel, you go hungry, so you stop to eat. Then, they feed you and you go back on the road. None of the usual present-day selfie selfies or other ops. No frills.


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