Tummy Picks / Getaway High : Patis Tito Garden Cafe in San Pablo, Laguna
When your meals are cooked by the Mother of Bohemian Filipiniana
After 3 hours of our journey from Marikina to San Pablo, Laguna for a quick weekend rendezvous, my family and I wondered what gastronomical treasures awaits us in the hidden bushes of this quaint place in the South.
Our stomachs were growling and we were really exhausted but our room at the B&B was still being prepared and as such we’ve been advised by the receptionist at Sulyap (review can be read here) that about less than 30mins away is a cafe that we would surely love.
We ventured out into the unknown trying to look for this cafe and there through a narrow road, we stumbled upon the gate of Patis Tito Garden Cafe (previously known as Kusina Salud). The gate had a sign that said that they only accepted guests with reservations but we were lucky enough to be let in on that fateful Saturday afternoon.
Upon entering, our eyes wandered in amazement at all the rustic elements of the cafe. It was a sight to behold, too many to take in all at once but the sun shone its rays in between leaves and high ceilings as if playing peek-a-boo with anyone who steps foot in this beautiful nest.
As if on queue, out steps from behind a rack of clothes is the distinguished Grand Dame of Philippine Fashion Madam Patis Tesoro with a warm welcoming smile ushering us into her safe place, her many dogs (whom she said was 15 in total!) following close behind her.
I felt the heat rise up to my face as I found myself starstruck to be in the midst of her presence but I mustered up the courage and approached her with my hand out, introducing myself and my family while I grinned ear to ear. As you know, there are many celebrity owned cafes that have elusive famous personalities and here, in the middle of nowhere, is Patis Tesoro shaking my hand, smiling and telling me to sit and enjoy her home. I thought to myself, how lucky are we today?!
Madam Patis told us she was expecting other guests but that our family is very much welcome to dine. Before we could even ask for the menu, she mentioned that she cooked the dishes herself and for this day, there is no menu. We can choose from what she has already prepared and I found this amusing, refreshing at most. It’s not every day that you get the owner, let alone a living legend, cook your family’s lunch.
And so we ordered 3 main dishes: Beef Rendang, Pork Binagoongan and Buttered Bangus Belly along with rice and lemongrass calamansi juice.
The Beef Rendang was recommended by Madam Patis as she explained that she slow cooked it to perfection for roughly 4 hours, making sure that each chunk is as tender and as savory as possible. It tasted like a glorified version of paksiw na pata but with a hint of coconut sauce and herbs to add that extra depth of flavor. My hubby sure enjoyed every piece.
The Pork Binagoongan was presented on top of an eggplant ensalada of sorts, which surprisingly only had a hint of shrimp paste flavor, not overwhelming the tomato-eggplant-onions mixture. Madam Patis explained that she uses her own shrimp paste and doesn’t buy the regular ones sold in the market which has lots of preservatives and msg. That’s different and quite a tedious task, I thought to myself.
The dish that I loved the most is the Buttered Bangus Belly. It was a simple fish platter pan seared with an understated butter sauce that complimented the fat of the bangus belly. A side of atchara is all it took to make the ingredients play well together.
For dessert, we had traditional homemade palitaw which was freshly cooked upon ordering and served to us on banana leaves. The sesame seeds were roasted to give that specific woody taste in the sugar sprinkle everybody loves to add on top of their palitaw.
Price ranges from 350-550 for each dish.
After finishing our meal, Madam Patis checked up on us, asked if we loved her cooking and offered the rest of her home and workshop for a brief tour. The cafe actually had a bed & breakfast option for guests but as per Madam Patis, guests wanting to stay here must be of the laid-back, family kind. Since her artwork, embroidery and other treasures are in this haven, she wants to make sure that guests are respectful of the serenity of the place.
Our jaws dropped to the floor as we swerved from one room to the next. Each tile meticulously picked out by Madam Patis and details designed to showcase the multi-faceted persona she embodies, the rest of the place was an array of shapes and colors that made everything aesthetically gratifying. See the gallery below to appreciate the eclectic beauty of this bed & breakfast which we will for sure book next time.
Her clothes are no different. Meticulously and intricately designed to amaze.
She has pioneered the Bohemian Filipiniana look effortlessly and those we saw on the racks today constantly challenged our perception of color combinations, structures and lines. Her works with Philippine natural fibers hand-sewn and combined with intricate embroidery and native techniques have made her the living legend that precedes the name ‘Patis Tesoro’. A friend of mine, Wing Polistico, who was part of Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company noted to have used Patis Tesoro barongs and Filipiniana gowns back in the day as they showcased their talents here and abroad. And as the name Tesoro was synonymous to elegance and culture, there have been many other notable personalities who’ve been dressed by her over decades.
Patis Tesoro is nothing short of revolutionary, innovative, culturally focused yet remaining relevant to the modern times of the fashion industry.
Although Madam Patis Tesoro was in the middle of preparing for her upcoming fashion shows, she didn’t hesitate to accommodate and help us dwell ourselves in her majestic creative world in the middle of Laguna. We got a glimpse of how one’s passion evolves into so many things that although it may seem uncanny at first, it all works out into a masterpiece in the end.
Thank you Madam Patis Tesoro for the exquisite meal, immersion in art and appreciation of Philippine culture in fashion.
til our next getaway high / tummy picks… c’est la vie!
Final Rustic Vibes 4.4/5
*this is not a paid advertisement. this review is from my personal experience only. Please read full disclaimer for this post here.