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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Buddha, mermaids, monkeys and more…


Who would miss this place? A giant sculpture of a fish, possibly in pain for being roasted, stands next to its sign.


At the entrance sat three painted men I thought were statues of triplets. Money dropped into the boxes in front of them turned them into dancing men, just like dolls on music boxes. Then came the men on stilts from behind us, startling us a bit. We didn’t know what to do with them though so we proceeded to our table in one of the floating dining huts. On our way, we admired the Cyprinus Carpio Koi or colourful carp in the pond; and the gigantic mermaids, monkeys, birds, penguins, crocodiles, seashells, Disney characters, dinosaurs and their eggs… From our dining area, we could see other guests on boats, a giant Buddha, Barack and Michelle Obama on separate benches, etc.



We could also watch the performance of a dance group, an acrobat group, and a magician. While waiting for our order, several singers came to entertain us. Guests can make requests, local songs or not, and give the regular tip (PHP 20) – not bad for a good rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. Our set menu consisted of fried pork, roast fish, beef in peanut sauce, sautéed vegetables, and other mouth-watering, really delicious Filipino dishes. After lunch, the head waiter asked for a performance evaluation. I gave excellent remarks although I suggested that credit cards or foreign currencies be accepted in the future. I also learned that the tips were collected from all staff and performers for equal distribution at the end of the day. Finally it was time for the boat ride and to enjoy the park from another angle. Life jackets were provided so I joined my group and gave our boatman the usual PHP 20 tip. Of course, this visit wouldn’t be complete without having pictures taken with the Obamas, a mermaid, and a masked man on stilts. By this time, I knew that the stilt walker was expecting a tip. Despite all these tips, the not-so-clear pond, and my objection to the confusing mixture of Asian and western images, I think that I'd like to come to Isdaan again and again for its great food, service, and hardworking people.

Isdaan Floating Restaurant & Fun Park, Calauan, Laguna, Philippines July 2012

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