I'VE been passing by that structure along the highway, but every time I happen to pass by during mealtimes, we would always end up at the restaurant Digos City has had for generations now -- Mer's.

Last week, I had a van all to myself, meaning, I dictate where the driver and I will eat. I took that opportunity to try Prangel's, the roadside restaurant on the other side of the road from Mer's.

First observation: The parking lot was full even if it was already approaching 1 p.m., given that it has a smaller parking lot, still, it had enough space for a restaurant parking and we got the last slot.

Second observation that made my heart go, "Wiiiiii!": They have a lot of viands with vegetables. Having had to make do with chop suey or pinakbet for decades now, it was a pleasant delight to see law-uy, ginataang labong (dabong in Bisaya) with lots of saluyot, ginisang mongo with lots of dahon ng tinangkong, and ginisang straw mushrooms.

My takaw-mata went on high gear but when the serbidora filled a bowl to the brims with mongo, I had to rein it in and only settle for one more... the ginataang labong with saluyot and the kinupsang tabang baboy (chicharon) to make the experience decadent. Their servings for their vegetable dishes are big.

A couple can share a bowl of mongo, but add another bowl full of ginataang labong and you might not be able to eat them all. I had the chicharon wrapped to go and we left with still half of the mongo left. I need a bigger group to travel with soon.

Before I forget, their food is very affordable especially when you're a big group. With one full bowl of mongo and another full bowl of labong plus a serving of kinupsan and two cups of rice, I only paid P185, and their service water has a slice of lemon.

That was one happy meal, indeed. Prangel's is along the highway going to Digos, just before you take the turn to Nakayama (if you're coming from Davao City). They have the regular carinderia fare.

All sorts of pork with sarsa, fish, and beef dishes, and they also have the kakanins for pasalubong or baon.

It's a happy respite especially while on a long distance land trip like I just had.