A Small Deli in Samal

A Small Deli in Samal

I last visited the Island Garden City of Samal via the roll-on roll-off barge before the pandemic (BP). The excruciating wait and long lines at the port have discouraged me so I limited myself to a few visits to Paradise Island and Costa Marina. But this time, I had a meeting out there so I had to go.

The driver took the Davsam ferry, I’ve never been on it, so I wasn’t familiar with where it landed.

However as our vehicle exited a short dusty road, I read we were in barangay Villarica. It should be familiar… it wasn’t. Samal has changed. Familiar structures are no longer there, there are lots of new buildings. I decided just to let my eyes take in the changes without trying to recall what used to be there. Our destination was Mambago-A in a place called A Small Deli of Judy Munda, my dive buddy’s wife. And yes, I was to meet with Carlos on that day.

The airconned area is small, just two tables which fitted in two more when a big group arrived.

Beside my table was a young couple, college-looking kids, one working on a tablet, the other lazily browsing on her phone. There’s a bigger space outside that soon filled up with customers, but I can’t stand the heat. Indeed, times have changed. My memory flies back to when the Poblacion would only have restaurants and turo-turo serving your regular fare of kinilaw, pansit, and barbecue, and there were just videoke bars as entertainment. The go-to places were always the beach resorts, do not expect much inland.

There is no beach in Mambago-A, and there’s hardly any structure around except the ones Carlos is building. But there were people, with gadgets, enjoying some cold drinks and pasta, and families with an Afam member.

A Small Deli serves different coffee concoctions, iced drinks, wine and liquor, pasta, sandwiches, and stuff delis serve. The shelves and chillers are filled with foodstuff you can bring home like sauces, processed meats and hams, and cheeses.

I had iced Americano (my usual poison) and putanesca and later in the afternoon I was served a platter of cheese and red wine. It’s a place to visit when craving some good deli food. It is also one of the refreshing new sites as the Island Garden City of Samal is fast becoming a full- fledged city. I remember those days when the running joke was: Where’s the Garden? And… where’s the City? That was after it was declared a city in 1998.

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