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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

August 31, 2012


When I left Camp Aguinaldo Sunday morning of August 19, I was in a gloomy state of mind. 

I could not run that morning and had to satisfy myself with a 7-km walk. My injury was festering and I did not know when I could resume running, jeopardizing my chance to join my fellow 83neans run the Penafrancia Marathon this September 8 in Naga. This is a sad thing for me as I am an addict when it comes to running long distance running events in my home region of Bicol plus I don’t want to let down my fellow 83neans who are all looking forward to our running and, particularly with Allen, finishing  together. 

I was sad and needed some comfort. 

Luckily for me, I followed my gut and decided to check out a bakeshop in front of the Lourdes Hospital at the boundary of Mandaluyong and Manila. A month ago, when I passed by the area, I saw a tarpaulin which proudly advertised “We Now Serve KINALAS, the Bikolano Comfort Food.”  

True enough, when I entered the Pan de Cielo Bakeshop, the cashier proudly declared that yes, they serve Kinalas, the pride of Naga City. 

What will be my order? Single Kinalas (Php 50) or half kinalas (Php 35)?  

Of course, my order is not the half but  the whole single. I did not come here to be half-comforted. Hahahaha...............  

For those strangers to kinalas, what is it? This is a noodle dish similar to the mami. What differentiates it is the broth and the toppings. The broth is made from boiled pig’s head and shoulder bones or beef marrow.  Kinalas has a special brown-colored sauce similar to that of a Pansit Palabok sauce. The toppings are very tender meat which have been detached (“kalas”) from the boiled pig’s head (or cow’s head), hence the name of this meal.

There are many carinderias in Naga City, and the surrounding towns and cities, that serve delicious piping hot kinalas. There is Enting’s along the Naga Diversion Road and Cely’s Kinalas in Barlin Street. But ground zero of the kinalas phenomenon is Dayandang Street in Naga where you can find Kinalas Twin, Ilyo Kinalas and a few more. My grade school classmate, Rey Nadal, also serves kinalas in his bakeshop in San Nicolas, Iriga City and this is where I go to satisfy my kinalas craving when I don’t have the ride to go to Naga which is some 40 kms away from my home city.   

Bicolanos love the kinalas. It is a source of pride for many as the kinalas embodies a part of the Bicolano spirit. To quote the dynamic students of the Naga City Science High School in their blog (http://orgulyokannagakinalas.blogspot.com/), But why is Kinalas worth tasting? It is because NagueƱos cling to their culinary tradition and the austerity of what they serve, does not affect the taste of the cooking and that is what distinguishes Kinalas from other noodle dishes. A noodle soup using the cheapest finest ingredient that will truly entice from it’s aroma to its final drop of soup taste.”

Even political biggies (Congressman Dado Arroyo and the late Naga City Mayor and DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo)  of both sides of the political spectrum in Bicol, frequent the kinalas carinderias in Naga.
Now back to the kinalas of Pan De Cielo Bakeshop. Is it  true to its Naga City origin? Is it as delicious as the ones in Kinalas Twin or Entengs?

With all objectivity, I must say the kinalas in Naga and even in Iriga are tastier than the one in Pan de Cielo Bakeshop. But for me, it does not matter as I will continue to go back to Pan de Cielo everytime I have a craving for this Bicol pride. Everytime I need some comfort of the culinary kind, you bet I will go to this place in Manila.

Pan de Cielo Bakeshop is located at No. 3511 Sanchez Street, Brgy. 602, Sta Mesa, Manila.  Telephone number is 4684808. The Business Permit on the wall indicated that the owner of Pan de Cielo Bakeshop is Roberto Villafuerte Prestado. The middle name shows the owner being related to a powerful political clan in Camarines Sur and the past participle tone of the last name points to a Nabua origin.


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