Summer in November: Escaping to the Dominican RepublicSunday, November 25, 2012
In the midst of all the crazy weather that hit New York, we slipped away for a much-needed Caribbean getaway.
What I experienced of the Dominican Republic, I found enthralling. In some ways, it is almost disconcertingly similar to the Philippines. The aquamarine waters and tropical vegetation could be on any of our 7,000+ islands. The concrete structures lining the streets of the barrios and the neighborhood folks hanging out on corner stores were reminiscent of rural towns back home, too. Even Cabarete's bustling, right-smack-on-the-beach nightlife could easily be mistaken for that of Boracay.
But the local culture and flavor, from the unending medley of merengue and bachata on the radio, to the rich Caribbean cooking—all of that is unmistakably Dominican. Shopping for groceries was endlessly fascinating, and feasting on everything fresh and local was sublime.
We were lucky enough to have a lot of authentic home-cooked food. But the meal that really stood out for me was at La Casita de Don Alfredo. I loved the Shrimp a la Papi, in particular—that massive cast iron pan of juicy whole shrimps swimming in buttery cream sauce was positively decadent and delightful.
The trip was far too short to squeeze in everything that I would have wanted to do so I am dying to come back. I didn't know that Cabarete has very good surfing and unfortunately, we just weren't prepared to catch some waves—so a quick escape to the DR to surf is on my to-do list. This agenda item is bolstered by the fact that the DR is one in a (frustratingly short) list of countries that Filipino citizens living in the US can visit on a whim, as we can simply get a tourist card upon arrival. It's a travel advantage I definitely plan on taking advantage of again the next time I hear the call of summer.
For more information on this lovely part of the Dominican Republic, click here.