Growing up as a son of an American instructor at Subic Bay and a Filipina businesswoman from General Santos City, ABS-CBN actor Gerald Anderson never really had the chance to “plant roots” in any locality.
As a child, he lived in General Santos, then moved to San Antonio, Texas, and Springfield, Missouri where he finished grade school.
At age 14, his family moved back to General Santos City, and within three years, he took his first big step into show business by joining the “Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition.” He finished the show as “Third Big Placer.”
Admittedly for the actor, living for long periods of time in different places had been challenging. But wherever he goes, he always brings with him the pride of being Bisaya.
“What I love in being Bisaya is the trait of being family-oriented. There is a different kind of brotherhood in that even if you don’t know another Bisaya personally, there is an automatic bond [between us]. The values I learned growing up in GenSan makes me the person I am today,” Anderson told The Manila Times in an interview.
As a child of mixed nationalities, home was never defined by geography for Anderson but by wherever his family is, and he added laughingly, “By food.”
Wherever they were, his mom cooked her comforting Filipino dishes with her trademark Visayan twist and a dash of American influence. In other words, Anderson is used to food that is “tisoy” just like him—a fusion Eastern and flavors, the former leaning heavily on the Visayan region.
As such, the celebrity was excited to take on a new ambassador role for the proudly Filipino-Visyan restaurant, Hukad.
“Hukad in Bisaya means ‘to serve up food on one’s plate’,” he explained.
According to Anderson, Hukad is an ideal place to celebrate special occasions with family, what with its wide and ever-expanding menu, loaded with Filipino comfort food, and some distinctly Visayan dishes that are among the “must tries” for any first-time diner.
Its crispy pata is definitely a crowd pleaser, and an award-winning one at that. The dish just won the People’s Choice at the recent Best of Cebu Awards mounted by the city’s leading newspaper.
Tuna Belly, Tuna Panga, Sizzling Squid, and Garlic Chili Shrimp are all popular items when it comes to seafood. But the “absolute must-try” seafood item, according to Anderson, is the Baked Bantayan Scallops.
“Baked in a simple but precisely balanced mix of cheese and garlic, the star of this dish is the plump Scallops that are flown in fresh from Bantayan Island,” he offered.
For authentic “must-try” Cebuano flavors, the Cebu Lechon of course takes the spotlight with its belly regarded as the best part of the lechon. At Hukad, the restaurant serves up a superb Lechon Belly de Cebu with all the flavors one looks for in the roasted pork, not to mention sinfully crunchy skin.
With interiors lovingly designed by sought-after interior designer Hannah Lim, Hukad manages encapsulate the best parts of the Filipino dining experience.
“That’s the beauty of food. Dun kayo magba-bond, mag-meeting, everything is over food. That’s why when I eat the dishes here, I always remember how mom took care of me when I was young. So, it’s always nakakabusog ng tiyan and ng puso when it’s my turn to treat my mom at Hukad because it brings us closer as a family,” Anderson ended.