Gandingan Specialties – Perfect Stopover for Food in Picong, Lanao del Sur

January 16, 2017
Picong, Lanao del Sur

Going home for a vacation is one of the best things I’m looking forward to but one thing that I don’t like much on this one is the hours that we need to spend on the road. Travelling at least 5 hours with a baby and a 4-year-old who has motion sickness is no joke, really. Oh, how I wish airlines would provide direct flights from Cebu to Cotabato City just like years ago. My birthplace Parang would be so easy for us to visit if that’s the case.

Anyway, after more than a week of staying at my parent’s home for Christmas, it was time to start our journey back home. It was 10:30 am of December 27 when we hit the road on our way to Tangub City, my mother’s birthplace. We planned to stay there for 1 night to see the famous Christmas Symbols before our flight back to Cebu the day after. Estimated time of arrival to Tangub is 5pm as my brother wanted to take the Ozamis City route instead of Pagadian City. The two cities take more than 4 hours to travel which meant for us to have our lunch somewhere in a place that’s surely still far from the those cities – no drive thru’s, fastfoods or restaurants. That’s what I thought.

My brother told me that there’s a nice place in Picong, Lanao del Sur, just along the road that served delicious native chicken and buko pandan juice. I was intrigue about the latter, I mean I’ve tasted so many buko pandan-flavored food but fresh juice? I suddenly felt an excitement.

And finally, after 2 hours, we arrived to the place, it’s called Gandingan Specialties. It’s actually the perfect stopover for food for those travelling to and from Cotabato City and places nearby.

Picong, Lanao del Sur


The place was an open area, with cottages as the customers’ dining place. It was a quiet place, no background music and all we could hear were people talking and sounds of nature – birds, insects, etc. Speaking of insects, no need to worry especially about mosquitoes because the cottages were covered with a net. Just look at the photo below, I think I can rest here before traveling back to the road, possibly using a hammock inside the cottage, if it’s allowed of course.

Picong, Lanao del Sur


Beside the cottages were Lanzones trees which according to my brother, bear seedless lanzones fruits, quite expensive though but definitely worth it if you want to taste the best of lanzones.

As for the food, one thing that made Gandingan Specialties unique was that they served only native chicken. We can have barbeque chicken everywhere but native one? I don’t think so. And oh, aside from barbeque, don’t miss their bihon, it was also very tasty!



Normally, in restaurants, we’re always ask what soft drinks or juice we want. In this place though, we only had two options – buko pandan juice or bottled water, very healthy isn’t it? And this was how buko pandan juice looks like.


Here’s the funny part, it looked buko alright so my tongue expected for a taste of buko, it seemed like my brain’s not convince it was buko pandan. But then after my first sip, I was pretty amazed because it really tasted buko pandan, not from gelatin or salad!  I just tasted fresh buko pandan juice for the first time! It was certainly quite an experience (pasensya, mababaw ang kaligayan ko).



Overall, thumbs up for the place. Very simple but worth your money. The price wasn’t bad, there were 9 of us adults and we paid around P1,300 (sorry I forgot to take a photo of the receipt together with the exact prices). For a buko pandan juice and native chicken which certainly are something you can’t eat everywhere, the amount was just right!

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