In the 90s when I was an occasional visitor to Panay Island, Tatoy's was a byword and hosts invariably brought me there to dine. It was a quaint restaurant by the sea with a very humble set up. The central part of the restaurant is devoted by the owner Tatoy, (a simple fisherman whose fortune changed ever since people started making a beeline to his eatery to savor his chicken inasal and fresh catch) to a shrine for his "dwendes" (elves) who he believed have been the genuine source of his new found luck and wealth.
Fast forward to this decade and a revisit offers anguish and disappointment. Not only has the place become a big resto wannabe with airconditioned halls and more tables, the prices have spiralled enormously. Could it be that fame has affected the poor man's mindset and has brought him to think that whatever his prices and ambience, people will still come? The day we went was a Saturday and not even a quarter of the place was occupied. A far cry from the 90s when we had to wait for tables to be vacated even on a Tuesday! Tatoy is a household name in Ilonggo dining but sadly, not for long if he persists on shortchanging customers with atrocious prices. He should be warned. Along the way, dozens of eateries have mushroomed, providing him stiff competition. And they seem to be getting bigger crowds, maybe because their prices have not been compromised by fame.