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CBS Goes Ja-jammin’ in Bob Marlin

Last Friday night was hell. Water’s rising up in Mandaue, Parkmall shoppers were scrambling for taxicabs, and the rain was showing no signs of letting up. Yet Bob Marlin Restaurant & Grill was full, with families, friends, and lovers spilling all the way to the outside. There were too many guests it took almost an hour before Jim Palma, the franchisor, and 27-year-old Zamboanga-bred Evan Fernando, the restaurant’s Cebu franchisee, to be with us for interviews.

Perhaps for many there’s nothing unusual to the sight—it’s Friday night; what do you expect?—but being barely two months old in Cebu with hundreds of competitors, that’s already a big feat.


Trace Its Roots to Cam Sur


Many have often asked about the name’s peculiarity, but both Palma and Fernando don’t want you to think too much about it. It’s simply pays tribute to Bob Marley, whose type of music Fernando really loves, and marlin, a fish that never fails to make its presence known in Filipino dishes. When combined together, they create an image of a family gathering in a beach setting.


Bob Marlin, though, has quite a long history. It started around 20 years ago in Camarines Sur by Palma’s family. It was then called Christie’s Restaurant, after the matriarch who oversaw the entire operations, even in the preparations and cooking of the dishes. Five years ago, however, the siblings took over; and to give in to more modern dining approaches, and perhaps inspired by the sprouting beach resorts in Cam Sur, they changed the name to what it is today. A year ago, they started offering franchises, and Fernando was one of the lucky few to secure one and bring the business to Cebu.


Only Real Pinoy Food


The International School for Culinary Arts once hailed Bob Marlin’s dishes as old school or very traditional. Simply put, the chefs, headed by Fernando, create only authentic Filipino dishes—they don’t take shortcuts. The result is a myriad of appetizing nostalgic recipes that simply fill up your senses.

Two of their main specialties are the to-die-for sizzling marlin slabs and the crispy pata, with ultra-crisp skin that makes it taste almost like lechon. This latter goes very well with their adobo rice. The bagoong rice, meanwhile, has just enough saltiness to whet your appetite. Kare-kare in peanut sauce and bagoong, is also a hit, as well as pinangat or laing, Fernando’s comfort food. These are shrimps wrapped in gabi leaves and cooked with chili and simmered in coconut cream. If you’re willing to take your spicy meter higher, order Bicol express.


Bob Marlin also serves mild cocktails and spirits such as Bubble Gum Drop and One Love and some of the most affordable beers in the city. You can order 5 bottles for only 169 pesos or 24 bottles for 799 pesos.


The only thing missing in its menu is the dessert, but the A-list kitchen team is busy whipping up the most delectable, starting with leche flan.


It Isn’t Just for Reggae Lovers


Besides being a chef, Fernando is a member of a band. His love for music—reggae, in particular—is, in fact, one of the reasons why he’s here in Cebu. Back when he was in college in the University of San Carlos, he was deeply impressed by the city’s music scene. He wants to make sure the reggae culture doesn’t die by putting up this restaurant and inviting reggae bands to play at least once a month.


Nevertheless, Fernando doesn’t want reggae to overshadow what the restaurant really is: a place for families and friends, regardless of their music preferences. Thus, tables are often accompanied by at least 4 chairs, and almost all their dishes are good for around 4 to 5 people.


They also offer reasonable rates for business conferences, parties, and meetings. Their second floor features one huge function room that can hold at most 45 persons. The cost for use varies on the package, though usually they charge 8,000 pesos, which is consumable, for a whole-day use.


More than the good food and reggae-riffic music, Bob Marlin offers comfort, fun, engaging discussions, and incredible laid-back beach-resort experience in one of the busiest cities in the province. It’s no surprise it remains a hit despite torrential rains.


Visit Them Today


True to its homey-beachy theme, Bob Marlin is found in Parkmall, Mandaue City. It is open from Monday to Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. For reservations or inquiries, you can call or text 09175808093. Visit and add their Facebook page too.




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