Eating out is a fascinating experience. Mind you this is not to demean a good home cooked meal, because a good home cooked meal can also be quite an experience. But that is another topic in itself.
You can make eating out as expensive and lavish as you want. Some travelers would rather eat in a small roadside eatery or small restaurant than spend enormous amounts of money for the surroundings, but that is up to the individual. We will discuss a bit of everything.
Let us start with the simplest way, Just about every town has its own hangout place near the municipality that has food stalls surrounding it. You can get some real nice barbeque there with rice. In Cebu they have a variety on the normal rice called puso, rice wrapped in coconut leaves and steamed. They will also sell you soft drinks and beer. For me that is relaxing pinoy style.
Then you have what I mentioned before, the roadside eatery. This is usually a place well known by locals, which serve a pretty good Filipino meal. Do not expect lavish interiors, this is simple style eating. However simple the interior, the food is prepared by people who know how to prepare food like no one else. You get a reasonably big variety of choices of meat, accompanied by rice or noodles. Do not get frightened if people stare at you, it is just that they do not see many Americanos in these establishments.
Your next step up from this would be the food courts in the big shopping malls. There are usually anywhere from 10 to 30 different food preparation areas around a big area of seats. You can take a pick from the foods you like and pay at every stall you order from. If you like a quick meal, well prepared and do not mind sitting in a noisy hall, (quite often they have performances of some sort right throughout the day) surrounded by lots of shoppers and lots of students that use these areas as hang out places, then this maybe the way to go if you are in the mall for shopping anyway. they also have take home counters here.
If however you like fine dining, do not under estimate the Philippines, they have some of the best establishments in the world for eating. The restaurant establishments set the trend in tempting you with fine dining that will cater to your every need. Be it eastern or western cooking. There are a wide variety of Filipino foods, blended with Chinese, Malay, Spanish and other influences. This is what makes the Filipino kitchen so unique and wholesome. Seafood restaurants, with seafood so fresh, and with such a variety of fish, shrimps, crabs, lobsters and prawns, prepared and cooked to your specification. Or how about a full-bodied meal of American stews and steaks, accompanied with all its side dishes and salads. Maybe the Chinese kitchen with spicy, mild or hot Asian selections or for the favorites of Japanese cuisine maybe a bit of sushi. There are Italian restaurants that will serve all kinds of pasta dishes, I have even been to a German restaurant that had authentic German bratwurst, a kind of sausage served with fried onions and baked potatoes. You name it and the Philippines has it. If you are in the mood for something light, you could try some French pastry (croissant) or some traditional eye-catching selection of Filipino bread or some native sweet cakes.
Remember, food is the spice of life and if you do not enjoy all the good things that the Philippines have to offer you, then you deprive yourself from the best things in life. Being alive means expressing it, by having a good meal. A good meal is a communal need that we can not live without.