Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abe's Farm in Candaba, Pampanga

Next stop... Abe's Farm...It is a nurture Spa owned by the late Larry J. Cruz. It is located at the foot of a dormant volcano Mt. Arayat in a town called Magalang in Pampanga. It is not only a Spa but boasts of good Capampangan cuisine for lunch... We also had merienda here ... they served us pancit palabok and fried lumpiang ubod which i mistook for turon na saging..

The famous CAMARU ( crispy crickets ).. I have tried this dish but since i am not that much of a fear factor wannabe... i did not like it while the others thought it was very good!!

the Fern Salad - otherwise known as PAKO SALAD...

the interiors of Abe's Farm

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga

Getting ready for take off.........

It was an early start for all of us... We all met at the Starbucks in 6750 at 2:30am. Our bus left at 3:00am..In this culinary tour we had Anton Diaz ( food blogger of OUR AWESOME PLANET), Ivan Henares ( blogger of MAN about town ) and Ivan Man Dy (who makes walking tours in Manila ).....This is my 2nd time joining the Culinary Food Tour ( the first one was in Tagaytay last October )....we were 35 people ( all equiped with cameras, sun-blocks, hats and mosquito repellants ) ... we had 5 foreigners ( still young couples ) who were from Singapore... We didnt have the little son ( Aidan ) of Anton but we had a little girl who was the youngest ( 18 months ) in our group... We got to Pampanga at 5:00am ( it was still very dark ) at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport ( DMIA ).... i noticed that there were lots of cars already parked in the lot... Since we came in a bus, we had to be dropped off far from the entrance and had to walk towards the site where the balloons will take off... At around 6:30am... i saw a man in a parachute jump off a plane with the philippine flag.. that signaled the start of the show... There were 25 balloons competing this year. Since we were there very early -- we were able to catch the balloons getting filled with air..... By 7:00am.... all the balloons were getting ready for the lift-off... and one by one... OFF they went up in the air.... It was such a pretty sight to see... Since the day was a bit hazy and overcast.... it was not as hot and humid as I had expected it to be... The finale number of the balloon festival was the COKE bottle and the ELEPHANT ( very popular balloon ).. the other balloon I liked..was the KELLOGGS balloon that even had a mascot.

Breakfast at C's Restaurant in Angeles, Pampanga

Although this restaurant doesnt open for breakfast... Anton Diaz of OAP was able to ask its Owner and Chef, Chris Locher, to open its doors for us today... He had made a special breakfast menu for us like the Butcher Steak ( which was my favorite--- it was BLACK ANGUS beef ), Smoked Salmon, Fritata ( that is like an Italian Omelet ), Italian Sausages, Ham and Bacon, Glazed onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.... as our main course..... and we had the usual breakfast fare of fresh fruits, breads ( french, whole wheat and rye ), banana and chocolate muffins, different fresh fruit juices and we had 2 bottles of chilled Prosecco ( an italian sparkling champagne ).... and THAT was ONLY BREAKFAST!!!!!

CANDABA Birdwatching

Our last stop.... Birdwatching at the Candaba Swamps.. We were accompanied by my friend and birdwatcher, Ixi Mapua. Her motto is " Just watch don't catch".. We went to the bird sanctuary in Candaba, Pampanga of Mayor Gerry Pelayo. This was his resthouse cum bird sanctuary for all birdwatchers and wannabes...Birdwatching or " BIRDING " as Ixi calls it ... " is observing wild birds in their natural habitat "....Ixi handed out binoculars and even taught us how to use them.. We had to take a jeepney ( it was a fiera that can take 20 passengers ) and ride through a bumpy, dusty road for 40mins into the swamps.. but it was worth it....