Friday, March 11, 2011

A Culinary Tour to Prado Farm

Pampanga has always enjoyed the title " The Culinary Center of the Philippines". Pampanga cooking always manages to concoct up its own version of the latest food craze, and often they end up being better because of its use of native ingredients.  Pampanga is widely acknowledged to possess exceptional cooks and Kapampangan cuisine... some of the well-known chefs are Claude Tayag and Abe Cruz. Pampanga cuisine is highly regarded as one of the most delicious cuisine in the Philippines. Their dishes are highly flavorful and true to themselves. Their secret??? it's the slow cooking method they use when they prepare their dishes. They do not make shortcuts when they cook.

I have joined 2 culinary tours to Pampanga and in those tours --- the food served to us was always superb. Some of their cuisine which I really enjoyed were SISIG - which were made out of pork cheeks, grilled to a crunchy perfection, chopped into tiny bits mixed with chicken liver, onions, calamansi and small red peppers which we call labuyo, PINDANG DAMULAG - which is sweet cured pork or carabeef,  BURONG TALANGKA - which comes from the fat of salt-preserved little crabs, BALO-BALO - which is fermented rice with small shrimps, and BETUTE - stuffed frogs. If you decide to go on one of these culinary tours...I would adviseyou to skip your breakfast and save it for the sumptuous meals you will be tasting on the culinary tours.

When my cousin, Corito, asked me to join her and her group on another Pampanga culinary tour to Prado Farm in Lubao, Pampanga --- I did not hesitate in saying I would go with them. We had Marie, who is a true blooded Kapampangan, as our guide.

Today--- let me bring you to the Prado Farm located in Lubao, Pampanga. Come with me as I discover the secrets of the locals and explore the rich culture of Pampanga through its culinary experience.

Pampanga is only 90 minutes away from Manila driving thru NLEX ( North Luzon Expressway ). We exited the San Fernando exit to meet up with another group of ladies at the Mac Donald's before we headed to Reimon Gutierrez's Prado Farm for our culinary food tour.

Prado Farm is a five-hectare property owned by Reimon Gutierrez. In 2001, Reimon started to restore his family's property and started his biodynamic organic farming. Prado Farm used to be a warehouse for LPG tanks. Reimon's  first project was to make the leaking and rusted tanks useful again---- aesthetically.  " My parents never threw anything away, so by the time I got here there was just so many things I could make useful again. Nothing really went to waste", Gutierrez said. He began tweaking the architecture of the buildings adding bright colors to them. Some of the houses in the farm are 41 years old and built in traditional Filipino style.

As I alighted from the van I was wondering why were there so many LPG gas tanks ??? If you can see the main gate, it was made out of propane tanks.. It looked weird. It felt like I was in a junk yard. As I walked around taking photos I saw more oddly designed structures and objects.  Later, everything began to make sense--- the entire Prado Farm is a huge piece of junk art.

Reimon and his crew met us at the greeting hall. I was expecting to see an old man --- but to my surprise--- Reimon was young! We were offered welcome drinks of ice cold herbal tea which was very refreshing.

We sat down for our " midday MERIENDA ". Here was what we started with:

PISTO - This is one of the dishes cooked by the mother of Reimon who in turn is sharing it with us today. At first when I read the menu-- it said PISTO... I thought maybe wrong spelling... but that is how they spell the dish. It is made out of diced potatoes, ham, ground pork sauteed in beaten eggs, garlic and onions. It wasn't that picture pretty but let me tell you... This dish was so good!!! Most of the ladies in the group had to go for second servings.

HOMEMADE KESONG PUTI -- yes, Reimon makes his own Kesong Puti. I am a cheese lover-- and I enjoyed this... It was not as salty like all the other white cheeses I have tasted. This was paired off with tiny pan de sal ( sorry-- I was not able to take a photo of the pan de sal )... and more of his herbal tea which was made of lemon grass and muscovado sugar.

After having merienda we had our free time to roam around the 5 hectare property of Reimon.

Browsing through the photos I took --- you could easily tell that each piece was well thought out, carefully selected and designed with a flair of a young genius...I was able to go to the other houses inside the farm..... let my photos speak for itself. My camera was very happy taking so many photos here... Let me share them with you.

and here are some of Reimon's  junk art pieces which I liked.. It is a wonderland of symmetry in colors and textures. If you need some inspiration and new ideas on what to do with your junk ...... you should come here.

Just when you think that old metal is another piece of junk, look again.... seeing all these art pieces of Reimon Gutierrez you will rethink on how you can convert your junk and other old stuff in your house into art pieces. Reimon has a keen eye on how to reuse and re-absorb all these pieces of rusty metals which he transformed into works of art like doors, staircases, walls, chairs etc.

After the mini tour around his farm..... I was ready for the lunch he prepared for all of us.

PRADO VEGETABLE SALAD -- people who know me well know that I do not like eating salads. I am carnivorous... but I could not help have a plate of Reimon's greens which he personally grows in his bio-dynamic farm behind his house. I loved the orange vinaigrette  dressing he paired with his salad.


ORGANIC LECHON which Reimon breeds in his farm. I loved it!! There was no fat in between the crsipy skin and the meat. Inside this lechon he cooked organic duck ( which was part of our merienda).

For dessert -- I had 2 kinds of suman with sliced mangoes and chocolate eh. This was so sinful!! a MUST TRY when you go to Prado Farm.

If you are planning to have a food trip adventure in the Philippines, do not forget to bookmark Pampanga in your food trip adventure. Pampanga is one of the best places in the Philippines in terms of real culinary cuisine. Remember if it's a Filipino dish that is so tasty, aromatic and appetizing...... it must be Kapampangan  cuisine!!



Prado Siongco, Lubao


  1. hi. great blog here. i so envy you for having had this food tour/trip already. i saw prado farm featured in a newspaper today so i searched for their website right at once. i didn't find their website but i found your blogsite. nice pictures you have. i was wondering if you could tell me where i could get hold of the farm's contact information. i'd love to visit the place one day. thank you. happy blogging.

  2. I'm an avid follower of ur blog and thanks for the wealth of info that u've shared with us. I will be there for 2 mos. and I plan to treat my Mom on Mother's Day @ the Prado Farm. Can u publish the e-mail addy of Prado Farm or any contact #? Thanks.

  3. hello, thanks for liking Prado Farm. You may call 09209030964 for more inquiries about Prado Farm and its updated activities