Sunday, March 29, 2009

San Guillermo Church in Bacolor Pampanga

It was once the largest church in Pampanga.The San Guillermo Church was devastated by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in October 1, 1995. Now seen as half-buried under tons of lahar. We entered the church thru the windows of the church and saw the fully restored retablo which were patiently dugged up by the residents of Bacolor and restored to their original splendor...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Have you tried EVERYBODY'S Cafe in Pampanga????

We arrived in Pampanga at 8:30am and our first stop was EVERYBODY'S CAFE in San Fernando. We were greeted by one of the owners of the place, Miling Manalastas, and as a welcome treat she served us hot chocolate which was prepared the old fashion way... stirred with a batirol.....her chocolate was unlike the chocolate we have in manila... it was a mixture of cocoa and pounded peanuts... different flavor indeed!!! it was paired of with their suman ( sticky rice slightly sweetened ) and Tamales. Tamales, is one of the many delicacies in pampanga. Unlike our foreign counterparts ( the spanish and the mexican tamales), our tamales is made of steamed ground brown and white rice , coconut milk, ground peanuts, slivers of chicken and topped with a slice of salted duck egg then wrapped in steamed banana leaves. This dish can be eaten any time of the day... I'd rather have my tamales for breakfast.. Other dishes served was the Rebuelto ( otherwise known as the pampanga torta ), Langonisa ( which was sweet not garlicky taste of other provinces ), Pindang Damulag ( that is Tapang Carabeef or Carabao meat ), Batuteng Tugak ( deep fried stuffed frogs ) which tasted like chicken, Camaru ( crispy crickets ) and Morcon.

Santiago de Apostol Church Pampanga

----the second largest church in Pampanga... and has been declared one of the one of the national cultural treasures by our National Museum... It is also known as the " SISTINE CHAPEL of the Philippines " ... because of the hand-painted murals on the ceilings and walls.....unlike the sistine chapel in Rome, these murals where painted into the wooden planks in the celing of the church. These murals were painted by a local artist named Simon Flores.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Claude Tayag's 5 hour Lunch

.. the 5 hour lunch at Claude Tayag's Bale Dutung in Angeles City. His restaurant is located at Villa Gloria Subdivision. This is a gated community but his place stands out from all the other houses in that area.... It is very rustic inspired. His house cum restaurant and atelier is also located here. I was lucky enough to enter his little gallery to see his paintings and artworks.. His property is filled with his Scupltures ( he uses materials, like old wood which comes from salvaged churches and old homes), ikebana plants and lots of greeneries. Claude, in case you haven't heard of him is considered one of the " MUST SEE and TRY when you are in Pampanga "... SEE his artworks and TRY his cuisine.... but a word of advise... IF you plan to try his cuisine.... be prepared for a long leasurely lunch and come with an empty stomach. Claude prepares all his dishes ... he never delegates this task to anyone.

We were welcomed by Claude and his wife, Maryann as we disembarked from our bus and given a welcome drink of cold dalandan juice with moscovado ice ( this is moscovado sugar crushed and mixed with water and poured into the ice cube tray and left to harden in the freezer )... I found out that this moscovado ice is very good for ALL types of FRUIT drinks... you don't have to sweeten your juice just put 2 cubes of moscovado ice into your glass... This fruit cooler was so good that i had to have another then another glass while enjoying my meal. Another innovative thing i noticed was the rolled FROZEN white face towels which they gave us... and Maryann showed us how to use it.... in order to keep cool from the sweltering pampanga sun!! surprisingly... it kept me feeling cool ! This i thought was a very nice idea!! FROZEN rolled face towels!!

Slowly the meal started..... we had appetizers of different Claude 9 dips ( pesto, balo balo - which is fermented shrimps on rice , and PURE taba ng talangka - crab fat ) with crackers.

Here are the 5-ways to cook Lechon: ( which was the highlight of our meal )

** Skin - it was neatly carved like the way they serve the peking duck in chinese restaurants... and served with Claude's secret lechon sauce.
** Pritchon - this is lechon meat twice cooked till it is crispy and served with condiments like kimchi, tomatoes and onions and wansuy. You have to neatly pile it up on a soft tortilla and wrap it like a burrito..
** Sinigang na Lechon with a twist - unlike all other sinigangs i have tasted wherein the soup is either sampaloc or guava-based, Claude used freshly picked kamias to make the soup broth sour. Then he added the lemon-grass stalks
( which were found inside the stomach of the lechon ) for added flavor. Since the lechon has a distinctive flavor and it is already cooked this dish is easier to make. NO need to boil for long hours in order to make the meat tender. What one has to notice is the delectable flavor of the broth...
** Grilled lechon ribs - served with mini eggplants stuffed with tomatoes and onions and topped with a slice of red egg.
** Asado na lechon - Claude used the hind part of the lechon's legs. This was cooked the western way. It was served with caramelized carrots, stringbeans and tiny potatoes.